April 22, 2011

Portal… My First Step Through

With the upcom­ing release of Por­tal 2 I real­ized that I had nev­er actu­al­ly sat down to play the orginal.  Sad I know, but regard­less, I’ve had Por­tal sit­ting in my ever expand­ing Steam queue for quite some­time and nev­er got around to play­ing it.  I’m not sure what had stopped me from delv­ing into it, per­haps it was the fact that I did­n’t quite under­stand what it was all about or per­haps there were to many oth­er games press­ing for my time.  Regard­less I final­ly told myself that I was going to play it after my friends at work were rav­ing about how awe­some the first one is and amaz­ing the sec­ond one was.
For those of you who don’t know what por­tal is, much like I did­n’t before I played it, it is a puz­zle game.  If you are expect­ing a high pow­ered action game you are going to be dis­ap­point­ed but that isn’t to say that por­tal is a bad game because it most defi­nate­ly is not.  Por­tal is prob­a­bly the most orig­i­nal game to come out in years.  There is real­ly noth­ing else like it on the mar­ket that I know of. 
Por­tal starts you out in a lab, where you, Chell wakes up from sta­sis hear­ing instruc­tions and warn­ings from GLaDOS about the upcom­ing test expe­ri­ence. This part of the game that involves dis­tinct test cham­bers that, in sequence, intro­duce play­ers to the game’s mechan­ics. GLaDOS’s announce­ments not only instruct Chell and help her progress through the game, but also to cre­ate atmos­phere and devel­op the AI as a char­ac­ter. Chell is promised cake and grief coun­sel­ing as her reward if she man­ages to com­plete all the test cham­bers.
I would say there are around 23 stages in por­tal.  The first ones start off with easy to solve puz­zles which require you to open only a sin­gle por­tal  and pro­gres­siv­ly get hard­er with puz­zles require eng­i­nu­ity and cre­ativ­i­ty to solve and involve the use of physics and mov­ing plat­forms. 
Being that there aren’t any ene­mies to fight with­in the game out­side of avoid­ing tur­ret fire and find­ing ways to take them out one might think that Por­tal is a bor­ing game but this could­n’t be fur­ther from the truth.  Por­tal is one of the most engag­ing games I’ve played in awhile, espe­cial­ly in the puz­zle solv­ing genre. 
Por­tal thank­ful­ly avoids the mis­takes that many oth­er puz­zle games tend to make and that is mak­ing over­ly point­less puz­zle that serve no pur­pose or puz­zles that are so insane­ly hard that you have to Stephen Hawk­ing to solve the puz­zle.  While a few of the puz­zles … “puz­zled” me for a bit I found them all to be excit­ing, intu­itive and cre­ative.  In addi­tion to hav­ing great puz­zles the games AI is ever amus­ing with lines such as “we were just kid­ding we real­ly weren’t going to kill you” or “there will be a par­ty with cake for you”.  The AI does a good job of push­ing for­ward the sto­ry as well.
Por­tal two is a unique adven­ture, one that begs to be tak­en.  If you haven’t played Por­tal or have been on the fence about try­ing it, much like I was I would sug­gest that you give it a try.  Por­tal is fan­tas­tic and I will most defi­nate­ly be pick­ing up the sec­ond one. 


  1. zero_19 - April 22, 2011 10:19 am

    Good review, I like you just recent­ly loaded por­tal up after leav­ing it sit­ting in my steam que for­ev­er and I com­pelet­ly enjoyed it.

  2. PimpmasterF - April 22, 2011 2:16 pm

    i played the 360 demo looooong time ago but nev­er went beyond that, how­ev­er I should pick this up at some point as the demo was pret­ty intrigu­ing.

  3. ScrotusKilmystr - April 23, 2011 6:29 am

    I played it back when it was bun­dled with the “Orange Box” and that bun­dle just reacked of awe­some­ness!!! I have yet to see valve let us down with qual­i­ty expe­ri­ences and a pedi­gree that is hard­ly matched in the gam­ing world Por­tal is great and with all the updates to por­tal 2 includ­ing co-op it is so far a great time and you get to stretch your brain mus­cle alit­tle as well

  4. CharcoalCoyote - April 23, 2011 7:47 pm

    I beat the first Por­tal in one sin­gle sit­ting. It is the epit­o­me of what makes a game good. The graph­ics are good, but that isn’t the sole pur­pose of the game. The con­trols are incred­i­bly famil­iar, but you use them in new and excit­ing ways. You actu­al­ly have to think to get to the end of the game, and the plot is amaz­ing. The most impor­tant part of this game, the thing that makes it so good, is that it does­n’t over­stay its wel­come. The length sits at a per­fect 4–5 hours. Any short­er and it would have been too short. Any longer and it would have got­ten bor­ing.
    On a side note, IGN did a list of “The 100 Great­est Video Game Vil­lains”, and GLaDOS beat Bows­er out for the num­ber 1 spot.

  5. eveboo - April 30, 2011 4:38 pm


  6. Kamiki - April 30, 2011 10:37 pm

    Ahhh, I wish I could buy this game. Alas, it shall have to wait until I have the mula to do so. Loved the first por­tal!

  7. thsoundman - April 30, 2011 10:41 pm

    Por­tal 2 looks amaz­ing. I’m cur­rent­ly sav­ing my dol­lars to pur­chase it as we speak. Hope­ful­ly I can pick it up with­ing the new two weeks. I know that gamestop has a deal on the ps3 ver­sion for 35$ and you get a free copy of the PC ver­sion. About the best deal in town I think.


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