Monday, 3 March 2014

Review No. 70 Portal - PC (12+)

Strong Points:
Great mechanics
Good (quite dark) humour
Interesting story
Brilliant concept
Nice setting
Good post-game content

Weak Points:
Not that great animations
Dialogue is muffled and hard to hear
More of a tech demo than a game

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: October 10th, 2007

Arrow Keys: move Chell
Ctrl: crouch
Space: jump
Left Click: shoot blue portal
Right Click: shoot orange portal

This game's core mechanics are simply superb. The idea is to solve puzzles in order to pass the test by manipulating the environment and placing portals to get around. The game is a spin-off from the series Half-Life, also developed by Valve.

You play as the character Chell who you can only see if you position portals between her and look through. At the beginning of the game you wake up from a stasis chamber and are told by GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System to participate in 19 tests. These test chambers show you the gameplay mechanics and through GLaDOS speaking (the only other character in the game besides you...perhaps) you get a feel for the atmosphere and storyline behind the game.

The story while slow at first quickly develops in to a sinister tale with quite a few twists and a great deal of dark humour which will make you laugh disconcertingly. GLaDOS is a brilliant character with a great deal of personalities and is the main narrator of the story (your character doesn't speak). However, to create the dark atmosphere of the game, the sounds are surrounded by static making them sometimes muffled and hard to hear so I would suggest turning the subtitles on so that you don't miss any of the brilliant writing.

The portals and puzzles are the main reason of getting the game however. These puzzles are in the form of test chambers and are actually quite challenging, making you use the portals ability to carry the momentum of anything which passes through it creatively. These puzzles have several possible answers as well from the simple to the bizarre. There are also advanced and challenge maps which add more longevity to the game.

The setting of the game is the Aperture Science Laboratories and while not graphically astounding, with sparse rooms and textures, does create a dark and mysterious atmosphere which coupled with GLaDOS's speeches really pulls you in to the game.

Although you won't be in for very long. This game is short. Very short. You could complete this game in just over an hour if you wanted to and while the post-game content does add some re playability, you would have finished this game before long.

Conclusion: overall, this is a brilliant game, with great physics, story and humour although is let down by the graphics and being tiny in length.

Rating: 90%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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