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By Joel Goodman on 28.4.2023

Portal 2


Valve – April 2011

The sequel to the incredibly loved indie hit Portal, Portal 2 brings puzzle gameplay into the mainstream with a full retail release. A considerably longer single player game and an additional co-operative mode, that combined provides about fifteen hours of ingenious puzzles and roaring laughter.

Portal 2 starts sometime after its predecessor and kicks off with a barrage of hilarious tutorial sequences. It showcased how the dark and subtle humour of the first game has been largely replaced with a more obvious, but still incredibly amusing level of humour, that stays at the forefront through the entire course of the game.

Comedy is a major focus of the game. With varying interest, it’s maybe fair to say the gameplay is a backseat to the laughter. In many cases this is completely justified, as more often than not a character or image will force you to stop and disrupts others around you with belly aching laughter, before carrying on.

Whilst the first game used the titular portals to mostly transport the player from A to B, Portal 2 is more dedicated to being puzzle based. Although there are less potential resolutions to a puzzle, they are more intricately woven than the original version, with a better bridging of ideas.

This unfortunately leads to a problem with both the game modes as the raw enjoyment of solving the puzzle will likely not be present should you replay the game again. This is further compounded by the curious lack of separate advanced or challenge rooms, which again were present in Portal.

Not that this should at all be dissuasive, as the game is pushed forward with a surprisingly and not at all required deep plot. You are provided with a large amount of back-story, to the facility you’re conducting ‘Science!’ in. Your interest in the plot will significantly vary though, depending on your focus between gameplay and plot.

What lifts this game mostly though is the voice acting. Despite only a small cast of characters, the characters are lovingly performed with so many additional lines; it’s a little bit daunting. It’s definitely recommended to wait for a little while whenever anyone speaks, just to see what additional humorous lines they come out with.

Portal 2 essentially pushes everything further than it ever did in the original. Puzzles may not be specifically harder, but they do require a greater combination of processes. Characters are fleshed out and the comedy loving tended to add more depth and interest to them. Without giving anything away: on some occasions, one element may drag and depending on your interest in this, it could cause your enjoyment to dip.

Regardless, the game is far bigger and in many ways quite simply better. The game still looks amazing and sounds just as good as its predecessor. However, loading screens are far too often but they are a minor grievance for the majority of players. Portal 2 ultimately combines all its components with a class rarely found in many releases and really puts a heavy emphasis on entertainment. A joy to play and to recommend.


  • It may be true that there were more options, but since there were so many options on placing portals, you weren’t gonna get anywhere by just randomly placing. There are so few options in portal 2 in where to place portals, that it is a matter of trying the tiny number of combinations until one works.

    Either way, I would say that the fact that the puzzles were so laughably easy is testament to the game as the whole. Because I kept playing anyway.

    By Dilly on 29.4.2023

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  • Hi Dilly. I’d say that was maybe more true of Portal 1 – you had a few more options to solving the chambers, so by trying different things you could probably find a workable solution. In 2, I would say you are considerably limited (for better or worse) the options you have for completion. Thus, trial and error plays a lesser role. What I would say you have described is poor level design; several times the solution was too obvious or, as I felt, too obscure. At the more frustrating times, I would simply fire wildly and hope for the best…

    By Joel on 28.4.2023

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  • Would argue that Portal 2 isn’t more dedicated to being puzzle based at all. If anything, I would say that the puzzles take a backseat. A room of grey panels that you can’t attach portals to, and a small amount of white panels that you obviously have to use. That isn’t a puzzle. That’s trial and error.

    By Dilly on 28.4.2023

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