Now You’re Thinking with Portals

A Review of Portal (2007)

Picture Credited to Valve.

Picture Credited to Valve.

Ash Ludwig, Reporter

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Have you ever wanted to teleport around a room by your own will? Well if you wanted to do that in real life this is not a guide to do that because teleportation has not been invented, no this is a review on a computer game where you can do just that by using portals to solve puzzles and progress through many lab rat-esque test rooms.

Story: When you first begin the game you wake up in a closed glass room with a song playing on the radio. A disembodied robotic voice greets you and tells you to walk through the black hole, also known as a portal, that will appear shortly. When looking through the portal you find out that you play as an anonymous girl in some sort of orange jump suit. The voice then tells you that you will need to solve the puzzles of the rooms ahead to progress with your testing. Eventually you gain access to the Portal Gun™ that gives you the ability to make your own portals by using the technology made by Aperture Science, the company that made the portal gun and the lab you are trapped in, to shoot two black holes that you can travel between.

Visuals: Portal takes place in a testing lab of sorts so everything looks futuristic, secluded and robotic. The visuals and the lack of music really build onto the fact that you are alone in this lab. The only time music does kick in is if sentries appear and try to kill you, which lets you know that you will have to be careful. With only the disembodied voice taunting you, she is your only ”guide” throughout the entire game. The fact that the voice taunts you through the rooms, you can hear various sarcastic insults such as “Unbelievable! You subject name here must be the pride and joy of subject’s home town here.” “Did you know you can donate one or all of your vital organs to the self esteem fund for girls? It’s true!” and finally “We regret to inform you the device you hold is now more valuable than the organs and combined incomes of everyone in subject’s home town here.

Gameplay: The gameplay of portal consist of physics based puzzles built around placing portals to move yourself and other objects around a room in an instant. Where you place portals and how you use them will determine how fast you can get through the rooms. Picking up objects to use as platforms and projectiles to take out sentries is another mechanic that is closely in second from the initial portals and portal gun.

Game length: One problem that Portal does suffer from is the fact that, it is not very long. With only 19 rooms, the entire campaign would take the average gamer about an afternoon’s length of time to finish. This can be a bad thing if you wanted a game that will give you hours of gameplay, but this can also be a good thing if all you were looking for was a game that you could boot up and play through at any time and come back to for playing in short bursts.

Final Conclusion: If you enjoy physics based puzzles games , you will probably have a blast with this game. If you want something that doesn’t require a lot of thought and has an overarching plot, Portal is not for you. Overall, if you have a PC, $10 and can’t think of any way to spend it, Portal might be the way to go.

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