January 14th, 2015

Hours Played – Portal: 9

Hours Played – Portal 2: 10

Last Played – Portal: Steam doesn’t even remember

Last Played – Portal 2: Some time Christmas 2011

Portal: Oh, It’s… You

So I have been debating whether or not I even needed to review Portal. Or Portal 2 for that matter. These games are fairly old, and very well known… Everyone knows about Portal, right? It came out almost nine years ago! I was thirteen or fourteen back then! So do I really need to review Portal… It was a massive success, people still talk about the cake being a lie!

And then I remembered the circles that I run in where video games are the predominate hobby, and that even some of my friends have never played Portal. Last night I was debating whether to write this review… I wanted to write about something, that was for sure, but all of the games that came to mind were a bit more than I was currently willing to tackle. And then I saw a Steam friend launch Portal 2. And I decided that, yes, I do need to review Portal– at least as a franchise! Plus I had no issue writing about Fallout 3… Also I’ve made this blog with the purpose of writing about all the games in my ever expanding steam library; so it had to be done sometime… But enough about me, let’s talk about Portal!

If you don’t know what Portal is, well today you’re one of the lucky Ten Thousand! Portal is a First-person puzzle game released by Valve back in 2007 in the Orange Box. Still one of the best deals in gaming history.

I remember it making a huge impact on the gaming scene, because not only was it very well designed and fun to play, the mind bending puzzles were unlike anything before it…’Cause portals. The premise behind Portal is pretty simple; you wake up in the Aperture Science Testing Facility, and you’re guided through increasingly difficult testing chambers by an AI named GLaDOS. Who is more than she… it… er… anyway there’s more to GLaDOS than meets the eye. Sadly she… it– whatever this is a bad joke anyway. I just ruined my own Transformers joke!

Anyway, one of the major appeals of the game, aside from the superb puzzles, is actually GLaDOS! The dry dark sarcasm that just pours of it GLaDOS’ speech modulator is one of the best parts of the game. It has certainly stuck with me longer than anything else. The sardonic personality that this game has is just wonderful. I’ve never enjoyed being cut down so much! Yeah GLaDOS, be mean to me… But the game’s twist shouldn’t be much of a shocker considering that it’s foreshadowed from the very beginning. The twist being that GLaDOS is evil! Dun dun dunnnn. And you’re her… its… new toy.  It’s an AI, does it have a gender?! Ah, you’ll figure it out.

Jump forward four years and Portal 2 comes out. And it’s everything Portal 1 was and more! So much more. The mechanics are honed, the puzzles are better, the humor is darker, and the game is significantly longer! Which is probably the best part. Also there’s multiplayer! Which I’ve never really tried… But hey it’s there! Also they incorporated a pretty good story into their puzzle game, which takes you from the guts of Aperture Science through the many different iterations of the facility. It’s really cool. Also J.K. Simmons is probably one of the best things in Portal 2. So good.

Much of the same praise for Portal was laid upon its sequel. It’s smart, well designed, hilarious, clever, and a breath of fresh air. Also the soundtrack is great too. Probably the best part of Portal 2 is that it’s more, better, Portal. With some nice gameplay twists here and there. Also the environmental design quickly gets out of the white walls of the testing chambers and takes you to some really interesting places! Along the way you meet a cast of colorful characters, which are all very memorable. Portal 2 was everything that it needed to be to improve upon its predecessor.

If you’ve never played Portal, or Portal 2. Give it a try! You can get both for approximately $25, which is a pretty good deal. Or, you can wait for them to go on sale and pick them up then!

If you’re new to gaming, or want to get a friend into the cult– fold, then Portal and it’s sequel are an incredible place to start. Plus they’re just genuinely fun!

Ok, this was pretty short… But hey, at least it’s not a seven page essay on Diablo 3

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