Mark Plays ‘Portal 2’: Chapter 1 – The Courtesy Call

In the first chapter of Portal 2, oh my GOD. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to start Portal 2.

Chapter One: The Courtesy Call

what the fuck is going on??!?!?!

OH MY GOD, THIS TAKES PLACE RIGHT AFTER THE FIRST GAME. Well, fifty days or so. More? Wait, no, it has to be more, since a reactor melted down, and the place is decayed. How was Chell captured in the first place? Wait, nevermind, don’t answer any of this. Also, HELLO, STEPHEN MERCHANT. Let’s get to it.


So far, this is exactly the same as Portal, which is GREAT because then I can focus on the environment, the dialogue, and the billion things going on around me. But I’m also one of those gamers who LOVES any game that teaches me how to play in the beginning by throwing it in to the story. So that whole beginning section was perfect for me. I think of myself as a casual gamer, only because I haven’t had much time to play. (That’s another reason I was eager to start this. I missed playing video games!)

In the beginning, I’m left without a portal gun, so it’s a lot of pressing buttons and passing through portals manually. Then I can shoot blue portals and come out of a fixed location of the orange portal. Finally, when GLaDOS awakens, I get both. It’s a very clever way to ease newcomers into Portal‘s mechanics if they’ve never played.

I don’t know that I’ll have anything new to comment in upcoming chapters since this seems so similar to the first game, but that’s okay. Using broken down or annihilated chambers was awesome, and getting to go “backstage” so early was rad, too.


Oh gosh, WHY WAS CHELL STILL IN A STASIS CHAMBER? Did she not really escape? Again, there’s not much development of Chell, but I will say that it was neat that she was legendary at this point. Wheatley spoke of the human who defeated GLaDOS with great reverence, and that’s the first time in-universe that someone has acknowledged what she had done. I’ll save my commentary on Chell for later.

WHEATLEY. Oh gosh, Stephen Merchant’s voice acting really is perfect. I’m familiar with his voice because I’ve been listening to it on Ricky Gervais’s podcast for a long time, but it really fits well in the game. It’s clear that there was some sort of update to the Aperture Labs, since his voice is not computerized and robotic like GLaDOS’s is. What’s neat about that is that this is consistent with the actual setting, too. All the rooms we see, even if they’re decrepit and run down, have a far cleaner initial design than the rooms in the first game. I admit that I’m saddened that Wheatley was crushed by the end of the first chapter. BOOOO, I’d like more of his awkward banter!

GLaDOS IS BACK. Oh shit, that entire sequence where they’re awakened, I just kept shouting, “NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.” They exist here solely for revenge, and I’m okay with that for now. I was totally intrigued by the notion that they “rewarded” Chell for coming so far to destroy it by PUTTING HER RIGHT BACK IN THE TEST CHAMBERS. Oh god, I truly am unprepared for this game, aren’t I?


Largely, it’s not that much different from the first game, though each of the rundown chambers I went through had a new voice giving me surreal instructions, and there were those weird animated posters. Wait, has all of society really been destroyed? I go back on forth on the music. It’s either so perfectly suited that I can’t help but notice it, or it’s so perfectly suited that it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s great!


Look, it’s not that Portal was shitty, but sweet baby bumblebees, this game looks INCREDIBLE. Everything is detailed, smooth, colorful, and the action sequences in the beginning when Chell’s containment room began to disintegrate were MIND BLOWING. This is leagues above the first game, and I love it. I’m actually excited to see what non-chamber sequences are coming up. The only reason I say that is there there were two already, just in the first chapter alone, so I imagine this game will peel back the layers far more often than the first one.


YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. You know, I imagine it might be a tad strange to play this without having played Portal. (I’m so glad I finished that game.) But I don’t think it would be distracting enough that you couldn’t play this one. The story that I could parse out of this was that decades into the future, Chell is awoken a second time by Wheatley, who desperately wishes to escape the lab facility with her. Why? I’m not quite sure, aside from the fact that Chell is the only living human subject left. Has it just been her this whole time? I can’t imagine so. Someone had to come in and build up this whole new facility. So was Chell re-captured? Either way, Wheatley accidentally wakes up GLaDOS and EVERYTHING IS FUCKED. I imagine that in order to escape, Chell will have to go through 19 rooms again. But I get the sense that GLaDOS is going to interfere way more often than they did the first time around, especially if Chell is successful at getting to that last chamber. Basically, I am so on board for the framing device this story has given the game.


Obviously, Stephen Merchant’s voice is a highlight, but here’s what else I enjoyed or noticed.

A screenshot of ‘Portal 2’ showing Chell off in the distance through a portal. She’s wearing orange pants and a white tank top.

Hey! Chell has slightly different clothes on.

A screenshot of a poster detailing the “Animal King Takeover,” showing a large auditorium being annihilated by a GIANT ROBOT ANIMAL THING.


A screenshot of GLaDOS’s evil eye staring right at me.

Oh shit. Bring it on, Portal 2. Let’s see your worst.

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