In the second chapter of Portal 2, GLaDOS takes out her anger at you killing her by making you go through failing test chambers that are REALLY REALLY FUN. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Portal 2.
Chapter Two: The Cold Boot
In the name of all that is holy and righteous, I love this game so much. I can’t believe that such a simple context can be twisted in such a way that not one level in chapter two feels like any one level in the entirety of the first game. This is brilliant, creepy, and entertaining all at once.
Like I said, not one level in chapter two feels like anything in Portal. The levels are darker, half the shit in them is broken, and you’re given far less wall space to make a portal than before. Most of the structures are made of decaying or ruined metal, and a lot of these rooms are entirely unfamiliar. Some are filled mostly with water; there’s another that’s separated with a glass wall, containing a tiny hole which you have to use to shoot a portal through. Actually, that’s what’s so fun and challenging about the chambers in this part of the game. You’re left to think about what little you have access to and how to use those resources to solve the puzzle. This might mean opening a portal next to you and then opening one below a cube in order to access it while up on a platform. It might mean using nothing but portals to get somewhere. Essentially, even these opening levels are very, very challenging.
Throughout this, you’re berated by GLaDOS, and it even incinerates a couple of companion cubes just because it can. Oh, and it throws garbage at you. Oh god, their interference can only get worse from here on out.
This chapter also introduces two new elements to the game: Thermal Discouragement Beams (as well as Redirection Cube) and Aerial Faith Plates. The beams can be blocked or refracted if necessary. The Aerial Faith Plates are my NEW FAVORITE THING. You can make chambers so much bigger because of them! THEY ARE SO FUN. I was surprised that I was able to nab the weighted cube in mid-air on the second attempt. I AM NEVER GOOD AT THESE THINGS.
Chell is the unchanging constant, and by gods, GLaDOS is furious. They resort to constantly insulting you throughout the game, poking fun at the absurd nature of what you’re doing and teasing you about about the fact that they’re the one in control. I think my favorite insult was:
“Here’s what it says: you are a horrible person. That’s what it says. We weren’t even testing for that.”
Oh, you asshole. It’s absolutely hilarious, though I imagine this game could get disturbing real quick.
Nothing out of the ordinary, though some of the bits of music after getting out of the elevator reminded me of the music you’d find playing on radios in the Fallout games. It’s creepy because it’s so cheery in such a desolate place.
Gorgeous. This game is beautiful. The dark atmosphere matches the story well, so I think this is a clever design choice. I did notice that the room with the first set of Aerial Faith Plates was the most well-lit of the bunch, but otherwise, it’s all rundown and decaying. I know I don’t have much to compare this game to, since I’m so inexperienced as a gamer, but I was again reminded of Fallout 3 when exploring the ruins of this place.
There’s not much more to the plot at this point, since all Chell is doing is trying to escape. But there were hints to much more. There are those weird education/promotional posters and animations in the entrance to each chamber. What are they for? Why would these beams and Faith Plates exist in the workplace? In one of the chambers, I went down into a side room and managed to find the following drawings:
Yeah, they don’t make much sense to me at this point.
Otherwise, what drives this along is GLaDOS’s anger. It’s just so beautiful. I mean, hell, Chell killed them, so I get why they’re mad. Who knew AI could be so funny?
My favorite chamber was the one where the Aerial Faith Plates were introduced, easily. SO MUCH FUN.
Other favorite insults:
- “You don’t have to go that slow.”
- “I thought that was interesting.”
- The entire metaphor about garbage.
- “An interesting science fact.”
I really like the art design on these posters. Also, WHAT THE HELL.
THIS LEVEL TOOK ME THE LONGEST. I kept activating the damn platform with the weighted cube on it because I didn’t just stop and think that maybe I should be on that side when I start the platform up. OH GOD.
I’M FLYING I’M FLYING.
Onwards to chapter three!
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