It’s relatively out-of-character for me to post game reviews, since I so rarely pick up new games, but this game is itself entirely out of character, so that’s alright.
To be brief: Portal is fscking brilliant.
I’m an RTS (Real-Time Strategy) player by nature, with a strong leaning towards turn-based and puzzle oriented games. I do play FPS (First-Person perspective Shooter) games, especially with friends, but they’re not my favourite thing. I enjoyed Half Life 2, for example, but I didn’t go back and re-play it a second time, and it made me terribly motion-sick.
Then again, so did Portal. Motion-sick and dizzy and confused and falling off my chair with fits of uncontrollable giggles.
Portal is a bit of a holy-grail as far as I’m concerned: it’s a perfectly abstract puzzle game, built with an elegant first-person shooter as its interface. Apart from finding or setting your keyboard controls, this is a game which requires only one explanation: how to use the portal gun itself. Everything else is just physics, as intuitive as catching a ball.
And then there’s the computer. The computer is your friend. I will only make this one reference to Paranoia, the roleplaying game. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry about it.
Throughout Portal, The Computer talks to you. Occasionally it says something helpful. Even when it’s not helping, it is entirely worth listening to. While I played this game, E kept asking me to turn the sound up, so that she could hear The Computer. That’s really all that needs to be said.