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GladOS Has a Word with Namibia…

Just caught word of this, and instantly knew what the bigger picture was.  A metallic ball has dropped from the sky causing nearly a twelve foot wide crater in Namibia, Africa.  Clearly is came from fairly high up to cause a dent in the earth that big.

Rather, it came from somewhere *very* high up.  It was reportedly made from an “alloy unknown to man” that appears to be a sphere that was welded together from two identical pieces.

This leads to only one possible conclusion.



Portal 2: A Reaction From A Dangerous, Mute, Lunatic

H’okey dokey! (Spoiler free, by the way) The Misses went and rented Portal 2 for me the other day, and I am proud to say that I beat the snot out of it!  As I played the game I noticed things, both good and bad, but I wanted to go back and check over the developer commentary option as it added a great deal of information to the original Portal game.  Doing so would also help me potentially see a clue I missed, or similar hidden area of the game I glossed over along my path to completion.

The Bad

I want to get the bad out-of-the-way first, as if I don’t, this critique’ll likely get long, mumbly-jumbly, and have this, well, negative vibe to it.  I wanna keep it light and save my rantings for a possible In-Depth post to follow this one.  Again, most of the game is very well done; top-notch stuff.  That said…

The game needed more polish-time in the coding department, mostly the second and third sections of the game.

Quite a few times something went wrong in the game that was neither my nor the game’s fault.  Just something went wrong, bugged out, and I died because of it.  In one case I jumped on a box I placed on a catwalk that randomly launched me far away before the screen faded to black. I only knew for sure that it killed me when I noticed that the level restarted. 

In another example, I did precisely what the game wanted me to do to solve the puzzle, yet I died.  This set me back at least a half-hour (likely double) as I started concocting deeply laid plans and ideas on how to best the challenge and realign the same cogs I started out with.  After a long while of experimenting and staring at what the level was telling me, I realised I was way beyond over-thinking the puzzle, and figured something must have went wrong my initial attempt.  I did it again, only the second time it worked.

Sadly, the portal related issues from the first game have not been addressed for the sequel.  I actually think the issue was more or less hidden under the rug than actually fixed as the game was sure to avoid the same types of puzzles that made it so noticeable in the original.  I’m talkin’ ’bout the “jump in first portal, get sent out upside down the second” that causes a nearly nauseating flip-flop of the camera every two seconds.  (Generally this only happens when you need to fly into both portals to gain momentum and fire off another portal while airborne to go flying out of next.  –Making this a double-whammy.) When the screen is constantly flopping around it is difficult to properly aim, to say the least. 

So yes. That still needs fixing.

As it is getting a bit long, to wrap up The Bad, repetition started to nag the end of the game, and the Developer Commentary needed a LOT of work, making the whole aspect look like a flimsy add-on.  The original commentary was awesome; this time I found myself explaining aloud what Valve did and why they had to do it in such a way more than they did.  Some levels didn’t even have sound clips, while almost all only had one.  One.  One clip every twenty minutes or so?  Weak.

The Good

It is hard to say without spoilers, but I will mention that the first third of the game is a clear above-and-beyond presentation than the latter two.  There is a point where you can actually get an achievement for doing something that I think marks the high-point of the game, and actually for that matter there is another achievement that marks the lower part, but that’s another topic!

The comedy is going to be promoted by everyone who plays the game, and I really did enjoy it.  Again, this dips quite a bit later on, but the game is always kept cheerful and spiced by bits of comedy.  I recently talked about this in comparison to Brutal Legend, and how I described it is, while Brutal was very fun early on and tapered off, Portal 2 keeps it at a steady pace.  Brutal is for deep laughs every few, while Portal 2 is a chuckle a minute sort of deal.  And without spoiling anything, you are going to love Wheatley.

“Just say ‘Apple.’  ‘Apple.’ “

There are a lot of similarities to Half Life 2 in this game, in particular there is a bit with a flashlight that will remind you of Alyx and a dark, zombie-filled tunnel in no time.

The ‘Rat Dens’ or Rat Man areas in the game are welcomed back, and some are hidden very well!  I counted at least four, but I’m sure I might have missed one or two along the way.  Adding onto that, there is one detail within a certain… scientific display about a potato that I thought was awesome.

By far, Portal 2 is a great game.  I am actually typing this as positively as I can, as I know I can mention the little nit-picky things that get to me and make it sound like I loathe something when I’m just listing the things that they could have done better, so I’m going out of my way to say:  This game is great, and if all you can do is rent it or play it at a friends house, do so!  I’m rating this one as a Rental, but a full week rental ^_^  I did not spend any time on the multiplayer aspect, even if I wanted to the Playstation Network is still down, so if you got friends or working internet, you’ll probably enjoy this one even more than I!


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