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Portal 2

I absolutely adored the initial Portal game. I was worried that Portal 2 could not live up to the first game's groundbreaking gameplay. I'm pleased to report that if anything Portal 2 is even better than the first one!

You pick up with Portal 2 many years after the initial Portal left off. You're the same person being woken up from stasis by a little floating robot. He is trying to save you, but soon enough you are back in the system, solving puzzles, using your portal gun to create in and out portals. Then it gets even more fun. There are new goo substances that let you do even more amazing things. I won't describe them all because half of the fun is discovering what they do and how to use them. Suffice it to say that it brings gameplay to a whole new level.

The humor is simply spectacular. The subtle comments had me laughing out loud the entire way through. The main character is female and I have to wonder if them only really trigger in a female player's brain. I was playing with my boyfriend and some of the sly comments about weight went right over his head, while I was rolling with laughter at the prods that were being made.

The graphics are great, and when you go through the commentary track you realize just how hard the team worked to get everything to look just right. Their attention to detail is impressive.

The voice quality is also spectacular. The slight lilting of one character's voice, the deliberate pauses and emphasis of another - these are voice actors who know what they're doing. It really shows when a gaming company finds the perfect person to embody an on screen character.

There's single player and co-op mode. This could be tough for solo players; they'll have to find someone to play with to get through those. I know several people who get massive headaches at watching the physics-mind-bending portal play on the screen so this might not be as easy as it sounds. Still it's well worth tracking down a fellow player to go through those levels with.

Is there a down side? Well, as mentioned, some people just can't handle watching the gameplay because of it's jumping-from-heights, rotating-quickly-in-all-directions style. It simply makes them nauseous. And it's also worth mentioning that some of these puzzles are *challenging*. They're not meant for four year olds to hop through. They require a great deal of logical thought.

But to me that's the beauty of it. It's almost a shame that walkthroughs are so easily available on the web, for people to give up after five minutes and find the solution. The joy of this game is that it trains your brain to find solutions, to seek out the answer to a puzzle by breaking it down into logical steps. In pretty much every case here, you can see *what* you need to do. You just have to figure out *how* you get to that end point. I strongly believe that this logical puzzle solving ability is a superb thing for all of us to get better at, and that Portal 2 is a fantastic way to boost that skill.

Plus it is just SO much fun from start to end.

Once we finished the game we immediately went through the commentary track and it is even more fascinating. So be sure to check that out!

Highly highly recommended.

Buy Portal 2 from Amazon.com

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