Product Type: Electronic Arts PS3 games
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Get your brain into gear because Portal 2 is here! (Small Update)
Portal 2 (PS3)
Member Name: CheesySpam
Portal 2 (PS3)
Date: 27/06/11, updated on 30/06/11 (27 review reads)
Advantages: Unique; very good story; great graphics; excellent sound and voice acting; witty script.
Disadvantages: Some long load times; players may complete the game quickly.
Portal made an absolutely massive impact upon release in 2007, receiving critical acclaim from reviewers. It started a cult following and features a strong atmosphere and dark humour. Making a sequel to the one of the best games ever would never be an easy task, but developer Valve went through with it anyway. The result is an even better game. In fact, it earned an excellent Metascore of 95/100, making it the most critically acclaimed Valve game since Half-Life 2. Portal 2 is the best puzzle game out there - it's essential gaming.
Before I start, I'll tell you about the advantage Portal 2 on PS3 has over the Xbox 360 version. Firstly, this version supports Steamworks, so there are automatic updates and you can see who is logged on to Steam on PC. Secondly, both the PS3 and PC versions use the Steam Cloud, so you can switch between machines using the same saves. Lastly, players on PS3 using the Co-op mode on Portal 2 can play with PC users, and vice-versa. These are great features, especially considering Valve used to hate the PS3. *Sorry, I didn't make this clear enough before I updated - you can't play Portal 2 on PS3 if you bought the PC, I repeat, PC version. So, I really recommend you get it on PS3 and if you're more of a PC than console gamer, you can just switch machine anyway.*
(This section contains a spoiler if you haven't completed the original Portal)
You wake up in a ruined motel room after years in stasis and meet the spherical robot Wheatley, before he takes you to the Aperture Science Labs, the setting of the original Portal. Here, you make your way through the original chambers. Ivy has grown all over the walls and the floors are covered with dirt. But then the evil robot GLaDOS is accidentally awoken, even though (SPOILERS) you 'killed' her in the last game (END SPOILERS). She makes you go through another series of test chambers again, mocking and shooting nasty but funny comments at you throughout her time with you.
Really, you need to play Portal to fully understand the sequel, but you can still enjoy the game even if you haven't played the first in the series. Overall, the story isn't as rich as in games such as Half-Life, but gets better in the middle and there are plenty of laughs.
Rather than being more of the same, Portal 2 expands upon the gameplay of the first game, satisfying rookies and experienced gamers alike. However, the basic gameplay elements are the same. You have a device called the Portal Gun, also known as the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device or ASHPD, a nod to Adrian Shepard from Half-Life: Opposing Force. This can fire blue and orange portals. Jump through a blue one; come out through the orange, and the other way round. It may sound simple, but the concept becomes a lot more complicated when incorporated into the tougher puzzles.
The levels are structured so that you don't just hit a steep learning curve in the middle of the game. You start off being taught about the general points of Portal: surfaces you can and can't fire portals onto, angular velocity and buttons. Chapter 2 introduces some new features such as lasers and laser-reflecting cubes. Thankfully, you get used to this quickly - many developers would have introduced this too quickly and made it too complicated.
At about the half way mark, various gels are shown to you. Propulsion Gel bounces you, allowing you to reach higher surfaces, Repulsion Gel speeds you up and the white gel allows you to place portals on non-portal surfaces. These are some very clever additions to the series and levels featuring these demand you to really use your brain.
The Co-op Campaign contains all the features included in Portal 2. You can play with friends on PSN, Steam or just anyone online, but this way it isn't quite as fun. You both play as Aperture Science robots, Atlas and P-body. They start off in a small hub, with a screen showing you how many steps have been taken by both players and more stats. There are four courses, each one with eight levels in. The first course is team building, using the basic gameplay mechanics so you can get used to playing together easily. It plays out a bit like the single-player mode - making your way through the different levels, each one getting harder and harder as you go.
If you're not using a headset, a great feature if you're playing Portal 2 online is the Ping tool. Aim, for example, at a wall and press L2, a circle pops up there. Doing this basically tells the other player what to do or where to go. It's very useful and helps avoid frustration.
A common complaint with the graphics in Portal was that the environments were repetitive, but that has been fixed in Portal 2. There's a lot of greenery and even the gels provide colour. It's not as vibrant as a game like Enslaved, but at least it doesn't feature so many dark colours as another Valve title, Half-Life 2: Episode One. There is a lot of detail in the visuals, though, and overall, the graphics are very impressive and are some of the best on PS3.
Like all other Valve games, Portal 2 contains some very impressive sound. The voice acting is flawless. Ellen McLain returns as the evil robot GLaDOS, English comedian Steven Merchant plays Wheatley, the charismatic spherical robot and J.K. Simmons (Spider Man) performs too. Nolan North (Uncharted, Assassin's Creed) features as well, which is hardly surprising - you can barely play a game without hearing his voice anymore. The script is fantastic and the voice actors execute each line perfectly. The music is also excellent. The final song could never live up to the extremely catchy 'Still Alive' but 'Want You Gone' is very good. The National also performs a song for the game. From what I've heard of the band, their music is very boring but 'Exile Vilify' is an exception. It starts slow, but picks up the pace after a while.
From what I know, this is the first Valve game not to have blood in. While in Portal being shot at by androids resulted in a considerable amount of blood splatter on the wall, Portal 2 doesn't feature much violence at all. There's the odd 'bloody' and 'hell' from Steven Merchant's character, but no proper swearing. Maybe the 12+ rating is because the game is fairly challenging - certain puzzles can take a while to figure out.
There are some issues with Portal 2, but they are only minor problems. The main criticism is that people may find it too short. Players who got to grips with it quickly may complete the single-player story in about eight hours, and finish the Co-op Campaign in five. However, it took me twelve hours to finish the former and seven on the latter. The load times are also quite long and frequent but the game is so good that you won't mind very much.
Again, Valve has created a gaming masterpiece. Despite frequent load times and the fact that people may find the game as a whole is too short, the story is pretty good but gets even better from about the mid-point to the end. Gameplay is unique, and there are a lot of new features to make the puzzles even more mind-boggling than before. Graphics are of very high-quality; the colours are much more varied than in Portal. Audio is spectacular, with some great voice acting from Ellen McLain and Steven Merchant, and the music is fairly good. Portal 2 is a breath of fresh air for the first-person genre - usually it's about getting fancy headshots, but this is quite the opposite. It's funny and you need to use your brain. This is possibly the BEST game on PS3.
Thanks for reading! This review is also posted on Ciao under my name 'YoshiCheesePuff'.
Summary: Portal 2 is the best game on PS3.