Portal was a huge surprise hit. Popular in part because it was such a great surprise. That leads to the question of whether a sequel to a surprise hit can really be as much fun as the pleasure as a game you were not expecting, especially a game as short as Portal.
The sequel to a surprise hit the Portal 2 video game has a lot of expectations to meet. It needs to not only create the feeling of the first game, but find new ways to explore puzzles with a mechanic which was explored very well in the first game and make the game play long enough that people feel good about paying for a full game after having gotten the first game for far less than normal video game prices.
Portal 2: Single Player Gameplay
At the beginning of the Portal 2 video game it is very similar in gameplay to Portal. In fact you will at some points early in the Portal 2 Video game you will find yourself in the exact same puzzles as in the first portal with the only real changes being cosmetic as a lot of time has passed and the place is worn down and the puzzles have broken making it feel very different.
As you advance in the game a number of other elements are brought in to help make the puzzles more complex. You get light bridges, repulsion beams and different types of liquids which can make you bounce, run faster and create new surface areas as well as using all of these together to make the game far more complex than the first, as well as being considerably longer, though even being longer you can still play through the entire single player game in about 8 hours the first time, and most of that time is figuring out the puzzles.
Portal 2: Graphics
The Graphics of Portal 2 video game are an improvement over the first game, but the major difference is not any really improvement in the graphics themselves, but a far wider variety of graphical elements. You begin in an area that is the first portal game, but overgrown with plants and broken down with far more moving parts and less flat edges. Throughout the game you will find the pristine testing environments and industrial areas of the first game, but you will also find 1960’s style portal puzzle area, caves, and many other types of areas not in the first game.
The most impressive graphics of this game remain the portals which can let you see through them creating infinite loops of portals, shoot blobs of paint through them and find every corner of the game.
Overall the graphics of this game are as good as anything you are likely to find an yet isn’t all that intensive on the computer meaning you can play it on most modern computers reasonably easily without testing the abilities of the CPU and I was able to play it on my laptop while running a browser, microsoft paint and a text editor.
Portal 3: Sound and Music
Like with the first Portal the music in this game is based on the environment with radios scattered throughout the game. In addition there is another song created by Jonathan Coultan which while not as good as Still Alive is well worth sitting through the credits to listen to. The voice acting is also extremely good with Glados returning as well as a number of other characters such as Cave Johnson which keep the game entertaining.
Portal 2: Co-op
One of the biggest improvements in the Portal 2 video game over the first Portal is the inclusion of co-op play. In this mode you have two people each with a Portal gun, this allows for a lot more complex puzzles as you can have puzzles that require for Portals or for one player to do something while another pushes a button. This can more or less double the length of the game, the only problem is that in order to really have fun with this game you will need to people who have not played through the co-op levels because if one person knows the solution it will be very difficult to not simply spoil those solutions for the other person.
Portal 2: Flaws
While this is a very good game there are a few problems. The most basic of these is that throughout the game you have a combination of being railroaded into going into a specific place and not knowing where the game wants you to go. This can be very frustrating especially when you spend a long time trying to solve a puzzle only to find out that you’re trying to solve the wrong problem, go where you are not supposed to or simply have no idea what to do next.
Another issue is that througohut much of the game there are very limited numbers of places where you can actually create a portal. This gives the game developers far more control over how the puzzles are solved, but ultimatly makes it considerably less satisfying because you are on a set track for the entire game while I personally would have far preferred a more open world game in which you could do puzzles in different orders and in different ways.
Finally, this game is not really re-playable. Once you have beatten any map you have little or no reason to play it again as the actual implicaton of puzzle solutions is not as much fun as discovering the solution. This could be overcome by having areas with real enemies, but that simply isn't the experiance the developers were trying to create.
Portal 2: Interface
Although the concept of the portals themselves are complex the gameplay of Portal 2 is simple enough with the same general controls as any first person shooter except that both the left and right mouse button are used to shoot portals, one of each color. This, along with very few times when speed of a real issue makes for controls that are good enough.
Portal 2: Conclusion
Although there are flaws in the Portal 2 video game it is still one of the best games of the year. It allows for an experiance that is very different from any other video game, and the humor, music, exploration and great puzzles of this game make it something that everyone who likes video games should experiance. On the other hand if you're not excited about this game waiting until it costs less may not be a horrible plan.
Author's own experiance
Screencaptures, Portal 2