Rick and I had actually started the original Portal together a few months ago, trading off the controller between puzzles in an attempt to get me more comfortable with console controls. I still spun around in circles and bumped into nearly every portal/door opening, but for the most part it was a successful experiment because at least I didn’t have to worry about getting shot or shooting while I bumbled about. I was all set on finishing the game before we moved onto the sequel, but Rick was being impatient and since he’d already played through most of the first one on his own when it came out I decided to throw him a bone and jump right into Portal 2.
Now that we’ve finally finished the single player campaign I have to say, HOT DAMN! Portal 2 is exactly what a sequel should be. The level design is unbelievable satisfying, like every puzzle was engineered specifically to target your pleasure centers with maximum effect when you solve them. The story is uncomplicated, but expands on the mythology of the first game in a way that is entertaining, engaging and fan-serving. And the addition of Steven Merchant as hapless robot Wheatley is beyond awesome. As if my fan-girl crush could get any stronger.
Admittedly, I let Rick handle the controls most of the time for this one, but we’ve discovered that puzzle games are particular good for backseat playing. Often Rick would be too distracted by one particular aspect of a puzzle to notice a simpler solution tucked away in a corner somewhere, at which point I would wrench the controller from his hands and point the camera in the right direction for him to solve it. The quirky humour was also critical to keeping me engaged even when puzzles went right over my head and of course it’s always awesome to be able to get a high-five from your sweetie the instant you solve a particularly tricky puzzle.
And not to give anything away to the 3 people reading this that haven’t finished it yet, but the ending feels like a precious little gift bestowed to you, the clever, determined player.