Half of a Portal 2 Review

I’ve been looking forward to the release of Portal 2 ever since I finished the first Portal on the PC. I’m a PS3 gamer, so after the flop that was The Orange Box on the PS3, I had to become a PC gamer, which I’m not a fan of, in order to play Portal. Valve promised up and down that the PS3 release of Portal 2 would be fully functional.

I set out on my lunch break on last Tuesday, April 19, 2011, to go to Best Buy during my lunch break to pick up a copy of the game. At 12:10pm, Best Buy in Crossgates hadn’t gotten their shipment of the game in yet, so I got a copy for the PS3 at Walmart in Crossgates Commons, where there were a good handful or two at about 12:20pm.

I couldn’t wait to get home and play, but I had to finish out the work day first. When I got home, I didn’t wait a second! I popped the game into my PS3 and played. Almost all night!

As of the time that I’m writing this, I have yet to finish the single player campaign. I’m far enough that I can say the few things I want to.

You start the game waking up in a chamber which immediately gets destroyed. After that, you work your way through test chambers, learning the physics as you go, trying to escape the Aperture Science facility. You become reunited with the portal gun along the way, and the snappy dialogue, mainly GLaDOS talking to you, keeps you entertained as you’re progressing.

There’s also a robotic orb following you around at points; that’s voiced by a British comedian guy who was on The Office (UK) and Extras. Not to spoil a major plot point, but at a certain point, you get to the heart of GLaDOS and replace her with the orb. In doing so, GLaDOS is stored in a potato that you have to carry around the rest of the game. You also get to see an earlier testing facility Aperture was working on. During this phase of the game, you’re being walked through by the voice of J. K. Simmons, a voice many of you will recognize as J. Jonah Jameson in the (horrible) Spider-man movies; I loved him as Schillinger on HBO’s Oz.

During this part of the game, you encounter some new substances. There’s the blue, bouncy stuff, called repulsor gel. There’s red stuff that makes you run fast, called propulsor gel. And there’s a white gel that makes you able to open portals wherever this stuff has been sprayed. The really cool part is that by applying the physics of the game, you will need to paint the walls and floors these colors in order to make your way through the facility. This is brilliant.

The game is an A+, and I can say that without having finished it or touching the cooperative campaign.

I’d like to make some commentary there. I’m sort of ashamed to be a PS3 gamer right now. As of the time of this writing, the PSN (Playstation Network), which powers the online gameplay for the PS3 has been down for a few days, just days after the release of this game and the re-launch of Mortal Kombat, which I’ve decided I’m getting next week. Sony has been hush-hush about the cause, but they finally admitted that they may have been breached by Anonymous, some guys who walk around wearing my mask.

Whether they’re pointing the finger to get us on their side in their little war or whether they’ve really been hacked by these guys, I’m really frustrated with this. My friends and I were planning on teaming up over the weekend to play through the cooperative Portal 2 campaign, and we couldn’t because of this.

I actually found someone who was looking to get rid of their XBox 360, and I bought it off him, so now I have an XBox as well. It was a good deal, so once I get on XBox Live, I may re-buy Portal 2 for that so I can do the cooperative campaign with derryX (of course, I’d sell my PS3 Portal 2.). I’m also getting Mortal Kombat for that so I’ll play with derryX and my friends in Vietnam. This may be the last straw for Playstation for me.

Portal 2 in general is pretty awesome though.


4 thoughts on “Half of a Portal 2 Review

  • Dino

    I’m curious about the Xbox vs PS3 graphics. I was fortunate enough to get Portal 2 for the Xbox as I eventually want to play online and all my buddies are on XBL. But I almost decided to get it for PS3 just for the improved graphics. Good thing I didn’t!

    Though I’ve heard that some games are rendered the same on both systems, i.e. GTA IV. Just curious if you notice any degradation on the Xbox.

    • dyscipleX

      The graphics are slightly better on PS3 but the loading times are a little shorter on the Xbox, which makes sense.

      • Dino

        That makes sense. I loaded it to the Xbox HD so the load times are barely noticeable. Kudos to Microsoft for getting this stuff right. Load times suck and Sony is notoriously awful at it. I bet if they stopped using all those encryption layers on their games and spent more time encrypting our PSN passwords everyone would be a little happier…

        • Dino

          Sorry for hijacking this post but after giving kudos to Microsoft, they pissed me off again tonight. Twice I got kicked off of XBL while playing Portal 2 co-op. SPOILER ALERT: When that happens, you lose your progress. It’s quite frustrating to have to replay entire levels.

          BTW I just passed the single player level you mentioned where you have to paint the entire board with different colored gels. Yup, awesome.


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