- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.
- Suggested Platform: PC.
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Genre: Puzzle.
- Release Date: 10/09/07 (NA)
- Why Play It?: Unique, interesting puzzles with an incredibly well plot and narrative.
- Why Skip It?: If you get motion sick easily. Fairly short.
Everybody knows Portal, and for good reason. When Valve made Portal, they had no idea the kind of huge, positive reception they were going to receive. As a matter of fact, that’s why they put it in The Orange Box with Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2. Portal was just kind of placed in there as an an extra spot, not really anticipating that it would take off like it did. And did it ever, creating a huge fan following and even spurring a sequel.
Portal is a first-person puzzle game involving portals. One orange and one blue portal, to be exact. When both portals are placed, you can look through the orange portal and see out through the blue one, as if it were a window. You play as Chell, a test subject, testing Aperture Science’s equipment, like the handheld portal device. The first few test chambers are very simple and teach you the basics, such as placing a box on a button that opens a door, but once you get the portal gun and the ability to place both portals, things can get pretty creative. You’ll use your momentum to fly through portals at breakneck speeds, re-direct powerful energy pellets, and navigate through deadly (yet strangely cute) turrets and much more. You’ll learn mechanics step by step, and really feel like you’re working up to something. The final few puzzles will bend your brain in new ways, but it sure does feel satisfying when you finally get that “ah-ha!” moment and complete a puzzle.
The story spends its entirety in the huge Aperture Science complex, and just when you think you’re about to complete the game, you discover you really have another third of the game (or so) to go. The dialog from the computer overseer of the testing process, GLaDOS is incredibly well-written and performed; in fact, any dialog is a one (wo)man show. The clean, pristine environment of Aperture Science fits very well with the overarching theme. Everything just works very well together in Portal. It’s an amazing game, really. The only real gripe is if you figure out the puzzles in a timely manner, you can finish Portal very quickly.
I can’t really say too much more about the game or the puzzles because if anyone hasn’t played Portal, I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but you’re missing a fantastic game. Not only that, but this review is so short because they made a simple, wonderful game. There’s only so much I can say about it, but that does not signify that there isn’t much to say. Go play it RIGHT NOW.