Portal 2 for Linux Review

excellent
key review info
  • Game: Portal 2 for Linux
  • Platform: Linux
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
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Portal 2

Portal 2 for Linux, one of the last bastions of the porting wars that used to be a thorn in Valve’s back, has been released for Linux, so now it’s time to take a closer look at this great game and see what the fuss is all about.

When the first Portal was released, it had quite an impact on the gaming community because it was the first puzzle game done with a triple-A engine, and it managed to set some very high standards.

No one was surprised when Valve announced that a second game in the series would be released, and, in 2011, Portal 2 made its appearance and was received with critical acclaim.

Fast forward to 2013, and we see Valve launching Steam for Linux and promising to port its entire catalog of games to the Linux platform. It took it a year, but Portal 2 finally made it to Steam for Linux, although it’s still in the Beta stages.

Story

If you remember the first game from 2007, the player takes the role of Chell as she tries to escape a bizarre experiment set up by Aperture Science. She manages to defeat GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence that was watching over the experiments, and almost manages to get out.

She is pulled back in and awakens many years later, only to find out the GLaDOS is not destroyed and still wants to kill her by forcing her to go through new experiment chambers. That’s enough for the story, as there might be some people out there who don’t know how this ends and there are a number of twists that need to be experienced.

Gameplay

For the most part, the second iteration of Portal plays the same as the first one. At some point in the story you get a gun that can create two holes in the fabric of reality, allowing you to pass from one to the other. From this simple mechanic Valve created a lot of content and puzzles, some of which are really hard.

The first game was a pretty lonely place for the players, but in Portal 2 you will find a robot companion, who is slightly mad and has the most amazing dialogs. There are a few new features thrown into the mix, but the innovation in Portal 2 is not in the single-player alone.

A cooperative campaign has been added, featuring two weird-looking robots, Atlas and P-Body. An entire array of levels and a new type of gameplay have been concocted for this mechanic. If the single-player, with just one portal gun, spawned some crazy levels, just imagine what you can do with two portal guns. Complete cooperation is required and the fun is guaranteed.

Another innovation that has been introduced with this second game is the ability to create rooms for other people to play. The editor is extremely powerful and you don’t need to be a game designer in order to make some amazing levels. Uploading themes is a breeze with the Workshop support.

The one-year wait was worth it. The game looks exactly like its Windows counterpart and it’s definitely one of the best-looking games on the Linux platform to date. Porting the title to Linux might also mean that we might get to see Counter-Strike: Global Offensive soon, because it shares the same engine, with some small modifications.

The Good

  • Superb voice acting
  • Engaging rooms
  • Level editor
  • Cooperative campaign

The Bad

  • Nothing

Conclusion

Portal 2 is a lesson of what can be achieved with a minimalistic approach and a lot of dedication. This is not a big game, by any standards, but the quality of the work and of the gameplay surpass many big-budget titles.

You know that you have an amazing game when people are playing it just to hear the crazy robot or to create levels that will be played and enjoyed by others. The strength of Portal 2 is not in just one catchy feature, it’s the entire package.

Portal 2 for Linux is still in the Beta stages. I have yet to find any bugs, and if you don’t own the title yet, you really need to get it. There are very few games that offer the same array of fun stuff, and there is nothing that can even come close in term of voice work.


story 9
gameplay 10
concept 10
graphics 10
audio 10
multiplayer 9
final rating 9.5
Editor's review
excellent
 

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