2011 was a stunning year for gaming, with a huge number of quality titles being released in the last 12 months. While we were treated with plenty of worthy contenders, especially at the end of the year, the runner up for our Game of the Year award is Portal 2, which appeared back in April.
We already praised the first-person puzzle platformer from Valve for its story, and it’s now time to elaborate on all the other things it does so right.
The original Portal had a basic premise, of you solving puzzles with the help of a special weapon that created two linked portals wherever you want. Its sequel, however, kept that basic promise and pretty much built a whole new experience around it, based much more on the conflict between the original’s protagonist, Chell, and her antagonist, GLaDOS, the evil AI in control of Aperture Science’s testing facilities.
The story, as we said earlier this month, is top notch, with Valve managing to create with a silent protagonist, Chell, two AI-controlled robots, Wheatley and GLaDOS, alongside the voice of Aperture’s founder, Cave Johnson, one of the most touching narratives of the year.
The gameplay built upon what made the original so popular, the Portal gun, by slowly adding new elements and features, including the various gels that made solving the puzzles throughout the game that much more challenging, even if I only had a couple of moments where I was truly stumped.
What’s more, you could also play with a friend through the cooperative mode and solve even more complex puzzles that will certainly test your skills and even your friendship, in case you fall prey to GLaDOS’ mind games.
The visual aspect complements the action perfectly, with the Aperture Science facility starting out in ruins and quickly being brought back to its pristine and sterile looks, which are set in sharp contrast to the original Aperture laboratories. The soundtrack is once again top notch, with talented voice actors, including Ellen McLain as GLaDOS, Stephen Merchant as Wheatley, or JK Simmons as Cave Johnson, bringing to life the superb dialog written by the Valve team.
Overall, if you want to play only a few games this year, Portal 2 certainly needs to be among them.
Check out the video below for a brief taste of this great title.