Portal 2 Review

Portal 2 Review Poster

Ludwig van Beethoven took the necessary pause, then gathered his thoughts, enlisted the help of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and began writing “Moon Sonata 2”.

And here it is. One day, by some unknown intuition, adding special plot notes and atmospheric nuances to its unusual, innovative gameplay, Portal played a brilliant piece on a well-known string instrument, and now it has taken the stage for its second concert, playing variations of its old melodies.

Over the past 200 years, Aperture Science has flourished. Even without the supervision of GlaDOS and other mad scientists, the research complex has entered a bright future of abandoning military experiments, scaling back dangerous scientific developments, and uniting the human world with nature. Chell is sleeping and probably dreaming. But players want a sequel as much as the developers want money, and by the will of a spherical blue-eyed coincidence named Wheatley, our heroine, who is not accustomed to giving up on anything, wakes up.

The world of Portal has expanded, and now we are no longer just nameless test subjects in a strange scientific complex, but the one who has received her first real chance to escape from the clutches of the infamous Aperture Science and the killer GlaDOS. The fascination with creating portals and playing with them has given way to standard gameplay elements: if Portal was initially like a new Rubik’s Cube and Pandora’s Box at the same time, then Portal 2 is a serious project, relying on the solid pillars of its original plot and gameplay. Test chambers where you could play with portals to your heart’s content, just because you could gain incredible speed and then jump out of a hole in the ceiling somewhere into a wall or score goals with stationary turrets through cleverly placed portals turned into gates, are no longer there. Playing with the portal gun was exhausted in the first part. Now the developers want us to get down to business.

A trained eye immediately sees elements of another puzzle in the new room, fortunately, nothing unnecessary catches the eye now. Don’t get me wrong, visually the game has actually improved as much as the Source engine allows (and it allows a lot), but when I enter a new room, I am greeted by an almost completely “non-portal” wall with only one “working” sector in the middle. PLACE A PORTAL HERE, the words in capital letters with the same annoying effect are imprinted in my brain in Portal 2.

Why have the correct portal placement spots become the only possible ones? As an option, the developers wanted to unload our brains, because the puzzles in Portal 2 have more elements than in the first one. Perhaps for the same reason, the number of insane portal jumps has significantly decreased (wild thoughts come to mind that it’s all because of our beloved “gamepad owners”, who would find it difficult to make precise shots at the right sectors in time, but try to figure it out), and classic jump pads have taken their place. The real innovations in Portal 2 are light bridges, light streams, and gels. With the help of the first, you can build a staircase to the sky or closer to the end of the puzzle. The second serve the same purpose, but work more cunningly – if you need to walk on the tracks yourself, the streams carry Chell and any other debris that gets in their way like a river. If desired, these rivers can even be reversed. And the gels change the properties of the surface they land on – white-smeared sectors can be shot with the portal gun, a floor covered in orange paint allows Chell to gain speed, and surfaces painted blue repel the heroine, just like the jump pads.

Portal 2 Gameplay Snapshot

The hostess has just been woken up, the house has not yet been cleaned.

With such an arsenal of tools, the player will have to work, progressing through the test chambers and working spaces of Aperture Science. Solving puzzles in Portal 2 is no less interesting than in the original game, but with the increase in total gameplay time, the number of genuinely exhausting tasks has also grown. Occasionally, on the way to the finale, I encountered tasks that brought not joy and satisfaction from the realization of how cool and smart I am, but only the thought “finally, damn it.” However, this bitterness did not prevent me from binge-playing the new story of Chell.

In the first Portal, the whole story essentially revolved around a love triangle between “Chell-GLaDOS-companion cube.” Occasionally, someone would speak to us from the walls of the laboratory about how there would be no happy ending with a cake, subtly intensifying the atmosphere (by the way, for all those interested, Valve has). graphic history About this very person – all fans of the game must read), but it didn’t directly affect the plot. In the second part of the game, the company became more cheerful – first of all, Chell is visited by the wide-eyed mechanical ball Wheatley, one of the many personality modules created by scientists for GlaDOS. The latter friend is securely broken, but it’s boring without her, so one of the first things Chell and Wheatley do is fix her, and then this trio will go on to conduct their own archaeological research. The companion cube is in another castle, at least temporarily. During the excavations, everyone will find something of their own – someone will gain absolute power, someone will find a new worst enemy, and someone will awaken ghosts from the past, experiencing (if you can say so) their own drama.

Delving Deeper into Portal 2

Cave Johnson's office. Just turn the camera a little to the right and...

The Portal 2 team tried to repeat the old song as best they could: GlaDOS’s lines are also full of sarcasm, in the claustrophobic world of Aperture Science, there is always some nonsense happening, and the walls surrounding Chell still tell the player almost half of the game’s story. Everything is just like in the original Portal, even the final credits float past the gamer to the vocals of the mistress of all test chambers. But “Want You Gone” is not “Still Alive,” which made even the most sensitive players cry (and they still do, just put the song on your playlist!). GlaDOS jokes her jokes probably because she can’t do otherwise (the audience expects it, the writers write it, the developers firmly embed it – what can you do), and overall it’s… not “it,” it’s more accurate to say it’s slightly worse. Not worse because the Portal 2 team didn’t make a great game (they did), but because it’s impossible to surpass Portal, and repeating it is almost impossible.

By the way, even after completing the last level, the single-player campaign of Portal 2 does not reveal the game’s hidden story cards. GlaDOS has a real joker in her reserves, ready to change the game on the playing table. The artificial intelligence knows about it, but cannot reach the card, sending you, me, and all the other multiplayer gamers in search of it.

Unforgiving Trials

Regardless of whether you are interested in the details of the Portal 2 story, it is definitely worth playing the cooperative mode. Even if none of your acquaintances are playing it. One of the joys of local multiplayer is that players of all ages and educational backgrounds naturally disappear from the game around the second minute of cooperative play. Besides the jokes. Personally, I once had a gamer with a nickname like “xxx-something-xxx” as my partner. With a doomed sigh, I prepared myself to push through the thorns of arrogance and rudeness, but miraculously, my partner silently disconnected before we even reached the first real test chamber. I have heard similar stories from other people I know. So, dear gamers, boldly press the button to find a random ally, and for your bravery, you will be rewarded with no less interesting (and with a healthy sense of self-irony, even funnier) puzzles than in the main single-player campaign.

The worst thing that can happen is that you will get a partner who is much more familiar with the chambers and puzzles of the cooperative mode than you are, and they will silently follow commands (and damn it, they will all be correct), which is not very interesting.

Portal 2 did not surpass the brilliance of its predecessor, and some avid fans may be slightly disappointed, but playing Portal 2 continuously does not hinder the developers’ intended program. 95% of expectations fulfilled and a dozen hours of engaging gameplay (plus an unknown amount of time spent on completing major and minor expansions, the first of which is even free) are guaranteed to all those who have purchased a copy of the game.

Portal 2
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, Co-op
Valve Corporation
Valve Corporation
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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