The original Portal has gone down in history as one of the most creative games of all time. Never has a puzzler been so innovative or exciting, and Portal 2 ups the ante even further. Valve has gone all out to make sure Portal 2 builds upon the legacy of the original game by adding a mixture of witty writing and intuitive gameplay to the mix.
Portal 2 was of course directly brought to the Mac by the game’s developer, Valve Software, perhaps one of the top Mac gaming supporters.
Enter Portal 2
Portal 2 continues the story and plot of the original Portal. The player wakes up after a long time in stasis to see that the facility is destroyed and Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant) is your new friend as he takes you through the broken down remains of the facility. Last time around the player destroyed GLaDOS, and now she’s back for revenge. Voiced by Ellen McLain, GLaDOS has a satirical and sarcastic sense of humor as she puts you through a number of challenges and tests. Portal wasn’t boring in any way whatsoever, but Portal 2 builds up a nice storyline and you just love to hear GLaDOS’s insulting remarks in an attempt to make you suffer.
The gameplay is simple. The portal gun can open a two-way portal, through which you teleport. Some of the levels used in the original are once again used here, but you can clearly see that the facility is in a state of decay and is close to ruin. The broken facility lends an air of suspense and drama as you gingerly pick your way through the remains and advance through the game.
The puzzles themselves become increasingly challenging as you progress, forcing you to think “outside the box”. Portal 2 looks like a First-Person Shooter but is more a Puzzler than anything else. You spend must of your time using your Portal gun to solve puzzles after all…
GLaDOS, with her dark humor, adds a new dimension to the game, and Wheatley is a confused friend who tries his best to help. The challenges get progressively harder as you make your way through the game. The levels are designed so that each room challenges the players in different ways. New gameplay elements are introduced as you progress through the rooms, so it never gets boring or repetitive.
The multiplayer co-op mode is a completely different kettle of fish. Although only two players can play at a time, the challenges two players face to pass through a room is complex and forces you to communicate with your partner. Completing a challenge is extremely satisfying as GLaDOS continues to insult you with her sarcastic comments. With voice chat enabled through Steam and the ability to communicate with your colleague using on-screen symbols, it is still hard to communicate to your partner your idea of completing the challenge, so it’s never easy. I found this extremely addicting.
With the introduction of the Steam workshop, which enables the community to craft and create its own levels, there is always something new to add to your Portal experience, this adds real replay value to the game.
Although the focus is on gameplay, the graphics aren’t exactly shoddy. Sharp, neat and somber, the atmosphere of the dilapidated facility is bought out brilliantly. While not the best looking game out there, it still looks great, once again proving Valve knows how to make great games and make them look good.
The sound design and music choices make this an extremely immersive experience too.
The inspiration for many of the rooms and chambers were taken from industrial complexes of NASA and the Soviet Space Program, so there is a constant sense of eeriness and wonder in this broken facility.
The game runs smoothly and I had no issues with lag or latency in multiplayer. However, the loading times were long and this can be attributed to the technical limitations of the Source engine. Within the options menu, I was able to adjust the resolution and video settings to suit my Mac.
My MacBook Pro 13”:
- OS: OS X 10.8.3
- Processor: Intel 2.9 i7 GHz Dual Core
- Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000 512 MB
- RAM: 8GB
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: OS X 10.6.7 or higher
- Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)
- Memory: 2GB
- Hard Disk Space: At least 7.6 GB of Space
- Video: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher / Intel HD Graphics 3000
- Immersive gameplay
- Co-op gaming
- Can get too difficult
- Long loading times
Portal 2 is a very well thought out game that keeps players hooked until the very end. Challenging and exciting, it is a fun game to play. Valve has once again pulled it off with an immersive experience with seriously addictive gameplay and clever storytelling.