1. The GLaDOS@home portion of the ARG concluded at 9:29pm Pacific Time, bringing the Potato ARG to a close, as Portal 2 unlocked for all purchasers.

    But most importantly… Portal 2 has hats.

  2. More about the hats. We should have known who was responsible.

  3. It is… spectacular. I wasn’t nearly as much of a fan of the original Portal as I was of the other Orange Box bits, I must admit. I loved it a lot, of course: I’d have been a weirdo not to. Or more of a weirdo than I actually am.

    But this new thing: this thing is pretty wonderful. I love comedy, but I’m one of those people who rarely laughs out loud when he’s alone. I’ve been laughing my ass off at this game, and for that alone, I am grateful.

  4. I was expecting comedy. I was expecting puzzles. What I wasn’t expecting was a visually gorgeous game. I did not know the Source engine could do all the things it does here.

  5. I have not had this much fun playing a game in quite a while. I think it’s quite a bit easier than Portal, at least so far as I’ve gotten into it, but that’s not really a complaint. I never actually completed Portal. Heh. But, as said above, I’ve laughed out loud in a lot of places, and there’s a lot of places where I’ve appreciated some pretty subtle gags, too. It’s just Valve at what they do best: polish, polish, polish to perfection the second time round. (Half Life, L4D, Team Fortress, Portal)

  6. The tone of the game is definitely different from the original – the humour is a lot more overt. Valve really knows where to polish though.

    My favourite place in a game is just pushing up against the edges of the gameplay. Exploring is disappointing when it just breaks the game, but to me it feels like Portal is pretty much designed around doing exactly that, and then getting rewarded for it. It has that hard wired test completion euphoria down pat.

    Apart from that, I really liked the audio design, with the little musical hits when you’re making a big jump or activating a puzzle element being timed with the music.

  7. This sums up my feelings about the game: http://bit.ly/egMECb

  8. Oh, how I enjoyed it.

    It’s interesting seeing them try to incorporate more mechanics into the game — seemed necessary to not just make this Portal 2: Extra Levels, but with more moving parts comes more complexity in trying to make an elegant solution clearly findable amidst the various wrong ideas you can have. I definitely chased the wrong lead a couple times in this whereas I don’t feel like that happened so much in the original, where I would maybe just not get it for a bit until I did get it.

    Have cracked into the coop a bit so far, first couple of sections and enjoyed it greatly as well, though it was weird trying to adjust my thinking to multiple sets of portals after pushing through the game solo.

  9. I haven’t hit the coop yet, waiting for some friends to finish the single player.

    What struck me about the single player game is how enormous some of the puzzles appear to be, even though they are packaged into discrete, compact sessions of puzzle solving. Valve does this so well. The first time I played Half Life 2 I was stunned at how their level design propels you through a linear path while making you feel that you’ve discovered exits yourself. Portal has a lot of this going on. There was only one section that slowed me and when I found the solution it was a total facepalm moment.

    Valve has always had a great feel for pacing with respect to action in levels. This game shows they have that same mastery with dialog and story as well. I’m starting a second play through today, I rarely do that for games, but with this one I feel like I missed a ton of stuff not stopping to check out the scenery, listen to the VO work and look for all the little nooks and crannies. (Though I’m happy I found The National song.)

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