April 22, 2011
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.