Portal 2 (PlayStation 3) review: This title proves that games can indeed be art.
- Almost everything
- Why are there so many brilliant games in stores at the moment?
Just go and buy Portal 2. It's a genuine contender for the best game of all time.
Time to admit something quite embarrassing: I've never played Portal. [He's serious — Ed. A combination of owning poor PC hardware, a massive backlog of games and a preference for console gaming has meant that Valve's classic has passed me by.
Read our review of Portal 2 on the PC.
So, without knowing anything about the game many consider the best of all time, I find myself in a relatively unique position of approaching Portal 2 from a completely fresh perspective. And again, without having played the first: This is the best damned game of all time.
My initial concern was naturally that I wouldn't understand what was going on with the story. I'd head that Portal is considered an artistic game, and diving into any piece of interactive art with no backstory is quite difficult. Then a wisecracking little robot summed up the story of the first game in literally a sentence, and I was caught up.
Portal 2 is self-referential, to say the least. As often as the psychopathic GLaDOS is poking fun at your character's weight, the game is poking fun at itself, and indeed the entire games industry. In-game tutorials are given a tongue-in-cheek touch by asking a player to look up and down to complete a aerobic exercise, and then to look at a painting on the wall to gain intelligence. Portal 2 didn't need a tutorial — the game uses five buttons than anyone can figure out without hand holding, but a modern game needs a tutorial, so Valve gave us one.
Same goes for the multiplayer mode. It's co-op (death match would have been a little too silly), but completely unnecessary, and Valve knew this. There's nothing wrong with the mode — it plays quite nicely, in fact — but you can't help but feel it's part of the extended joke they're having at the games industry's expense.
The characters and plot are a delight to experience. Without ever stepping into the realm of being overbearing or forced, the humour and wisecracks continue throughout. They're often quite disturbing under the surface — think 2001: A Space Odyssey's metaphorical mechanisms delivered through the psychopathic HAL — but the delivery as nuanced, interesting entities is real proof that video games have indeed become art.
Technically, too, there's not a thing out of place in the game. The visuals are clean and the settings are interesting. The character controls like a dream, and anyone who was concerned with a lack of precision from the PlayStation 3 controller need not worry — the game is perfectly playable away from PC. Music is sparse, but brilliantly executed.
Even the achievements list has had thought put into it, asking players to engage a different set of thought processes to the in-game puzzles. It's always good to see achievements used to create additional challenges for players away from the main game — we're like to see more of this philosophy from other developers in the future.
You'll notice I haven't mentioned the actual gameplay and puzzles of Portal 2 as yet. Truth is, they're a pretty bland bunch in isolation. Though there is nothing wrong with them, the creativity comes from placing the challenges with the context of the setting and experience. In the hands of a developer with a lesser grasp of presentation and cinematics, Portal 2 would be a pretty bland, boring game.
But as those puzzles (which are often quite challenging) float past, quickly in and out of the imagination and memory, the overall impression that you're playing a truly brilliant game stays firm. This is a game you'll remember years from now — not because of its individual puzzles and challenges, but as an experience, and as a work of art. You already knew this, but Portal 2 is a must-own.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Nintendo Switch software update: What does 4.0.0 feature and how to install it?
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
- VR fairytale game Luna due for Oct 17 release
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- Dell Inspiron 5675 Gaming Desktop review
- Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTChange AnalystOther
- FTRegional Market Manager - Wide Bay RegionQLD
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTFinance Business PartnerOther
- FTInfrastructure/ Hybrid Cloud Architect - Government OrganisationVIC
- FTSenior Front End Developer - ReactJSOther
- FTTechnical Digital ProducerOther
- FTBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTTechnical Operations ManagerOther
- TPBusiness Analyst ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Technical ConsultantACT
- CCEnterprise Architect ? Network & InfrastructureNSW
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Client TechnologiesOther
- CCSenior Process SpecialistNSW
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Project Manager- Infrastructure & Application upgradeOther
- FTManager, Digital DeliveryOther
- FTAutomation Framework DeveloperVIC
- CCData AnalystQLD
- TPDelivery Lead - IT Services Function - Day rateNSW
- FTSenior Software Test AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Lead / Senior Systems EngineerOther
- CCCisco ACI Senior Network Engineer, Technical Consultant Or Network ArchitectNSW
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- CCJunior .Net Developer /Analyst ProgrammerQLD