I took a vacation from my usual Nintendo-centric gaming to play through Portal, a game I'd heard a lot of great things about but had never actually touched. The game was even better than I expected, and its first-person puzzle solving (with light platforming) was wholly satisfying. The core game mechanic, where you use a gun to create portals in order to progress through rooms one at a time, is huge fun. The game is superbly paced and a perfect example of how the combination of overall design, aesthetics, polish, music, writing, and voice acting can turn a fun concept into a completely memorable game. There are several fun moments and surprises along the way, including a great ending, and although some people may complain, I appreciated its brevity.
This is definitely one of the freshest games I've played in a while, and it's surprising to see that the game is almost ten years old. It's rare that a game's mechanics are so fun that I can see how playing through it again would be as much fun as playing it the first time. Fortunately there's Portal 2 to look forward to.
Dive into these Portal links:
- Entry on Wikipedia
- Entry on Steam
- Entry on Metacritic
- I played the game on Steam, but the game is also available in the compilation called The Orange Box (for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC)