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chungy

So, I just played through Portal

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And here's my perhaps late review:

I don't think it's as close to perfection as some people seem to say it is. Towards the middle portion, it was getting really repetitive and kind of boring; although granted I played it mostly in one go, with only two or three breaks from it. I was at areas just hoping that the level end was near rather than hoping for more, but the GlaDOS fight was pretty unique and I enjoyed that.

There's not a whole lot to say about the game mechanics, though I never understood how a game around portals could even work before I saw how they operated (I had this idea that they were like Quake portals until I played it...). You basically get portals which provide a crystal-clear view of the other side (which may be on the same or opposite wall, for hilarity), and fairly smooth transitions between them. Momentum and direction are preserved through the portals, which provides some interesting puzzles which involve jumping over large gaps by the use of falling down to a lower portal placed on the floor.

Surprisingly, there is a backstory and it takes a few levels before you start to even realize the fact. Without spoilers, the story is somewhat interesting although fairly cliché (basically, an AI gone wrong and killed everybody before you). The developers admit that the entire story is not revealed in this first game, and more elements to it will be revealed in the future (eg, the relationship between Aperture Laboratories and Half-Life's Black Mesa Compound, which ties the two otherwise seemingly separate universes).

The game includes a developer commentary which is bizarrely similar to a DVD's director commentary; I actually find this one of the most interesting aspects. Basically there's some comic-style speech bubbles throughout the levels that you click your USE key on to activate, and someone at Valve will talk about the development of the game, usually related to the area you are at and the game mechanics involved. This requires playing through the entire game though, so I've only gone through about 10 levels of commentary mode; this may or may not be due to replay value of the game, but I started it right after I finished playing the game regularly, so there's nothing definitive to say about that.

In art style, the game developers go after a very simplistic direction. Imagine that Apple Computer designs the Aperture Laboratory, and that's what it looks like. The beginning levels are crisp and shiny, as if the testing chambers are well-maintained. As you progress, however, you discover that no person occupies the buildings, and it's been abandoned for a while; the later chambers even go as far as looking as if they've been purposefully damaged by insane subjects of the rooms.

In execution, the game is done fairly well. You start out feeling like it's a simple puzzle game in some testing chambers, and you end up having to think of some rather complex solutions even outside of the testing chambers. GlaDOS isn't just an AI with an annoying computer generated voice, it provides quite a bit of cynicism and humor; for example, it tries to kill the player at one point in a 4000° fire (Celsius or Fahrenheit isn't specified iirc, but it doesn't really matter at that level), and then pretends it was yet another test. The AI promises cake throughout the game, which is never offered to the player (previous victims scribble "the cake is a lie" all over the walls, so you can blame Portal for that stupid Internet meme), though it is seen after you beat the game. The ending credits suggest that GlaDOS is not truly dead, which opens the door wide open for sequels.

All in all, I think this game deserves an 8 out of 10. Pretty good for a start, but there's a lot of room left for improvement. (Actually, I won't be surprised if there's nice levels made for it as mods, but I can't play them as I needed to get the Xbox 360 version...)

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Ironically enough, I too just finished beating portal for the first time and I am a little less satisfied than you. I found myself being extremely irritated at the last few levels, because the game just drags on and on at that point. My other gripe is the lack of variety. Granted, there are only so many puzzles that can be done with portal, but I felt like they could make it more varied.

Its definitely a good setup for a sequel at the end, and I imagine when Portal 2 comes out, the gameplay will be more developed and varied.

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MasterOFDeath said:

My only problem with portal is that some people STILL think "The cake is a lie XDDDD" is SOOO FUNNY. Great game otherwise.

And the thing is, a lot of the people I hear spouting "LAWLS THE CAKE IS A LIE" have never even played the game before.

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This was a triumph.

MikeRS said:

(previous victims scribble "the cake is a lie" all over the walls, so you can blame Portal for that stupid Internet meme)

Hey, that's the name of the WoW guild me and my friends are in.

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I really enjoyed Portal, and found the game to be very entertaining and creative. The gameplay was something completely new to me. Some parts of the game (the middle) can become a little boring, but maybe thats just me. My favorite part of the game was the fact that the player never once comes across another person, a little creepy. I was also very sad when I had to dispose of my Weighted Companion Cube :((

Overall, I'd give the game a 4/5.

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EarthQuake said:

Compared to all the other shite out there, Portal is a godsend. That's my review.

Doom 3 could also be considered a godsend on the same statement. Doesn't mean it's perfect by far.

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I got it in the Orange box last Xmas.. I beat it in like six hours..(Not takeing any breaks mind you). The funny thing is I wanted to get the Orange box because of Portal. And it was over real quick for me. I had heard of Half-life, but knew nothing much at all about it..but now that I have, I can't believe I missed out in that game all that time.

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I loved the Glados humor, but the game was ridiculously short. It took me two and a half hours to beat.

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Funny, I just got the Orange Box for PS3 at WalMart yesterday. Many old games being hyped for xmas just hit the cheap rack, so they're $20 instead of $50 now. Orange Box has Portal as one of the games, so I'm just getting ready to play it. :)

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MasterOFDeath said:

My only problem with portal is that some people STILL think "The cake is a lie XDDDD" is SOOO FUNNY. Great game otherwise.


What? You mean it isn't?

Anyway, "Still Alive" playing at the end makes it all worth it, IMO ;)

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Texas Libra said:

What? You mean it isn't?

Anyway, "Still Alive" playing at the end makes it all worth it, IMO ;)

It is, really, and was all fun during the buzz of the game being first released but a year later now and it's moment has long passed to me.

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Patrick Pineda said:

I found myself being extremely irritated at the last few levels, because the game just drags on and on at that point.

I've heard Portal described as a lot of things; "dragging on and on" is a new one to me. It can be finished in two hours...

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I enjoyed portal, but I don't think it was this amazing experience everyone talks about. Yes it used a fairly innovative gameplay mechanic, puzzle solving in first person, and it had a wonderfully cynical sense of humour, but as a game it comes across as just good. It's very well made, but it doesn't really stand out as a messiah of ingenuity, as it's been made out to be. As short as it is, it still gets rather boring simply from the lack of variety. "Put portal here, jump through it into this portal, shoot a new portal here so you can jump through it." I'd probably give it a 7/10. The portal and puzzle solving mechanics are neat, but it gets really repetetive. There's no real random factors that change the gameplay, such as enemy AI. Although the GlaDos comments and the general humour helped keep me interested to the end. I still feel sad when I knock over a sentry gun and it says "I still love you".

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PhilibusMo said:

You guys all took ages to complete it, i got it done in just under an hour. :D


That maybe so,,But me beating Portal in 6 hours (or so, see above post) for me is really fast for my slow ass! :P

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PhilibusMo said:

You guys all took ages to complete it, i got it done in just under an hour. :D

Why were you in such a hurry?

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I wasn't it was just really easy. also I tried it a second time around to see if there was anything interesting or funny I had missed, there wasn't an awful lot but I did watch the apperture/black mesa slide shows and there was a small drawing of a jelly fish on one of the walls which amused me greatly.

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It took me a couple days to complete it. I was kind of disappointed at the end. I was told that I would be baked and given cake and I found myself in a room filled with fire.

But the game was pretty fun, I was hoping that it'd be longer though.

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Shadow Dweller said:

It took me a couple days to complete it. I was kind of disappointed at the end. I was told that I would be baked and given cake and I found myself in a room filled with fire.


I'm hoping you didn't just die at the end of the last test chamber and miss out on half of the game...

Edit: I thought Portal was awesome. Yeah it was kinda short. But if it had gone on much longer, it would have started to drag a bit, probably. It was a good length. The humour and writing was excellent as well.

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It was a bit short. Never got bored with it and I wish there had been some harder puzzles. There's really no end to the possibilities as far as portal puzzles go.

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I got the Orange Box for about $50 mostly for Team Fortress 2, but I consider Portal and Half-Life 2 to be bonuses. It also contains a few bonus maps for Portal that are supposed to be much harder. I never bothered to try them all, but they seem to be mere variations of the standard maps. Also, Weighted Companion Ball.

As for Team Fortress 2, best game of the bunch by far, despite not having grenades. The constant updates and achievement packs make up for that...mostly.

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MikeRS said:

(Actually, I won't be surprised if there's nice levels made for it as mods, but I can't play them as I needed to get the Xbox 360 version...)


The few mods I downloaded for it were utter crap - granted this was back when it first came out. Hopefully there is some better quality stuff now. Kinda hoping for a Cube movie mod...

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