Portal 2: Valve’s Teleportation Puzzle FPS Masterpiece

Portal 2
Portal 2!

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!

Portal 2

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.

Valve

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). 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.

4 comments

  1. There was one day in which I would’ve considered Half-Life 2 Valve’s magnum opus, but now I think Portal 2 deserves that honor if for no other reason than for feeling like an actual completed work. Turns out having a definitive ending counts for a lot. A lot of people say the first one is better for offering a more succinct experience, but Portal 2 is a case where I’d say more is better. It has a more defined story, a more interesting conflict, and a non-cliffhanger ending. Also, it removes that annoying instant-death ball that certain puzzles in the original had. That helped too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely think Valve took a massive stride forward with Portal 2. It’s better, in my humble opinion, than the first. A complete experience. Although I still think Half-Life 2 is the best thing they’ve done. But that’s all subjective anyway.

      Portal 3 in VR would be quite an interesting thing, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Portal Two is such an amazing game. I was resistant to try Portal 2, because at the time that I played it, the overall consensus of the time appeared to be that the game was lacking compared to its predecessor. Once I played it, though, I was so hooked. The biggest issue I had with the first portal is that the game barely evolved beyond the tutorial, so getting to run around for ten or so hours solving puzzles was everything I ever could have hoped for!

    I love this game, is what I’m saying. Probably a top ten title for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I think the concept for Portal was fantastic, but Portal 2 just moved everything forward significantly. As it’s quite short you can also just have a quick blast through, too, which is great fun. But it’s great to see it’s gained the classic status it deserves.

      Liked by 1 person

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