When Valve first released The Orange Box on PS3, it was a great package that was plagued with issues and bugs. In The Orange Box, there is a game that many are familiar with by now and the game I’m talking about of course is Portal. Being a really short game itself, Valve had no idea what to expect when it became a popular title with its clever puzzles, unique gameplay and dark humor, it seriously was a sensation for all gamers. While the PS3 version wasn’t the best, Valve surprised fans by announcing Portal 2 to make it’s way onto the PS3 and also with the promise of being “The best version on any console”. With that being said, Valve delivers that promise and Portal 2 is one game no one should miss out on. Read on in our review.
Ever since Portal, many gamers wanted to find out more about the history of Aperture Science and more behind GLaDOS since you did kill her after all. Portal 2 starts up a couple years after Chell (The main character from Portal) defeats GLaDOS and causes a massive disaster within Aperture. You awake from stasis and upon waking up you realize that Aperture has changed tremendously from what it used to be. Falling completely apart, changing little by little, with vegetation being seen within test chambers. Best part of it all, you get to escape it with a new friend named Wheatley, a personality sphere looking to help you escape as well as escape himself. Well, at least you try to escape until Wheatley accidentally reboots GLaDOS up to her oldself again. Yep, you guessed it more tests to do, and boy does she have a grudge on you. Now that right there is just a small taste on what you can expect when you play Portal 2 as we don’t to spoil much for our readers. As a small teaser it only get’s better from that point on. As you begin, you’ll start off with easy puzzles that you can do fairly quick but as you progress forward, each puzzle becomes a lot more challenging than the previous one. If this is scaring that little head of yours, don’t fret. Each puzzle you do will have you prepared for the more trickier ones later on. I found myself stuck on plenty puzzles but once I completed them, it gave me a sense of accomplishment and a sigh of relief. Of course when you finally figure out each puzzle one by one, you’ll immediately have that “Ah-Ha!” moment you used to have in Portal and in Portal 2, you can expect plenty of those. Just solving the puzzles yourself are fun. Trying out each tool your provided with during each test chamber just to get to the end and start thinking on how to complete the next puzzle. Nothing is as satisfying as solving a puzzle on your own and Portal 2 makes it all worthwhile. Overall, voice acting in Portal 2 is top notch. From the character’s you meet, you’ll instantly become connected with them and have a strong bond with each one and each character makes themselves memorable throughout your play through. Wheatley (played by Stephen Merchant) has a unique witty personalization, which provides you with very good humor whenever your with him. GLaDOS (played by Ellen McLain) however, is still upset at the fact that you killed her and by her dark humor just show’s how much she loves/misses you (that’s a lie). One other character that will have you in stitches and reminds you of a certain someone is Cave Johnson (played by J.K Simmons), CEO of Aperture Science who you’ll personally meet later on in the game.
This time around Valve made sure Portal 2 looked good and performed a lot better than The Orange Box. Right from the get-go you’ll immediately notice how Portal 2 work’s properly with no issues what-so ever and am I glad to say that. Valve has done their homework making sure the PlayStation 3 version works and plays as smooth as it’s PC counterpart. Portal 2 still look’s the same as Portal but each set piece is completely different. There are some framerate hiccups from time to time but it still won’t stop you from playing Portal 2 fully. You will recognize some familiar test chambers but like I said previously, each puzzle starts out easy and as you progress they become more of a challenge to complete. Each test chamber you encounter is unique in themselves and the way each ones are set up is cleverly designed and well thought out. Some may require you to use momentum and maybe some newly added tools such as goo that can make you bounce high or run quick. Or possibly use a laser beam that can help you destroy turrets and must be placed at an end point. Even solar powered bridges that can help you reach a spot you couldn’t get to. Whatever puzzle you’ll play you will be kept entertained and it will make you think with portals. Sound quality is also well done in Portal 2. Everything from shooting portals to hearing the turrets talk to you and scream when you knock them over and also hearing some test chambers sound like jungles. Even the voice acting is great as I stated as well as the score being provided by indie rock group The National.
Heading over to gameplay, once you start playing everything will feel comfortable right away. The controls for Portal 2 feel just right and work just how I was expecting them to be. Valve made sure everything was in tip-top shape once you got your hands on Portal 2. Speaking of which Valve has done something major that possibly no other company has done. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, Valve has introduced Steam to work with the PlayStation 3. What does that mean? In-case you don’t know, Steam is an application that is mainly used on computers and Valve brought over some features to PlayStation 3. These features are Steam Cloud, automatic updates, downloadable mod support (top mods from the PC community) and content, community support, instant messaging with Steam friends and last but not least cross-platform play with Steam friends. Yes, you read that correctly you can play with your friends on PC. Valve wanted to make sure this was possible right from the start so whenever you play co-op you can choose to do so with either friends on PSN or Steam. Now, the co-op portion of Portal 2 is extremely fun and will keep you and a partner entertained for hours to come. Essentially Portal 2′s co-op intertwines with the main story but until then, the co-op has you and a friend play as two robots (Atlas and P-body) using two different portal guns designed to help GLaDOS with some new cooperative tests. With these test’s you’ll need to rely on each other to complete each puzzle and move forward. But who are we kidding, you know you want to have some fun and mess around with one another before you do anything else. Each robot can also emote to one another say for example, you want to play rock, paper, scissors or maybe you want to give your partner a high five. Or maybe even a hug if you’ve been abusing their trust within puzzles. You can also tell your friend where you want them to place a portal using a ping tool and this helps if you or your friend don’t have any communication at all. Valve thought this through and made sure co-op was done right as soon as you played.
If your a huge fan of Portal then this is a no brainer for you to go out and purchase Portal 2. Newcomers should also step up to the challenge and think with portals for the first time. Having an enriching main story that will keep you on the edge and numb your brain with challenging yet rewarding puzzles that last’s for a good 12 hours. A fun cooperative mode for PSN and Steam friends to play with each other yet there may not be much replay value once all is said and done, and Steam features that work on the PlayStation 3 with the possibility of being expanded in the future, Portal 2 is hands-down one the best games to come out in 2011.