Xbox 360 Review: Portal 2

GLaDOS is back with a vengeance…

The first Portal was a great, but incredibly brief game that started out as more of a tech demo, funny how it became the best game out of The Orange Box. The dialogue from the AI GLaDOS made the game priceless, but also engaging. It’s just a shame that it ended all too soon. Of course a sequel was inevitable, but I don’t think anyone expected what Portal 2 has to offer…

The story picks up quite a while after the end of the first game and you find that you’ve been kept in stasis for a long time, so the Aperture facility has seen better days with wildlife growing through it. You come across another AI called Wheatley who is voiced by Stephen Merchant and is just as amusing, if not more so than GLaDOS herself. The object appears to be to disable GLaDOS once and for all so you can escape the facility, but in true Portal fashion…it doesn’t quite work that way.

The campaign is considerably longer than the first game and it never feels like it drags on. There are new elements to add to puzzles than turrets and momentum including different colour gels that can make you move very fast, jump very high and make a surface that you can place portals on. There are also a few laser puzzles and launch pads that make you think about Portal in a whole new way. If you thought the first game had some confusing puzzles, then you’ve seen nothing yet!

GLaDOS is brilliant in this sequel and the banter between you, her and Wheatley is just priceless. I won’t give any more away on the plot, but it’s so much better than the first game and makes me wonder if they could possibly squeeze out a 3rd game.

Besides the single player campaign, there’s a co-op campaign where you take control of 2 robots with portal guns through a series of test chambers that focus on different puzzles. You can highlight what and where you want your partner to do, as well as make a countdown timer when hitting switches. You can emote with hugs, high fives and even play rock, paper, scissors. The test chambers are very challenging, especially if you or your companion don’t know what to do. It’s best to have a headset if you are doing the game over Xbox Live to advise each other.

Visually, Portal 2 is smooth and looks impressive. The Source engine is starting to show its age a bit, but the game has a very nice charm to it that is unique. Loading can be a little on the long side, especially online, but its not as bad as I thought it would be. Voice-acting is superb thanks to GLaDOS, Stephen Merchant as Wheatley and JK Simmons as Cave Johnson, the CEO of Aperture Science.

The Verdict

Portal 2 is the best game I’ve played so far in 2011. It’s campaign is superb and full of British/American humour, while expanding upon what made the original great in every conceivable way. Co-operative play is also brilliant and I can’t wait for future DLC that comes out…

1 Comment

  1. Loved the sequel! I was a bit nervous about playing it after the 1st one being so good but it lived up to it and exceeded it as well.

    Haven’t finished yet so looking forward to that.

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