Saturday, 6 March 2010

I Would Like To Pre-Announce My Disappointment With Portal 2


This was a triumph, I'm making a note here, huge success. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

And that summarises the original Portal experience. A game of remarkable simplicity, but it is easy to argue that it's a perfect gaming moment. You could complete it without giving up your life. It had humour running all through it, but it was no joke. GLaDoS, your passive/aggressive computer opponent was one of the most magical and terrifying characters in video game history, like a cross between HAL9000, Norman Bates and Nurse Ratched.

Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said "Goodbye" and you were like "No way!" And then I was all "We pretended we were going to murder you?" That was great!

I don't know one gamer or non-gamer who played Portal and wasn't totally enthralled, entertained, and astonished by it. But for all the humour, and fantastic characterisation, and falling in love with a cube with a heart on (admit it, when you threw bits of GLaDoS in the furnace, you thought "this is for my Weighted Companion Cube, you bitch!" each time) - this wasn't what made Portal the amazing game that it was (and still is).



Remember the first time you flung yourself across the room using a gravity-throw?

That's what made Portal the game it was - not just gravity throws, but the underlying mechanics of the whole game. The basic physical game concept. Combine that with the impeccable learning curve of the game - by the final level you found yourself doing things you could not have imagined yourself doing even five levels previously - and you see why Portal rightly deserves to be treated as a classic in every aspect of its design.

Well, you found me. Congratulations. Was it worth it? Because, despite your violent behavior, the only thing you've managed to break so far... is my heart. Maybe you could settle for that, and we'll just call it a day. I guess we both know that isn't going to happen.

And now they're making a sequel. I'm making a prediction here, massive failure. Not because the game will be bad. Simply because all of the things that made Portal work can't work again. Unless they have come up with some incredible new mechanic, something completely unique, something that isn't just an extension of Portal. Thing is, if they've come up with that... it shouldn't be a sequel to Portal. It should be its own thing. To put it another way: If Portal 2 is good enough to be a sequel to Portal, what the hell is it doing being a sequel to Portal?

Cake, followed by grief counseling, will be available at the end of the testing period.

I hope I'm wrong, I really do, but I'm older and more cynical now. I believed in the cake once, and I don't think I would believe in it a second time.

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