Sequel to the acclaimed Portal (2007), Portal 2 pits the protagonist of the original game, Chell, and her new robot friend, Wheatley, against more puzzles conceived by GLaDOS, an A.I. with the sole purpose of testing the Portal Gun's mechanics and taking revenge on Chell for the events of Portal. As a result of several interactions and revelations, Chell once again pushes to escape Aperture Science Labs.
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This review contains spoilers
Today, in late 2020, I finally completed all achievements in Portal 2, after nearly nine years. The reason for the delay is pretty simple -- I was missing a few quick co-op achievements, and the stars finally aligned today to complete them.
To say something new about Portal 2 that hasn't already been said would be quite difficult. The writing, puzzle design, environments, and mechanics are perhaps the best they've ever been at Valve and possibly will ever be. There's so many moments in this game that are so memorable and will forever have a place in the section of my brain that stores memorable gaming moments (a section that's admittedly too big). My favorite gaming moment will likely forever be the Moon portal -- the fact that its alluded to earlier in the game without even being a consideration is amazing, and it's even more amazing when you're presented with the opportunity. Another great moment, which sets up for the best section of the game, is the descent into Old Aperture. Portal 2 had already done an amazing job contrasting the aesthetic of clean Aperture Science from the first Portal game by giving us an overgrown, run-down Aperture Science, but throwing you into an older version of the second-best lab in the land is such a delight. There was so much potential for backstory when it came to Aperture due to the limited scope of the first title (and I mean that as a sincere compliment to the first game, which also deserves a 5/5), I'm glad it got realized here. The design and aesthetic of old Aperture is superb, in addition to the puzzle mechanics that are unlocked thanks to all of the Gels.
Co-op is amazing and works just as well as single-player, though it lacks in story, which is understandable. While I doubt Valve will give us more Portal, it's nice to be able to play through maps with friends, especially when there are limitless possibilities thanks to the workshop & mods (and the same goes for single-player).
Lastly, ending on somewhat of a disappointing note, though one that impacts the game in absolutely no way -- the developer commentary tracks for Portal 2 are much more sparse and overall less interesting than those found in the first Portal. The first game basically explained the thought-process of designing each and every puzzle, I would have loved to see that return for the sequel. Regardless, still makes for a fun re-play through the game when you can listen to devs as you do so.
Overall, this is a perfect video game. Perhaps even the greatest of all time, though that's hard to say when each brings something different to the table. Regardless, it's Valve at their best (alongside Half-Life 2 and Half-Life: Alyx).
Now, if Valve finally makes Half-Life 3 the Borealis cameo in Portal 2 can feel even more special...