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Portal 2 review

Kat Orphanides
5 Jun 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

It's not the hardest game around, but Portal 2 provides hours of entertainment with ingenious design and a tight, dark and witty script

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Valve's first Portal game was a hidden gem that defied all our expectations. A first-person puzzler with a darkly comic plot, we were immersed in a maze of test chambers where we played lab rat for psychopathic mainframe GlaDOS, which runs the Aperture Science corporation testing facility. It was short but sweet, and in the end we won, sort of.

Portal 2 retains the same basic game mechanics as the first game: run, jump, shoot a blue portal on one wall, shoot an orange portal on to another and jump through one to come out of the other. As before, a tight physics engine means you can use long drops and carefully positioned portals to shoot yourself across a room at ever-increasing speeds. However, the budget's gone up, the game's much longer and you'll get plenty of intriguing new puzzle elements, as well as an insight into the history of the Aperture Science corporation.

Valve Portal 2

You, in the form of Portal's mute and long-suffering protagonist Chell, wake up in a hotel room. The building you're in is about to collapse, but you're guided to safety by Wheatley, a robotic personality core distinctively voiced by Stephen Merchant. In the years you've spent in stasis, the Aperture Science facility has fallen to ruin: overgrown, decayed and disintegrating. Wandering through the remnants of old test chambers is an oddly poignant experience if you've played the first game.

The puzzles are as elegantly constructed as ever, but the route to your escape presents few serious challenges at first. It all seems a bit too easy until you accidentally re-awaken GlaDOS, put Wheatley in control of the facility and watch in horror as he's driven mad by the injection of power. In your attempt to escape the insane personality core, you'll explore the bowels of the facility and discover the experimental projects that Aperture tried to bury, including anti-gravity funnels and coloured goo with a variety of intriguing physical properties. You'll even discover the origins of GlaDOS herself.