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Portal 1 & 2 Review

Portal 1 & 2 Review

The two Portal games are puzzle-platforming games released from Valve, which explains why there isn’t another sequel as Valve seems to be allergic to the number 3.

A legendary game, the legacy it left behind is huge. Why did such a seemingly simple game become so popular? The review will be split into storyline, gameplay, graphics & SFX and finally, personal thoughts. Without further ado:


The storyline is mostly experienced by the in-game dialogs (mostly from the game’s other characters, the main character is the classic “silent protagonist” archetype).

Most of the story (backstory rather) is also experienced in the second game as the first game is quite short on its duration.

The general idea is that you are being used as a test subject for a facility known as Aperture Science, testing their newest invention: the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, or the portal gun, a gun that lets you fire two different portals that you can teleport from the one portal’s location to the other’s.

Other than that, it is heavily implied that the game takes part in the same universe and timeline as the Half-Life series, and the game’s events run parallelly to Half-Life.


The portal gun is the game’s main gimmick. You are tasked with solving puzzles that require you to place the two portals creatively in order to clear objectives and move on.

Sometimes, key timing is required, and other usage of momentum and gravity are used.

Seldom, reflection mechanics are to be used, and/or any combination of the above.

The puzzles get more and more complicated as you move on, but there isn’t a puzzle that can’t be solved with enough thinking; the game is not known for being difficult after all.

Besides the puzzles you must solve, there are oftentimes some obstacles and hazards in the environment.

The obstacles are mainly turrets, either regular sentry turrets that shoot on sight or rocket turrets, which shoot a rocket after locking on.

The second game also has a co-op multiplayer mode that takes place right after the events of the single-player campaign.

The gameplay remains largely the same except the fact that you have to think more cooperatively on where each player should place his portals.

The SFX of the game is mostly ambient sound, as it should be, as you don’t need any distractions on a puzzle game.

There are however two ending songs, one for each game, and I must say, they are amazing!

The songs are sung by the game’s antagonist, GLaDOS, a character that you are bound to love.

The voice acting, the lines, even the character herself (she is technically an A.I.) are delivered flawlessly.

The killer robotic turrets also sympathize with you if you kill them. Generally, the voice acting in both games is perfect, and it specifically Elaine McLain’s performance helped GLaDOS won many best character awards. Her song, Still Alive, also won some awards itself.

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The graphics of the game are similar to Half-Life 2’s graphics, as due to their restrictions, the team working on the original game re-used the art style from Half-Life 2. That is no detriment of course, as the graphics are quite polished. Generally, the games don’t look their age.

Personal Thoughts

Portal might not seem much at first glance, but firstly, the game was very innovative. There never was another game to utilize the mechanics that Portal does.

Plus, there were many memes left in the gaming community after its release, and the game also left us GLaDOS and her witty lines and songs. Even though I keep mentioning GLaDOS, the other characters are likable too, even the game’s silent protagonist, from what you can gather about her at least.

Objectively, despite the game being a puzzle game, it will definitely make you have the feels at some point or another. The game is fluid and fun, and there is a certain amount of satisfaction after you solve each puzzle.

There is a reason after all, that the first game was voted best game of 2007. The game has numerous other awards and very scarce complaints. The game even has an award for the best sidekick character give to a literal object!

In all honesty, I really believe that the games only have two negatives: first, they never had another sequel, and second, once you play them, you will never be able to relive these experiences for the first time.

The game is more than worth its price.

Final Verdict

Storyline: 9.5

Gameplay: 9.0

Visuals: 8.5

General Rating: 9.0

Have you played Portal? Do you consider playing it? Do you have any questions? If so, just leave a comment and I will answer as soon as I can.

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