It felt about time to praise Portal 2 on this here Professional Moron. Half-Life 2 has enjoyed much love from us previously – Valve’s astonishing work of genius – but whilst still developing its Steam software it landed Portal on the world in 2007.
That one built on its Half-Life game engine, which naturally led to a sequel in 2011. This thing is innovative and offers a heady mix of teleportation-based puzzle solving. Ingenious!
Right, so Portal 2 is set in the Half-Life universe, although you don’t get to meet Gordon Freeman or anyone from FPS series.
You star as Chell. She wakes up in a stasis chamber on a futuristic voice. It appears to be dilapidated and close to destruction, which is when the Stephen Merchant voiced personality robot, Wheatley, turns up to guide you through the game.
The robot accidentally triggers the deranged GLaDOS robot back to life, though, which forces Chell into an series of cognitive tests she must complete with her physics-defying portal gun.
This is where the outright genius of Valve’s game design kicks in – as with Half-Life 2’s gravity gun, Valve’s patented portal is what makes the game tick.
Yes, you can create two portals with the gun. One is blue, the other orange. Across a variety of miniature arenas, you can use the portals to traverse about the place.
Obscure ledges, distant platforms… easy! Place your portal shots in the right bit and you can fire yourself, or an object, across the Portal world to complete some puzzles.
It’s innovative stuff and cemented Valve’s status as one of the video game industry’s leading creative forces. What advances it over the original is the witty writing.
There’s much more of a plan compared to the 2007 effort, with satire (more on this below) merged with the fiendishly inventive puzzles. These will test your brain to the limit, as all manner of bizarre, physics defying considerations can lead you to complete a test. Marvellous.
To go with its release, Valve showed its sense of humour with a batch of supporting teaser clips (narrated by J.K. Simmons). Upon its release, it was hailed as something of a masterpiece – some consider it as one of the best games of all time.
More importantly, it showcased the extent of what video games can achieve – there’s some serious creative clout to this project. Its concept is quite radical and it’s the type of idea that helps the games industry stand out against other cultural forms.
It’s unclear if there will be a third Portal game. Fans are certainly clamouring for it, but then they’re also clamouring for Half-Life 3 and that doesn’t seem a possibility (un-bloody-fortunately).
Valve is like Nintendo in some respects – refusing to work on the projects that make sense (although Metroid Prime 4 is, at least, on the way – if a bit delayed).
As for Valve, it often collaborates with other studios for its release such as with the slated 2019 game In The Valley Of The Gods. Whilst developing the ever fabulous Steam.