Reviewer’s Note: I am reviewing the Playstation 3 version of the game, which I got after the attack on the Playstation Network. As such, I have been unable to link the game to my Steam account or connect to PSN to play the online co-op. Therefore, this review does not factor any of the Steam features or the online play. This review is purely based on the single player campaign. Once PSN service is restored and I spend enough time testing the online features, I may revise and update the review to include thoughts on the online play of Portal 2.
Portal 2, just like the original, is a very simple game. There’s no intense shootouts or some mega-boss to defeat, just a lot of puzzles to be solved using a gun that shoots portals. But take the best moments from games that do provide those epic shootouts and bosses, and they likely still won’t compare to the feeling of finally solving one of the very creative “tests” found in Portal 2. The “aha!” moment where everything clicks and then seems so simple in hindsight really is a special kind of feeling invoked from a video game; it feels like a real achievement when your brain finally works at thinking with portals.
There’s a lot of mind-bending and difficult puzzles to be solved, yet the beauty of Portal 2 is that none of them feel impossible. To be sure, there’s plenty of frustration to be had, but that’s usually not with the game itself but rather with the player in trying to figure out exactly what you’re missing it. Once you finally solve it, without using YouTube, you feel relieved and ecstatic, while at the same time kicking yourself for taking so long with something that ended up being simple. And with the Portal 2, the simple answer is the right answer, so don’t get caught up in over thinking things as the solution is usually staring you right in the face.
What Portal 2 has going for it beyond its clever puzzles, is the writing and voice acting throughout the story. I don’t generally find games to be funny, at least not the kind I play. They may have a funny line here or there, but you quickly forget it. Not so with Portal 2 though. This has got to be the most hilarious game on the market today. The wit in this game is just top notch and almost non-stop. All the voice actors did a terrific job. You will literally laugh out loud throughout this game.
Portal 2 is also a gorgeous game with outstanding level design. The addition of the various gels (red to run faster, blue to bounce high, and white to make surfaces viable for portals) all add a new flare to the world of Portal. There’s something cool about just launching these gels around a room via portals (while also being a necessity).
Without spoiling anything, the ending is one of the best endings of any game that I’ve ever beaten. As someone who has beaten Portal and Portal 2, I can say that you’ll be very satisfied once you finish the game. And then you’ll laugh, several times. Really, I’d like to see the person who can play this game from start to finish for the first time and not have a big smile on their face when watching the ending. It’s not going to happen.
Portal 2 is a gaming masterpiece that will suck you in and then stay in your head well after you’ve finished the game. There’s really nothing else to say; Portal 2 is an outstanding game that every gamer should experience and have in their collection. If you don’t have it, then do yourself a favor and grab a copy immediately, especially if you even remotely enjoyed the first Portal.