Portal 2 Review

It’s been a while since Valve’s Portal was released. Back then, Portal was quite possibly Valve’s greatest game as it offered a mind-blowing puzzle-solving experience through its innovative use of portals. Almost four years since its debut on the PC and consoles, Valve brings us another masterpiece as Portal 2 arrives on the PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360. With action-packed levels, co-op multiplayer, and cross-over multiplayer match, can Portal 2 be one of the great games to grace the industry in 2011?

Beneath the excitement felt by fans of the first game, there lies an understandable anxiety regarding the sequel, since Portal set the bar high for the series. Does Portal 2 live up to the standards set by its predecessor or does it fall short? Let’s take a look in the HOTs and the NOTs of Portal 2.


Improved Presentation, Well-Written Masterpiece
The visual presentation of Portal 2 has improved. It’s not a big improvement but compared to the engine used on the first game, Portal 2 has a lot more detail to its surroundings—the glaDOS little robots are better drawn, and the edges of the surroundings are clearer. Portal 2 takes place in the Aperature of Science laboratory once again. The levels and chambers that players will go through are repetitive rooms and environments, but these are to be expected – it is a lab after all.

Portal 2 delivers the witty humor and compelling storyline that made the first game such a hit. Followed by a companion named Wheatley, the player’s main goal is to escape from the facility and take down glaDOS once again. Throughout the eight to ten hours of playtime in the single player mode of Portal 2, the plot thickens and builds on the first game. Portal 2’s ending is satisfying and we can’t wait for the third game. Thanks to the phenomenal voice acting, the game is believable and immerses players in the experience. Expect Wheatley’s sarcasm, sadism, and paranoia to entertain you from start to finish.

Longer than Portal
From the three hours of playtime it took to complete Portal’s single player, Portal 2’s single player mode has expanded to between eight and ten hours, depending on the time it takes players to solve those wacky portal puzzles. There are a lot of chambers that need to be solved and players can expect over 50+ levels throughout the game. The difficulty of each level is pretty well balanced and they shouldn’t be that hard to solve. In the first half of the game, the levels will be easier to complete, but as the player progresses, the difficulty increases and puzzles require much more thought. Expect to move around blocks, use the portals, make pathways and more to solve these puzzles.

Co-Op Gameplay
A perfect addition to Portal 2 is the co-op mode of the game. Both the single player and the co-op of Portal 2 have two different campaigns. In the co-op mode, the levels are more challenging than the single player and it’s highly suggested for newcomers to play through the single player first to have a taste of the game’s mechanics. The online co-op is the main feature of Portal 2 and adds a lot of replay value. Just because the player beats the campaign doesn’t mean the game is over! Players can work together to solve puzzles and, thanks to the voice that, it makes playing together easier.

PS3 – Steam Connectivity
We played Portal 2 on a PS3 system. For players who will be picking up a PS3 version of Portal 2, please know that Steam will be integrated into the game. Exclusive on the PlayStation 3 only, PS3 owners can find a co-op friend online not only on the PS3 but on the Steam networks as well. The cross over multiplayer matchmaking is a step towards a fun multiplayer and I thank Valve for implementing this. In addition to cross-over matchmaking, another feature of the PS3-Steam connectivity is the ability to use the save game on both the PS3 and PC version. Using the Steam voucher code included with every PS3 copy, players are able to play the game on the PC and PS3 using one save file.

Same Gameplay Mechanics
For newcomers, the gameplay mechanics are pretty easy to learn. Using the portal gun, players are able to shoot portals on the walls and make pathways. Two portals can be opened and by shooting them on the wall, the portals can be used as a passage. The game pretty much revolves around this gameplay element, but the levels will contain challenges and objects that must be used in order to proceed to the next area. For players who enjoy solving puzzles in a completely different way, Portal is a must have game.


Price May Be to Steep
For a console game, Portal 2 is a little expensive for a puzzle game. Portal 2 basically has the same gameplay mechanics found on the first Portal. When Portal was released, it was $19.99, but you pretty much got what you paid for as the game is only three hours long. However, with Portal 2 at a price of $59.99 for consoles and $49.99 on PC, you will get a total of 20 hours of gameplay on both single player and co-op. For a game that’s exactly the same, players are pretty much paying for the co-op. It would be best if Portal 2 on the consoles was priced at $49.99 – the same price as the PC version.

No Mouse and Keyboard Support on the Console
With the release of Portal 2, what the game lacks is the support of the mouse and keyboard on its console versions. Comparing the experience I’ve had playing Portal on the PC and the console, I find that playing on the PC is the best way to enjoy this game. Although the controls aren’t as good on the consoles, thanks to Valve console owners can at least enjoy playing Portal 2.


Editor's Choice AwardFollowing Valve’s notable achievement with Portal several years ago, Valve has done it once again with Portal 2. Even though the gameplay is pretty much the same, Valve succeeds in showing its consumers that some puzzle games’ satisfaction and excitement never gets old. Thanks to the co-op multiplayer that Portal 2 has to offer, it makes the game even more enjoyable as friends can jump in and solve puzzles together. Between the PC and the console version, getting it on the PC will be a great decision (if you have a PC that can run it). Nevertheless, we are still thankful that Valve released Portal 2 on the consoles. For gamers who are seeking a mind-blowing puzzle game that supports co-op, Portal 2 is a must have.

[Editor’s Note: Portal 2 was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]