First Impressions: Portal 2 (single player mode)

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’ve been meaning to write this (or anything, for that matter) for a few days, but have been abnormally busy. That being said, let’s get down to business!

Like most people who enjoyed Portal, I’d been waiting with baited breath for the sequel to come out as I couldn’t wait to see how Valve were going to improve on such a great game.

The basics of  the game are still very much the same as the original, only now the event taking place is several hundred years in the future. You’re still playing as Chell, you’re just a “re-embodied” version of her as GLADoS will explain. There’s also a new character to deal with – Wheatley, a “helpful” eyebot that will guide you through the tutorial and become a companion of sorts. Sometimes Wheatley will “run” along with you due to the track that he’s attached to, and other times you’ll need to detatch him, carry him around and then plug him in to something.

Stephen Merchant (The Ricky Gervais Show) voices Wheatley, and in my opinion, does a great job of it. I’m usually pretty indifferent to Stephen Merchant, so I’ll chalk his excellent job up to the writers as well as his ability to read and “act” naturally. *Edit: no offense to the man, I’m sure he’s very nice. I’m just saying, is all.

At this point in the game, there are several new mechanics which I approve of:

  1. Aerial Faith Plates – when you step on them they launch you across the room, so make sure that your aim is true.
  2. Killer Lazer Beams – enough said.
  3. Directional Cubes – smaller versions of the standard Aperture cube but with holes in them to re-direct the killer lazer beams.
  4. “Light” Bridges – Not light as a weight, but rather light like the sun or a lamp. Some test chambers require you to reposition these bridges through the use of portals, of course.

Although this is not a “mechanic” I highly approve of its use in the game as well: abundant sarcasm. I won’t say anymore for those people that haven’t played yet, but so far Portal 2 gets two thumbs up. I was a bit horrified by the $60.00 price tag at first, but with MUCH more game play, a 2 player mode, and all of the other new bits and bobs, I feel that it’s money well spent…especially if you’re a fan of the original.


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