For those of you that have been living in caves for the past year or so, Portal 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the surprise hit of 2007, Portal, a game that was originally bundled with the Orange Box due to fears that the game would not be well received and therefore not sell. For this I will only be talking about the single-player campaign, as the person I was planning on doing co-op with is currently suffering at the hands of the PSN outage, and lacks a decent computer to run his free PC copy. Hopefully once that mess gets sorted out we can get to that part and I can put up a review of that.
Alright, now to get to the meat of this.
Considering Valve's track record with the Half-Life series, it comes as no surprise that the story of Portal 2 is very well written. GLaDOS returns complete with her charm and pitch-black sense of humor, and even the new characters, such as Wheatly and Aperture founder Cave Johnson (voice only), seem right at home with the style of the game. The game will have you laughing from the start, and will keep you laughing all the way to the very end. There are even plenty of surprises and twists that will keep you hooked until the finale.
Your trusty sidearm
If you've played the original Portal, you should know the basics. Plant portals in strategic locations to get yourself and objects from point A to point B. Now, the new elements, such as the light bridges and the gels, add a lot more depth to the puzzles. For example, need to cross a large gap, but can't use portals to get to the other side? No problem, just use your Portals to redirect some propulsion gel and cover the ramp. Then use the speed boost the gel gives you to launch off the ramp and across the room. The puzzles are much more complex than they were in the original game, but they are never so hard to figure out that you need to use a walkthrough. Just survey the situation, and eventually that "a-ha!" moment will hit, and you'll feel like an idiot for not seeing it in the first place.
Fun with light!
Now, I have the PC version, so I can't speak for the consoles on this, but I'll say that this game looks very nice on max settings. Not Crysis nice (like anything can touch that), but a lot nicer than the original Portal. Valve is certainly making good use of the Source engine here. All of the environments are well detailed, and there is great use of lighting. Even the fluid effects on the gels look great.
Now, contrary to what some may say, the game does not take 4 hours to finish. Maybe if you play through it a few times and get the puzzles down you can speedrun it in 4 hours, but there is no way you will beat it that quickly on your first time through. Personally, it took me about 7 hours to complete, and I still have to do the co-op campaign. I got the game for about 50% off thanks to sales and gift cards, but do I think it's worth the $50 (or $60 for consoles)?
Hell ya I do.
I'm not going to assign a numbered score, as I don't think the quality of a game should be based on a number from 1 to 10. I will say though, that I highly recommend this game. Go buy it, NOW!!