Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where I talk about...

Alright. I feel the need, every so often, to extoll the virtues a particular video game that made a huge impression on me. Positive or negative, I feel I should get my feelings down in writing. Whether anyone agrees with what I say is irrelevant, though I am definitely open to counter arguments. And, no, I am not trying to convince anyone to buy a particular game or not to--it's an opinion. I respect others' as long as they respect mine.

I am not going to expound on specifics, since most everyone reading this has probably played this gem.

So I replayed Portal 2 for the third (fourth?) time over the weekend. I truly love this game. I know it's not new and most players have probably moved on to other games (heck, I have too) but Portal 2 is one of those games that is always there, waiting for you to pick it back up and hang out with it for a while like a true friend. If you beat it once, it is still fun to go back and replay it, especially because there are little easter eggs and inside jokes to find hidden throughout the game.

The game itself is a wonderful--but not too difficult--puzzler with a crazy plot. But not only does it have that going for it, it also has humor--wry, sarcastic humor. And it is plentiful. The first time I played through, I found myself laughing constantly, sometimes to the point of tears.

So it is no wonder why I still enjoy Portal 2 now as much as I did during the first playthrough.

The game's atmosphere is amazing, making the player feel truly alone as he or she discovers the secrets hidden in the bowels of Aperture Science ("we do what we must because we can"), all the while being harangued by an insane artificial intelligence or two. The voice acting is superb and the music is very fitting to the atmosphere. The game engine is not super awesome, but it easily gets the job done. This game is not about eye candy anyway. Chances are, if you're looking around, you're trying to figure out where to shoot a portal, not admiring the scenery (unless hunting for easter eggs).

And the puzzles are not of any normal variety. They are unique and intriguing. And, sometimes, you actually feel quite good when the light bulb clicks on and you solve them...and then you get berated in some way by a bitchy computer AI, which is almost always hilarious. There is very little fear of dying and, when it does happen, the player respawns at the beginning of the most recent area (or you can simply save early, save often, which I heartily recommend).

Valve, the makers of Portal 2, is classy. Not only do they make an all-around solid game from every aspect, but they even offer nice extras, including the entire soundtrack and a webcomic, for free. The game itself lasts probably 10-15 hours on the first playthrough but you're missing so much if you simply speed through it. I definitely recommend playing through it at least twice, even if you use a cheat guide to find the secrets and easter eggs, because they're well worth it.

Also, play the original Portal first. :) I know Valve have offered it for free at least once, possibly more times.

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