Portal 2 Will Blow Your Mind

This article contains very mild spoilers.

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Giddy.  It’s an odd sensation, not one that normally pre-empts most inaugural whirs of a PlayStation 3 disk as it slides into the slot, but it’s one that’s perfectly suited to how I felt yesterday as I booted Valve’s Portal 2 for the first time.  Sure, we’ve read about it, pored over screenshots and even took a sideways glance at the currently running ARG, but playing a game for yourself, curtains drawn, cup of tea in hand: no, you can’t beat that.

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As you’ll know from our earlier preview, some of us here at TSA are huge Portal fans.  The first game was an unexpected highlight of the crowded Orange Box, its peculiar mix of first person puzzling and hints at a laboratory way behind what we saw in the game provided a memorable experience that resonates well beyond the cheap memes and ignorant digs.

Portal was brilliant, that’s a fact, and – guess what – Portal 2’s better.

Much better.

[drop]Our review’s steadily formulating, and will appear next Tuesday morning in all its splendour, but (and without risking any embargos here) you can rest assured that your pre-orders are safe.

Right from the off, Valve’s mastery of real-time story telling, a skill that carries on from the wonderful Half Life, is at the forefront, with Chell’s introduction to the world far more brutal and powerful than it was last time around.

Wheatley, the personality core we’ve heard so much about, is pitched perfectly with Stephen Merchant behind the mic: he’s deliciously funny, hugely entertaining and absolutely British in language and execution – his guide essential for the early hours of the game’s plot as the player first familiarises themselves and then proceeds to make their daring, but naturally rather complicated escape from the Aperture centre.

But Portal 2 isn’t just about a smartly paced plot, naturally the game’s chock full of test chambers, but this time the way they’re implemented and introduced is so supremely smart and deft that going back and playing the first game just seems like a huge step backwards.

Yes, the game eases you in by slowly giving you the Portal gun again, one portal at a time, but you’ll soon find that there’s so much more to Aperture behind the scenes than you could ever possibly have imagined.

What that might entail, of course, we won’t be spoiling here.  Suffice to say that Valve are truly geniuses, you’ll be smirking like a Cheshire cat at times and grinning like a loon at others – past adventures are referenced, in-jokes are repeated, love hearts still adorn companion cubes, forgotten characters are remembered – and how.  And the script, thankfully, is also genuinely humourous.

There might be more adventure and ‘story’ to the puzzles this time, but it’s all good.  Very good.

But, and here’s the bit you’ve been thinking about all along: the way the game introduces the concept of the gels, Portal 2’s main new puzzle feature after the actual portals?

For fans like me, it’s mind blowing.  You’ll see…

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50 Comments

  1. Wowzers. I literally can’t wait for portal 2 to come out. I mean it. Literally. I’m building a time machine to go and get it. Of course by the time I’ve finished working out time travel, it’ll probably be out. Therefore I can deem my time travelling project a success. Look, I’ve just travelled in time approximately 45 seconds since starting this comment.

  2. So whilst trying to avoid spoilers of any kind, would i need to have played the first in order to enjoy the second, or would a newbie to the series (like me) be able to just jump straight in with the second one?

    • the first one is like 2 hours long max no excuse not to play it!

    • I had an Orange Box and I beleive Portal was quite short and it was more like a wee mini challenge, If I remember it did not have a story involved just a fun way of completing puzzles.
      You do not need to get the 1st Portal before playing the 2nd.
      You can watch some on videos on youtube for the 1st Portal if you want lol.

      • Forgot to mention they may have Easter Eggs in Portal 2 that may be related to the 1st Portal.

      • Portal 2 doesn’t require you have played Portal, but you really, really should or you’ll miss a huge amount of backstory that’s referenced multiple times. Portal can be beat in about 4 hours, no excuses.

      • Yeah, i had heard that it was somewhat on the short side (albeit an enjoyable experience), but i just have difficulty justifying a purchase of the orange box just for portal (as i am really not interested in Team Fortress or Half Life). If it was essential to the experience then it might be a bit more justified…Unless i can get a free copy.
        Free is always good! ;)

      • You can get Orange Box dirt cheap now. Seriously, treat yourself this weekend. Half Life 2 is masterful too.

      • If you pre-order portal 2 on steam you will get a free copy of portal 1 to play, and you might even be able to play that copy of the portal before the release of 2!

      • I only recently bought the Orange Box, after holding off for the same reason (justifying the price) but it was worth it for portal alone and Half Life 2 (and the episodes) surprised me by being actually very good, if a little dated at times (though not in the graphics department, despite being released in 2004).

  3. I’m jealous right now. I really want to play Portal 2.

  4. so getting this but on PC, means i have to buy a new graphics card after my old one died last yeat tho =[

  5. Damn, it was just yesterday I was thinking of choosing Sniper Ghost Worrior over Portal 2. Now it’s going to be an even tougher decision.

    • *Ghost Warrior that was meant to be.

      • When is Ghost Warrior released? I’m thinking sometime in 3 weeks?

      • Yeah, 6th of May.

      • Ghost Worrier sounds better!

  6. Never played a Portal so looking forward to this….

  7. Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhh I was holding off on ordering this as I really don’t have the money at the moment. But it sounds so perfect.

    The first was a masterclass in how to make a game so if this truly is better it will be phenomenal. Plus Stephen Merchant is brilliant.

    • It’s much better.

      • I’m literally drooling at the prospect, I have also just pre-ordered it. My wallet hates you Nofi but my mind loves you.

  8. I am going to be childish and spite myself with not buying this.
    Gabe Newell is a PS3 hating tool, some of this comments about the PS3 were unbelievable. But as usual with these people money talks and he wants a bite out of PS3 owners wallets, well he can fuck off! That will be one less burger for his chops!

    • And? So what?

      • What?

      • First things first, to say that you’re not buying a game based on the opinion of one person from three to four years ago is ridicious. Secondly, the reason why he was dissing the PS3, was that it was a different set up to the 360 and PC; platforms they had prior knowledge of. They didn’t have the resources for the PS3 and he was giving out about the PS3, porbably due to fustration about how difficult it was to code on the console, which everyone said so at the time.

    • What a bizarre attitude. Valve have gone out of their way to make the PS3 version the best console version, and to miss out on a game like this for such a personal reason is quite odd.

      • I am odd. And he didnt go out of his way to make The Orange Box the best version. Its funny how much of a hypocrite he is, but like I said money talks.

      • I know that a few of his comments towards the PS3 in the earlier days weren’t great & a few/lot were also taken a little out of context to fuel the fire more (as can so often happen), but didn’t he do some kind of public apology about any perceived fanboyism towards the Xbox from his part (around about the same time that they promised that the PS3 would be the best version if I recall)?

        Either way, why cut yourself off from what is generally coming across as a great experience just for that reason? No offence, but it does seem a bit weird.

    • It baffles me that people can get genuinely offended by people who talk bad about a product that they own. It’s an object. People have opinions about it. They can change their opinion about it. Does it affect my opinion about it? No.
      Is Portal 2 going to be off the charts awesome? Yes.
      For all I care the money could go directly into Gabe’s pocket, no matter what his current opinion about the PS3 ist. It’s the quality game that I’ll enjoy that counts for me.
      Do you buy Activision games?

      • No, I dont really like FPS.

        I have an opinion – I wont be buying it.

        Hope you enjoy it.

    • There are many things in life worth making a moral stand over. This isn’t one of them…..

      • Why? Someone shovels shit on a product or person he doesnt understand or cannot work, I take offence, I decide not to buy anything from that person or company.
        A small minded fat Xbox/PC fanboy went on a rant and I didnt like it. Is it affecting you, no. Like i said enjoy it.

    • redmilk71, I have a question: are you a troll? Because you sure as hell lived up to your word on being childish.

      Why do you even bother posting when you’ve obviously made up your mind on not buying the game already? Are you trying to convert people into hating Gabe Newell? Because you’ve definitely failed on that count. Or perhaps it’s your inner child begging for attention? Let me know. Actually, don’t.

      If you hate Gabe Newell that much, please vent your hatred by sending him a personal email, rather than waste space here by starting controversial posts on an otherwise positive discussion board.

      Also, how does Gabe Newell have anything to do with Portal 2? Sure he owns Steam/Valve, but Portal 2 is a great game that was crafted, not by Gabe, but by a team of talented developers. You’re disregarding all of their hard work due to your undying hatred for one person? Makes sense.

      • ME SAYING SORRY – This thread has probably been forgotten by now, but I will carry on anyway. Bit of an apology on my part, I stand by my first comment that I will not be buying this game and can understand the comments – it is odd to spite myself but hey we are all a bit weird now & then.

        After reading my comments again this morning, I was in the wrong and since finding this site a few years back, I was always suprised what a friendly bunch everybody was. I shouldnt have ruined a thread which was basically people looking forward to a new game. SORRY. I have been told!

  9. I have to say I have a few concerns about Portal 2. Firstly, the first game was a mini side-project and, as such was just a couple of hours in length, which was perfect for a game of this nature (any longer and I think I would have got bored tbh).

    Secondly, its a sequel (the ‘2’ at the end of the title being the big give away…). One of the main reasons Portal 1 was so great was that it was something clever and different. Co-op play or not, the game is going to have that familarity to it this time around, which will almost definatley spoil it for me.

    Hopefully the game delivers and proves me wrong, but the above are 2 major concerns for me at the moment

    • Portal 2’s quite different though, especially in the way it references the first game.

    • The thing is though, since the first game was so good, that everyone wants more. As you say, it won’t come as a pleasant or unexpected surprise, nor is it likely to have the same feel in scale as some major retail games. Nevertheless it sounds like great fun, and as long as you know, to some extent, what to expect from the game then you should have no concerns in my opinion.

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