Review

Portal 2 follows on from the original Portal game that was bundled with the Orange Box from Valve. Taking the role of Chell after awakening from a frozen sleep, you must navigate your way through a series of increasingly more difficult tests to escape the futuristic science labs and prison that you are held in. With the help of a little robot eye called Wheatley and a gun that allows you to create portals to jump through and help solve the tests.

It might sound confusing but really its a very simple idea of getting to the exit but by using self-created portals to jump to those hard-to-reach areas and handy boxes to weigh down buttons or manipulate the paths of lasers, etc. There’s no baddies to shoot and its not sandboxed so you can’t chose which level you want to attempt but its far from a boring experience.
Portal 2 Game review PlayEject
Thanks to the voice over talents of Stephen Merchant (Wheatley) and Ellen McLain (GLaDOS – the mainframe robot that has trapped you in the tests), there’s plenty of humour and instructions in the narrative to keep you amused and fed with information to know what is happening and stop the levels being repetitive.

As well as the single player mode there’s a new two player co-op mode which unleashes some new levels which are especially designed for co-operative play. You have to work together with each others’ portals and ideas to reach the exits – a great twist on the single player mode and provides a huge amount of longevity to Portal 2 overall.

In terms of playing Portal 2, we did find that getting your head around the physics and the possibilities of travelling through Portals (especially on later levels) was the hardest thing to comprehend. Putting a Portal on the floor and jumping into it could hurtle you across the other side of the test chamber if you slap the other portal in the right place, for example. Its all about inertia and force which once grasped will make life easier for you.
Portal 2 Game review PlayEject
The difficulty of each test increases the further you progress in the game – something you’d expect but there does come a time when you will really face a test that seems impossible. We found the best thing to do there was switch off for a bit and come back to later. A fresh outlook on the same problem helped us so many times when all we were doing was moving a box around aimlessly and then shooting ourselves from one side of a room to another via portals!

There is a story to Portal 2 which keeps the game ticking along nicely but its largely about getting from A to B using portals and other gizmo’s that are available in the levels. The humour is a welcome addition, the levels look pretty good, the learning curve is well set (although does get a lot harder later on) and the co-op levels are well designed also. Overall, Portal 2 is a great game that sets itself aside by being as great as it is unique.

Portal 2 Teaser Trailer:

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