Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Portal 2

Portal 2 Review

Kid Safe: Very High                     Game Quality: Very High

Genre: First-Person Shooter/Puzzler
-          These games are characterized by the viewpoint and weapons used in the title. In a first person shooter, you are looking down the barrel of a gun as though you yourself are holding the weapon. However, unlike other shooters, this game is focused on puzzles rather than warfare and combat.

Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          Portal 2 features a moderate amount of internet requirements through the usage of internet-based, online multiplayer. Players are able to engage in a completely different story-mode featuring cooperative gameplay where two individuals are able to explore a whole new story together; helping each other complete the levels.

Story Summary: Portal 2 features one major story that is told in the single-player mode and one minor
story that is told about two outlying characters in the cooperative-multiplayer mode. The main story is as follows. Players take control of a character named Chell, an employee and test-subject for the mega-corporation and science division of Aperature Sciences. You wake up roughly 300 years after the conclusion of the first game after having been in suspended animation by a robot named Wheatley, who realized your precarious situation and resuscitated you. In adventuring through the remnants of the Aperature Science labs, you accidentally re-awaken the thought-long-dead Artificial Intelligence unit, GLaDOS, who you thought you had destroyed in the first game and had been responsible for the deaths of everyone in the science division when she tried to "sterilize" the testing chambers. Players are then forced to submit to the continued testing of the highly experimental "Portal Device" in a variety of different environments and situations.

Kid Safe: Very High
-          Foul Language: Low
o   Portal 2 contains a low amount of foul language that appears primarily via the words "h*ll", "d*mn", and "a*s". These words occur rarely and are used in instances of extreme emotion (i.e., emotion/frustration/etc).

-          Violence and Gore: Low
o   Portal 2 features a low amount of violence and gore that is primarily caused by outside forces striking out violently against the player. Players will be exposed to a number of different elements, including poisonous gases, waters that they can drown in, lasers that will "kill" the player, and automated turrets that simulate realistic gunfire shooting at the player. While these instances are violent, the worst result is the screen flashing red and the player's character falling over and the game restarting to the last time the game saved.
-          Sexually-Related Content: None
o   To the best of the reviewer's knowledge, Portal 2 does not contain any amount of sexually-related content or nudity.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: None
o   To the best of the reviewer's knowledge, Portal 2 does not contain any amount of drug or alcohol usage.

Game Quality: Very High
-          Graphics / Visuals: Very High
o   Portal 2 features a very high level of graphical and visual quality; particularly in the area of their physics capabilities and incredibly well-realized environments. So, starting with their physics capabilities (and using slightly less-technologically-savvy wording). Portal 2 utilizes the already world-renown and rather-impressive engine that was used for the Half-Life engine which, to those that are unfamiliar with it, almost perfectly recreates the laws and properties of physics. What this means is that almost every item features realistic mass and ratio, i.e. stuff in the world reacts like it would in the real world in terms of weight, motion, speed, density, friction, on and on, etc. etc. So, given that the game is, quite literally, a PHYSICS PUZZLE GAME that uses all of these factors in the gameplay, it plays absolutely perfectly and you can rely on EVERYTHING to respond in turn.

o   Now, getting off the science kick, the other area that Portal 2 absolutely prospers at is concerning fully-realized environments. It's clear that the developers have fully thought out just how everything fits together in the science division of Aperature Science. Now, this might not mean anything to you; so allow me to explain. The Aperature Science center is, quite literally, probably more than several dozen stories tall, drilled directly down to the edge of the Earth's crust. The team has fully thought out just about everything about the internal workings of this facility, where the divisions are for everything from "poison gas storage" to "daycare facilities" (which are strangely located very close together).

o   Last, but not least, the graphics are incredibly smooth for everything going on in the game. You will see characters seamlessly fall through a portal on the ground and fire off into the distance, soaring through the open air of a science facility as they are rocketed towards their next objective without so much as a single visual hiccup. You will constantly see different areas of the facility literally recreate itself from a dilapidated state to a perfect, sterile, hospital-like sheen. The graphics are probably the cleanest and smoothest we have seen.
-          Audio: Very High
o   Just like the graphics and visuals, the audio quality for Portal 2 is simply incredible. The audio quality has two major strengths; the voice acting and the music. First, the voice acting is absolutely perfect. You will run into a number of different characters throughout both single and multi-player gameplay who all are incredibly well-done; with each character not only being uniquely different in their design, but also featuring pitch-perfect acting nailing their highs and lows, emotion and all. No, on top of that each and every character, for their own special reasons, are absolutely hilarious. I found myself just sitting back and laughing more than almost any other game I had played just because of something that one of the characters said.

o   Not limiting themselves just to excellent voice acting, Portal 2 also boasts an incredible musical score. The score varies as you move throughout the facility, environments, and situations and really helps to boost. Moving exquisitely up and down, the music covers every spectrum from slow and serious, to fast paced and panicked. Very often I wasn't sure what I wanted to hear more, the sarcastic and quick witted commentary of some of the side characters or the excellent, veracious musical symphony that got my heart soaring and my head thinking.

-          Gameplay / Playability: Very High
o   Portal 2 features a very high level of both gameplay and playability. To begin with playability, the game progressively teaches you not only the controls, but every aspect of gameplay one at a time. Interestingly enough, the game starts you off in the ORIGINAL testing facility that players may have experienced in the original game and quickly leads you through everything that you need to know in order to properly navigate the early puzzles. From there, everytime a new type of puzzle or tool is introduced, players are slowly lead through several levels in the proper means of integrating them into regular usage.

o   And, as is implied from the playability, this game features a massive level of gameplay. While the original Portal was limited solely to the use of mass and velocity when considering how to navigate a variety of puzzles, Portal 2 features phenomenally more. Players will now be able to integrate the usage of laser-beams, light bridges (bridges that pass cleanly through any portal created), suction/vacuums, catapults, and so much more. Everytime I thought that I had been given all of my tools, the game dished out even more that I could use to solve each new puzzle. Not only that, but where the original title presented simple "test-chambers" that essentially said, "Solve this puzzle", this title now integrates more realistic settings where players must use their puzzle-solving capabilities outside of obvious "tests".
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   If the rest of this review hasn't been enough of signal, allow us to spell it out for you; Portal 2 has a incredibly high dollar value. It is worth just about every penny. If you are quick enough to burn through both the single and multi-player functions of this game, it will last you a minimum of 12 hours. This means roughly 8 hours of the single-player story and 4 hours of the multiplayer cooperative story. However, despite this seemingly average gameplay length, the game itself is so simply engrossing that many players will find themselves going back again and again and again to try and beat their previous times or to try and find new ways to conquer a level or situation. This game should last you an incredible amount of time.

-          We cannot recommend Portal 2 enough. With an incredibly high Kid-Friendliness and Game Quality, there is no other title we can think of that comes close to it.

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