Saturday, April 30, 2011

Portal 2(PS3) - Fun and Challenging

Finally, I found a copy of Portal 2 for PS3 in my local electronic store. It has been sold out everywhere. I was so excited to play it. I have played Portal 1 on my laptop but my laptop is crappy so I had to give up. Still, I got Portal 2 for the PS3 because you can have cross-platform gameplay and steam cloud. Don't forget the initiative bonus code so you can download a free copy of Portal 2 for PC/Mac.

PS3 Portal box art
Seriously, I have never played a game with two sarcastic characters that will make you laugh throughout the game. It is like watching a stand-up comedy while playing the game which never gets boring as you go along each levels in Portal 2. Each dialogue will make you think and smile. I think this is one of the things that makes this game interesting and original. The first person view also immerses you the "maze".

Portal 2 is set few years (or more) after Portal 1. Glados is back and will be with you again throughout the story. It starts with you trapped in a room and a voice asking you to perform actions. After that, your environment starts shaking and collapsing because your room is being moved by Wheatley - a blue eyed core. Thus, your journey inside Aperture lab begins.

Anyways, the first levels are basically training levels. They can get very challenging as you go along each one; requiring you to think and perform tasks based on timing and problem solving. I did have some trouble figuring out one or two level. Maybe it is because midnight and I could not think properly. I was scratching my head too much while trying to figure out the logic behind the lasers and portals and gels ...oh man there were so many things to handle. Sometimes that I just want to drop the controller.

I have only played the beginning of co-op since the PSN is down. I played it offline with my sibling. So I can't say anything much about it other than...yes it requires a great deal of co-ordination and teamwork. It still deal with the same basic principle of using portals and your brain.

The graphics in single player is excellent. No framerate problems and everything sails smoothly even if there are many things going around the environment. I believe they have used anti-alias in this game as everything looks smooth and not jagged. After going through the developer commentary level, I found out that the main goal of the engine is to reduce the amount of CPU power needed to render the environment. The design of the characters and levels are minimalistic but at the same time has this sense of high technology/futuristic and  a modern feeling. Character designs are well thought too. The developers explained how they came up with the characters in the game.

Just like the graphical style of being minimalistic, controls are the same and easy to get used to. The only button you will be pressing most of the time are R1 and L1 since they are for making portals. Other than that, O makes you crouch and R2 for zoom in. I got used to the controls within the first 5 minutes of playing. I wish this game has supported the move motion controller because that would be so perfect.

The voice acting, sounds of environment crashing, gel flowing is very crisp and realistic. The voice acting is well done! It gives and shows the personality of each robots and emphasize it. The sound of footsteps and landing on metal after making a leap of faith is very satisfying. They did a great job also making the ambience realistic. The background music was alright. Sometimes it gets emotional depending on what chapter you are in. Sometimes, I do not even notice there is music playing at all.

Voucher for PC/Mac
The best part of having a PS3 copy is the cross-platform co-op and the free copy that comes along for PC/Mac. Also, Steam cloud is available for the PS3 platform. It is different from the PS cloud. I am excited to log-in with my Steam account on the PS3 to link it with my PSN. I have some couple of PC player friends that play Portal 2. For now, I can't since the PSN is still down due to a recent tragic event. I can't wait to see more titles that support cross-platform gaming.

Overall, I think I am very extremely super satisfied with this game. I wish there are more levels to beat on the campaign mode. The graphics is nice as well as the sound. It is easy to get used to the control settings but I wish it supported the Move. Voice acting is fantastic. The biggest bonus why I purchased the game, the cross-platform capability. I think that will be part of the future of gaming for both consoles and PC version. I have no gripes about this game as it stayed true to the story. Kudos to Valve for making such a great game. I  would rate the game 9.5/10. I just wish there are more testing done. 


Update (1): Valve has announced that there will be an upcoming DLC for Portal 2. I am looking forward to it. They might bring port Steam/Valve games if they see that Portal is a success.

Oh and to clear it up, you can only play on one platform at the same time after you redeem your code for PC/Mac download since that code is attached to your PSN name.

I definitely think that Portal 2 is very successful. Portal 2 was sold out everywhere I went on the release day. Also, I finished the game. Perfect ending :)

Update(2): PC to PS3 Co-op is fun! Works the same way as PS3 to PS3. PC players can communicate via text chat or mic. Since steam is on the PS3 version also, you can chat with your friend in steam that are PC players. You can also log in at your PC and PS3 at the same time on steam (not the game though). You will be able to see the same messages on your PC and through the TV at the same time. I love it. PC players can type in-game text but I have not figured out if it is possible with the PS3 too. Anyways, it is pretty sweet to have a cross-platform gameplay. I wish there are more games like this.

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