Backlog Club rule number one: Work through your pile of unplayed video games one at a time and discuss them with others. Backlog Club Rule #2: Don’t Talk About Backlog Clubs.
Just kidding! Tell everyone. Please.
This article is part of our new test series, Backlog Club, where we (Nintendo Life!) pick a game that is likely to be on the “game we should play” list, and then we (NL + you!) spend the next month playing it. We finally caught up with Gate 2…
Before I play Portal, I feel like I know most of the plot just by cultural infiltration. There’s an evil cyborg woman, there’s a hole-punch gun, there’s a cube you love, and there’s cake, until there isn’t. I know the writing is sharp and witty, and I know there’s a song at the end. I played Portal and I was right about everything. Thanks, memes.
Before I play Gate 2I feel like I already know some of the plot from cultural infiltration, and some of it from extrapolation from the first game. There’s still an evil cyborg woman, but now there’s also a spherical Stephen Merchant. There’s still a portal gun, but also some new mechanics, which can involve a variety of goo. There are still cubes, turrets, and puzzle-filled rooms, though this time I’m not 100% sure of the existence of the pie (tricked me once, and all that).
I finished Portal 2 last weekend – sorry for the month-long delay, by the way! I had an extended vacation – and I think I finally enjoyed it even more than the first Gate. While the original game set off genre-defining, distinctive, incredible songs, Portal 2 builds on them in a way that only Portal can, and that, for me, is what elevates it above the original.
Imagine, if you will, tasked with creating a sequel to one of the most beloved games of all time. A game has become somewhat of a cultural block. A game that has spawned countless others, inspiring both machine puzzle games and a generation of writers who wanted to create an even villain. half as attractive as GLaDOS. I thought I would quit my job and go into hiding. It’s like trying to do Citizen Kane 2. You must become cazy.
Fortunately, some people to be crazy, and they’re braver than me, because that’s how Portal 2 was born.
Standing on the shoulders of the giant that preceded it, Portal 2 takes everything you thought you knew about Aperture Science, ignites it and dances over the ashes while calling you fat. It reduces its stellar villain to a literal vegetable, puts an idiot in charge of the whole thing, and reveals a hitherto unseen side to “science” – The man who started it all, the assistant loves his experiments, and the wave of test subjects comes before you.
Its jokes are based on the fact that you played the first part and have established a feud between you and the killer AI that is now nothing more than a spike in shock. It relies on you being a trusted participant – someone who knows how puzzles and video games work – to torture you by pulling the rug away. And then laugh at you for your stupidity. And fat.
But Portal 2’s humor isn’t only built on insults. It is built on the absurd. There are growing stakes – it’s about wanting to eat cake, then escaping from a rotting factory, then killing your old enemy who isn’t really dead, and finally, about stop a facility from exploding by defeating a madman -dumb artificial intelligence power with Help of your old enemies. It makes no sense for you to be locked in a never-ending laboratory cage, because science. And it makes no sense that cages exist in the first place, all because of an increasingly needy man with too much money and not enough foresight (although we all know that cages exist). at failed).
Once you’ve established an absurd premise, along with a deranged villain or two, everything is free-to-play. The absurd makes a great canvas for comedy, because it’s a hilarious mirror to the real world – it’s a false reflection of basic truths, a way to highlight the truth. the madness of things we take for granted, like death, work, death, and the pursuit of knowledge. And what can you do, besides laugh?
But most of all, Portal 2 never tries to be anything but what it is To be. It’s absolute character development, with puzzles. It does not try to channel Avengers– level dialogue, where everything should be a puzzle and no one can show real emotions; it also doesn’t look at the success of writing Portal and go, “ah! We should have more articles.” I mean, it’s technically more written, but it’s not flatulence. Everything has a purpose, whether it’s set up for a later joke, foreshadowing, or just a closer look at GLaDOS’s personality. And sometimes it’s just a lingering joke about a real AI, really love space.
The point is that the authors of Portal 2 understood one important thing: As simple as beautiful. The vast expanses of Portal 2’s levels are silent spaces, with occasional input from Wheatley or GLaDOS as you solve puzzles. Compare that to some modern games, like Justin Roiland’s upcoming game, High life – a game where your gun can and will talk to you non-stop – and you will realize how much that silence contributes. Jokes are more fun when you cut out all the side jokes, obviously, but beyond that, that silence allows you to revel in the absurdity of the game without feeling like it’s been thrown right in the face. .
Portal 2 trusts its players to be smart enough to pull off a subtle joke, or notice the environmental storytelling of its ridiculous workplace posters, or listen to the turrets’ dialogue. when they were launched into a fire pit (“Nooooooo!” and “I did all you did!”). Even the chapter title and achievement title meta narration is designed to be amusing, like the one where he says “this is the part where I kill you” and the chapter title and achievement pop-ups quickly sync. idea.
And it’s a relief to play a game you trust. I won’t go back to all “my days” here, because to be honest the early games were so bad with their tutorials and much less talk about the bondage of point and click games. the better – but be trusted smart do for you feel smart. Or… maybe I’m just smarter than the moron orb. But anything. I will take it.
What game should we play from the backlog next? Let us know in the comments – we’re not doing a poll this time! You can choose! Also, tell us what your favorites on Portal 2 are. Mine is space. Spaaaaaaaaace.