“Portal 2” re-revives puzzle genre

With the addition of a cooperative multiplayer mode, Valve forces the players into a completely different mindset.

Sam Mogensen, Staff Writer

A few years ago “Portal” wowed the video game world with its unique and innovative first person shooter take on the puzzle genre that desperately needed a boost in quality. Valve is back again with Portal’s long awaited sequel which boasts a longer story mode, a brand new co-op mode, an upgrade in quality, and more of the challenging puzzles.

In “Portal 2” GLaDOS, the heart of Aperture Science Facility, holds the player prisoner, forcing them through intellectually rigorous challenges in order to obtain freedom. Utilizing a portal gun, players shoot blue and orange portals that are connected to each other which allow the players to travel through walls and floors as well as to manipulate various lasers, light bridges and tractor beams that aid the player in his or her journey through Aperture’s security.

With the addition of a cooperative multiplayer mode, Valve forces the players into a completely different mindset. Instead of working with two portals players must work with four and employ flawless teamwork in order to progress through the gauntlet of rooms that GLaDOS embodies.

The story and character development in “Portal 2” is unmatched by any puzzle game save maybe the original and much shorter “Portal”. In the single player mode, gamers play as Chell, a woman trapped by GLaDOS who immediately meets the robot Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant) who helps players through the beginning stages. Wheatley, with his British accent, adds comedy and fun to the game, easing the tension of the players who are undoubtedly stumped by the challenging puzzles.

“Portal 2” is in a completely different league from most puzzle games. With such an open environment, “Portal 2” has a lot of potential to be buggy as players travel through the walls and floors in the complicated puzzles. Thanks to the high quality design, players almost never get stuck because of bugs in the game, but because of the challenging nature of the puzzles, a trait that is vital to the success of the game.

Everything about “Portal 2” is great, I even found the soundtrack addictive. The only flaw the game has is its lasting power, after 10-12 hours of gameplay, players have nothing left to do except replay the same story over again.