July 18, 2019
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Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.6

Portal 2
June 6, 2011 | Ted Bade

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Walk This Way

Mac OS X: 10.6.7 | CPU: 2 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor | RAM: 2 GB | HD Space: 7.6 GB Graphics: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher / Intel HD Graphics 3000

Imagine a world where you are the human equivalent of a laboratory mouse, forced to solve mazes created and run by a disturbed and often angry (at you), Artificial Intelligence. Welcome to the world of Valve's Portal 2. In the fascinating sequel you are presented with a room (space) that has an exit, obstacles to get around, features to help, and sometimes deadly hazards to avoid. You also get a portal gun, a device that allows you to place two portal openings, you walk into one and immediately come out the other. Using your portal gun and your wits, you move through the space to the exit. As you move through the game, there is an enticing story line that unfolds, adding a lot of interest to the game. Portal 2 is an engaging puzzle game that is challenging, entertaining, and a lot of fun!

The Portal 2 story line starts sometime after the end of Portal 1. You, (playing the part of Chell, a female test subject), find that a normal rest period has turned into a suspended animation session lasting a long, long time. You awaken to find the once bright and almost antiseptic Aperture Science Enrichment Center to be in shambles. A friendly robot AI (Wheatley) helps you along trying to escape the ruined buildings. Along the way, you stumble upon the wreckage of GLaDOS, the evil AI from Portal 1. The story itself unfolds in the form of dialogs presented by the AIs and other sources you meet as the game progresses.

If you played the first Portal game, you might remember GLaDOS, the “evil” Artificial Intelligence device that devised ever more and more complex and often deadly puzzles. Although defeated in the first Portal game, in Portal 2, Chell manages to accidentally re-activate GLaDOS. Now she is not only disturbed and evil, but extremely upset with Chell. GLaDOS manages to force you back into a variety of test chambers involving devious and deadly puzzles. At the beginning of each chamber, GLaDOS treats Chell to a very humorous dialog explaining the next test. This dialog is often insulting and designed to annoy the main character. GLaDOS’s voice mimics that of an almost emotionless synthesized female voice. It is very well done and quite entertaining! Solving a puzzle lets you move on and allows the story to continue, to rewards!

As you move through the “tests”, the adventure unfolds with some interesting twists and turns of events. It would be too much of a spoiler to say what exactly. I do feel safe saying that some of the challenges you are faced with are not in test chambers. Luckily, you get to use your portal gun outside of the chambers, within the workings of the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Here you face challenges as you try to work your way out of the immense buildings the center is in. At one point along your escape route, you stumble into a truly ancient part of the Enrichment Center. Styled with the props and architecture of the late 1950s, this part of the center was where it all began. Here the voice in the background is that of the creator and CEO of the early Aperture Labs, Cave Johnson. In this section, although you still get to use the portal gun, the technology used to make the test chambers is “ancient” and obviously in its infancy. Two interesting “new” features, (new to the game but part of the game’s past), are a gel that enhances your ability to jump and a gel that increases speed as you run on it. Which of course, adds new dimensions of puzzles to the game. Moving from chamber to chamber, and through different parts of the building itself, you interact with the environment as well as the game’s AIs, and are entertained by the quips of Cave Johnson.

There is a cooperative player aspect of Portal 2. You can play with a friend, or with a random partner which the Steam’s server locates for you. In the cooperative game, you and your partner take on the aspect of the robots Atlas and P-body. The puzzles are similar to standard Portal puzzles but enhanced to require two people to solve them. The cooperative game has it’s own story line, vaguely related to the story line of the single player game. While the puzzles here aren’t necessarily harder then those of the single player, finding a good random partner is. As with any online game, you might or might not get someone you can work well with. The online game doesn’t make it easy to communicate with the other player, but does allow text communications. A puzzle might be obvious to one player, while being a complete mystery to the other. Which means you might spend a lot of time being frustrated (from either of these two perspectives). Players with a bit of experience with an area of the game will probably find themselves frustrated as the solution slowly dawns on a newbie. If you play with random people, have a little patience, if you find yourself very frustrated here, you might be better off finding and keeping a friend of equal experience.


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