Save game … what I’m playing right now

I loved the original Portal, the game that came out of nowhere and was the star of Valve’s Orange Box compilation.

Here was this game that was almost like “Here’s this little game as a thank you for buying Orange Box” and, personally, it turned out to be the star of the whole package. Almost better than Half Life 2 and Episodes One and Two and certainly better than Team Fortress 2.

So, I’ve been playing Portal 2 for most of this week. I finished it last night (Wednesday about midnight)  and it’s hard to describe how it compares to such a powerful game like Portal. It’s a brilliant, brilliant game. Perhaps not a masterpiece but one of the best games I’ve played for a long, long time and could well be a serious contender for Game of the Year when that time rolls around later in the year.

Portal 2’s concept is the same as Porta’s – solve a series of increasingly difficult tests by firing entry and exit portals from a special gun – but the story is much, much more interesting this time around and does a much better job of creating empathy for the game’s characters, except for mute Chell who isn’t developed much at all. The sections of the game that featured the voice of Cave Johnson, the founder of Aperture Science), are especially wonderful, too. Portal 2 is a brilliant, brilliant game that you all must play if you get the chance.

“It’s less of a death trap, more of a death option” – Wheatley, Portal 2

One of the highlights of Portal 2 for me was the voice acting, especially that of Stephen Merchant, the British comedian who voices new character Wheatley, and Ellen McLain, who reprises her role as the psychotic computer GLaDOS. The dialogue is just wonderful, and Merchant displays the typical trademark British humour delivery that makes such comedies as The Office, which he co-wrote with Ricky Gervais, so great.  I’ve heard some reviews complain that Merchant’s delivery grates at times (mostly American complaining, by the way) but not for me.  Not once. I thought he was delightful and the dialogue some of the best I’ve heard in a very long time.

While for me the game seemed to sag a little near the end, almost as if Valve was trying to pad things out with more puzzles, and the final boss battle was incredibly easy (despite the fact that I died a couple of times through my own stupidity), I enjoyed everything about Portal 2: the story, the voice acting, the concept and the feel, although once you’ve played through it I can’t see much replay value, unless Valve add speed runs via DLC or updates.

There are some nice achievements/trophies, too, especially one that harks back to the events of the Half Life series.

That’s all I’ve got to say about Portal 2  at the moment as I’m planning to give the co-op mode a crack over the weekend. Anyone else played Portal 2? What do you think?