Archive for 2011

The End Has Come


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Well as most have heard or encoun­tered the Playstaion Net­work is down. It has been down for about three days now. Now breath as you read I know its hard. This prob­lem couldn’t have come at a worse time for Playsta­tion either with the releases of Socom 4, Por­tal 2, and Mor­tal Kom­bat this week. I too am vic­tim for I can­not play Socom 4.….it still hurts. Now Sony has come out and said oh we have a server hic­cup it should be fixed in two days time. Only it hasn’t been fixed. Sev­eral excuses and rea­sons for the out­age have made their way to the web includ­ing too much server traf­fic with the new realses, down­load­able games crash­ing the server, or even a hacker attack. Basi­cally what it boils down too is my games don’t work and I don’t know why.…QQ. How­ever there is another the­ory that needs to be explored. Skynet became self aware on April 19th.…coincidence? Hope­fully Kevin But­ler can fight back the machine inva­sion and get our servers back online soon because I’m not sure how long peo­ple can last.

Portal… My First Step Through

With the upcom­ing release of Por­tal 2 I real­ized that I had never actu­ally sat down to play the orginal.  Sad I know, but regard­less, I’ve had Por­tal sit­ting in my ever expand­ing Steam queue for quite some­time and never got around to play­ing it.  I’m not sure what had stopped me from delv­ing into it, per­haps it was the fact that I didn’t quite under­stand what it was all about or per­haps there were to many other games press­ing for my time.  Regard­less I finally told myself that I was going to play it after my friends at work were rav­ing about how awe­some the first one is and amaz­ing the sec­ond one was.

For those of you who don’t know what por­tal is, much like I didn’t before I played it, it is a puz­zle game.  If you are expect­ing a high pow­ered action game you are going to be dis­ap­pointed but that isn’t to say that por­tal is a bad game because it most defi­nately is not.  Por­tal is prob­a­bly the most orig­i­nal game to come out in years.  There is really noth­ing else like it on the mar­ket that I know of. 

Por­tal starts you out in a lab, where you, Chell wakes up from sta­sis hear­ing instruc­tions and warn­ings from GLaDOS about the upcom­ing test expe­ri­ence. This part of the game that involves dis­tinct test cham­bers that, in sequence, intro­duce play­ers to the game’s mechan­ics. GLaDOS’s announce­ments not only instruct Chell and help her progress through the game, but also to cre­ate atmos­phere and develop the AI as a char­ac­ter. Chell is promised cake and grief coun­sel­ing as her reward if she man­ages to com­plete all the test chambers.

I would say there are around 23 stages in por­tal.  The first ones start off with easy to solve puz­zles which require you to open only a sin­gle por­tal  and pro­gres­sivly get harder with puz­zles require eng­i­nu­ity and cre­ativ­ity to solve and involve the use of physics and mov­ing platforms. 

Being that there aren’t any ene­mies to fight within the game out­side of avoid­ing tur­ret fire and find­ing ways to take them out one might think that Por­tal is a bor­ing game but this couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.  Por­tal is one of the most engag­ing games I’ve played in awhile, espe­cially in the puz­zle solv­ing genre. 

Por­tal thank­fully avoids the mis­takes that many other puz­zle games tend to make and that is mak­ing overly point­less puz­zle that serve no pur­pose or puz­zles that are so insanely hard that you have to Stephen Hawk­ing to solve the puz­zle.  While a few of the puz­zles … “puz­zled” me for a bit I found them all to be excit­ing, intu­itive and cre­ative.  In addi­tion to hav­ing great puz­zles the games AI is ever amus­ing with lines such as “we were just kid­ding we really weren’t going to kill you” or “there will be a party with cake for you”.  The AI does a good job of push­ing for­ward the story as well.

Por­tal two is a unique adven­ture, one that begs to be taken.  If you haven’t played Por­tal or have been on the fence about try­ing it, much like I was I would sug­gest that you give it a try.  Por­tal is fan­tas­tic and I will most defi­nately be pick­ing up the sec­ond one. 



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