Video Games

Bullet Points: Portal 2, Part 2 (Spoiler-Free)

Well, I finished Portal 2 last night. To avoid spoilers of any kind, this installment of Bullet Points is going to be pretty short. Even the spoiler-free reviews I read after finishing the game gave away stuff I’m much happier to have found out myself while playing, so don’t read any of them! Don’t even read this one! (Actually, this one is fine to read.)

  • While I can see my entire body through a Portal, I can’t look down and see my own legs. This, of course, is not even remotely important for gameplay or enjoyment, but I think we should be out of the era of the “floating gun” style first-person game by now. Everyone should have legs. And shadows.
  • Every time I settle in for a long, late-night bout of gaming, my cat strolls in and takes a huge toxic dump in the litter box. Without fail.
  • I know there have been complaints about the length of the game. Too short? If anything, I felt it was maybe a bit longer than it needed to be. And yet, over so quickly at the same time. I think they got it about right.
  • As the puzzles grow more challenging, I’m regularly hit with the following few thoughts:
  • “I have no idea what the game wants me to do here.”
  • “I’m an idiot. I can’t figure this out.”
  • “Oh, okay. I see what the game wants me to do. I’m smart after all.”
  • “Wait. What the game wants me to do is impossible. I know it’s not impossible, but seriously, it’s impossible.
  • “Once again, I’m an idiot.”
  • “Oh. Ohhhh. Okay.”
  • “Boom, done. I am the smartest human being ever.”
  • The Aperture facility is wonderfully realized, fun, amazingly detailed. A living, breathing, dying place.
  • Again, Stephen Merchant does an amazing job with the material he is given, and the writers do an amazing job with the material they give to Stephen Merchant. I think this is the best voice performance in a game since… GLaDOS in the original Portal? What other games have such good voice performances? Is this the best voice performance ever?
  • Oh, the Mass Effect games. They do a great job, too. Okay, Merchant does the best comedy voice performance, then. In a game. Ever.
  • Forgot about the Lucas Arts adventure games. Great comedy voice work in a number of them.
  • Look, Merchant is really good, okay?
  • I spend a lot of time doing things to try to get Merchant to say more stuff. It’s often worth the extra time.
  • One performance hiccup: during an especially noisy and dynamic moment, everything hangs, freezes, and stutters. Doesn’t crash, but a good 5-10 seconds of hanging/stuttering. WAY TO GO VALVE WHERE’S MY REFUND.
  • I will say nothing about the ending other than that I enjoy it.
  • This is a great game. Laughed out loud a number of times. Puzzles are very good, often quite challenging. The art direction and level design is fantastic. I’d maybe have trimmed out a few test chambers, as I felt impatient during some of them because I wanted to explore more of the story.
  • This didn’t turn out so short, after all.
  • That’s it! Play this game.


  1. You HAVE to try the co-op. It was awesome and fun and just the right level of difficulty. Bonus: you get to have GlaDOS insult you over and over for being fat and stupid! :)

    • Christopher says:

      Definitely looking forward to co-op later this week. And I want to go through again for the dev commentary.

  2. Completely unrelated to Portal 2, but related to your thoughts about your cat:

    Cats seem to have an unnatural, eerie instinct to ruin our plans and good moments. I swear, sometimes I think we should be mortal enemies, not companions.
    But, then again, I think the same of GLaDOS.

  3. Commentary is extremely disappointing, they start out with three nodes in a room, but then the rest of the levels either have one or none. Nowhere near as much content as the original, which is a shame because they’re always really interesting.

  4. Pulviriza says:

    I already got my refund for the stuttering, never buying a valve product again.

  5. The writing in this is amazing, right from the start. I love the bit where you meet Steven Merchant’s character for the first time and he tries to teach you the movement controls. I laughed out loud after it told you to press space :D

  6. I was really worried going in that this one wouldn’t be as funny as the first one. I was giggling right off the bat, and I thought “Surely, it can’t get any funnier” and then it did. Incredible writing on Valves part.

    I had a brief bug where the game wouldn’t run off of my portable hard drive. This has apparently affected a lot of people and it made me very upset. Reinstalling steam to my actual C: drive fixed it, and was well worth the wait.

    As for Co-op, the universal opinion (which I agree with) is for your first time, play with someone else who is new to it. It means each new puzzle leaves both of you going “how the hell…uhh…why don’t I try…THIS! No that didn’t work. Dammit”. I honestly don’t know if co-op would have been half as much fun if we knew what we were doing. Oh, and the writing in multiplayer is as good, almost better then the writing in single player, so that’s a rather huge plus.

  7. Anyone care to guess at what this game’s most quoted meme will be? My money’s on something from the Lemon Rant.

  8. pauloman9000 says:

    Tell you what, there’s definitely something to starting out in co-op with a friend who’s never done it, but especially with a *friend*. I game at very different times from most other gamers, so finding an available buddy can be tough. I decided to try the “Find a Partner Online” option (social gaming networking tool or escort service ad??), and ended up with someone whose avatar image was a picture of some guy’s back with the band name Slayer carved in it by a knife. That should have been my first clue. I’ll leave the experience at that. After being booted by his logging out of the server in frustration at the slowness of my attempts at identifying where the heck we were and what I was supposed to do as a part of this *TEAM*, I finally got into a game with a long-time gaming buddy who was also a co-op first-timer. Hilarity ensued. Can’t wait to go back for more, as long as it’s with a friend.

    • pauloman9000 says:

      BTW, if that Slayer fan happens to read this blog… take some anger management classes, dude. Seriously. It’s a game.