Portal 2 is a clever game. That doesn’t mean it wears a monocle, sips on tea and appreciates contemporary art (because that would make it pretentious). Portal 2 is a game that makes you think long and hard (totally refrained from a “that’s what she said joke over there” – or not). It challenges you, mocks you and ultimately rewards you with its devious but satisfying level design and sharp writing this series has now become famous for. It is without a doubt, one of the best games of 2011.
Portal 2 takes place several years after the first game. You step into the boots of test subject Chell about to be tormented once again by the crazy A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) that is GlaDOS. Ever since you terminated her in Portal, she’s been harboring a real grudge against you that’s evident in every word that comes out of her demented mouth. She’ll make fun of your weight, your parents and the entire human race. Her goal in the game is not just to crush you physically, but to crush your very spirit making her the most vindictive bitch I’ve come across in a game till date. Besides Chell and GLADOS, Portal 2 also introduces another totally awesome robot by the name of Wheatley. This pint sized eyeball with a delightful British accent will bring a smile to your face with his wise cracks and incessant rambling. You may think the game has little to no story but you’ll be surprised by the amount of effort gone into the game’s plot. I, personally would recommend running through Portal before you take up this game but even if you can’t, you won’t feel lost over here.
Up, up and away
On paper, Portal 2 is very simple. You have to move from Point A to B avoiding various hazards while overcoming certain obstacles. These hazards I speak about can be anything from vindictive automated turrets to bottomless chasms to deadly lasers capable of slicing you up in a matter of seconds. But through all of this you’ll be aided at all times by your trusty portal gun capable of creating uh portals. The game goes a bit easy on you initially so that you fully comprehend the portal mechanics and the way they affect the game’s physics. There are times when like clockwork, everything falls into place and you’ll breeze through certain puzzles. But just as you’re starting to feel a bit confident of yourself, the game will smack you over the head with a puzzle that’ll leave you totally stumped.
But no matter how complicated and devious the puzzles get, the sense of accomplishment that washes over you upon completion makes it totally worth it. And this is what I really like about the game. It’ll tell you just once, how to go about doing things and that’s it. No handholding, no hints, no bread-crumbs, nothing. It’s just you and your imagination, trying to figure a logical solution out. The game will mock your intelligence numerous times, making you feel like a hulking Neanderthal but it never really turns you off so bad, you have to punch or break stuff.