Portal 2 is trending big on Google, and I’m damned if I need any more excuses to write about my most eagerly awaited game of 2011.
If you didn’t already know, this is the follow-up to 2007’s almost offensively brilliant Portal, a puzzle-based first-person shooter in which you shot nothing but portals in the game world. Armed with only your portal gun and your wits, you were tasked with escaping a huge laboratory complex watched over by a menacing, sociopathic AI known as GLaDOS, the HAL-9000 of videogames. The portal gun was truly a unique mechanic, but the game also had the slickest, most darkly comic script of any title from the past decade.
Yes indeed, Portal was pretty close to perfect, leaving quite an act for its follow-up. Can any sequel match up? Read on to find out:
Eurogamer’s (full review here) review is a gushing torrent of non-stop praise, with the title lauded for its scripting, pace, puzzles, and new co-op mode:
“Portal is perfect. Portal 2 is not. It’s something better than that. It’s human: hot-blooded, silly, poignant, irreverent, base, ingenious and loving. It’s never less than a pure video game, but it’s often more, and it will no doubt stand as one of the best entertainments in any medium at the end of this year. It’s a masterpiece.”
IGN (full review here) says the game sags in the second act of its single-player mode, yet nails everything else:
“Makes the original look like the prototype it was. It’s filled with a larger cast of characters vividly brought to life through brilliant writing and some of the best voice acting in video games…From the beginning of the single-player story to the end of the co-op mode, Portal 2 is a novel, unforgettable experience.”
The Escapist (full review here) isn’t quite as effusive, pointing out that some hefty loading times do reduce enjoyment of the title. Aside from that, it seemed impressed (and this is the most negative review I could locate):
“Portal 2 is the best sequel we could have expected. The levels just plain aren’t as challenging, but the new toys and characters manage to distract enough from the cracks in the paint to keep the whole ride breezing along. It astounds in some ways and disappoints in others, which, while not perfect, is good enough for science.”
The Guardian (full review here) is left pondering where Valve can go after Portal 2, such is the title’s high standard. For now though, it’s happy to write statements such as:
“Valve has created a masterpiece in Portal 2. The depth of content, the mind-bending mechanics and fantastic experience are almost certain to satisfy ardent fans of the first game; and to all newcomers to the series, it’s as simple as this: prepare to have your mind blown. Over and over again.”
See also:All our other Review Round-ups!