Initially I was not sold on Portal multiplayer in any sense of the idea. But having experienced it, this has got to be some of the most fun in gaming I've had in a long while. Rather than shouting expletives at my TV over cheap kills, I'm instead yelling at my friend to not close a portal that's holding up a light bridge, only to have him fire anyway and I plummet to my untimely demise. But you don't really get mad in a setting like this, instead it steels your resolve to get these puzzles figured out. At times it feels like a race to get a puzzle figured out before your friend, and at others it's the ultimate form of cooperation. You seriously will not get anywhere playing the role of douchebag in this game, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little bit of fun at your friend's expense from time to time. Even tormenting friends doesn't get old with all the portal shenanigans you can pull. The addition of P-body and Atlas and giving them personality quirks was a great decision, especially all of the little emotes that they can do, and having GLaDOS get in on the fun only makes it better. Valve also included some incredibly useful tools to get timing specific puzzles down along with portal markers so you always have a rough idea where your portals are when dealing with multi-room puzzles.
So here we are, nearing the end of this review that has maintained a gushing vibe of positive emotions toward Portal 2. Surely this game cannot be the paragon of gaming I'm making it out to be, there must be some flaws that mar this game in such an unspeakable manner that it's shocking that Valve didn't address them. Well, there is one teeny tiny thing, and seriously this is me being the absolutely most nit-picky person for even bringing it up. But the subtitles to the game, they at times ruin the pacing of the dialog, or they highlight events that take the surprise out of what follows. So if you really don't want to miss any of the brilliant dialogue then sure turn them on, but be warned that they ruin two, a whopping two moments where they could have just delayed the subtitles a little bit more. Seriously, the fact that this is the only thing I can think of that hurts the game is a testament to how well polished Portal 2 is.
Really, there isn't anything more that can be said about Portal 2, it's is simply one of the best games ever released. People may find the campaign to be a bit short for their money, but I can give you a few examples of other games that were equally as short and completely worth their asking price as well, such as Ico or Dead Space 2. The quality you get from this shorter experience far outweighs the fluff a lot of other games would throw out there, plus you'll want to play Portal 2 at least two more times to find the easter eggs and to listen to the developer commentary. The initial experience alone is worth the asking price, everything after that just seriously felt like a bonus. If you can play through Portal 2 and find reasons not to like it, then I think you might need another medium of entertainment. Because seriously, I don't see it getting any better than this for quite some time. Bravo Valve on creating something truly magical with Portal 2.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Portal 2 is a masterful execution of one of the key components of gaming, fun. Valve has really outdone themselves this time, and managed to make me say, "What's episode 3?"
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