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Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 3525 Ratings

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  • Summary: Portal is a new single player game from Valve. Set in the mysterious Aperture Science Laboratories, Portal has been called one of the most innovative new games on the horizon and offers gamers hours of unique gameplay. The game is designed to change the way players approach, manipulate, and surmise the possibilities in a given environment; similar to how Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun innovated new ways to leverage an object in any given situation. Players must solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals to maneuvering objects, and themselves, through space. [Valve] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 27
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 27
  3. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Portal can be bought separately or as part of the Orange Box package – Half-Life 2, Episodes 1 and 2, and Team Fortress 2 – but either way you get one of the best gaming experiences of the year.
  2. From beginning to end, it's hard to find something not to like about Portal. Everything from the gameplay to the presentation are top-notch.
  3. Portal is a magnificent puzzle game. The titillating wrongness of every solution and the wonky thinking required to get there make you feel like a space-folding genius, and yet you'll almost never get stuck.
  4. 90
    Ine of the most unique, funny and satisfying games of 2007, and we can't wait until Valve produces more of it.
  5. Skilled players will portal their way through the nineteen levels in just a few hours, but this little puzzle game / tech demo provides plenty of entertainment and makes a great addition to The Orange Box.
  6. So Portal does its job within the Orange Box compilation, taking a brilliant left-field idea and successfully merging it with Valve's universe over an entertaining few hours of gaming.
  7. By anyone's reckoning Portal isn't a long game, weighing in at around the three to four hour mark. Those of you who do see this game from start to end though are in for a very special experience.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 772
  1. ChristopherS.
    Oct 21, 2007
    Humour and puzzles are spot-on for an entertaining and fun game. Now all we need are some new puzzles created by the community and an add-on pack; who needs Half-Life 2? We've got all the physics puzzles we need in one game! Expand
  2. MarselI.
    May 18, 2010
    I am here to explain to anyone who dosen't like this game why they're wrong. *The game is short. Damn agreed. *It holds your hand through the entire game Dowload maps, they are fun and provide you with infinite playtime. *The "puzzles" are not really puzzles Agreed, but read above. *the humour is terrible. Are you from this planet man? Expand
  3. ConfigS.
    Jan 5, 2008
    Ingenious and funny - great entertainment.
  4. Oct 6, 2011
    A narrative, as well as a puzzler, Portal works on every level it's almost scary. It doesn't overstay its welcome, but it doesn't seemed rushed. A near perfect game. Expand
  5. LaurensS.
    Oct 10, 2007
    Great game with fantastic ideas, and expert maps for those of us which finished the game after an hour ;).
  6. Sep 28, 2011
    Well, given that Portal 2 is a week away, I figured it'd be a fine time to go back and revisit the charming predecessor. The first Portal was a delightful pack-in for The Orange Box, Valve's compilation of Half-Life, the two subsequent Episodes, and Team Fortress 2. While all those games were highly regarded and well worth the money, Portal was singled out in particular for its innovative puzzle design which truly explored what the First Person Shooter genre was capable of when coupled with a spark of creativity and the freedom to go beyond mere convention.

    Portal takes the puzzle mentality of games as old as Tetris and other 2D sidescrollers and transports it into the modern 3D space of first person shooters, though perhaps this is a bit of a misnomer as there isn't actually shooting in the traditional bloodthirsty connotation. Instead, you're given a marvelous Portal gun which greatly resembles the Gravity gun from Half-Life 2. Just as that "gun" was more of an experimental piece of equipment than an actual deadly firearm, here too the Portal gun functions in a unique manner to aid in your adventures. Rather than terminating foes, you create portals in solid matter to bypass obstacles in the environment and traverse in odd, sometimes paradoxical pathways. These dimensional holes cut into the walls and floors of the laboratory also afford Portal the unique distinction of being one of the only FPSs ever to allow you to witness your own body in front of you, without the aid of mirrors. The mind-bending nature of these portals is what gives the game such a playfully devious character and even jaded hardcore gamers who've long exhausted their stockpiles of FPS games will find it hard not to giggle at the intensely creative and ingenious environmental puzzles that Valve has conjured up in its technological cauldron.

    While an imaginative and refreshing new twist on the FPS genre, Portal is let down by its short length. This is not a particularly grievous complaint as the game was meant to be a sort of free extra treat in The Orange Box, already a steal with its plethora of games, but one cannot help feeling somewhat disappointed when they've arrived at the end of this rather loopy and wholly captivating diversion of time. Truly, "short and sweet" is how the game can best be characterized, yet if only that sweetness could have been prolonged somehow!

    Portal's humor has been singled out for a great deal of praise and been the source of countless memes since the dawn of its release, yet I'm not entirely convinced the game deserves such effusive love. Perhaps it's because of my own sense of humor that gets in the way, but I found the game's comic sensibilities rather tame and merely worthy of a chuckle here and there. GlaDOS, the malevolent AI in the story, delivers vaguely threatening monologues coached in corporate doublespeak but I never found these evoking an actual laugh out loud. And does "the cake is a lie" merit such a widespread meme? Is that statement really so powerfully mindblowing and clever that it deserves to be plastered all over the internet? I can't really justify it, unfortunately. The game's somewhat clever at times, but there's nothing about it that makes me suspect it's reaching the heights of comedy.

    The problem with most puzzle games, and which Portal inevitably succumbs to, is the fact that they're only good for the first time. Replaying this game two years after I first completed it, there was a sensation of repetition and familiarity. Some of the harder and more intricate puzzles took me a mindful pause to remember what the solution was, but the overall playthrough was greatly reduced from my first time, as the answers were all still within my memories. There was no great epiphany, no moment of "Eureka!" that you had over and over again from the first playthrough. This is a problem that you find in all puzzle games, they just don't warrant repeat plays as the puzzle's already been solved. After that initial breakthough, you're just left with a sense of treading water. That ebullient feeling of discovery and the satisfaction of cracking the proverbial nut is lost forever, and that's a shame. It's just the nature of puzzles, and a few other genres as well. Trivia games are another example where you have this issue. The first time, you're stumped, but subsequent games are no brainers as you've learned the trivia and there's no challenge left.

    But Portal's first time through is a truly marvelous and rather pure gaming experience which has few equals in the modern gaming landscape. It's one to treasure.
  7. Griper
    Mar 29, 2008
    You have to remember, portal is ONLY a game... it cannot talk and tell you what to do.

See all 772 User Reviews