Review: Portal

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they buy something because of sheer curiosity. Portal is one of mine. I bought Orange Box for PC, however, I would have bought Portal if it were separate from the bundle just because it looked so interesting. I also like games that make others dizzy.

Portal is purely a puzzle game at heart. It’s very simple in how you play, so a very great game for casual gamers. You have one gun that shoots In and Out portals. You need to use the portals to get around big areas that contain hazard points, such as chemicals, turrets, and fire. Not in that order. Some of the puzzles require you to shoot the In portal at the ground, the Out portal at a high spot on a wall. When you drop through the In portal, you’ll pop out of the high spot on the wall and drop, then you need to use those quick gamer reflexes and shoot another In portal on the spot you’re about to drop. Anyone familiar with 5th grade science knows what happens now. You’ll end up falling back out of the wall, and with that force, fly over a wall, if that’s in your way.

The graphics are really unique. I say unique because they’re a mixture of something generic (white textures almost everywhere) but really high resolution in everything and awesome blur effects. Plus, if you really think of what the game is producing, you’d understand how complex this game is. It’s creating mirrors of everything multiple times, but doing is so that it’s running smooth. That alone is worthy of some praise. Graphics are important in any game, but one of the best things in the game is the dialog. Throughout the game, you’ll be congratulated by a robotic woman’s voice. She’ll guide you throughout the game, giving helpful hints on what to do next. But when the plot twist (the original plot is just to do some puzzles), the dialog is just hilarious. I love comical games. It adds more oomph to the game.

The game is an overall incredible experience. As far as length, I’d have to say it’s on the incredible short side, but let’s not fear, PC users. We get free map packs! There’s already an incredible number of maps out there for the game, giving the game a lot more replay than those on a console. I usually complain heavily on short games, but given that this is bundled in with Orange Box, it’s not that bad of a deal. Even if you were to buy it outright, the price of $19.99 on Steam isn’t too shabby. Picture it as a great 2 hour interactive movie. Plus, you can do more with the extra maps provided by the talented community.

Now, the one thing I think would have worked well in this game is a sort of multiplayer. Before Portal came out, another Steam game known to Half-Life lovers as Garry’s Mod has it’s own mod of the portal gun. It wasn’t near as good as the gun in the real game, but it was still awesome. I think the game could have easily done a multiplayer for maybe a co-op single player aside from the main story. Without the multiplayer though, the game is still incredible. I’d say that this was one of those pleasant surprises from Valve and I hope to see more from this series later. It’s hard to justify a 9.0, but it’s an overall casual puzzle game with some twist. There’s nothing wrong with it aside from being short so I’m going to have to say for what it is, it’s one of the best.

TL;DR: Buy with The Orange Box

Reviewed on the PC.

The Orange Box (PC) (Buy on Amazon)
The Orange Box (X360) (Buy on Amazon)
The Orange Box (PS3) (Buy on Amazon)

About DryvBy

Posted on February 3, 2010, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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