Sunday, 26 June 2016

Dealing with backlog: Portal & Portal 2

Yes, I know I'm the last one to the party here. I bought these two games on the Steam Summer Sale in 2013 :P The backlog sort of piles up when you're stuck on three games (ESO, Skyrim, DA:I). But I decided to pull myself together and do something about my backlog. It will probably take the rest of the year, but whatever. I've done a list, and I'm playing the games in that order (and I added some Skyrim quest mods into the mix as well).

Before I go into (short) detail about the two games separately I'll tell you my general feeling of them. I love the story based things. Like the first few test chambers in the first game which gives you a feel of Aperture, and then the ones in the end where GLaDOS turns on you, and the final battle. In Portal 2 they are the beginning when you wake up after being asleep for a reeaaally long time, then when you get GLaDOS back online, when Wheatley finally starts the escape, when Wheatley becomes corrupted, when GLaDOS is made into a potato battery... You get it... The funny things that are part of the story. But the test chambers in-between those moments just feel like fillers to me, and they got repetitive. Sure, I died a lot, and several times I had no clue what to do, so it's not like I just breezed through any of the games and was bored by the tests. They just became too many, you know? And not with enough variation to remain interesting. They just became a hurdle to get over so I could get to the next interesting part - the story.

The first Portal was very linear and between the original introduction and the point when GLaDOS tries to kill you in the incinerator nothing much happens. You do the tests and listen to GLaDOS's sarcastic humor and mean comments, the further you get the meaner she gets and it got pretty obvious waaaaaay before the revelation that she was the bad guy, and then it was just doing-as-you-were-told and waiting-for-something-to-happen. Except for feeling very bad about it when I dropped a companion cube into the incinerator after GLaDOS instructed me to, nothing memorable really happened before Escape time. The boss fight was cool, though. The ending scene had me really confused at first, because when you see the player character being dragged away and hearing the mechanical sounds I thought that my character had been an android or something all along and that the mechanical sounds was herself dragging her away from the explosion. It wasn't until I started Portal 2 that I realised that she had actually been dragged away by a robot and put back into Aperture.
Portal 2 was a lot better than the first game. I loved waking up and realising that all hell had broke loose. Wheatley as a companion was a lot of fun (he was admittedly a lot of fun as the bad guy too). And then when we got to GLaDOS's chamber and noticed her lying there (while Wheatley was telling the story of how some human killed her) and all I could think was "she's gonna wake up" - which she did and revealed that I had been the one to kill her. Nice. There was a lot of running for a while and then we were back to going through test chambers... Yay -.- Got back to GLaDOS's lair and defeated her by replacing her head with Wheatley. Fantastic! Except that the machine corrupted Wheatley so he became the bad guy instead. He makes GLaDOS into a potato battery (hilarious) and then he dumps us both waaaaaay below ground, which seems to be the old Aperture from the 50s and then we keep moving through the place seeing the technology advance until we're back up and chasing after Wheatley. I was hoping that we'd just be going through ducts and old broken things, and some security measures that were inexplicably still active. But nope! More test chambers! -.- And there were more of them in old, derelict Aperture, than in current, shiny Aperture... But as soon as we managed to get back up to the current Aperture, the story stuff started again (the only thing interesting in old Aperture was learning that GLaDOS had once been human) and the game got interesting again. I was waiting for a boss battle against Wheatley, but first - test chambers! -.- The boss battle was really cool, though :) I love the Space Core ♥ Getting kicked out of Aperture for being too hard to kill was fun, and then my poor burned and beaten companion cube was kicked out after me. I think it's the same one I tossed in the incinerator in the first game? :o
So yeah, totally worth playing, but I'm not as excited about it as I thought I'd be. Everyone I've ever talked to about Portal has praised it, but while I loved the story I found the test chambers a bit too much. Too much of the same thing, just in different angles. And yes, they had me stumped several times, but they were still too many and still too repetitive. So yeah, they were ok games.

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