Portal 2 is one of the most famous puzzle games of all time. One of the reasons it’s so well-known is because it was developed by Valve. But mostly, its fame comes from the fact it’s critically acclaimed. And it’s easy to see why it’s beloved by both critics and fans, as the game is incredibly enjoyable to play.
Arguably it’s more fun than most puzzle games out there. Obviously, there are other entries in the genre on a similar level of quality, but most puzzlers aren’t as well-rounded as Portal 2. The game particularly excels in the following areas.
6 Story And Writing
Puzzle games aren’t generally known for their story. In fact, a lot of these titles don’t have a narrative. However, Portal 2 shows that a well-told story can make puzzle games even better. This is because it gives more meaning to what you’re doing. You’re not just going through each room for no reason – you’re unraveling more of the plot.
It helps when the story is as well-written as the one in Portal 2. The narrative is very compelling and contains several memorable moments. There are even a few cleverly orchestrated twists. As a result, the tale holds up against the best story-driven games, regardless of their genre. Portal 2’s writers also deserve praise for the dialogue, as it’s consistently hilarious.
Portal 2 is expertly paced. In the beginning, the game gives you some simple puzzles as it teaches you the portal mechanics. Then as you start to get the hang of things, the trails begin to become more complex as the title adds extra elements like light bridges and the different gels.
Not only does this mean you don’t get too overawed in the early stages, but it also means things get more exciting as you get deeper into the adventure. Some other puzzlers don’t do this as well. Several games throw a bunch of things at you from the start, which often creates a steep learning curve. Plus, when a game shows you everything it has to offer from the beginning, the title can quickly grow stale.
4 Co-operative Play
There are plenty of great co-op puzzlers out there, and Portal 2 is as good as any of them. The game includes a whole separate campaign dedicated to co-operative play, meaning all its puzzles are specifically designed for two people. Plus, it makes it seem like both players are integral to the adventure, instead of one just tagging along.
Another great aspect of Portal 2’s co-op is the interaction options. You can easily mark certain spots where you want a teammate to stand or place portals. And there are also a bunch of other gestures you can do. These things allow you to co-operate without needing a microphone.
Credits are important as they give much-deserved recognition to all the hardworking people who were involved in development. Yet, they can be a little dull as most of them are pretty similar besides the names and background music. Thankfully, though, Portal 2 is different as it provides one of the best credit sequences in gaming history.
In it, GlaDOS sings a song directly to Chell. It’s a hilarious piece of music with some wonderful lyrics and a nice tune. Admittedly, it’s not entirely original, as GlaDOS also sang a song during the first game’s credits. However, the existence of the first doesn’t diminish the quality of this one. And it would be cool if other puzzle games did more with their credits.
While plenty of puzzle titles are fundamentally great, they can sometimes lack a bit of personality. The same can’t be said of Portal 2. This game has plenty of personality because of its exciting cast of characters. While there aren’t many of them in the game, the ones that are there are amazing.
GlaDOS is arguably the most talked-about as she is the poster child of the series. She was great in the first game, but the AI is even better in the sequel as she delivers a litany of hilarious lines. Yet, she’s got some stiff competition in regards to being the funniest character in Portal 2, as Wheatley and Cave Johnson are also extremely comical. They all enhance your puzzling experience without ever getting in the way.
1 Balance Simplicity And Challenge
Puzzle games should provide a challenge for the average player – unless they’re specifically designed for kids. After all, the fun of these games comes from working out the puzzles. If you figure out the solution for each one immediately, the game wouldn’t exactly have the same appeal. However, the difficulty should come from the puzzles themselves, not from the mechanics of the game.
This is the beauty of Portal 2, as the game is simple in premise. You have a gun that fires linked portals and can only put them on certain surfaces. Then over time, a few more simple mechanics are added. So, it’s easy to get a grip of the game, but the well-designed puzzles still take some brainpower to figure out. It is the perfect balance between simplicity and challenge.