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Games Review: Portal 2

<p>In and out of dimensional holes</p>
by Gelo Gonzales | May 5, 2011
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Can Valve really do no wrong? The company behind hits such as Half Life, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress 2, is a bona fide legend in the industry, with their games almost always garnering universal acclaim from critics and casual gamers alike. [firstpara]
They aren’t one to rest on their laurels as well. Take for instance, their newest release, Portal 2; should prove to anyone who enter that this puzzle game’s strange, quirky, and mind-bending world.

Portal 2, a follow up to the 2007 original, has that rare quality we don’t find in most other sequels.

The game is properly evolved, as it successfully enhances the core game play with new elements without ever totally shaking the foundations that made its predecessor remarkable to begin with.

For the uninitiated, the game, at its simplest is a game where you shoot and place blue “entry” and orange “exit” portals to navigate chambers and look for the exit, all the while dealing with a psychopathic artificial intelligence called GlaDOS.

If you haven’t played the game, we know how you feel: Portal is something that you’ll only really understand once you get your hands on the controller, once you fire up a shot from your “Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device,” otherwise known as the “portal gun.”

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New to the game are an array of new materials that you can use to forge bridges, catapults, and other elements that affect the way you explore its techno-industrial environments. Coupled with the original Portal mechanics, the game provides seasoned Portal veterans fresh challenges, and compels newbies to finish it the whole way through if only to see what other things you can do to solve the puzzles of its world.

Later areas in the game will really have your brain working overtime as you try to figure out where to place your portals, and deal with the spatial puzzles the game challenges you with. Don’t worry about the difficulty though; the game has a very forgiving learning curve that eases you into the action. It allows you to fully grasp the game’s mechanics before setting you up with some really hardcore brain-twisters.

Unlike most games, a little creative thinking, a little ingenuity, and patience will be required of you if you hope to win in this game.

To call Portal 2 a puzzle game is slightly incomplete, because it really is more than that. This is a game with a ton of personality. Its story is funny, wicked, and not at all merely an add-on of a story made just for the sake of having one.

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We won’t reveal any spoilers here though, but rest assured, the epic scope, the deep, evolving set of characters, the brilliant writing, voice-acting, and pacing (arguably, some of the best we’ve seen in a game) set in a grand environment will leave you enthralled.

It’s a game like no other, and this isn’t just hyperbole. Portal 2’s unique, creative, challenging, and mind-bendingly fun. It could have shipped without any story to speak of, and we still would have played it. That it does have a very compelling story is just another reason why Valve really is a legend. It’s one of the best games of the year, and could easily stand as one of the best of all time as well.

Portal 2 is now available for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac platforms.


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