Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle platform game developed and released by Valve in 2011 as a sequel to the original Portal released in 2007.
The setting of the game happens in the test lab of Aperture Science, where the super AI GLaDOS controls everything in the company and conducts ‘experiments’ on test subjects like Chell – the main protagonist of the game. You play as Chell to solve different kinds of puzzles presented by GLaDOS using the portal gun given to you.
Game play video:
- Mechanics: The main goal of the game is to solve puzzles using the portal gun and other actions. In the first half of the game the player solves the puzzles presented by GLaDOS, in the second half of the game, the player tries to escape from the test lab by completing puzzles as well. The game is designed into multiple chapters and maps, some of them being huge both in horizontal and vertical scales, making common maneuvers in video games insufficient to complete the levels in this game and the use of portals a necessary part of the game.
- Story: The main conflict of the game is between Chell and GLaDOS. This conflict unfolds the background behind the company Aperture Science and hints the story behind Chell’s parents. The story also justifies the purpose of GLaDOS and the reveals the technology that empowers the portal guns and other supernatural phenomenon happening in the test lab.
- Aesthetics: Portal 2 is a first-person 3D game and looks like just like every other first-person 3D game if you have not actually played it. After playing the game, you can tell the designers really put a lot of effort into the aesthetics. The aesthetics really helped the players to better understand the mechanics and follow the story of the game. For example: Surfaces that can be put a portal on and surfaces that cannot be put a portal on have different textures.
- Technology: Portal 2 was developed using the Source engine and made available on Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStaion and Xbox. So there are a lot of ways to interact with the game including mouse, keyboard, gamepad. The game also has a multiplier co-op mode, so internet connection is required to be able to play in this mode.
The Lens of Obstacle
The obvious goal is to complete the puzzles presented by GLaDOS and escape the test lab, and it is motivated by Chell’s survival instinct. The obvious obstacles are GLaDOS’s attempts to stop and kill you. However, the obstacles are also puzzles and they can be very interesting to solve. In a way, the obstacles improve the player’s ability to better at the game. Both Chell and GLaDOS are transforming subtly during the process as they realize they might have a deeper relationship than just normal test conductor and test subjects. This transformation made the game more engaging and drives the player to finish the game to find out more about their relationship.
The Lens of Fatasy
I think this game fulfills the fantasies of many people – teleport through portals. Many people have fantasied about having the ability of teleport through space to accomplish things that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Portal 2 just gives the player this ability and let the them complete goals using the power to gain a sense of accomplishment.
The Lens of Character
GLaDOS, despite being the ‘bad guy(girl)’ in this game, has a very fascinating personality. She is evil, sadistic, but as you play you would realize GLaDOS is the only one in the game that truly matters or cares for you. She always expects you to be better at what you do, in a way just like parents always hope their kids to be better. Actually, this is very possible GLaDOS is Chell’s mother according to many highly convincing theories online. Plus the fact that GLaDOS is also very funny, often cracking jokes in a trying-to-be-funny monotonous robotic tone, it makes the character seem very rich and realistic.
The Lens of Time
Portal 2 does not have a ticking clock in most part of the game, as it is mostly a puzzle game. Having a time constraint would not be a good idea as the time which different players need to figure out how to solve them can vary. However the boss fight finale has a literal ticking clock to create a sense of tension and emergency for the player, making the ending after completing the fight especially relieving and touching.