Revisiting Portal 2 - JohnWrek Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Revisiting Portal 2

Please casually note the following in this blog post you are hopefully reading today: a) I am a gamer with dual allegiances- one to the Xbox 360 community and its games, the other to the PC community and it's b) Portal 2 now has both the Peer Review DLC and the chambers associated with it, as well as the awesome might of user generated content from the Perpetual Testing Initiative. Seeing as I own both PC and Xbox versions, I will talk about both.

This small blog that revisits the wonderful puzzle and action game Portal 2, created by Valve, will seek to explain and breakdown experiences in the game to three simple parts. These parts will be the campaign, cooperative mode, and downloadable content/creation content. I will also express my opinions profusely, attempt to sway you into purchasing the game if you haven't already- better late than never, and compare the two versions which I myself personally own. Well, let's start shall we?

Campaign Impressions- total gameplay time estimated at 21 h 15 m 31 sec (3 playthroughs)

Valve really outdid themselves with the creation of Portal 2 in many different ways. One of these ways is of course the very compelling single player campaign of moderate length. While nearly doubling Portal 1's campaign size, I still really wished it could've drug on longer in its sequel, as the addicting and creatively crafted puzzles always make you want more. It's a good thing we PC players can actually design our own test chambers now, but anyway.

Following Chell, the main character of the previous title once more, Portal 2 sheds more light on just about every aspect of the story. You learn more about Glados, and actually almost pity the machine at one point, but not for long. You learn about Chell herself- although she remains as stoically mute as usual and that is to be expected. You learn about potatoes (no lie) and even haul one around for the better part of the campaign after making a dastardly mistake and attempted escape. You even find peace, at the end after some more lunatic lunar moments...

Truthfully, although its been the better part of six months since I've played the Xbox 360 version of the game, and the campaign itself- I must say, it is truly one of the best stories that I've ever had the luck to find myself immersed within. Also, it is equally explosive and reserved at points, with as much action and tension as Call of Duty in the opening setpieces.

While it may not have a high replayability rate because each runthrough is virtually the same, except for how you approach and tackle challenges- the amount of content available to you and challenge levels make for a long playthrough and grand experience the whole way through. While there are essentially only nine or ten parts or 'chapters' to the story, each builds upon the last in terms of size, story progression, puzzles and their difficulty, and even powers, collectables, and puzzle types. It's almost like the cooperative modes as well, where this is also incorporated with grand and haughty pose.

From the very beginning, with the 'wake up call' to the ending moments and the final, triumphant song and Chell's miraculous reward- you will love or have already loved Portal 2's main campaign indeed. Valve's usual expertise in game creation shines through more vividly and faster than ever, as this was released only roughly a year after Portal 1 hit the shelves beside its Orange Box companions of Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episodes 1-2. Here's to another hopeful sequel, even though it will probably mean a newer and updated story for the better part, seeing as Portal 2 was very conclusive at its ending...

Cooperative Impressions- total gameplay time estimated at 13 h 38 m 29 sec (2 playthroughs)

I must say, if you thought that the single player mode of Portal 2's campaign was stellar, wait until you've tried your hand at its multiplayer and cooperative modes. While singleplayer was everything that I had hoped it would be, the cooperative mode brings to light all of those fantasies that I'd had about Portal i the first place- namely, sharing an adventure with another companion, and this time one that wouldn't hopefully be sacrificed needlessly at the end.

You have over 50 chambers of fun, and even one downloadable content pack to share with any companion of your choice. Choose between two quirky robotic testers, including P-Body, and embark upon an insane adventure without remorse. Even better is the fact that Valve manages to filter in a little backstory at the same time, without completely overwhelming the player with another giant story, but with enough detail and fun to sate your palate.

Add in about fifty percent of the game's nifty achievements, online play or splitscreen classic, and you've got yourself a great bonus deal my friend. The craziest thing is the unlimited approaches to tests and their puzzles, the numerous amount of ways to interact with your counterpart- for good or ill, and the awesome shennanigans you two can get into that constantly tick Glados off and impress her at the same time.

Add in the same amazing dialogue from the main story's campaign, some added easter eggs, and much more content for free upgrades and patches and you've got one of the best deals ever! And that's what you will find yourself with throughout the long cooperative campaign which is totally worth the 100G to finish and the prestige that comes with your perserverance and aptitude.

Downloadable Impressions- total gameplay time estimated at 4 h 5 m 43 sec (2 playthroughs)

The Peer Review DLC is a nice and refreshing change of pace for the game- both on the computer and the Xbox 360 versions. With a few all new chambers, a few new tests, and newer quirks and ingenious puzzles- you're set and ready to go for another wild Portal 2 experience after playing through the cooperative missions of this content pack. The best thing about it? Oh yeah, it's completely free.

Another thing to catch the attention of just about any and everyone is the fact that now (sadly as of the moment only on the PC versions) anybody can use the Perpetual Testing Initiative elements to finally craft their own test chambers with all of the tools ever used or seen within a  Portal game to date- as well as a few added new bonuses. even better is the fact that you have a host of community levels always being created, and you are free to play each and every single one of them to your heart's content. With varying levels of difficulty and fun, each has a challenge set for all types of players of all difficulty levels and expertise ranges.

This makes both of these downloadable features quite a must-have for all users it is available to alike. If you have any types of the game- then I'd definitely recommend that you try out either of these ambitious endeavors. Enjoy them!

PC v. Xbox 360 Versions

As of yet, the only true differences between the two versions of the game (as the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are roughly the same in terms of content available) are the facts that one has the Perpetual Testing Initiative, and the other doesn't. Other than that, the only differences are in patches and updates, amount of support added, and content.

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