Portal 2, Single Player and Co-op Review

Portal 2 (PC, 2011)

I remember the first Portal game - it was interesting but tedious. So ultimately, I didn't think too much of it. Portal 2? Way better: a more diverse set of devices, tools, and traps that requires the player(s) to learn a ton more tricks to get their way around the place. Variety is not a problem, and some of the solutions are just plain amazing, especially in the co-op levels.

The graphics, controls, and physics are all spot on and as expected from a Source engine game. But as a sequel, Portal 2 also represents a much more complete adventure than the first. The script is better, the jokes are better, the twists are better, the maps are more expansive, and it even utilizes my favorite plot device, the double ending. Not to mention that Portal 2 is almost two games in one. Aside from the single player campaign, the co-operative levels offer a set of completely different levels and a GlaDos side-story.

The puzzles in co-op mode are not doubly hard per say, but require the two players to scale out some of the single player concepts and tricks to account for and utilize four available portals (vs. the classic two), as well as some real teamwork and timing to get through certain stages. Best thing is the game provides a suite of ping and timer tools so that voice chat isn't required at all, and regular chat can be kept to a minimal.

Single player wise, I really enjoyed the usual GlaDos quips after completing each level, i.e., "Here's what the test says: you're a horrible person, and we weren't even testing for that." These days it's pretty hard for video games to get me to even crack a smile and this one succeeded to do so multiple times. And as I mentioned before, some of the puzzles are fairly satisfying to solve. I wouldn't call it "Braid-level" satisfaction though, but still pretty good.

Overall, this game is pretty damn fun. It gives you a more genuine "me vs. the computer" feel due to the perceived high level of interaction between you and the "dungeonmaster". For the relatively short time it takes to complete it, I'd easily recommend this game to anyone interested in something challenging.

Portal 2:

single player completion time: 7 hours
co-op completion time: 5 hours
rating: 8.0 out of 10.
final words: It would be pretty hard for Valve to top this game with another Portal ...


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