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Portal (PC) review

The first thing you see
The first thing you see
Ken Kriho

Portal (PC)

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Star5
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Portal is a first person shooter/puzzle hybrid developed and published by Valve. The game was released on October 9, 2007. The story is Chell is a test subject at Aperture Laboratories, and goes through a series of tests with the aid of GLaDOS. As the story progresses, Chell starts learning the truth about Aperture Laboratories and attempts to escape Aperture Laboratories.

Portal title screen
Ken Kriho

Graphics-With the aid of the Source engine, the graphics bring forth the high tech and very depressing look of a laboratory. Aperture isn’t meant to be a happy place, and each chamber proves it.

Sound-GLaDOS’ voice is the real highlight of the game. With an excellent voice actress and very well written dialogue, Ellen McLain brings GLaDOS to life. The soundtrack also fits into the science like environment and brings each test chamber to life.

Gameplay-The main emphasis of Portal is to solve a series of test chambers with the portal gun. As you progress, each chamber gets trickier and requires a little more problem solving. Adding to the gameplay is the inclusion of challenge mode, where players attempt to solve the chamber under specific stipulations. This adds replay value, and further puts their problem solving skills to the test. One flaw with the gameplay is that the game’s pace is slow. While this helps out with puzzle solving, this can also make the game feel boring, but not boring enough to make the player quit. The second flaw is that the game can be seen as a tech demo instead of an actual game. The game’s main flaw is that the game is short even with the added challenges.

Concept-The concept behind Portal came from Narbacular Drop, a freeware title. The team behind that game ended up working at Valve. It goes to show that if a game ends up successful, there is a future for creating more games.

Other uses-Portal’s success inspired schools to use this game in their classrooms. The use behind Portal is to let students learn about physics, problem solving, critical thinking, math, and many more topics.

Overall-Portal’s financial and critical success is what makes this game enjoyable. This is an example of a first person shooter where the concept isn’t about killing monsters or extreme violence, but rather a game where you shoot portals to progress rather than bullets.

Score: 5/5

You can check out more of Ken’s work by visiting his website.