I finished Portal 2 up last week. It was fun. A lot of fun, in fact, voice work that is second to none and put a lot of other so-called AAA games to shame.
Now, in my review of Portal 2, which is going in The Press’ Box tabloid next week, I said the game wasn’t a masterpiece, despite the wonderful tones of Stephen Merchant as nice-but-dim AI Wheatley and the star turn by American actor J.K . Simmons as the voice of Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson – but after replaying through some of the levels via the developers commentary option, I’m starting to reconsider that I might be wrong about the game, at least in some respects.
Not that I’m an achievement whore or anything (I played Portal 2 on Xbox 360 BTW) but there were a few achievements in the single player campaign that I didn’t manage to get on my first play through: the one with the vitrified doors, the Borealis one, the Lady in the Portrait one – and another one <SPOILER ALERT> that features a whole lot of singing turrets <SPOILER ENDS> so I started working on some of those today. And you know what? Portal 2 is actually a much deeper game than I first thought: there’s some great little easter eggs hidden around the halls of the Aperture Science Enrichment Centre.
There’s been a lot of debate online over the value for money argument with Portal 2: the boxed PC version is about $100, the console versions about $120 and on Steam it’s around $US65 (what’s that? $NZ90?), and many gamers are complaining that they’ve finished the game in six hours. I can’t tell someone whether $120 is worth it for Portal 2 – you’ll have to make that decision for yourself – but the single player game took me somewhere between eight to nine hours. I haven’t finished the single player campaign but I hear that’s another six to seven hours, making it 14 to 15 hours all up. Is that value for money?
I always use the argument when it comes to value for money that I’d rather play a nine hour game that gave me enjoyment from start to finish than a 30 hours game that lagged in the middle and was padded out with repetitive content and fluff. Just my opinion, though.
Portal 2 is a great game with some flaws – the main one being that its replay value is limited given that once you’ve completed the story campaign you know how to solve all the test chambers – but the game is fun from start to finish, mainly thanks to the excellent voice acting and the wonderful dialogue.
At the end of the day, isn’t that what gaming is all about, though? Having fun? I think it is.