Portal Cover
Platforms Windows, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre Mind-boggling First-person Puzzler
Score 10  Clock score of 10Gameplay: 10
Fun Factor: 10
Gfx/Sound: 8
Story: 8
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Portal is a puzzle first-person shooter recently released as part of Valve's The Orange Box. Also in this long awaited package is Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode Two. It also includes the original Half-Life 2 and Episode One, so basically this is the perfect purchase for someone looking to get into this great series. Portal was just released this week but I had the foresight of playing it right away from the recommendations of a couple of co-workers (direct quotes: "game of the year," "funniest game ever," "best character ever"). It was a great experience as I will soon describe.

But how about a quick explanation of what this game is all about! Basically, you're a woman in a research facility, experimenting with the new portal gun. This gun can shoot two different portals, a blue one and an orange one. These portals are then connected so if you walk into the blue portal you'll come out the orange portal and vice-versa. This makes for a complex but enjoyable gaming experience as you can walk through one portal and fall out the other side if it's on the ceiling. Even more fun is the momentum you can build up by placing a portal on the floor a couple levels below you and then jumping down into it from above. Your momentum carries over from the fall and you'll come hurtling out the other portal! Very fun stuff! The portals also allow you to see yourself through the portal if they're positioned properly, making for a disorienting experience. Not a bad disorienting though. Time for some scores out of 10!

For my longer review on just the first hour, please see my Portal review at The First Hour.


Gameplay: 10
Absolutely no complaints here, just a lot of raving as this game is incredibly good. I've never played any other game like this before (not sure if anyone has unless they played Narbacular Drop) and the experience is worth it. Using the portals to solve puzzles, combat drone guns, and fling yourself through the air at high speeds is just something that is hard to describe in words. You have to play this game for yourself!

Fun Factor: 10
There are some frustrating moments involving moving platforms and deadly sludge, but these are overshadowed and forgotten by all the wonderful game experiences Portal has to offer. Besides the gameplay, the best part is probably the awesome computer that starts off as an adviser and ends up singing a hilarious song about the past three hours of gaming! I laughed throughout the entire end credits, and everything before that I was smiling. Portal is just so much fun. Setting up portals so you're constantly falling through them or flying out of one at terminal velocity is incredible. Portal is simply fun.

Graphics and Sound: 8
This is the Source Engine we're talking about so basically everything looks and sounds beautiful. Well, there isn't a lot to hear in Portal besides you shooting your gun and the computer talking, but graphics wise it is top notch. The textures look great, even though there are relatively few of them as the environments are limited. The coolest graphical effect though is looking through the portals and seeing yourself on the other side, sometimes even seeing a whole bunch of you if you position Chell (the protagonist) correctly.

Story: 8
I'll be posting a first hour review of Portal on my main site on Monday, but I couldn't wait to review the whole game (which took me about two and a half hours total). The story definitely becomes more entertaining as the game goes on. Without spoiling too much, the game rips you out of your comfort zone just when you think it's all over and more mysteries and hilariousness ensue. The talking computer basically makes the entire game and even though Portal doesn't give you your typical structured story, it is still very intriguing and gets you thinking about it when it's over.

Overall: 10
On The First Hour, I do not give out perfect scores lightly. Finding that flawless one hour of gameplay may be something I never discover. But since this is Beyond the First Hour and finding an entire flawless game is probably impossible, I have to give out 10's a little more liberally. I don't think Portal is a perfect game, but it does so many things right and so few things wrong, I'd be hard-pressed not to give out a 10. If you want two to three hours of great, original fun, Portal is the game for you. It's funny, entertaining, thought-provoking, mind boggling, and so much more. Give in and enter the Portal.

Portal Weighted Companion Cube Euthanize Fire