A website. With stuff on it.
October 17th, 2007 at 7:51 pm
Posted By: Jay
Posted in: Rambling

Well, almost perfection. Seriously! You could be forgiven for having reasonably low expectations of a game that is being bundled merely as ‘extra content’ with Valve’s much publicised Orange Box collection, which of course stars Half Life 2, Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2. However, Portal is an incredibly polished, well thought out game that leaves you open mouthed at times with it’s ingenuity. It certainly doesn’t lack a story, either. I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say it’s extremely engaging and has a fantastic climax. It’s evident this project is a labour of love for Valve.

The premise itself is fairly unique, presenting the player with a series of obstacle course style levels where they must simply travel from the entrance to the exit, mostly utilising the very cool Portal gun (it’s not actually called a portal gun!). Once you get the idea after playing through the well paced introductions to the various concepts and techniques you’ll need to use in order to accomplish the task, it does indeed become fairly simple. Sometimes you’ll spend a minute scratching your head until it suddenly dawns on you what to do, but generally it isn’t particularly taxing or frustrating… just a lot of fun to play.

If there are any down sides, they are that a) it’s being distributed via Steam (bleurgh. I loathe Steam) and that b) it’s altogether too short. I mean, really short. Like, you can comfortably play through the entire game in one sitting. There are a few nice little extras to be unlocked once you have completed the game – there are three types of challenge, which variously involve trying to complete previous levels in the least time, the least footsteps, or the least portals. There are also 6 advanced levels, which introduce new twists on some of the later levels from the game. Where I had very little difficulty completing the main game, these had me sitting staring blankly at the screen most of the time.

Still, there is apparently a level editor to come very soon, which undoubtedly will be a marginally modified version of the Hammer editor for the HL2 engine. So I really hope to see some new user built levels to play through. Unfortunately, and I may of course be displaying an undeserved lack an faith in level builders here, I suspect that they won’t measure up to the sheer genius of Portal’s default game levels.

To sum up: get it. Now!


Portal Trailer on Youtube

Official Website

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