Portal (PC)

Game Score: 9/10




Portal was released with the Half-Life 2 Orange Box as well as being available by itself via Steam in late 2007. I actually put off playing any of the follow-ups to Half-Life 2 (episode 1 & 2) until I gave this game a try.

It was a great decision. Portal blends puzzle solving with first person nicely and covers in a warm blanket of dark humor. It's definitely a nice change of pace. I actually tire from all the FPS games nowadays. They have essentially boiled down to deathmatch and its variants. I guess real people are typically more challenging. There are still some good single player campaigns, but the typical FPS is going to draw more replay value from it's multiplayer aspect.

On to achievements. These aren't particularly new in games and with Portal being around a 4 hour experience. I personally have not cleared all the achievements. For the most part they aren't that difficult, but they are step one to generating replay value.

The next thing that Portal did that was very nice was creating bonus levels. Taking the challenge to the next level but in a casual way. I can pick and choose which puzzle I want to solve and I can do it whenever, no save games required (though I saved often in solving some of the challenges). I also haven't cleared all the challenges, but the ones I have beaten were great.

On the downside, well, I don't really hate anything about the game. The game does change pace near the end. I wasn't particularly fond of that aspect, but it wasn't ramped up to an insane level of difficulty thankfully. I think I might have been tempted to put in some helper element for non-elite twitch players to assist with solving some of the harder puzzles. What I'm getting at is that some of them are extremely difficult. I wonder what percentage of players have actually beat the whole thing without cheating.

Anyway, the game deserves a high score, so I'll close by giving it a 9/10. I don't think I can rate it higher because I was somewhat annoyed at the end (pre-credits). I do look forward to the player submitted puzzles to come. Maybe a puzzle pack. Three portals instead of 2?