Gaming in 2011: Portal 2

I have many favorites, and a wide array of interests, so choosing my favorite game of 2011 and fitting it all into a single game, isn’t the easiest task.

Considering that, I have to say my favorite game of 2011 is Portal 2. I have many, many reasons for this, but starting out, the game is just pure fun. It had a smart and unique niche, and no other games out there have done what it has, with the theme, story, and style of gameplay. The reasons I like Portal 2 are listed below.

Completely different gameplay in single player, and co-op play, but both have a general story mode, each being different. Even more so on the first point, in single player, you are human, and in co-op play, you are training bots. This adds a wide array of personal depth and feel to each mode. Great, in-depth, and compelling characters and backgrounds. Coming from playing the first one, I knew the familiar protagonists and antagonists, but Wheatley was a great addition. He fits in to a part of almost playing the narrator. For those of us into lore and hidden niches, this game appeals to us. Portal is based in the Half-Life universe, set before Half-Life 2 but after Half-Life 1 and Portal 2 is even further down the time line of its predecessor. Compelling and unique gameplay. The gameplay is always exciting, changing, and can be played online, or at home with your friends. There are various strategies to complete the co-op player mode and it all depends on who you have as your teammate. There is also downloadable content still to be release to further expand upon the game and gameplay.

If you’ve never played Portal, or Portal 2, let me start with a quick overview. This game is created by Valve, who also created the Half-Life series and Left4Dead. It is a shooter in a sense that you shoot portals. In this game your main point isn’t to kill things, but yet to avoid the drones and obstacles, and blast through a puzzle of walls, floors, and other objects standing in your way of the end of that area.

Your portal gun will shoot two different colored portals, an orange one and a blue one. When you shoot the first, your goal is to shoot the other, to connect the two. Sort of an entrance door and an exit door, only both are the same door, just the entrance/exit are on opposing sides. Although, you CAN’T shoot them anywhere. You MUST shoot them on the white colored walls, or paint surfaces in white pain to make the surface compatible with portal placement.

All of the puzzles seem to have a lot of thought behind their creation, and will aggravate you, but also drive you to work harder to complete them. You will find yourself standing in one place, standing around taking in the scenery, thinking of all the platforms and possibilities, and after a while it may seem daunting, but you will have many “oh yeah!” moments, in which you complete a level quickly and triumphantly.

So, covering all of the above, I find Portal 2 to be an ingenious, compelling, and frustrating game. It is a great play for advanced gamers and people new to the genre or series. I recommend it to anyone looking for fun, or fun with a friend.

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