I’m going to state one thing very clearly: You should play Portal 2.
If you haven’t played the original, then you should definitely play that first, but if you have any interest in quality gaming – and, since you’re reading this, I have to assume that you do – then Portal 2 is without doubt the best example of game design since, well, Portal.
Valve really have outdone themselves yet again. Portal 2 is beautiful not only in terms of graphics – this is easily Valve’s best looking game to date – but also in terms of design and vision. There’s a real sense of coherence that runs throughout – the art direction and pacing work seamlessly with the script to take the player from melancholic to terrified to laughing out loud with superb timing.
And laugh out loud you most certainly will. Stephen Merchant’s vocal performance is pitch perfect and utterly hilarious, while Ellen McLain’s mildly digitised voice is as chilling as ever. The story they tell is as charming as it is gripping. And I’m not going to tell you anything about it, besides the fact that it is worth your time.
Of course, the act of flinging yourself around the Aperture labs solving puzzles is just as much fun as ever. New features like gels and light-bridges combine beautifully with what we already know of portals to create ever more ludicrous solutions to the game’s environments. And then there’s the… Well, actually, no. As much as I want to tell you more, I can’t. That’s why this is a short piece, rather than a full review – Anything anybody tells you about this game will take away from the experience of playing it yourself and Portal 2, like most Valve titles, really does need to be experienced.
You can thank me later.