Portal 2

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Apr 19, 2011

Filed under: Game Reviews 219 comments


So, I just finished Portal 2. I’m not going to say anything about the content of the game. Don’t let anyone spoil it for you. If someone tries to tell you about the game – about any part of it – you should spin-kick them right in their face and run away with your ears covered in case they utter spoilers on their way to the floor. This applies even if the person in question is your mother, a member of the clergy, or a small child. Don’t pull your punches. I mean Kicks. Don’t pull your kicks. Well, kick, actually, I guess. Because there’s just the one. Anyway. Spin kick. Remember that.

The game was about eight hours long for me. It might be longer if you play it in sensible doses and don’t ingest the entire experience in a single all-night bender. Honesty, I can’t remember the last time I did that. The original Portal was a triumph, but Portal 2 exceeds its predecessor in every way possible. The puzzles are more diverse. The environments are fantastic, exciting, and varied. The dialog is funnier and the story more engaging. It has been said that I love to nitpick games. Maybe. But I have no nitpicks for Portal 2. At all. I can’t think of a single flaw or shortcoming in this game. (I’d fault the game for being too short and for perhaps not having enough challenging puzzles, but I haven’t even touched the multiplayer yet, and I’m sure there’s more than eight hours of brain-busters in there.)


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219 thoughts on “Portal 2

  1. DanMan says:

    So I guess that means it’s worth the long, Paris Hilton Learning Physics unlocking status bar wait?

    Edit: Great idea – Next spoiler warning intermission, you should do Portal 1!

    1. Chris B Chikin says:

      Screw that! Just do a full run of Portal 2 as soon as you’ve finished with Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve never played either Portal so I don’t know how well they’d actually work and if there’d be enough happening for Spoiler Warning but eight hours is about thirty to thirty-five episodes so the length’s about perfect.

      1. MintSkittle says:

        There’s a speedrun of the original Portal that’s less than 20 minutes long, so that could work for an intermission.


        1. Lanthanide says:

          It’s not actually any fun to watch though.

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            Also, that implies they only have 20 minutes worth of content to talk about in it.

            EDIT: Besides, as I mentioned with Mumbles on Twitter, they could pad it up with Josh picking up every piece of robotics in the game.

            Or glitch finding. Which from what I’ve heard, it’s difficult, but potentially possible. No code is free from bugs.

            1. Lanthanide says:

              Actually if you watch the speed run, then entire thing is glitch-finding. It’s called “Portal done pro” or something. The longest part of the speed run is actually waiting inside lifts as they move from test chamber to test chamber. Once he gets to test chamber 19, the one that ends with the fire and the escape, he uses glitches to get to GLADoS’ chamber in about 10 seconds.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                So in other words it’s done SM64 style.

                1. Alexander The 1st says:

                  Pretty much – I think I’ve seen this one. It’s the one where the description of the video complains about the elevators and the starting cubicle, right?

        2. Jarenth says:

          Wow. Now that guy is thinking with portals.

    2. X2-Eliah says:

      I am X2-Eliah and this is my favourite suggestion on this blog.

      No, seriously – you guys have got to do at least the first portal for your SW.

      1. Entropy says:

        First Portal, sure, but second, better to wait. I’d hate to have a season I couldn’t watch due to spoilers :P

    3. Mumbles says:

      I love the Portals, but I’m convinced it would make a pretty boring Spoiler Warning. Plus, everyone would get mad at us talking over GLaDOS.

      1. DanMan says:

        On the contrary, I would find it highly amusing to make Shamus and Josh try to find something to bitch about while Mumbles and Rutskarn beat-box-pun to the music.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Or,one of them starts talking,and the other three just shut them up.

  2. Psithief says:

    I also finished Portal 2, and I only have one single player achievement left to go!

    (Read: 9 hours playtime for US$45. I pre-ordered about 2 hours before it was available.)

    1. Psithief says:

      And all done. Woo.

      1. Matt K says:

        I got it for $25 ($35 plus a $10 gift card and since I paid with a gift card it evens out in my mind). I guess more accurately I’m picking it up on Wed since I have work stuff that’ll ocupy me until then.

        Honestly I was hoping it’d be longer but this plus the coop (which I’ll have to find a buddy online for since no one I know is getting it yet, or atleast not for the PC/PS3) and user created levels sounds like it’ll be worth the money I spent.

        Funny enough this’ll be the first game I technically pre-ordered (I pre-ordered on Sunday) since Temple of Elemental Evil back in ’04.

        1. Ergonomic Cat says:

          ToEE is still a great game.


          I have already had to threaten one person with death for Spoilers – I don’t get mine for another few days. I didn’t use the spin kick, tho – good pro tip.

          1. Matt K says:

            Very true. I’m still pissed that WoTC never authorized another turn based D&D game. Honestly, with something like the ToEE engine all they had to do was have someone just churn out modules and they would sell. So yeh, I’m still pissed that D&D never had another turned based game.

            1. Zekiel says:

              I agree with the sadness. TOEE was a great game engine saddled by horrible bugs, boring enemies, hugely varying difficulty and ho-hum source material…

              Now Baldur’s Gate 2 with the TOEE engine would be amazing.

            2. The other Matt K says:

              Yeah, they are finally getting around to having D&D CRPGs showing back up, but none of the ones in the line-up look likely to compare favorably to the existing classics…

              Meanwhile, Portal 2 just completed and, as said above… Woo. Words really just can’t describe the experience.

  3. Hal says:

    I didn’t think it was possible to look forward to this game any more than I did already.

    Darn you, Shamus.

  4. Sagretti says:

    From what I’ve read about the multiplayer, it cranks up the difficulty some because you have more complicated puzzles that require all four portals to succeed and have to cooperate with another person.

    Anyway, I just got back from a week of vacation and am swamped at work, yet Portal 2 is calling to me, and reading all this praise is just making it worse. GLaDOS is a cruel siren.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Oh you need to cooperate? I don’t know, the TV ads seemed to suggest you were supposed to be jerks to each other…

      1. Gndwyn says:

        The TV ads acknowledged what Valve’s extensive play testing has proven conclusively: that you will be jerks to each other.

  5. Nathon says:

    Curse you, Steam! My principled stance against buying games for money through Steam will survive this. Maybe I’ll get to play Portal 2 in 5 years when they give it out for free to people who sign up for Steam on Linux.

    1. Someone says:

      You can get it for consoles, unless you have a principled stance against them, too.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Is there no way to get Portal without Steam?

      1. Bret says:


        But seriously, compromise your morals for this. And HL2. And Portal 1. So worth it.

        Well, you could get it on X-Box. If you’re a CONSOLE HEATHEN.

        1. Jarenth says:

          Bonus: Steam also gives you access to New Vegas, which I hear is fun.

  6. Jjkaybomb says:

    It’s cool to have your review as well as the escapist’s, though they were kinda harsh on it not being innocent(?) or indie(???). Both Portals were made by Valve, so whats this about the first being Indie? Small = Indie now?

    1. Mincecraft says:

      The first portal was made by a small indie team who were picked up by Valve. but it honestly doesn’t matter, because Valve are one of the biggest supporters of indie development.

      1. Lanthanide says:

        That’s not really true.

        They weren’t an “indie team”, they were a bunch of students that did a project together at DegiPen called Narbacular Drop. Gabe Newell went to the demos at the end of the year, liked it so much he offered all of them jobs on the spot.

        They never released an independent game for money (Narbacular Drop is available as freeware, but it’s only really got 10 minutes of gameplay), and all work on Portal was done while they were at Valve.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          so, in other words, nothing but the CONCEPT is indie. And that story is very, very Valve.

    2. Nick Bell says:

      I have a really pedantic irritation with the word “Indie,” if only because it has a nebulous definition that shifts depending on the person using it. Video game journalists are really bad about this (though music/movies are not immune).

      Sometimes it refers to small developers. Sometimes it refers to developers not owned by publishers. Sometimes it means developers not owned by large publishers. Sometimes it means only small developers not owned by large publishers who wear their hats sideways on Tuesdays.

      Use clear language people!

      1. Rampant Pedantry says:

        Indie, according to both my limited experience and various dictionary sources, is a contraction of ‘Independent’. Independently owned businesses, so, any individual or company that is self-publishing would seem to qualify, including Valve itself, irrespective of relative size or success of that company.

        Indie has historically tended to conflate with ‘small operations’ because historically successful self-publication has been a point of difficulty. This is decreasingly the case, and we may observe many Indie developers becoming part of mainstream culture. Indiemained, if you like.

        I believe Shamus has written loquaciously on this point in the past. The power of the new media…but there will be those who treasure their obscurity, and conflate success with selling out, whether or not any selling-out is actually done, and to them ‘indie’ can never mean ‘huge, successful company’ because huge, successful companies are things to despise.

        The more things change, eh?


        I’ll just leave this here, shall I? Yes, I shall.

        1. Veloxyll says:

          My problem with the word ‘indie’ is it’s very hipster. The sort of thing Rutskarn would like.

          1. Inyssius says:

            So, so hipster.

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          “Self publishing” as Indie is sort of not how I see it – Nintendo self publishes, and I think we can agree they are not what you think of when you think “Indie”. Also, EA.

          I’d actually consider the opposite, mostly. That is, developed on their own, but published by a secondary company, and to ensure Indie-ness, don’t always stick with the same publisher, like DoubleFine, for example. To me, it’s not that they sell out, it’s that they keep their loyalties too deep. So, for example, Rovio is also Indie, since they develop on multiple platforms, though the only Rovio game I know is Angry Birds, so…maybe they are selling out.

          Tl:dr; Indie == Hardened Freelancer.

          1. Hugo Sanchez says:

            Yes, but Nintendo is a publicly traded corporation, the primary goal of which is to make money for its shareholders, not produce quality content. If they do that in the process, then all the better.

      2. Zak McKracken says:

        Interesting. In my book, “indie” means “not part of the mainstream or one of the commonly known categories”. That’s independent of how much money or manpower goes into it. Only because most very large corporations tend to go along with the mainstream are many indie games and/or music usually coming from lesser known sources. Then they become successful, then they are copied, then it’s a new mainstream category and stops being indie. Then the original artists either do something entirely different (which means they neglect their fans, but stay indie) or they keep doing the same thing (which means they sell out). You can’t do it right, can you?

        1. Rampant Pedantry says:

          Perhaps the balance of linguistics we’re looking for is to fold ‘independent thinking’ into the indie label as well? I feel I may regret making this statement…cultural labels are fickle beasts.

          Nevertheless, the perception of non-Indieness in, say, Nintendo, may be traced to their habit of re-releasing new games without new concepts. We’ve been solving the same basic puzzles in Zelda for some time now, whereas Portal retains ‘indie credit’ for innovation and novelty despite it’s relationship to a company like Valve. Or, rather, Valve retains ‘indie credit’ because of it’s willingness to engage such projects.

          This perhaps gets conflated here because large publishers have more to lose if an experiment fails. Indie development trends the other way…they can’t easily succeed if they follow extant models, because those models are already done to death by larger, more prevalently known entities. So they must mutate, adapt, and find new niches or patterns to gain attention and success.

          These are not mutually exclusive, however. Larger entities like Nintendo do experiment. Some smaller entities fail to do so. So this may not be entirely adequate as a measure of ‘indie’, but it may help examine the behaviors and perceptions surrounding the concept.

    3. swimon says:

      I don’t know if this is what they meant but the first game had a mentality reminiscent of indie games where you do one thing really well and try to turn it on it’s head (world of goo is a good example but also bit trip beat). The “mainstream” way of thinking is to just add more stuff (because they have the budget too) instead of really twisting what you have.

      Portal 2 has this later mentality IMO where it adds a tonne of new functions (some which could become entire games, actually the gel idea is from this indie graffiti game that I forget the name of) but it doesn’t get the same mileage out of them as the first game did. I don’t think either one is necessarily better or worse than the other but there is definitely a difference between the two.

  7. John Magnum says:

    Here’s my nitpick: The game DOES NOT WORK for me. It crashes with a C++ runtime error every time I get to the main menu.

    1. DaveMc says:

      Man, way to be *fussy*. Couldn’t you find something substantive to complain about? Don’t be a hater.

      1. Irridium says:

        Yeah, like those hats you have to buy. Because purely cosmetic hats and skins that you have to buy make the actual game much worse, and deserving of hate.

        Gotta love fan logic. Wait, I mean hate. Yeah, gotta hate fan logic.

        1. Sumanai says:

          I read “Wait, I mean hate.” and thought “Gotta love fan hate.”

    2. Aldowyn says:

      Huh. I guess you’ll just have to ask Valve, hmm? I’m surprised one of their games has a game-killing bug like that, that’s not like them. You can’t even get it to run?

    3. MichaelG says:

      Not that bad for me — it’s completely playable.

      BUT, I sometimes peak into some strange corner near a portal, and the game seems to crash and recover. It stutters the audio for a few seconds, takes down the window (I can see my desktop briefly), then restarts and everything is fine. Weird.

      1. K says:

        This sounds like a PhysX issue to me, though I don’t even know if Portal 2 uses that nVidia crap-o-lib.

        1. Lanthanide says:

          Credits include a reference to Havok and ‘thanks to’ ATI. AFAIK Source doesn’t support PhysX.

      2. Lanthanide says:

        I’ve had some weird stuttery slowdowns like that too, but it doesn’t minimize the game. It just freezes for about 3-4 seconds then comes back. I’m wondering if it’s some weird steam thing in the background – I’ve seen Portal 2 downloading ‘updates’ a few times today.

        Didn’t happen at all on my first play through, and only happened once yesterday. Had it 3-4 times today, never in the same place or with any indicative things going on in the game.

  8. David Armstrong says:

    My own spoilers are forth-coming when I get back from work.

  9. Even says:

    I’m still stuck waiting for the game arrive. If it’s not due tomorrow I might have to spin kick the mailman.

  10. HeroOfHyla says:

    So is there really a cash shop like TF2 or was that an elaborate trolling attempt by 4chan?

    1. Kavonde says:

      It’s true. You can buy hats, skins, and dance moves for ’em. Atlas looks cool with them, P-Body not so much.

  11. Eric says:

    I’ve got a nitpick for you: the multiplayer hats, skins, gestures, etc. that you have to buy with real money.

    1. Samopsa says:

      Yes, because that detracts from the single player game in ways people could never have imagined.

    2. Irridium says:

      But do you really need hats/skins/gestures/ect.?

      I have yet to buy anything on the TF2 store, and I can still play just fine. Considering this is just a single-player/co-op game instead of a competitive online game, that means the items have even less impact on anything.

      1. K says:

        Just think of it as a Tip Jar to the devs, and you get an autograph in the form of an imaginary hat for it.

    3. Gndwyn says:

      If GLaDOS made fun of you for wasting money on stupid vanity player skins, that would be the best thing ever.

      1. Vipermagi says:

        I’d pay for tha– That would defeat the purpose of Glados’ comment :(

        1. neminem says:

          You should go play Kingdom of Loathing, then – last month they made exactly that joke, with a (paid-for-with-cash) bonus Item of the Month that made fun of you in the description for being dumb enough to pay cash for it.

          Granted, you were being made fun of by the nameless snarky item-description narrator, not by GLaDOS, but still.

      2. Simon Buchan says:

        I didn’t want any of that crap. But I bought the whole package immediately after finishing so I could give Valve more money.

  12. Vegedus says:


    I was always very afraid Portal 2 wouldn’t live up to it’s predecessor, since a lot of what made the first one good was the mood, humor and story, elements that are not as easily replicated or improved as the pure mechanics of a game. But I guess Valve really can make lightning strike twice.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Yeah. They’re just not your run of the mill game company, that’s for sure…

    2. Alexander The 1st says:

      ” But I guess Valve really can make lightning strike twice.”

      By waiting half a lifetime? [/bad joke]


      I am impressed though; they released 2 games in relatively quick succession.

  13. Lanthanide says:

    I just finished Portal 2 myself as well. Took a bit under 8 hours, I also played pretty much non-stop (it is now 3 am in New Zealand). I stopped and listened to all of the audio until it seemed it ran dry (there are quite a few spots where Wheatley will keep talking for 2-3 minutes before eventually degenerating to “come on then” shoo-a-longs) and got stumped quite a few times, maybe the longest for about 15-20 minutes. Quite a lot trickier than the first game.

    I don’t have any real nitpicks with it either. The way they introduced the three new gels was very well done, although straining the credibility of the world and back story a little. It also dwarfs Portal so much that it’s difficult to believe that none of the ‘new stuff’ was in the original game – the facility is so huge, and yet this stuff is scattered around like candy, so how come we never saw any of it the first time around?

    1. Greenflash says:

      Well the game explains that you killed GlaDOS before these new things were intergrated into the test rooms.

      1. bit says:

        The lack of gels is specifically explained, as (minor vague spoiler) you can see the pumping stations reconnect to the main testing circuit when you open the big hatch at the end of that section.

      2. Lanthanide says:

        Eh, sketchy. Because later on, it is revealed that GLADoS had stockpiled many advanced test chambers. Since she’s been dead for such a long time, she must have made those chambers before you killed her.

        Also, that doesn’t explain the lack of the movable/dynamic panels in Portal.

        There weren’t any Aperture Science High Energy Pellets in P2 either. The Discouragement Beams serve almost entirely the same purpose – except that being instantaneous, there’s no discrete blob of energy that you can shepherd through, or bounce off objects.

        1. K says:

          With the added advantage that it’s not as fickle to control and you don’t kill yourself so often. Quite an improvement over the first one, if you ask me.

  14. rayen says:

    i is sad, i don’t have 50 extra dollars to buy it with. alas the life of a poor gamer, it is a lonely one.

    1. HeroOfHyla says:

      Agreed. Though I’m annoyed that it’s that expensive to begin with. Valve has always had more reasonable prices, from what I can remember ($30 for Left4Dead2, for example).

      1. Dumbledorito says:

        The current cost is mostly what I call ‘paying the geek tax’ to be an early adopter. It’s like buying a first-gen Apple product instead of waiting for the price to drop, the bugs to get worked out, and/or the next better model to be unveiled. By the time I remembered I hadn’t ever picked up L4D2, it was on sale (I think during one of their Christmas specials) for 5 or 10 bucks.

    2. rayen says:

      sadness has turned to anger. No i don’t have portal 2 to play like you guys, so where is spoiler warning?

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I am curious about this too. Portal shouldn’t even have affected it, I don’t think, since they record in advance.

  15. somebodys_kid says:

    Did they drop any Episode 3 hints anywhere in the SP game? A simple yes or no will suffice.

    1. Lanthanide says:

      No. There is an achievement that is linked to Episode 2, but it isn’t elaborated on whatsoever.

      Early on, there are multiple references to what might be going on outside – all the computer system knows is that there seems to have been some sort of disaster. But many options are raised, so it’s impossible to tell what has really happened. The ending is also quite ambiguous.

    2. MichaelG says:

      There’s a room where you see or get near the Borealis. No real information though. And it’s a dead end. Or appears to be from my limited exploration.

      I’ve also found a room full of singing turrets. I’m sure there are other odd corners.

  16. Tizzy says:

    OK, so Shamus’s Twitter feed tells me that 10 hours ago, he was still downloading. And playing took eight hours. And he still had the energy to post about it afterward. Wow!

    Are we really in the same decade of our lives? I suddenly doubt it…

  17. [d20]thegrinner says:

    Would you say Portal 2 is worth the money now (at the cost of another high profile game) or would waiting until it goes on sale be feasible?

    1. Shamus says:

      I would be very surprised if this doesn’t end up being my game of the year. (Or rather, I can’t imagine one better than this coming along.) Having said that, sixty is a lot of bucks and eight is not a lot of hours. If you’re willing to pay for quality over quantity, then there isn’t anything else to compare to this.

      1. X2-Eliah says:


        Sorry, I know Portal 2 is like the new cake and everything, but screw that.. Because of Skyrim.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Doubtful.Bethesda has great ideas,but their implementation is lacking.I liked morrowind,but it was really flawed.Oblivion and fallout 3 I couldnt even start properly.

          Portal,on the other hand,was perfect.A game which you want to be engaged in from start to finish,including the end credits,which no other game can brag with(well,portal 2 probably can).The only thing wrong with portal 2 is that its european release is today.So damn you Shamus for making me want the it even more the last 2 days!

      2. Irridium says:

        Wait, Portal 2 costs $50…

        Unless your referring to the PS3 version, in which case it comes with the PC version, so yeah.

        To clarify, the PS3 version comes with a code that you can use to download the PC version.

        1. Shamus says:

          Right, $50, not $60. My mistake.

          1. Matt K says:

            or $35 on Amazon (plus free shipping).

            I almost never buy games at launch (I think Prof Layton was the last since ’04) but there were actually some good deal for Portal 2 if you knew where to look (like I got it at Best Buy for $35 plus a $10 gift card so essentially $25 which is almost as low as it’ll get for the next year or so).

            Too bad I have to wait till Wed to pick it up and can’t play it until Fri (buys at work this week).

      3. bit says:

        There’s also the co-op to consider, which adds an additional few hours, and the single player has at least a replay value of 2 if you run through it again with the developer commentary.

        There is developer commentary, right? I haven’t quite finished, so I just want to make sure.

        1. Matt K says:

          Isn’t there supposed to be a level builder or something as well? i though I remember reading that people would be able to make their own levels and upload them.

  18. Jeremy says:

    Hmm. I am definitely not a fan of Portal myself, and cannot say I am going to like the sequel. However, I will have to try it at least, and see what I find. Know thy enemy, and all that.

    1. Veloxyll says:

      Portal: Even people who hate it buy it

  19. burningdragoon says:

    Simple question. I guess I could be considered quite the blasphemer for not playing the first Portal, but should I play the original before playing Portal 2?

    1. Shamus says:

      This game does an excellent job of bringing you in. It won’t have QUITE the same impact, but it will still explain the premise and teach you the gameplay.

      Having said that, Portal 1 is WAY cheaper and still an excellent game.

      1. burningdragoon says:

        Maximum enjoyment is playing the first one first? Gotcha. Now to just avoid spoilers until I get around to them…

        1. Tizzy says:

          I managed to play Portal a couple of years after it came out, and somehow I had avoided spoilers. It’s totally worth it. Especially when I found out that just kidding :) no spoilers here, move along…

          What drew me to it was the persistent hints I picked up — on this blog in particular — that there was an actual story to that puzzle game. Your mileage may vary of course, but for me, the story delivered even more than I dared to expect, even knowing that the story would be good. (And now I got your expectations way too high, sorry…)

        2. evileeyore says:

          It should be said that the Cake Is A Lie.

          Also beware the jubjub birds.

          1. decius says:

            Shun the frumious bandersnatch. Don’t make fun of it, just shun it.

            1. Jeremy says:

              I hope you packed your vorpal sword.

        3. Usually_Insane says:

          got two free portals to hand out… if you want a test ride.. (as they say over here, the first one is free ;)

    2. Mincecraft says:

      It will certainly make playing the sequal a lot less confusing, but I guess you could just skip it :D

      1. MichaelG says:

        I think without the Portal 1 training, it would be a LOT harder. They don’t bother to teach you about flinging yourself around, or how to deal with turrets.

        1. Ben says:

          Definitely this.

          Plot-wise, things will make a bit more sense and be a bit more exciting if you’ve played the original first. Skipping it won’t, however, ruin either game and you should still have lots of fun.

          Difficulty-wise, things aren’t so straightforward. Portal gives you a very clear introduction to the unusual mechanics, and the puzzles are designed to keep teaching you new things for the first third or half of the game. Portal 2 doesn’t do this. The tests still build in difficulty, but there’s far less explanation of game mechanics (none whatsoever, aside from some new devices) and in general it’s not as friendly an experience.

          It’s definitely not insurmountable, but you’ll stumble around a lot and learn how things work by experimenting and dying a lot. Particularly with the original being as cheap and as short as it is, it’s well worth playing first.

    3. yd says:

      The other people are waffling. I’ll say it outright – play Portal 1 first. So much of the humor in the first hour (all I’ve played) of Portal 2 is geared at people who played the first one, that I think you wouldn’t get as much out of it. You’ll still enjoy it, but you won’t get that thrill of recognizing certain areas from the first game, or a lot of the initial jokes. Plus the Portal 1 training will help.

      Finally, if you really like Portal 2 you’ll probably want to play Portal 1, and then you will likely feel like you did things in the wrong order. :)

  20. X2-Eliah says:

    Err. You know, at 45 euros (that’s 65 bucks for you American folk, or 40 british pounds), I just can’t justify the purchase from any angle..

    So I picked up the 5 prince of persia games (sot, ww, ttt, 2008 and tfs) for 26 quid instead, that should genuinely stretch out for a more appropriate period of time – I also tend to do long gaming sessions, so there’s no way I can spend 65 bucks for one day’s entertainment.

    Also, for those who’ve played it AND KEEP OFF THE SPOILERS!; is the game safe to play if I get motion sickness in some fps games?

    Edit – Also, Shamus, your opinion on Portal 2’s apparel store?

    1. Sagretti says:

      I tend to get motion sickness with some fps games after long exposure, and I didn’t have much problem with the original Portal or Portal 2 so far. The only points that get really disorienting is when the portals shoot you out at a weird angle, but this happens rarely and briefly enough that it’s not a problem.

    2. Abnaxis says:

      Hsve you played portal 1?

      The game was great, but I never had CGI-induced motion sickness until I went through a portal upside down in that game…

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Nope, haven’t played P1. That’s why I’m asking, I don’t really have reference ^^

        1. MichaelG says:

          When it does flip you upside down, it seems to do it faster now than in Portal 1. Less distracting, for me anyway.

      2. Nyaz says:

        I have never ever felt motion sick in a video game until Portal 1. Tossing yourself upside down and backwards through a portal at high velocity, however… woah, damn.

    3. Shamus says:

      I simply cannot IMAGINE why people are upset about it. I mean, without the store, it’s feature-complete. Nothing is missing. If they removed it, nobody would say, “Man, this game needs some hats.” If they want to sell people hats, that’s cool. I wouldn’t buy one, but I also wouldn’t demand them for free.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        I’m more concerned about how it’s going to last. In TF2 I can see the reason for a player to want to put some money into a hat, because you keep playing. Now I have not yet tried the Portal 2 multiplayer but I have a hard time imagine it lasting the same way a match based FPS does, and if it doesn’t players are probably a lot less willing to buy in-game outfits.

        1. burningdragoon says:

          I obviously don’t know, but maybe they do have future stuff in mind. Or maybe some user-created stuff? I dunno. I’m pretty out of the loop on Valve/Steam/etc.

          It’s also possible they just are trying to make money off of the people who will definitely will by stuff like that regardless, and I’m sure there are probably enough of those people for it to be worth it to implement it. May not be a “good” thing if that’s the case, but I won’t fault them for trying to make some easy money where they can. Edit: especially if it’s purely cosmetic.

          1. Greenflash says:

            They actually did say they are adding level creating tools on it’s steam page so it probably will have user created content.

            1. K says:

              And if they add user created levels with patches, and then give you the option to buy stamps to reward the creators, that would not surprise me, as they did that in TF2 already.

  21. David F says:

    I’m about an hour and a half in, and so far the only thing that’s bugging me is how frequently the loading screen shows up. It’s probably because of all the additional details they put into each level compared to the original game, but it’s still kind of annoying in comparison.

    1. Lanthanide says:

      Yeah, the loading screens really took a damper off it for me as well. They are slightly less frequent in the later stretches of the game, thankfully.

      I feel that the early test chambers could have been approached as they were in Portal 1, with 2 or 3 chambers together in a single loading zone.

  22. X2-Eliah says:


    I think that PC gamers – at least those considering themselves to be hardcore ones – are just spoiled idiots. Proof: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-04-19-portal-2-metacritic-user-score-pounded

    I’m not keen on the whole ARG, or the hat store 2.0 – heck, I’ve made fun of folks going crazy about portal 2 – but trolling the review scores seems just plain idiotic. Same as with DA2.

    1. Nyaz says:

      I feel like I’ve seen a lot of this lately – what’s up with that? Are people genuinely so picky that the graphics aren’t equal to Crysis 5 or that the gameplay doesn’t come with a free blowjob, or are they simply trolling for the hell of it? I really don’t understand.

      I saw the same thing (as you mentioned) for Dragon Age 2 that, while not the best game ever, still was a pretty good game in my book and still scored horribly on Metacritic.

      I’m confused… O.o

    2. Even says:

      With all the crap happening around DA2, I could somewhat symphatize, if not agree with what they were doing. Day one DLC is a growing trend and sometimes it’s not so clear if leaving the content purposefully out of the game is justified when we’re talking about stuff like extra companion characters. The most common defense is that “it takes nothing away from the original product” and is rather just a bonus. Personally I don’t know if I can always agree.

      Getting upset over the Portal 2 stuff just reeks of desperation. I’d imagine many are just doing it out of some principle against the whole concept.

      1. Klay F. says:

        Almost everything those trolls are complaining about are straight up lies.


        1. Even says:

          Call it whatever you will, it doesn’t matter. And what they’ve said is besides the point. I just stated why I believe it happens.

          In case you missed my point: Yes, they do exactly that, some very possibly for the reason of being generally angry about contemporary “DLC” trends. It doesn’t necessarily matter to them what the content actually is.

          Which is, frankly, sad, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

        2. X2-Eliah says:

          It’s a digital content of some kind for a game that you download. Sorry, Dorothy, but it is a form of DLC by definition. There’s nothing saying that “DLC must be minimum 1 mission” or “DLC must at least have 2hr playability” and so forth.

          Horse armour? DLC.
          Alternate Appearance Pack? DLC.
          Shadow Broker? DLC.
          Mehrunes Razor? DLC.
          Hats? Yes, also DLC.

          1. Simplex says:

            “It's a digital content of some kind for a game that you download.”

            So a patch is a DLC.

    3. K says:

      I suppose Metacritic will clean those up at some point. They are as idiotic as http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/558516 but sadly, not funny at all. Vavle didn’t deserve to get their Metacritic rating tanked for creating such a brilliant masterpiece.

  23. MichaelG says:

    I’m only about three hours into it, but so far, I’d say the writing isn’t *quite* as snappy as the original. There are more random insults and less oddness in the GladOS character. There’s this other bot that comes and goes and hasn’t done anything worthwhile yet.

    I think I’m on test 17, and this is the first puzzle I’ve found at all challenging. I got stuck on it after breezing through most of the rest. I probably missed something obvious, but it was 3:30am, so time for bed.

    The game *looks* great though, and plays just as smoothly as the original. Nice job.

    1. bit says:

      I had this problem too; the first section where GLaDOS is testing you though still fun, didn’t quite impress me. However, trust me, everything after that is absolutely stunning. It’s an uphill moving sort of deal.

    2. Lanthanide says:

      Yeah, GLADoS is a huge mega cow in the first section. I agree that she’s not as fun – but if you consider the context it makes a bit more sense. You *did* kill her. Having said that, I think they over-egged her hostility. She doesn’t give anywhere near the kind of guidance and instruction that was present in the first half of the chambers in Portal.

      Having said that, though, the Announcer somewhat takes over that role in the very early sections, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  24. Gantidae says:

    I didn’t buy Portal 2. Now that I see things in it like the item store I won’t ever be buying Portal 2. I suppose my life will have to be a bit darker for it.

    I miss the days of the Orange Box.

    1. Vagrant says:

      Why? It’s a great game… They’re making a few bucks off of people with too much money. Is that so bad?

      1. Gantidae says:

        How much to really explain myself? I mean it’s not like anything I say here is going to mean anything to anybody or bring them any closer to my point of view.

        So here goes the simple answer. I’m seeing a deeper issue here than the quality of the game. I’m seeing an issue involving the direction that one of my chosen hobbies is taking. I loved Portal. I’m sure Portal 2 is a great game all around. I used to love TF2. TF2 was a great game that in my opinion Valve managed to ruin completely. The new items in TF2 can be bought, and those items confer bonuses. I will not be part of a game where you can buy advantages. I know all the items can also be randomly found. That is irrelevant. The store in Portal 2 is completely cosmetic. While I have no problem with that in and of itself I do have a problem with the trend of games nickel and diming every last cent out of their player base. Portal 2 is not a great evil. It’s just another step along to the road to a great evil. I know my lack of $50 being put into Valve’s pocket will change nothing. Principals are like that.

        Luckily for me I’m old enough that by the time the dark future of gaming and consumerism unfolds or not I simply won’t care anymore.

        1. K says:

          I understand you. I have also stopped going to the grocery store around the corner. Because they are now selling pickles. Now see, I don’t like pickles. I have talked to their manager, but he insists that other people like pickles. I find this insulting, and will never go there again. Evil pickles!

          You’re rage is misplaced. I’m a huge TF2-player, and let me tell you: The additional items make the game play different and give it more depth, but they are not an advantage. And as for cosmetics: Let idiots pay the company that makes my games some money, so they can make more awesome games, without me paying for it. They are pretty much donating to a cause which I support.

          The “Evil” you describe isn’t there, it’s something you made up. And that sickens me. Worse than the idiots who waste their money are the idiots who claim taking the wasted money is evil.

          1. Gantidae says:

            Your analogy with pickles could not be further from the truth of my reasoning.

            What we have here is a difference of opinion that it seems offends you. You are sickened by my reasons for not buying a game. Really? Sickened? Ok. If that’s the way you feel. It seems though that those feelings a little misplaced due to a misunderstanding. Let me see if I can be a little more clear.

            I feel no “rage”. Not even a little bit.

            I did not describe any evil nor call anything Valve has done evil. It was merely a turn of phrase similar to describing the lesser of two evils. You’ve simply used it as a leverage point. In fact I even said Portal 2 was not a great evil.

            As far as Portal 2 goes I’ve thought about it a little more and I will probably pick it up someday when it goes on sale for $20 or less. Putting aside the in-game store as much as I liked Portal, Portal 2 hasn’t interested me enough to buy it at $50. I very rarely buy games at their full price point anymore. I think BF3 and Skyrim are the only two that have my interest enough to even consider it. Taking into consideration the store again I have no problem with cosmetic stores. I don’t even have a problem with performance enhancing stores as long as the game they enhance is cooperative as opposed to competitive.

            TF2. This is not worth a major discussion. It’s very simple. I liked the vanilla game as well as some of the early updates such as the Medic. Therefore I played the game. I dislike the current state of the game. Therefore I don’t play the game. In-game store or not I would not be playing TF2 right now. In fact I stopped playing long before Mann Co. was released. If you like the game then play it. Enjoy.

            Here is what I have a problem with. Performance enhancing stores in competitive games. TF2 is an example of this. So are many free to play MMOs. It’s a common thing in some areas. The Korean market has embraced it fully in some game types. The western market has resisted more so. In my opinion there should be an even playing field in competitive hobbies. Valve has managed to slowly introduce the concept to the western market slowly. They have succeeded where many other developers have not. They took an already established and highly popular game, TF2, and gave us bits and pieces of the concept of performance enhancing items. When the time was right they released Mann Co. Now they have successfully convinced their player base for TF2 that it’s ok to spend money on items that will make their character stronger or at the very least change their performance. This does not make Valve evil. It just makes them supremely skilled marketers. It’s just a market I won’t be a part of in any competitive game.

            The whole issue of the state of gaming is extremely complicated. I only explained my opinion on stores because that seems to be the sticking point here. Explaining all of my thoughts on gaming approving or not would require me starting my own blog. Something I have no interest in doing.

        2. SatansBestBuddy says:

          You say that like the future isn’t already here!

    2. sab says:

      Hmmm, as explained above, the itemstore is not mandatory – it’s purely cosmetic for the few people who are into that. So what’s the problem?

      Personally, I hated the orange box. I don’t care much for fps games, so the only thing interesting in it for me was Portal. It wasn’t released as a separate game until a year later. I hope they’ll never do that again.

    3. Eldiran says:

      I played through the entire (single-player) game without knowing or seeing anything about an item store the entire time. (It was definitely the best first-person game I’ve ever played.) It’s fine if you don’t play it, but dismissing it based on the DLC is like refusing to buy a car because it comes with a pamphlet in the glove box.

      1. tengokujin says:

        I think it’s more like dismissing it based on the fact that you *could* buy a spoiler, rims, window tint, cargo net, moon roof, etc., things you can put on your car, but aren’t necessary.

  25. Peter H. Coffin says:

    So I take it the start of this week’s run of Spoiler Warning is gonna be delayed? (;

  26. Zukhramm says:

    My two concerns were that it would get boring over the longer period of time compared to the originally quite short game and that it would become too much of a rethreading of the first game, it could easily have become just “You got captured again and has to fight your way out again, and the cake is a lie, isn’t the funny?”, but they manage to mix it up.

    If there’s one complaint it’s the parts of the backstory almost feel more like something part of the Team Fortress 2 universe rather than the Half-Life universe.

  27. bit says:

    One thing that I think deserves a lot more praise than it receives is the music in the game; it’s absolutely stunning, and one of the most beautiful and immersive parts of the game. I probably spent a good twenty minutes setting up elaborate arpeggio gauntlets with the blue and orange gels, and falling in and out of funnels is a lot more fun than it should be. I absolutely love it, and it’s something a lot more games should take tips from.

    1. Lanthanide says:

      I love the music too. Wasn’t quite so fond of the blue gel music, but the orange is good. I love the light bridges too. I sat and listened to it for about 30 seconds at one point. If you get a bridge going right over your head, that’s when it’s loudest.

  28. ccesarano says:

    Eight hours sounds perfect to me.

    I’ve got about 20 games to burn through, and they just keep releasing. It took me five days to beat a “short” game like Heavy Rain, and that’s after being so addicted as to have stayed up past my bedtime on a few nights. I typically get 1.5 hours max to play something, and that means just one quest in Dragon Age 2.

    If you burn through a game in one day/night, it’s going to seem short. If you are unemployed and have a lot more free time in the day (as was the case for me last year), a game that length will seem short. If you have a nine hour work day tacked on with 1 hour and 20 minutes to commute and maybe have an episode or two of a TV show to watch (Chuck, Stargate Universe, Game of Thrones), then yeah, 8 hours is just perfect.

    When I finally get the chance to replay older games, it tends to be the shorter ones because they take the least amount of time. Eight hours isn’t a problem as long as it is well done.

    That’s my thought, at least. Then again, so far any bitching against Portal 2, be it length, in-game store or consoles being the “lead” platform just sounds retarded to me.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      I’m in a similar situation. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m often replaying older games, and simply don’t finish them anymore…I *love* that you get 40 hours of great gameplay, but I can’t stay focussed on one game for over a month – and that’s how long it takes me to rack up 40 hours of play time these days :-(

    2. swimon says:

      I usually have enough time on my hands to finish a game like portal in a day or two and I still think the argument “it’s too short” is a stupid one. The tendency to drag games out until they stop being fun only so that they can be long enough is something I think is seriously hurting this medium. Imagine for example if dragon age 2 was half as long but had the same amount of story. The fights wouldn’t be as long which means they wouldn’t have been as tedious and there would have been less fights which means the game could build some atmosphere or tension.

  29. Boison says:

    I sadly stumbled upon a review where the reviewer sped through the entire story in the first 3 seconds of the video. I probably won’t buy the game now… At least not ’till the price drops.

    Such overwhelming amounts of douche.

    The same happened to me for Boishock. Totally ruined it for me.

  30. Vipermagi says:

    My gripe: Load times. They are fairly frequent and surprisingly long for the only moderately sized areas. Compared to most modern games it’s pretty atrocious, if you ask me. Small price to pay, though (unlike the 45 euro purchase I guess ;) ).

    1. Zukhramm says:

      I had the exact opposite experience. Loading times were short and and considering my computer is ancient (right at or just below the minimum requierments I think) amd the fact that I run at a higher resolution than I should, the game both ran and looked amazing. I’m really impressed by that.

      1. Vipermagi says:

        ‘Surprisingly long’ is not the same as ‘long’ :)

        What I meant by my comment is that load times are fairly short in and of themselves, but they don’t seem to load much of the game either. I have a rather powerful machine, but it still takes an (on average) thirteen second loading screen to load an area. For the first time, sure, that’s okay… But even when dieing it takes another 13 seconds avg.
        Crysis has a slow first load, but then it only takes like three seconds to load after dieing until a level transition, which are spaced apart way further than in P2.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          That is odd, I get around ten seconds. Not sure how much when dying. But that is something that always bothered me in games. It’s the same area, don’t load it all again please!

        2. Lanthanide says:

          I agree, the loading times are too long and too frequent for the amount of content that they are loading in total, and the amount of content they ‘should’ be loading.

          One of the original critics laudings of Half Life 1 was the ‘seamless’ loading, that on machines at the time took 5-10 seconds tops and were fairly far apart. HL2 has much more frequent loads than HL1 did, probably simply due to the increase in graphics quality, but it still loads considerably faster than P2.

  31. Tometzky says:

    Shamus, please deliver yourself a spin-kick right in your own face. I’m too far away. I was just playing KOTOR when you posted this (anyone who has not seen Start Wars, Citizen Kane, Harry Potter, KOTOR or Sixth Sense (I haven’t seen 4 of these) DO NOT FOLLOW):

    1. Bret says:


      That’s KOTOR.


      Trust me. It’s more important here.

  32. Mark says:

    I managed to find a nitpick! The crosshair doesn’t tell you in advance whether the portal spawner will work on whatever you’re pointing at!

    I think that’s technically enough to renew my membership in the Gripers Guild.

    1. bit says:

      That bugged me a tonne, actually. Especially at the end of the gel section where you need to stand on angled platforms firing at distant walls through grates and dust clouds. One of the few frustrating parts of the game.

      1. Lanthanide says:

        There’s no need for it. Shoot at the surface. If it doesn’t work, nothing happens – you don’t lose your existing portals.

        1. bit says:

          Insofar as I could tell, there was just abyss out there. Again, I did solve it eventually, but especially with the more cluttered aesthetic of Portal 2 it would have made some sections a lot less headache-inducing.

    2. Tohron says:

      Thirded – there was no reason to remove it, and there were many grayish surfaces where you couldn’t tell whether portals worked. Firing the gun a surface takes time – it’s much faster when it just tells you whether it would work.

      Other than that though, it’s a great game.

    3. I don’t have any real problem with the lack of indication as to whether a particular wall is portalable (as Lanthanide said there’s no penalty for shooting the wrong place), but this does tie into my one major complaint about the game. There are quite a few rooms where the “puzzle” is essentially “99% of these walls are portal-proof; shoot the one tiny area that works and go there.” Either you spot the correct target immediately, in which case they might as well have skipped that room; or the game grinds to a halt as you scan around for the patch of wall that is a slightly lighter colour than the others.

  33. Wesley Noble says:

    The first portal was a Triumph… I see what you did there :P

    Anyway can’t wait for some good portal 2

  34. K says:

    Just gotten through it (6 hours, but I was insanely fast I believe). What an awesome game. I’ll take a second run through it over easter just to be sure (with dev commentary!), but I expect it will take the Number 1 spot on my personal all time top-list, and finally shove Planescape to 2 (and System Shock II to 3), if only barely. It’s that good.

    And I have not yet touched Multiplayer.

    1. Lanthanide says:

      I’m up to the last act playing with developer commentary. There’s not nearly as much as in Portal or Ep1/Ep2, in fact it’s actually pretty sparse. There’s also no saving, and if you die it tends to take you back to the start of the chapter. I thought this would make the 2nd act really tedious, but actually I only died once (due to sloppy design on Valve’s part) and it luckily took me back only to the start of the section, rather than the chapter. I also whipped through all the gel tests and the final section in very quick time – easy when you know how.

      1. K says:

        Oh, Dev Commentary has a different saving functionality? That’s annoying. On the other hand, I died less than ten times the first time. Not too bad.

  35. Louis says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been worried that, now with Portal being a thing, the sequel wouldn’t be able to capture that overall greatness of the original. Good to know that it’s impressing the old fans. (Much obliged for the spoiler warning, too. Now I need to last the year it will take me to replace my dead xBox360 without being spoiled.)

  36. Adalore says:

    And to anyone to has had the honor of earning “Lunacy”… Awesome.

    Also I saved a poor turret from the “Redemption” uhh… thing, and got “No hard feelings” or something.

    I also beat the game in a pretty solid… YIKES, 5 hours? I plowed through it, got stuck for a few moments of a couple of the puzzles trying to find how to advance. It was mostly in the Cave Johnson areas and the few areas before the ending. Died like… 6 times, mostly because I was mistiming things and exiting the anti grav whatsit over a bottomless pit.

    So crazy awesome…
    Also edit at the end of time left too huh… Steam claims I spent 5.6h playing, apparently they don’t round up, and at least 20 minutes of that was me going “Ima going to take a break!” orsomethin.

    1. bit says:

      Lunacy, and the whole section proceeding has to be simultaneously the cleverest and most breathtaking bit of directing Valve have ever done. Bloody frickin’ brilliant.

  37. JPH says:

    I actually have one complaint for Portal 2. Why the hell do Valve games still not give us the option to set crouching to toggle rather than to hold?!

    Admittedly this isn’t that big of a deal in Portal 2, but still, I’m really sick of it. I always, ALWAYS have crouching set as a toggle. That’s just how I play first person games. Almost every game nowadays gives you the option, so why has Valve still not done it?

    1. Lanthanide says:

      Why is it not possible to set default graphics and key combinations across all source-powered games? If it is possible, they need to advertise it more.

    2. CalDazar says:

      In Orange box for 360 I could, in the options, set crouching to toggle.
      For some reason when I went to check this I can’t crouch at all though.

    3. Even says:

      Got me curious so decided to google around a bit. Turns out it should be technically possible. I guess they just never bothered to make it a feature. This was the most relevant info I could find, but not sure how up-to-date that is:


      “You can toggle crouch. You have to type this in the console or put it in userconfig.cfg.
      alias duck_t “duck_on”
      alias duck_on “alias duck_t duck_off; +duck”
      alias duck_off “alias duck_t duck_on; -duck”
      bind “ctrl” “duck_t”

      You can replace “ctrl” with whatever key you use to crouch.”

      I’m not sure if “userconfig.cfg” was just game specific, but in the absence of that, config.cfg should work too. It’s what the Source games and mods use by default for storing configuration info (afaik). Just be sure to save a clean copy of it first to be safe. Hope it helps.

      1. JPH says:

        Ehh, I never mess with console commands (except for using tlc in New Vegas). All that code and stuff scares me.

  38. Michael says:

    Has anyone tried reading this post in Mordin Solus’ voice?

    “Don't pull your punches. I mean Kicks. Don't pull your kicks. Well, kick, actually, I guess. Because there's just the one. Anyway. Spin kick. Remember that.”

    Really, no one, yet?

    “The puzzles are more diverse. The environments are fantastic, exciting, and varied. The dialog is funnier and the story more engaging. It has been said that I love to nitpick games. Maybe. But I have no nitpicks for Portal 2. At all.”

    *Sigh* I’ll be over there; singing Modern Major Salarian.

    1. Simon Buchan says:

      It could also be Weatley or more of a stretch, GLaDOS, though both would have completely different intonations :)

      1. Lanthanide says:

        Works best as Cave Johnson, with his short staccato reminders, insults and belabouring the point.

  39. Some Jackass says:

    Since I have no desire to spin kick my laptop…yet, should I continue to avoid watching the video review on the Escapist?

    1. swimon says:

      yes, he doesn’t really spoil anything but you get to see some of the areas and you might guess spoilers. In the end Portal 2 is a game that deserves to be played completely “blind”, for science, you monster.

  40. Ernheim says:

    I really don’t get all the lavish praise for Portal. It was a cool puzzle game with cool evil computers. I don’t see how that qualifies it for being the BEST THIGN EVAR like a lot of people make it out to be. So yeah, not buying Portal 2, I can’t see any conceivable way it can possibly be worth $80 (bluh bluh Australia sucks, etc.)

    1. Lanthanide says:

      Playing Portal through just a few months ago, it really hasn’t aged well. It also doesn’t help knowing the solutions to all the puzzles.

      As for $80 in Aus – if you buy it over Steam, it’s in $US, and with the Oz dollar being at something like $1.06 right now, you don’t need to pay $80 for it. It was $45 if you pre-ordered.

      1. Ernheim says:

        Yeah, well, my computer’s a useless pile of crap so I’d be playing on my xbox anyway. I’ll probably just borrow it off a mate at some point in the long, barren months before Skyrim

    2. Klay F. says:

      Because Valve is the only videogame developer that understands that videogames are a unique medium for storytelling, and as such utilize that uniqueness like no one else. I don’t really understand how so many people have such a hard time with this.

      1. Ernheim says:


        I suppose that I’d be hunted down and killed for saying that I’ve not been able to get into any of Valve’s games or for pointing out that Portal 2 is their only non-multiplayer, story-based game in about 5 years? Sad state of the industry if the only dev who knows how to make a story is content to make piles and piles of money off selling virtual hats/

        1. Klay F. says:

          I said storytelling, not story, and not plot. Plot-wise I would agree with you, the plots of just about every non-Portal game are horribly generic, its the way the story is told that makes people love these games however.

          I’ll be honest with you, the storytelling of most Bioware games is straight-up HORRIFIC, then again Bioware is still stuck in the DnD frame of mind when telling stories:

          “Oh, you rolled a natural 20, your bluff was successful.”

          It may be fine for pen and paper, but in a videogame its boring as hell.

    3. Ranneko says:

      So purchase it from Steam, where it can currently be obtained for less than 50 shiny Australian dollars.

      The sooner whichever companies are setting these stupidly high AU prices start feeling the pinch the better. I pretty much never buy retail games here.

  41. Nick says:

    8 hours for a full-priced game (here in Australia), what happened to 30 hour games?? Are we going to be paying $15 (is that how much movie tickets cost now? I haven’t been to the cinema in about 10 years) to see 25 minutes movies soon?

    1. Lanthanide says:

      If you want a 30 hour game of the same quality of Portal 2, with all the voice acting, art assets and storyline, expect to pay well more than $50 for it, and for it to take 9 years to develop (which is to say, by the time it was released it would be horrendously out of date, and keeping up with the tech would only delay it further).

      If you’re comparing modern games to the games of yore, like Doom, where the graphics engine, textures and in-game storytelling was directly limited by the technology at the time, then you’re really not making fair comparisons.

      1. Nick says:

        I was expecting this sort of reply. :) By that logic, a ticket to see Transformers 2 with a budget of $200 million should be 5 times the price of a ticket to see The Town with a budget of $37 million.

        1. Milos says:

          More like you should pay 5 times more for a ticket to see The Godfather then a ticket for Transformers 2. Because for all of it’s budget T2 is still a pile of shit.

        2. Lanthanide says:

          And I was expecting your sort of reply as well. Clearly movies and games are different markets with different audiences, and therefore require different pricing paradigms. Also, hollywood accounting means most big-budget movies make losses (for tax purposes) on paper – I’m sure the games industry isn’t as wilely. More and more frequently there is a long-tail of revenues from DVD sales, which isn’t the case for 99% of games.

    2. K says:

      You’ve got a choice there: 8 hours of awesome, or you can buy Fallout 3 and have 50 hours of boring.

      I know which one I’ll go for.

    3. Klay F. says:

      Where the hell have you been? The only games that give 30 or more hours these days are sandbox and Bioware games.

      1. K says:

        And Bioware games are heavily padded with repetitive fights against respawning thugs. I would prefer it if they were 30% shorter.

  42. X2-Eliah says:

    Soo.. How about ’em Spoiler Warnings, eh? Must be becoming an extinct species.

  43. Velkrin says:

    Short Review:

    Really hated parts of the non-testing Cave Jonson portions (Couldn’t find the stupid walls to portal to).
    Several parts were extremely funny, including the end.
    Not quite worth the price (IMO). Maybe $40-45.

    Now here’s a review in the mindset of someone from Metacritic:

    This Day 1 DLC is total BS. Valve actually expects me to spend money on cosmetic attire that doesn't give me an advantage in co-op games. Why should I have to pay money to make optional changes on my characters? Valve is just another company trying to squeeze every last cent they can out of their customers. Half-Life 1 had hats for free, and now Valve is all about the money. The fact that I can't have an assortment of free decals for my robots is criminal given how much I play this game. For that matter Valve should be paying ME for playing their game. That's right, I'm taking time out of MY life to play their game and write up a review which includes ways they can improve the game. I'm basically a play-tester! So where's my money Valve?

    I do wonder what percentage of the people voting 0 based on DLC alone are just trolling. I’d say 30%.

    1. Ernheim says:

      You really have to hope that it’s more than that. Because otherwise you have to concede that a measurable number of people actually, genuinely think that including optional, payed cosmetic additions completely negate any value in a game. And despite my pessimistic, cynical worldview, even I think better than that of humanity.

      1. Klay F. says:

        I wouldn’t put it past people, there are even people on THIS blog who think the exact same this (as evidenced by posts above).

        All in all, I’d say this game is going to inevitably suffer because of all the retarded expectations gamers have put on it.

        Given some people’s reactions, you’d think they expected the game to lead them to achieve nirvana or something.

        1. Adalore says:

          Wow to DLC ruining a game… Not to mention optional goodness no!

          Now… Lets compare this cosmetic DLC with the actual CONTENT that Dragon age 2 had that they announced before release… You know that what was it? Exiled prince guy? A actual member that you can have in your party? Something not actually purely cosmetic?

          That is a side of BS, Portal 2’s is a side of “Oh, I guess, but I don’t need it nor want it” and you can get away with it.

    2. Lanthanide says:

      If you pre-ordered on Steam, then it was $45, and came with a free giftable copy of Portal as well.

      And yes, I found the transitory Cave Johnson / gel sections generally the hardest in the game, too. Although some of the later test chambers were also pretty tricky.

    3. Jeff says:

      Day 0 DLC that don’t have gameplay effects are awesome. I hope in the future that they are ALL like this – so that we aren’t pressured to pay again on release to have access to all the game content.

      1. Lanthanide says:

        “so that we aren't pressured to pay again on release to have access to all the game content”

        Or they could just put that cosmetic content in there as well and not charge you extra for it.

        1. Klay F. says:

          God save us, a COMPANY, of all things, something that lives and dies based not on gamers’ goodwill, but based on their bottom line, is searching for a way to make a little extra money. What ever will we do if other game companies start…oh wait.

  44. swimon says:

    Hey you there! Yes you! Did you like the first portal? Of course you did! Do you like old point and click adventures? Do you like that part of every old point and click adventure where you cry in desperation because you’re stuck and the only reason you’re stuck is because you have yet to click that one pixel that will let you progress? Well then you are going to love portal 2!

    Ok so except for the fact that there are some frustrating parts where it’s hard to find walls you can put portals on and the annoying loading times it was a great game.

    I really didn’t expect the writing to be this funny. I was expecting good writing but writing that feels a little been there done that. Instead the writing of portal 2 feels both fresh and incredibly funny.

  45. SatansBestBuddy says:

    You know what my favourite part of Portal 2 is?

    The fact that they’ve clearly and purposefully worked on the writing and story just as much if not more than the rest of the game.

    Far too often “AAA” games come out and they have stories that are decent at best and complete and utter messes at worst, and often it’s a crap shoot to decide which one’s are messy due to laziness or messy due to not giving a damn about how it’s told so long as it’s in the game, so it’s refreshing to see a game where not only is the story and writing front and centre, it’s the most well polished and enjoyable part of the game.

    Big budget games are starving for more games with writing that at least attempts to be as good as Portal 2.

  46. Mad says:

    I always hated the bitching in Spoiler warnings, but when I played Portal 2 it made me admire the perfection.

    Thanks for that,

  47. Mailbox says:

    Game is Great.

    Ok, so there is one thing I’d like to talk about in Portal 2. How does Chell go from the surface at the end of the first game to the room at the beginning of the 2nd game. To me there seems to be a continuity issue. Anyone else? Anyone have an explanation?

    1. poiumty says:

      They retconned the original ending. In the new one, a robot drags you away as the screen fades to black.

      1. Lanthanide says:

        To clarify – if you actually go and replay Portal, the ending itself is actually different in that you hear a party associate robot come up behind you, thank you for assuming the party escort submission position and start dragging you away. You never see the robot, though (no-clipping reveals it to be a rectangle using the ‘beans’ can texture).

        1. Mailbox says:

          Ah. I see. I haven’t played the first in a while. So I guess that’s why I missed the updated change in the ending. Thanks. Now it makes sense.

          1. Lanthanide says:

            It’s also mentioned in the comic, which you should read. The comic is included in the Extras section.

            Edit: I see that Entropy has linked to it online below.

    2. Entropy says:

      It’s explained in Valves comic, Lab Rat.


  48. poiumty says:

    For the record: the co-op mode is 4 hours long. That makes around 12 hours total playtime. Quality playtime, but still.

    1. Simplex says:

      But still what? Is 12 hours not enough in the world where your average run-off-the-mill FPS with gray assault rifle lasts around 5h?
      For me that’s plenty (but I admit it, with a full time job and a girlfriend not appreciating my gaming habits, I simply do not have enough times for 40hour timesinks (although I do admire publishers making them).

  49. Specktre says:

    I’ve played co-op with a friend and it’s super fun and rewarding.

  50. Wolfwood says:

    The puzzles this time around were on the weaker side. But the story was better and more enjoyable. Also no cake jokes o/

    I suspect the weaker puzzle comes from the need to allow pad players to beat the game. not a lot of mid air portal switching in this one, in turn mean not a lot of momentum driven tests which were my favorite in Portal.

    The co-op is damn fun if you have a rat bastard friend to play with like i do. Quite a lot of laughs when we couldn’t get pass a stage not because it was hard but because neither player could trust one another XD

    1. Sagretti says:

      I’d counter that some of the gel sections nearly made me chuck my mouse a few times before I figured them out, and had me stuck 2 or 3 times longer than anything in the first Portal. I think the game requires less fps style reflexes and more careful planning, which is a lot more fun in the end. I don’t mind failing because I haven’t figured out the correct solution. I hate failing because my reflexes just aren’t fast enough to succeed.

  51. Integer Man says:

    [comment edited out since spoiler tags weren’t displaying]

  52. Louis says:

    Hey, Shamus, I have a quick question for you. Does Yahtzee’s new video for Portal 2 spoil anything for the game?


    1. Shamus says:

      Yes. I’d avoid it.

      His short review: Not as good as Portal 1, but still good.

  53. M the cheddar Monk says:

    The night I got it, me and my dad played co-op until 5:00 in the morning. We still didn’t finish it. We mostly used his brains, since he’s a really smart dude, and my hands, since I played the original, and unlike him I’m used to having so many buttons on my controller (It’s a custom color Fable III color job by the way)and it was so much goddamned FUN.

  54. Rick says:

    It’s a great game and I loved it, but I felt that the while way through it was just teaching me stuff without really giving me the chance/challenge to use any of it beyond a simple “ok, you learnt that bit now into the next” type thing. Portal 1 had the whole escape section at the end, but with this one the lessons just stopped. It’s even more obvious in co-op.

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