A few years ago, we gamers were introduced an interesting concept of solving puzzles in our games. Normally when developers put in puzzles for us to solve in the game we are playing (Assassin Creed, and Tomb Raider are a couple of many games out there) they require the gamer to operate some switch, then hurry up and run through a door, or flip another switch so we can proceed on. Portal changed our perception on how to solve puzzles, instead of a 2D problem solving, we now have to think in 3 dimensions, floors, walls, and ceiling. Another interesting weapon that Portal introduced us, that is not really a weapon at all, it is hand held device the game is named after a Portal Gun. This gun gives us gamers the ability to make portals for us to solve some rather complex, puzzles, and manipulate objects that will be needed for us to solve the in games puzzles (Portal calls these Test Chambers). Not to forget about the little portable turrets that we have to take out in order for us to complete that Test Chamber that are thrown in to make things really interesting.
Portal 2 builds on the original game Portal 3 Dimension problem solving with the Portal Gun, but adds/builds on the back story into 1 specific character who was our “Arch Revival” of Portal. This character that Portal 2 builds on, is none other then GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System). If you are a veteran Portal player then you should already know that GLaDOS was not exactly nice, and never gave us our Cake…. Yes, we did destroy her in the first Portal game, but in our return to the Aperture Science compound we managed somehow to revive her, and she is not exactly happy that we destroyed her.
All these images are based off of AMDs Multi-Monitor gaming configuration Eyefinity at a full resolution of 5760×1080 (for more information about the technical details of Multi-Monitor gaming configuration please visit this post HERE.
Normally when we get told the story of the games that we play, the story normally will tell the story of the character we are playing as. Portal 2 does things a bit different, this time the story is not about us, and goes into the backstory of GLaDOS and how this AI came about. We also get a chance to peer into the past history of the Aperture Science compound as it was before it became as we know it with GLaDOS running the compound. Portal 2 starts off several years after the ending of the first Portal game, but we start off in a “Housing” unit and we are woken up to do some quick exercising (As the announcer stated, every 50 days it is Federal Mandate that each subject goes through a mandatory exercise) and we are quickly put back to sleep. Then we are woken back up by a knock on the door, and we are introduced to a new character Wheatley, who looks similar to Halos “Guilty spark”. Wheatley is a robot that does not seem to be firing on all eight cylinders, as he try’s to help us out in the world of Portal 2. Now as he attempts to help us escape Aperture Science’s compound we inadvertently reawaken GlaDOS, our arch rival from the previous Portal game. Just before we are reunited to GLaDOS once more, Wheatley breaks you out of the housing unit, and places us gamers right back into the Aperture Sciences test chambers once again. Which ends up separating us from Wheatley, after his failed attempt of a rescue. As we complete a few test chambers, we are finally reunited with Wheatley, and he gets us back on track with our escape from Aperture Science compound. Wheatley states that the way out of Aperture Science compound, is that we have to go through “Her” chamber. We both enter a cylindrical room that has a bunch of switches on the wall looking for an escape switch, he inadvertently elevates us to “Her” chamber and manages to flip on all of the switches. Which of coarse revives GLaDOS from her death.
Portal 2 uses the same in game physics that the first Portal game gave us, we have to use a Portal Gun to manipulate our way through the chambers in our small and futile attempt of escaping from Aperture Science. For the most part most of these test chambers were not overly hard (at least the beginning portion of the game itself), they were easy for us to figure out what was needed to be done per test chamber. We are introduced to a couple of new attributes in Portal 2 that we did not have in the first Portal game. I won’t get into great details of these newer attributes, you will have to play both games to figure that one out for yourself. I mentioned earlier that we are able to peer into Aperture Sciences past, well during the game play we are forced to go way underground into what was Aperture Science long ago. This just builds on the back story of GLaDOS, and how she came about. During this point, we not only learn a bit more about Aperture Science as well as GLaDOS history, we are once again introduced to the much earlier forms of sciences that Aperture Science was developing. This is when our game play starts to take an unusual twist. We no longer need to worry about lasers, and turrets, we now have to use substances that give us unique capabilities that will help us solve some rather perplexing test chambers. We still have the Portal Gun, just we have to manipulate substances to our advantage instead of lasers, turrets, and walkways. This is when I actually had to start thinking on how to use these substances to help me get out of the underground, so I can escape Aperture Science for good.
Graphics and Performance
Valve Software went all out on the presentation of Portal 2, it looks absolutely beautiful. I did not notice any serious graphical anomalies; fore instance, objects getting stuck in the walls, me getting trapped in the walls or flooring, or any other strange graphical anomalies that happens when we play a game that has first been released. There was a rather small and annoying problem I kept having that deals with Graphics, was when I decided to span the game across all three of my monitors, which I do on every one of my games, once spanned the game would lose the center retical/crosshair. The crosshair would just disappear from my screen completely gone, poof, not there, this missing crosshair did not bother me too too much, but it did get annoying for those times when I needed to be perfectly centered to a wall in order for me to complete that test. I would end up being slightly to the left or right of a small wall and when I make a portal it would either miss it completely or it would make the portal but I was not centered to the portal and I ended up missing the portal altogether. Not having a crosshair did make things rather interesting for my gameplay.
Performance wise Portal 2 ran fairly smooth, There were times when the game would cause occasional studdering when I would make a portal, pass through a portal, or when I throw objects through the portals. It was not everytime, and only happened occasional, it still caused me to shake my head at those times because I was in an area that had minimal graphics (such as a room) and it did not happen in the same place twice (basically it was completely random, which was completely odd to me).
Portal 2 does not use combat in a sense we are used to in FPS games. So there is no real need to even mention combat sequences because there were no real “Combat” taking place.
The Wrap Up
Overall, Portal 2 is another prime example of a game to just play the single player campaign mode. I did not try out the “Co-Op” game mode myself, because no matter who you have in your team (either family, friend, foe, or an random asshole) no one can ever really pull together when they need to to complete a single task. So I avoid Co-Op games (well because true fully speaking, I am that random Asshole, LOL) at all costs. I personally likes on how Valve Software told the back story, Valve Software did not focus on the “main Character (you)” it focused a bit more on telling the backstory of Aperture Science and how GLaDOS became how she came about. Valve Software also informed us gamers the reasoning behind the “test chambers” and the reasoning behind why GLaDOS was so intent on continuing her “Science Testing” even though Aperture Science did not exist anymore. (Now Aperture Science is not just a random game, this game actually ties it self into a much greater picture that allows us more insight into the entire Half Life series of games) So to gain a much greater picture of this game, you have to also play the Half Life series of games as well. This franchise is much larger than “Halo” ever was, or ever will be, and been in the making since the later part of the 1990’s (1998 was when the first Half Life game was introduced).
Other then having the magically disappearing crosshair once I started playing in AMD’s Eyefinity, I have had no real problem playing Portal 2 and I give Portal 2 a well earned and very respected:
9 out of Ten and the:
Golden Dragon Award