I wasn't familiar with this game at all, I only heard whispers about the first Portal here and there, but knew nothing concrete about it.
Since I haven't played with the first Portal, I don't have the burden to compare the two. It was a completely fresh experience. All I knew before starting the game that it's a puzzle game centred around the portal gun. I was expecting a game without a story or real world setting, where the point is only to solve the puzzles and be done with it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the game not only has a backstory, but a main character, a real story, and even a villain.
The first game received a lot of praise for the complexity of its puzzles, I don't know if that praise was misplaced or the first really is that much more complex. I'm saying that because the puzzles in this game are very very easy. Apart from one or two maps the solution was immediately apparent just by looking at the layout. I'm not joking, I installed the game on a morning and finished it by lunch. Maybe 5-6 hours. And since it is a puzzle game there is no difficulty setting, so you can't start again on hardcore, for a challenge.
I know that since the release of the game a lot of community content became available for it, but I can't take those into account. I'm not reviewing mods and community add-ons, only the game as it was released. Which is lacking in terms of properly challenging your brain. I don't want to spend hours staring at levels but a bit more complexity would've been welcome. I know that every game publisher wants to reach the widest audience possible, but I believe that the core gaming community is capable of more than this. I was literally flying trough the levels without pause. The difficulty of the puzzles are almost comparable to those in Rise of the Tomb Raider. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the difference is much smaller than I'd expect.
Graphics wise it's on par with Half Life 2, maybe the textures became a bit higher resolution since then. So it's not going to mesmerise you with the visuals.
In the technical aspects however the game is flawless. It runs smoothly with high frame rates, without stuttering, and I encountered no bugs at all, not even minor ones. But Valve were traditionally good in this regard.
I enjoyed the story aspect of the game, and Stephen Merchant delivers a great performance as Wheatley. Without him the game would've been much flatter.
- There is a story - this surprised me
- end cutscene
- Technically flawless
- Puzzles are too easy
- Thanks to the easy puzzles it can be finished in half a day.
- Replay worthiness is 0.0
graphics/realization: 6/10 (flawless but outdated even for 2011)
It's great fun, if you haven't played it yet, go ahead, it's less than 2 bucks in the summer sale.