Last week, my brother picked up a copy of Portal 2. He loved the original and picked up a copy of the sequel on day one. I however, am not afraid to admit that I don’t get Portal. Not that I don’t understand why it’s cool, but I simply don’t have the mental fortitude to play this game. My handful of attempts to play this game left me bewildered, as I never could grasp the gameplay systems strongly enough to actually understand what I’m doing. To be honest, I even have a hard time just watching my brother play the game, because I can’t come to grips with the logic behind his actions.
Having just finished watching my brother play Portal 2, I don’t think my confusion is going to change anytime soon.
Grasping the mechanics of portals is difficult enough for me. I understand the basics of how you set start and end points and can walk between them, how your momentum matters as you enter and exit a portal, and how you can set new start and end points of portals as you’re moving. Putting that all together to traverse through a level? That, I cannot do. I get confused and quit out of frustration.
Portal 2 ups the ante with additional puzzle mechanics on top of setting portals. You now have to use your portal gun to manipulate the flow of coloured gels, each with different properties. The blue gel makes surfaces bouncy. The white gel enables you to shoot portals on surfaces that normally wouldn’t be portal-friendly. Lastly, the orange gel makes you run faster. On top of manipulating your own movement using the portals, you also need to manipulate the movement of the gels in order to go from point A to point B.
I’m sure that Portal fans will eat this up and enjoy the extra complexity. For me, I feel like I’m watching rocket science. During the 30 minutes or so of watching my brother play, I saw my brother struggle to solve weird puzzles involving the gels, only to magically solve them through actions that I could not comprehend. It’s magic to me how anyone plays this series. This is by no means a shot at the game, but more of an acceptance of the fact that I’m not very good at puzzle-solving.
For those who have played Portal 2 so far, what do you think of the game?