Valve is probably everyone’s favourite game developers…ever. They’ve made brilliant games, have an online gaming service that gives us sales that waters our mouths and make out heads explode with joy due to the cheap prices and they brought out their own operating system and even a Steam Machine…that we still haven’t got yet. And yet they still can’t make a third game for any of their game series. I’m playing Half-Life 2 at the moment so wait for that, until then, Portal, developed and published by Valve in 2007, this was a revolutionary game for it’s time and still is.
You play as Chell, in which you’re woken up by GLaDOS who makes her do tests using portals, completing the tests and you’ll be awarded with cake. Everything’s normal until the story gets dark when you realise messages showing other people have been here before, including the infamous ‘the cake is a lie’, and even GLaDOS slowly turns into something that will remind you of HAL 9000.
The story is very unforgettable, it grips you till the very end, wanting to know who this mysterious GLaDOS is. Pretty much the most memorable part of the game play is that you can create portals using a “the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device”, or a Portal Gun as everyone calls it. for example, one wall will have a blue portal, another wall could have an orange portal, you go through the blue portal and come out of the orange portal, this what you do in the tests to manipulate portals in a variety of ways and this is the meat of the game, you can use it to get to another room or jump onto a platform above, plus you need to use these when facing puzzles.
The puzzles in the game can go from easy to quite hard but not impossible, you can at least do it without help if you can, I needed it for a couple, but that was years ago when I played it for the first time. You could manipulate the portals to complete the puzzles. She can use it to jump to greater heights. Physics is fun! The music whilst little, can be very tense at times, especially during the final moments. But by far the best song in this game is Still Alive, this has to be the most memorable, catchiest pieces of music I’ve ever heard, I even like the alarm clock jingle version of it, I would love to wake up in the morning with that, it’s so cheery and upbeat. The graphics are the usual Valve graphics, as seen in Half-Life 2.
The setting at first is that white isolated place that looks futuristic but has some sort of mystery to it but progress through and there are even darker and industrialistic environments to travel. And yes there are references to Half-Life since it’s literally set in the Half-Life universe.
Did you Know? Portal is Valve’s spiritual successor to the freeware game Narbacular Drop, the 2005 independent game released by students of the DigiPen Institute of Technology; the original Narbacular Drop team is now employed at Valve.
Overall, this is a great little game, the gameplay with it’s portals is still amazing, the physics are played very well, it’s puzzling and even though it’s a first-person, it still does it well when it comes to puzzles, something Valve can do best. GLaDOS is one of my favourite…you’ll have to see for yourself to see who this GLaDOS really is and what she stands for.
You can get it on Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux and NVIDIA Shield Portable.