Review : Portal

So I picked up The Orange Box a while ago when it first came out for the Xbox 360. I really haven’t played it at all until recently because of all the other games that came out at around the same time, especially Call of Duty 4 which took up a major chunk of my playing time. I finally started playing The Orange Box a week ago, specifically Portal.

Now, I’ve briefly read a few reviews concerning Portal and most of them had nothing but great things to say about it. I decided to check it out for myself. Now before I start, I just want to warn you that I might be posting some spoilers up as it might be hard to write a review about this game without mentioning some parts of the story. If you don’t want to read the spoilers, all I can say is find the game. Buy the game. Play the game.

You have been warned.

The first real surprise I found about the game is that your character is actually a woman. I wasn’t expecting this as the main character in Half Life is a man. The game starts off as a basic puzzle type game. You move around a “chamber” trying to find a way out. The first few chamber are more like tutorials teaching you the basics. The game doesn’t really get exciting until you gain access to both the orange and blue portals. That’s when the real fun begins.

One thing I should mention while you play, pay attention to the voice that speaks to you through out the game. At first, it seems like its just your usual annoying robotic narrator voice, but in actually, the voice is a central character in the whole story and plot of Portal. I had to play with subtitles on to really understand what the voice was saying the whole time. There are times when you’re like huh? Did the voice just say what I think it said? It’s up to you if you want to play with subtitles or not. I just found it easier to understand.

As you progress through the chambers, the puzzles start getting harder and harder. You really must put everything you’ve learned in the earlier chambers in order to solve the later chambers. Some of these chambers are real brain teasers. There is more then 1 way to solve each chamber which is what I love. There is no set way. Some ways are easier then others, but as long as you can reach the exit, it doesn’t matter how you get there.

The game only has 19 chambers. You might think this is very short, but the game actually progresses past what you believe is the end. I won’t say anymore about that, but lets just say that there is another good 2 hours worth of gameplay depending on how good you are. The ending will surely surprise you. Portal 2???

I would recommend this game to anyone who wants a good challenge. This game really gets you stumped in some areas and when the game has been completed, special bonus missions appear such as advanced levels, which are even harder then the regular levels and challenges like fewest portals or shortest time. I would love to see some downloadable content in the future for this game in the form of new chambers and challenges as this game is a lot different then a lot of the games I have played so far on the Xbox 360.

I give this game a highly recommended score of 9.5/10.

It doesn’t get a perfect score as there are some weird bugs I encountered while playing but I think most of that might have to do with the Havok engine as most were physics based.

Click here to visit Valve’s website that has more information about the game itself and some more screenshots.

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