Valve released their sequel to the amazing puzzle game Portal last week, and there certainly are a few surprises in store… (WARNING: Spoilers are minimal)
Portal 2 picks up some time after the first one, and you’re still playing as Chell – the mute weird girl in the jump-suit. You wake up in a strange room, awoken by a robotic voice (hehe) that shows you how to play the game – this is the only game I know of which the instructions on how to play WORK! You’re in the room and are asked to do stuff to check your cognitive functions are still.. well, functioning. This is funny the first time, and then it’s still chuckle-worthy the second time.
The big new character in Portal 2 is Wheatley (voice by Stephen Merchant – Wow) who is a ‘personality core’, a little ball-robot that just sort of floats around guiding you. Of course, he is just as entertaining to listen to as GlaDOS (voiced by Ellen McLain again, excellently) was the first time you were meeting her in Portal, but this time he’s on your side and helping you to escape.
In Portal 2, there are some new game mechanics – so you’re not just stuck to the Portal Gun, like in the first game. This time, you have gel. There are three kinds, blue, orange, and white, while travelling through Aperture you find old test chambers that are voiced by the man who used to run Aperture, Cave Johnson. He is another funny character, simply because he is yet another that has gone insane, the big difference is that he’s the first human you get to know from his monologues. Back to the gels – the first one you find is blue, the Repulsion Gel, and as long as you’re not in the control group, when you jump on it you will fly higher into the air then you would with just a regular jump, and if you fall onto it from a higher height, you will of course go even higher. The second gel, orange, allows you to run really fast on it, simple as that. And the white gel took me a while to figure out, it is just a place you can put portals on to, which proves invaluable by the time you’ve got some spraying about.
The gels are an odd mechanic, just because you aren’t given a ‘Gel Gun’ (like I was expecting), you find it while you’re walking around, and sometimes it’s being transported to places in Aperture so something (you) breaks the pipe and lets it all spew out.
The main part of Portal, is the story. While the gameplay is great fun, and endless run of test chambers does get dull (though there are twists and turns that does make it almost not so dull), it is the great writing that makes you carry on. The first Portal didn’t drag on long enough that you were getting bored completing it in one sitting, but if you did, GlaDOS’ great drollness and hillarious comments would have kept you playing. And with all the twists in this game, you will be dying (literally?) to see the end for comparison, as it is very much the same game but with a lot more content and love put into it.