Portal 2: One hot video game.

Post date: Jan 25, 2017 1:01:08 PM

By: Korey Alder, Media Editor

Posted January 25, 2017

You've likely seen the plethora of movie reviews in the entertainment section of the Nite Crier, thanks to our dedicated movie-going reporter, Robby Timler. Today we're branching out to more than just movie fans however, with our first ever video game review. I'll be taking a look at an old favorite of mine and many others: Portal 2.

Portal 2 was released in April of 2011 by Valve, a game developer most famous for its popular online store Steam, as well as the hugely successful titles Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. The game is the sequel to 2007's Portal and is available on Windows, OS X, Linux, PS3 and Xbox One. It received over 90% positive scores from the majority of game reviewers, as well as countless awards, and there is certainly a reason why.

As a new player, one starts the game in a small, plain apartment with seemingly little of interest. In reality, the room is part of a massive, underground laboratory, but as of yet there is nothing to indicate this. A computerized voice goes over the game's controls, and then it's time to go into hibernation. When the player awakens a large, indeterminate number of years later, the deteriorated lab is the only remnant of human civilization.

This sets the scene of the rest of the game, whose artistic style is one of contrast between the high-tech scientific equipment throughout the testing facility and the old, damaged portions of the building. The player's job is to find a way out of the structure, but the lab's artificial intelligence has other plans, putting the protagonist through a series of "tests." These tests are essentially the game's levels, and require the player to solve puzzles using objects found in the game environment, as well as a gun which shoots blue and orange portals (hence the game's name).

One of the main problems facing puzzle games is balancing difficulty with enjoyment. Making the puzzles too difficult will make the game frustrating, while puzzles that are too easy become tedious. Portal 2 overcomes this obstacle with ease; the tests become more difficult as the game progresses, but this advancement feels natural as each task builds on the ones preceding it. This, combined with a suspenseful story, makes the game enjoyable and engaging.

By far, however, the best thing about Portal 2 is the character development. Though the player's character never speaks, her personality is developed through the words of the others talking to her. The other two main actors in the game are Wheatley, a robot, and GLaDOS the facility's artificial intelligence, whose witty humor create a strangely light-hearted atmosphere throughout the ruins of civilization.

In all this, Portal 2 managed to create a wonderful experience, and although it is a sequel and is also loosely tied to the story of Valve's Half Life series, it can be understood and enjoyed by its own. Overall, I have to wholeheartedly recommend trying this game.