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Portal 2: Defy physics to overcome hurdles

Portal 2 is a clever game. It makes you think long and hard; it challenges, mocks and ultimately rewards you with its devious but satisfying level design and sharp writing.

india Updated: May 13, 2011 17:38 IST
Avinash Bali

Portal 2 is a clever game. It makes you think long and hard; it challenges, mocks and ultimately rewards you with its devious but satisfying level design and sharp writing.

This sequel takes place several years after the first game. You step into the boots of the same test subject Chell, who’s about to be tormented once again by the crazy AI (artificial intelligence) Glados. Ever since you terminated her in Portal, she’s been harbouring a grudge against you that’s evident from every word that comes out of her mouth. Her goal in the game is not just to crush you physically, but also to crush your very spirit.

New characters
Besides Chell and Glados, Portal 2 also introduces another entertaining robot by the name of Wheatley. This pintsized 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 plot. We would recommend running through the first game before you take up this one up, but even if you can’t, you won’t feel lost over here.

The sequel of Portal is back with a bang

On paper, Portal 2 is very simple. You have to move from Point A to B avoiding various hazards while overcoming certain obstacles. Through all of this, a gun that’s capable of creating portals will aid you.

Easy at first...
The game is initially easy so that you fully comprehend the mechanics and the game’s physics. There are times when, like clockwork, everything falls into place. 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 stumped.

But no matter how complicated and devious the puzzles get, the sense of accomplishment that washes over you upon completion makes it worth it.

Portal was just about three hours long but Portal 2 is nearly four times its length. Add in a good five to six hours of co-operative play and you’re looking at anything from 15–20 hours of gameplay. Co-operative play in Portal 2 isn’t just there for the sake of being there; puzzles have been meticulously designed to challenge both players and it’s impossible to proceed without proper co-ordination. Throughout the co-op campaign, you’ll be playing as one of two robots — P-Body and Atlas who, like Chell, will be at the receiving end of some of Glados’ puzzles and taunts.

Successor to 2007’s popular puzzle-based game Portal, this sequel more than lives up to expectations

Loading screens galore Portal 2 is broken up into multiple chapters, each comprising many levels. Unfortunately, there’s a loading screen between each level, which means you need to be fairly patient while the levels load.



Portal 2’s art style has been tweaked a bit. Where Portal was all shiny and metallic, this game is dilapidated and run-down. Every character is well-modelled and brought to life by brilliant animation. Complementing the animation is the game’s superb voice acting.



What we like


* Well-designed levels


* Some puzzles are devious


* Co-operative mode is fun

What we don’t
* Frequent loading screens will try your patience

Besides Chell and Glados, Portal 2 also introduces another entertaining robot by the name of Wheatley.

Verdict
Portal 2 is a must-buy. Besides the frequent loading times, the game is perfect in every aspect, and offers players a highly polished single player campaign that’ll both challenge and reward equally. A stellar co-operative campaign and razor-sharp script further enhance its brilliance.

Rating: ****1/2