“Well, what you are doing there isn’t exactly writing an impression of the game, it’s more like making a big mess with a pen.”…or that’s what I would have heard if I was attempting to write this alongside Wheatley, Portal 2’s newest robot companion.
I want to preface this by stating I have only engaged in the single-player game, and as soon as I can play Co-Op I will write a full review of the game. For the time being, here are my impressions of the first 6 chapters of Portal 2.
Portal 2 is a game that immediately sucks you, the player, into the world of Aperture Science. Within the first 5 minutes of beginning the game, your ears are assaulted with some of the most hilariously biting dialogue in video games. What was most impressive was the fact that the dialogue in Portal 2 may be one of the greatest improvements from Portal 1; given the fact that Portal 1 was already strong it speaks volumes for the quality of Portal 2. Each and every line of dialogue is both side-splitting and informative. I felt one of the biggest hurdles Valve would encounter would be to tie the narrative of Portal 1 to the broken shell of Aperture Science that exists in Portal 2. My fears were immediately assuaged once I heard the voice-over explaining why the facility was still able to operate its AI constructs. Even within the context of the gameplay the dialogue reacts to the action on screen. If you ignore GLaDOS, be prepared to be scolded. If you walk away from Wheatley expect to hear him ask where you are going.
I also want to tip my hat to Valve for delivering on the audio for Portal 2 as well. As you walk around the facility, the characters’ voices are altered based on the acoustics of a given room. It is difficult to describe in words, but it is the closest my ears have ever come to orgasm.
It is those minor touches that really make the world of Portal 2 come alive. From major graphical improvements such as the animation of Wheatley to the blinking ’12:00’ on the alarm clock in the beginning room.
Also, no cake references yet. Which is a fact I am thrilled about.
Overall, the same basic principles of Portal 1 apply here; use blue and orange portals to solve puzzles. There are some new additions such as a light bridge and a cube that bends lasers, but veterans of Portal will blow through the early goings; which leads to the biggest issue I have with Portal 2, the loading times. After each section of 1 or 3 puzzles the game goes back to the loading screen. Since you will likely beat the early puzzles in rapid succession, get used to looking at the loading screen. The load time isn’t atrocious, but it does get to be a bit of a hindrance.
Yeah, it still looks like Portal...
In the end, Portal 2 is an improvement over its predecessor and it looks like it will be absorbing much more of my time in the near future.