Home Indie Game Portal: Companion Assortment (Assessment) | Indie Gamer Chick

Portal: Companion Assortment (Assessment) | Indie Gamer Chick

Portal: Companion Assortment (Assessment) | Indie Gamer Chick


Ten years in the past, in a post-seizure stupor that left me unable to get my sport on for practically a full week, I named my gun-to-head Prime-10 video video games of all-time. I’ve by no means actually been a fan of that. I do know that’s a bizarre factor to say for a sport reviewer who, in lieu of evaluation scores, simply lists all of the indies she’s reviewed within the precise order she recommends them. However, the factor with that’s, I’ve been documenting how I got here to my indie advice order. It’s known as Indie Gamer Chick. You’re studying it, proper now. Whats up! Yea, I can’t imagine I’ve lasted eleven years both.

I’d use this caption to complain concerning the limitless “cake is a lie” jokes, however I’ve a plushie companion dice someplace. I’m a part of the issue. Really, I believe Brian purchased that for me. Woo hoo, I’m absolved of all guilt!

Anyway, I named Portal one in every of my ten favourite video games of all time, and Portal 2 received to return alongside for the experience. I hadn’t executed an entire run by means of Portal since 2007, and Portal 2 was, together with L.A. Noire, the final main AAA sport I performed earlier than beginning this very web site in July, 2011. I really preferred L.A. Noire much more again in 2011. It was the primary sport I, in my newly-found authority as a pseudo-famous sport critic, named my Sport of the Yr. That most likely didn’t age properly. I can’t think about getting any worth out of L.A. Noire right this moment, in 2022. Then once more, I used to be sure Portal and Portal 2 would lose their luster enjoying them once more. They’re humor-based puzzle video games. When you’ve heard the jokes and know the options to every room, what extra are you able to get out of them?

I used to be unsuitable, as I usually am with regards to video games and the check of time.

WarioWare, Inc. - Mega Microgame$! (USA)-220724-103345

In 2012, I gave WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$ the sting as my private favourite sport ever. I’ll be updating the record earlier than 2022 is up, and there’s a robust likelihood that the one two video games from the unique record might be WarioWare and Portal. I’ll get round to the record round November, give or take.

Effectively, each had been simply re-released on Nintendo Change for an absurd $19.99 price ticket. Jeez, two of the very best video games ever for $20? Are you shitting me? It kind of makes Nintendo appear to be douchebags for placing their outdated video games out for $50, doesn’t it? So, let’s check out them individually.

You know the way so many players bitch about video games “holding their arms?” Portal is THE hand-holding puzzle sport. I’ve by no means performed a sport earlier than or since that actually explains the right way to beat each single puzzle within the sport to you prefer it does. BUT, Portal does it in a method the place you don’t understand you’re being advised precisely what to do. Listening to the audio commentary included with the sport, I used to be surprised by simply how a lot play-testing went into it. I’m used to enjoying video games from builders who suppose play-testing means you give somebody a replica of your sport after which sit and Mommy them by means of it. You already know, inform them precisely what to do in the event that they encounter an issue as a substitute of watching them in silence and re-calibrating primarily based on that. That’s not what Valve did.

I want extra video games had audio commentaries. I do know they’re principally utilized by sport builders, however there’s a variety of these as of late, in case you didn’t discover. However critically indie builders, particularly these of you fortunate sufficient to make it to the large time, you discovered classes alongside the way in which. There might be a era after you, and also you owe it to them to cross alongside what you discovered. It’ll preserve our pastime’s gentle shining shiny.

They watched the gamers and as a substitute of claiming “you’re supposed to do that..” their builders did that within the sport with out really saying it, and mainly created an prolonged tutorial so superb that many name it the best online game ever made. They used fundamental psychology and the affiliation to coach gamers with visible cues. Have been you supposed to construct up momentum on a particular spot? They designed the primary stage the place you want momentum in order that the spot you begin constructing momentum from is laid out a sure method, then repeated that format in most future areas the place you employ momentum. Have been gamers not wanting up in an space they’re imagined to look-up? They used retractable partitions to name consideration to it. Via lightning, stage path, and visible cues, they mainly information you in the direction of every room’s resolution. Oddly, not one of the “waaaaa, video games maintain your hand an excessive amount of as of late” crowd singles out Portal, despite the fact that it’s a sport that holds your hand so tightly it turns purple.

The humorous factor is, after giving gamers clues and hidden chambers that give the automated check vibe of the sport a delicate eeriness, the ultimate act of the sport veers into spooky and unnerving much better than 90% of the survival horror titles I’ve tried in my lifetime. I believe that’s most likely why Portal 2 leans a lot heavier into creepiness. You don’t consider Portal and Portal 2 as horror video games, however the hairs had been standing up on the again of my neck the whole time, like I used to be ready for a soar scare that by no means occurred.

But, Portal by no means feels condescending about it. In truth, you often really feel fairly rattling sensible whenever you clear up a puzzle. Why is that? That’s what’s been on my thoughts this week: what makes Portal work, that surpasses all generations, and all tastes in gaming? It’s a puzzle worthy of Portal itself, and I used to be stumped on it. It’s actually not the style. Belief me; puzzlers will not be a brilliant standard avenue for gaming. Of the twenty least-viewed sport evaluations I’ve executed, over half are for puzzlers, and all however two are IGC-Accepted. Then there’s Portal, a sport with common enchantment. Even individuals who don’t like first particular person shooters will play it, as a result of it’s not a shooter. Individuals who don’t like puzzlers prefer it. And I’ve to imagine it’s extra than simply the pitch-perfect humor. Comedy will be superior seasoning for a online game, however no one performs video games only for their humorousness.

In my second play-through of Portal, one annoyance and one real gameplay downside caught out to me. The annoyance: I had a bent to make myself duck after I didn’t need to. I have to not have been alone, as a result of ducking was eliminated totally from Portal 2. The precise downside: the ultimate boss sucks. I hate it. I hate that it has a time restrict. I hate that it goes in opposition to the tone of the sport. I want that they had simply executed a troublesome puzzle to finish. They might have simply saved the “retrieve the cores and drop them within the furnace” mechanic. That’s positive, however having GLaDOS shoot missiles at you was like one thing out Tremendous Mario Bros. and a poor match, in my view. Portal 2 does mainly the identical idea, and that struggle sucks too.

I got here to the next conclusion: Portal is sport that makes you be ok with your self. It’s you, a sterile room, and a few traps, and it’s a must to use your wits for them. It helps that the puzzles aren’t impossibly onerous. In 2012, I reviewed a 2D tackle Portal known as Gateways! that, 3,599 days later remains to be ranked #32 out of all 634 indies I’ve really wrote a evaluation for. It’s a wiser Portal, with the most mind-bending puzzles I’ve ever skilled in my life. It’s by far the sport I’m most happy with ending. But, it by no means discovered its viewers. It’s too good. Portal is Goldilocks good.. excellent. Whenever you end a stage, the “ta dah” moments will be exhilarating, even on the best levels (after all, the mechanics additionally dictate you won’t even understand whenever you’ve completed a stage. I had that occur a couple of occasions). Having performed a whole lot of puzzlers, I can’t consider a single one which does that. Solely Portal. A brief, linear, glorified tech demo shouldn’t be ageless. Portal is. Portal 2 isn’t. At the very least as a lot.

Like the very best puzzlers, Portal does what I prefer to name “the Large Overwhelm” the place, at first you’re dumbfounded by the conundrum introduced to you. One so huge you surprise if the logic of it would ever reveal itself to you. Hell, a few of my favourite puzzlers don’t characteristic the Large Overwhelm. Most Lolo puzzles don’t. Sleepaway Camp/Friday the thirteenth Killer Puzzle don’t. Hell, even Escape Goat and its sequel hardly ever have it. The character of Portal; minimalist, the place every thing is unfold out, simply lends itself to The Large Overwhelm, as a result of it by no means is sensible.. till it does.

Portal 2 is a bizarre cat, and whereas it appears to outlive the check of time, it doesn’t in a vacuum. It wants to be tethered to Portal 1, which is why Portal Companion Assortment is the right 2022 package deal for it. However, again in 2011? Not a lot. Ideally, Portal 2 would have been packaged with one other Valve launch, much like the Orange Field. Turning Portal right into a full-fledged sport, and one with a narrative that requires you to know the occasions of the primary sport to understand it on any stage, was daring and never totally profitable. Regardless of being a comparatively brief sport, Portal 2 feels very padded. However, that’s not what’s weird. What completely baffled me was how the sport may have higher, extra ingenious puzzles than Portal, and really feel much less satisfying. That shouldn’t be potential, and but right here we’re. I loved my time replaying Portal 2, however in contrast to Portal 1, I used to be prepared for it to be over when it ended. How’d we get to that time?

Let’s get the co-op dialogue out of the way in which first: I didn’t prefer it. However, I’m not a co-op particular person. Ask somebody who’s. Apparently I’m “onerous to get together with” for video games that require precise cooperation. Pssh, the nerve of these fucking morons in my home to say I’m tough and mouthy, proper?

A part of it’s the setting. Portal 2 is doubtlessly one of many nice post-apocalyptic video games. Proper from the very intro, you’re unnerved. The opening lodge room bit feels precisely like a darkish experience at Disneyland, and that’s a sensation that repeated over and time and again all through the sport. There’s even bits the place you’d swear you’re watching a proof of idea video for what the road would appear to be for a brand new attraction, with video displays and working banter from hilarious characters. Hell, there’s even a piece that’s long-established like a curler coaster, and I’m not the primary particular person to note it appears to be like lots like Area Mountain. Hey, theme parks are enjoyable, and so is Portal 2.

Portal 2, or Myst? Solely my physician is aware of.

But, the setting is betrayed by GLaDOS devolving from villain to clownish insult comedian. When she first comes again to life, it’s a daunting second. She wasn’t precisely scary in Portal 1, however she had an simple menace about her. That’s amplified in the beginning of Portal 2, and the desk is ready for her to be an excellent higher villain than she was within the unique sport. She’s vindictive, merciless, and petty. However, then they went overboard. She begins cracking fats jokes. One would have labored completely positive. She’s attempting to interrupt you down psychologically, and her cracks about you being an unloved orphan and a horrible particular person all work in the direction of that. She’s a straight-up bitch, and in my authority as a straight-up bitch, a rattling good one.

No. Sorry, however no. If a whole lot and even hundreds of years handed, there’s no potato left. I get that they wished the sight gag and organising the GLaDOS potato battery bit. BUT, these potatoes wouldn’t simply have a tiny little bit of mould on them. They’d be gone. No pores and skin. Not even mud. Gone fully. IMMERSION BROKEN!

However, after the primary fats joke, she retains cracking them in subsequent rooms. One labored, two was pushing it, however after they preserve coming room after room, out of the blue GLaDOS is decreased to a buffoon. The mysterious setting with dilapidated check chambers all work, however GLaDOS calling you fats for the fifth time as a substitute of speaking about how a lot she’s going to take pleasure in your gradual demise by torture fully undermines all of it. They struggle so onerous to pay it off within the closing act of the sport when Wheatley calls Chell fats and Potato GLaDOS says “she’s clearly not even somewhat fats” or one thing to that impact, nevertheless it’s too late. Hours have handed, and her scariness has lengthy since light. They over-played the pettiness to a mood-wrecking diploma.

It’s time for MATCH GAME!! What do you suppose whenever you see this image? In case you match the primary phrase I considered after I noticed this, let me know. Spotlight here-Nickelodeon-let me know in a remark or on Twitter.

Not all of the puzzles are precisely sensible this time round, both. Some are merely a matter of determining the place to place the portals. When it seems like a maze, that sort design works. When it doesn’t, it seems like a glorified hidden object sport, solely as a substitute of in search of Waldo (that’s Wally for these of you with evil accents), you’re in search of a white panel that you would be able to place a portal on. Additionally, the ultimate act betrays the idea of Wheatley being the dumbest sentient being in existence. They get it proper the primary time, with the primary puzzle he designs being absurdly straightforward, and once more when his turrets don’t work. However, then he begins “utilizing GLaDOS’s designs” as a way of conserving the precise difficult puzzles going. BUT, logically talking, he must also fuck these up too, proper? Shouldn’t they’ve executed one thing else? The plot fully goes off the rails, and because of this, all of the overly-long interruptions within the check chambers aren’t actually price it.

As illogical and albeit.. sorry.. shitty as Portal 2’s precise narrative is, the gaming gods shined on us and delivered us Cave Johnson. My spirit animal. I’d naked his kids if he wasn’t fictional and lifeless from grounding-up and snorting moon rocks. J.Okay. Simmons is our biggest nationwide treasure. If I had to decide on between sparing him or burning down Yellowstone.. hey, most individuals suppose Yellowstone is the place Yogi Bear lives anyway.

Hey, don’t take a look at me like that! They’re those who advised a compelling story that made me care, then completely cratered it by asking me to droop the logic heart in my mind. In a sport that leans closely on mind utilization. It must be mentioned: Portal 2’s story sucks and is an entire waste of time moreover telling jokes that land about 40% lower than the jokes in Portal 1 did. Boo! Boo, says I! Boooooooo! AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT, even probably the most dense fucking moron on the planet.. Cave Johnson, for instance.. would understand the very best utilization of a Portal Gun could be to create a perpetual movement machine. After all, that might create a suggestions loop and destroy the whole universe, WHICH IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF THING CAVE JOHNSON WOULD DO!! AND FURTHER MORE..


The place was I?

I remembered nearly each single joke, bit, and story facet from the unique Portal, despite the fact that I performed it longer in the past. Portal 2? I didn’t bear in mind ANYTHING concerning the opening of the sport. The lodge room? Nothing. Wheatley’s gags? Nothing. Granted, it’s potential the bug zapper in my mind went off and deleted it, however I remembered a variety of the gags as soon as GLaDOS arrives. My idea: my mind had an allergic response to Wheatley, one of the vital annoying and unfunny characters in any sport I’ve ever performed, and erased my reminiscence of him as a coping mechanism.

No, it doesn’t matter in the long term. Gameplay is king, and the worst features of Portal’s sport design are higher than 99.99999% of all video games I’ve ever performed in my life. It doesn’t maintain up in addition to the primary sport, nevertheless it needed to carry a heavier load, too. The jokes nonetheless principally land, and the sport is commonly drop-dead hilarious. At its greatest, the extent design really outshines the unique. Like, critically, a number of the ranges are simply so huge that it leaves you in awe. That “ta-dah!” sense of accomplishment nonetheless hits on a stage no different puzzle sport I’ve performed in my complete life does. Puzzle video games ought to hold-up to the check of time greater than most video games, and I figured that one out. They make you be ok with your self. However, they shouldn’t maintain as much as replay. They ought to be one and executed. Portal and Portal 2 are in some way replayable, and I nonetheless don’t have a solution how that’s potential.

Seems to be just like the orange workforce is profitable this sport of Splatoon, and somebody within the residence above is actually having fun with their porn.

That is one puzzle outdated Indie Gamer Chick couldn’t clear up, even after 5 days of shaking my head and saying “no, this shouldn’t be potential.” Time might be an element. It’s been a decade, and like, I couldn’t let you know what the 14th stage of virtually any sport appears to be like like off the highest of my head after a decade, however I don’t suppose that fully explains it. If I needed to guess, I’d say that Portal and Portal 2 maintain as much as replay as a result of it hasn’t been topped. It’s the king of its style. The best logic puzzler ever. Its inferior sequel was the final of its breed. Certain, there’s an entire modding group on PC nonetheless, to at the present time, arising with all types of completely batshit ranges. I’ve had a couple of dozen folks this week ask me about them, ignoring the truth that these do completely NOTHING for console gamers. Or, possibly as a result of I’m in a puzzle fixing temper, I’m overthinking it. Perhaps they maintain up as a result of Portal is simply plain enjoyable? I believe that’s it. When Portal 3 inevitably comes out, it’ll be enjoyable too. In all probability. Simply as quickly as Valve will get that preschool diploma and eventually learns to depend to 3.


Portal Companion Assortment is Chick-Accepted however isn’t an indie and thus isn’t eligible for the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

Portal: Companion Assortment was developed by Valve
Level of Sale: Nintendo Change

$19.99 burned her stuffed companion dice in a furnace within the making of this evaluation.



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