Release Date: April 19, 2011
Game Link: http://www.thinkwithportals.com/
Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/620/
After making her way into GLaDOS’s chamber during the events of Portal, Chell confronted her and defeated her. GLaDOS’s destruction resulted in a gravity well that pulled everything to the surface, including Chell.
Chell was now free but injured. Unable to move she stayed lying on the ground. She had unintentionally assumed the “Party Escort Submission Position” and a Party Associate Robot was dispatched to collect her. Chell fainted while being dragged back into the facility.
Chell wakes up inside a Relaxation Chamber. A male robotic voice informs Chell that she had been in suspension for fifty days and that she has been awakened for a routine physical and mental test. Chell has an opportunity to look around the Relaxation Chamber. The chamber is decorated like a hotel room from the 1070’s, complete with a bed and furniture, electric appliances and paintings. On a wall, a fake window creates the illusion of a sunny day and enhances the feeling of warmth that the chamber is designed to evoke. The fake hotel room does have a door, but it is locked. Once again Chell is a prisoner and has to play along.
After completing her “physical and mental test” Chell is instructed to lie on the bed and go back to sleep. She eventually does so and then something goes wrong; very wrong…
Chell is awakened from stasis once again and finds herself inside a completely changed Relaxation Chamber. All the colours have faded away and everything has deteriorated like if centuries, if not millennia, have passed since she went to sleep. Everything has changed. Did the paintings looked so gloomy before she went back to sleep or something else happened? Maybe is everything a trick? Maybe she suffers brain damage from prolonged stasis? No time for Chell to think. Wheatley, a Personality Core who is assigned to keep the Relaxation Centre in order, knocks at the door and Chell has to answer. The whole place in going down because of a reactor meltdown and Wheatley is her only chance to get out of there alive.
Welcome Back To The Enrichment Centre
After a successful escape, Chell is at last in a familiar place; inside the Relaxation Vault in Test Chamber 00. Surprisingly, Test Chamber 00 appears to be “new”. It seems that it is a new updated model of the old Test Chamber, probably in a different part of the Enrichment Centre and not the same Test Chamber in which Chell’s adventure began back in Portal.
Apparently many years have passed after all. The exact amount of time is unknown. Approximates vary from a few decades to tens of thousands of years. Nevertheless, a sufficient amount of time to turn these “new” Test Chambers into a mess has passed. Wall panels have fall of, parts have collapsed, dirt made its way into the Test Chambers and Flora of many kinds has grown.
Enriching Your Enrichment Experience
Our old friend the Companion Cube returns for the party. Well, not the one we had to euthanatize back in Portal, but a similar one. His cousin the Weighted Storage Cube and his friend,the 1500 Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super Button also return for the party. High Energy Pellets do not. They got the invitation, but apparently they do not like Chell that much… Instead, Thermal Discouragement Beam Emitters can be found in the new chambers. These are Lasers, and along with them come their best friends, the Weighted Pivot Cubes, which are prisms that can redirect the beam to a receiver and can also used to redirect the beam on everything Chell wishes to burn or cut. Because Chell likes murdering innocent turrets.
Many new Test Elements can be found in the new Test Chambers, with the most interesting and spectacular being the Mobility Gels. The are three types of Mobility Gels. Repulsion Gels make Chell to bounce. Propulsion Gel makes Chell very fast. Conversion Gel allows Chell to “paint” any surface, even the ones that normally do not conduct Portals and place a Portal there; given that a sufficient area of the surface is flat. But you cannot take buckets of the stuff without you. You must place portals under the gel dispensers and “paint” with them.
A New Day For Science
Portal 2 requires that you think with Portals and logic, just like Portal, but this time you also have to think with Prisms, Gels and other things. All of them can and have to be combined with Portals and finding a solution will usually revolve around many Test Objects.
Portal 2 does come with a tutorial integrated into the main story, just like Portal, but Portal 2 is not easier; it is actually harder. Players who have completed Portal will be challenged and players who never played Portal might find Portal 2 frustrating.
The main target group is still very specific. Portal 2 is a mental puzzle game mainly for FPS players.
The Enrichment Centre is a huge place after all. During her new adventures, Chell will venture many times into the world behind the walls of the Test Chambers and she will witness its vastness.
To fans of Science-Fiction movies it will remind the vast underground complex from the movie Forbidden Planet with the only difference that the Enrichment Centre is “alive”. It can rearrange itself and probably expand, like something out of Doctor Who.
To give an idea about how big Portal 2 is, it should be mentioned that it seems that events of Portal took place only at a small part of the Enrichment Centre near GLaDOS’s chamber.
The maps of Portal 2 are huge. The sheer size of the areas depicted is impressive but it can make the search for the solution hard. To balance this, Chell now has the ability to zoom and also fire Portals when zoomed in.
Portal 2 is much longer than Portal; +/- 2,83 times to be precise. Portal 2 was close to be boring but it is not; Portal 2 excels in not being boring. After the tutorial you will explore the backstage, then you will explore remnants of the past of Aperture Science and then you will explore new Test Chambers and then more new areas and along the way there are many secrets for find.
Portal 2 constantly introduces new things accompanied by an interesting change of setting and aesthetics as well as a back story and all of them are combined at the end. If we could divide Portal 2 into Episodes, it would be at least three Episodes long so there is a lot of game in the game and Portal 2 offers a great story with even more philosophical messages and questions than the first game. Existential questions are more prominent this time. Can a computer have a soul?
But not everything has changed for the best. The more things added into the game the more complex it gets. The more complex a game gets, more things can go wrong and some things did go wrong in Portal 2.
It is disappointing that players cannot do some irrelevant things for story progress like picking up props like chairs. EVERYTHING seems to be bolted on the ground or on whatever surface it sits upon. It is like if an insane person trapped inside the Enrichment Centre took a whole shipment of superglue and superglued everything to the position they found it so that everything looks frozen in time. -It should be mentioned that the above hypothesis is plausible.
What is not plausible however is the existence of invisible walls. You want to jump over the railing? You cannot, you have to follow the specified path, even if the level involves jumping down. Or you can open a Portal, but you cannot jump over the railing. This was probably done to prevent players from falling down the Enrichment Centre, but this was not an issue in the first place. In Portal you have to be careful and learn from your mistakes. It is a part of the game! Taking away Freedom to do silly things does absolutely nothing.
There was an instance when we had to grab a cube sitting on a platform. Behind and down of the platform there was nothing and not landing on the platform or grabbing the cube and landing on the floor in front of the rail would result in death and reloading. We had to try many dozens of times to get it. Remember when we said that the developers wanted to prevent players from falling? Apparently the did not.
Also, do you remember the saved games from Portal? Remember that they had pictures of whatever place you where looking at when you saved a game? This is a feature of Source Engine games since Half-Life 2, but someone at Valve though that giving this convenience to players is utterly wrong, and now have only a preselected picture from each level that appears on every save game in that level…
Do you remember loading any save while in game? It is gone too. Thrown out of the window for whatever reason. Now you have to exit to Main menu and load from there.
Competition Advances Science
Challenges do return is Portal 2, and this time you can see the scores of your Friends and try to beat them. But this is not all. Portal 2 features a separate Co-Op campaign that is connected to the main story and has a story itself that is as long as the first Portal game.
In this campaign you take control of one of the two androids. If you are hosting, you control Atlas. If you are Guest, you control P-body.
Atlas has a blue colour scheme and it appears to have masculine programming. P-body has an orange colour scheme and it appears to have feminine programming. Both of them share the standard Aperture Science black and white colour scheme for their bodies and they can be modified by buying items for them; with real money. Their colour schemes only change the colours of their ocular devices and the colours of their portals. Yes, this means that you can solve puzzles with four portals!
Unfortunately you have to play the Co-Op campaign with a Steam-Friend or a random person from Steam, with unpredictable results. You cannot play the Co-Op campaign with the AI controlling the other android.
Atlas and P-body will have to work together and trust each other. Trust is a reoccurring major philosophical question in Portal and to encourage players to think about it, many opportunities to kill your friend and science partner exist in Portal 2.
“Much more science to do and this time you can invite your friends and do science together!”
While it can be frustrating, Portal 2 does require logic just like Portal and offers an interesting story many times larger than Portal.
Portal 2 will test the beliefs of players about trust as well as their morality, while evoking emotions and presenting philosophical questions and it does all that while providing an unique gameplay.
RATINGS COMING SOON!
SPECIAL THANKS to Nirah for assisting in the making of this review!