Developer(s): Valve Corporation
Genre(s): Puzzle, First-Person
Platform(s): PC, XBOX360, PlayStation3
Portal's plot is revealed to the player via audio messages from GLaDOS and side rooms found in the later levels. The game begins with Chell waking up from a stasis bed and hearing instructions and warnings from GLaDOS about the upcoming test experience. This part of the game involves distinct test chambers that, in sequence, introduce players to the game's mechanics. GLaDOS' announcements serve not only to instruct Chell and help her progress through the game, but also to set the game's 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. She proceeds through the empty Enrichment Center, interacting only with GLaDOS. Over the course of the game, GLaDOS's motives are hinted to be more sinister than her helpful demeanor suggests. Although she is designed to appear helpful and encouraging, GLaDOS's actions and speech suggest insincerity and callous disregard for the safety and well-being of the test subjects.
(Reviewer's Note: Plot taken from Wikipedia.org)
"Pure genius" were my first thoughts when I first played this game in the XBOX360. Ever since Half-Life, Valve always had great stories for they're games, and Portal has no exception. From the start to finish of the story, you'll never see a dull moment, but like most puzzle games, story doesn't have much meaning to the game, thus I can only write so much about it.
Now here's what the game's is all about. If you don't know how to play Portal, the picture on the right will give you an idea how.
What I can say about the gameplay is that it's very different from what you usually see in a first-person game. No enemy war soldiers/zombies/aliens for that matter. Just you, obstacles in the way, and an exit.
Some people say that Portal's gameplay is very simple and needs more flare to it. Simple? Yes, it's simple enough (or maybe too simple) to learn and have fun with, but needing more flare? I don't think so. In games like Portal you don't need more of that. It has a basic concept that works very well and that's enough for one to enjoy this game. Yes, it does take some time to get used to, and maybe you even have to go through some headaches and/or vomiting, but for most people who are used to FPS games it'll only take a while to get used to.
Though at times the game does feel linear due to the flow of the story, but of course in a game like this, that line can easily be broken by your creativity and sense of humor. In this game you can't just stand in one place and think on how to solve the puzzles because usually you will be wrong. You also can't do much without thinking because you will also end up dead. In this game you have to do and think at the same time. I know it sounds weird, but once you play this game, you'll understand the feeling.
Most of the puzzles in the game are easy to moderately difficult, but some are just brutal. Maybe one of my complaints in Portal is the fast rise of difficulty between levels.
Why don't you be the judge?
Everything looks very smooth (unless the thing your looking at is naturally not). Lighting is great with accurate shadows, and even the PC I played it in (512 Mb video card memory and 2 Gb RAM) could play it with everything in the game's graphic settings at the highest level, at 800x600 resolution, with no lag, so I can safely say that even if you install Portal in a good Netbook or other laptop, you could still play and enjoy it (maybe at a low or medium graphic setting).
Loading times are really fast between levels and only takes a while to load near the end of the game, but other than some parts, I never really complained with loading time.
Since Portal utilizes the Source Engine, and you know how either Half-Life 2 or Counter-Strike Source looks like, then you can have a good idea how the graphics looks like.
(sure it's not from the Game, but come on! It looks cool!)
As I said before, Portal uses the Source Engine, so controls can easily be changed even in-game, so not much complaints there. With default controls, even I had to get used to some things in the game like holding items and the jump height of the character, but these things are just small problems that can be fixed with an hour or so of getting used to the game.
Thanks to the keyboard and mouse of the PC, playing Portal was much more easier in my experience than playing it in the XBOX360. With the "WASD" moving and the pinpoint sensitivity of the mouse really helped a lot. Take note that I finished the XBOX360 version in 6-8 hours while the PC version took only 4-5 hours. Don't get me wrong though! When I played Portal again in the PC I did forget all of the puzzles.
Well not much can be said from the sounds in Portal. I guess Valve really wanted the game to not have much sounds. I mean, in the whole game you can maybe only hear 4 or 5 BGMs.
Voice Acting? Well the only one that talks in the game is the A.I. that's instructing your character, so not much of that as well, but the way the A.I. talks and what it says is really hilarious.
What to write?.. What to write?..
Portal is a great game. Period. I suggest to people who take video games seriously to play this game. Only crazy people would say that Portal is a bad game.
Story: 10 (Very good with unexpected plot twists.)
Gameplay: 9 (Fun and different, but takes time to get used to.)
Graphics: 10 (B-E-A-utiful!)
Controls: 9 (Easy to learn and change.)
Sounds: 4 (Not much to hear here.)
Overall Score: 10
Well, thanks for reading my game review.
Portal (PC version), you've just been tagged!