A few months again, I slathered my love for Portal 2 throughout bit-tech. I waxed lyrical the way it’s presumably the perfect comedy sport ever made, how cleverly it introduces new parts to Portal’s spatial conundrums, and the way splendidly it expands upon Aperture Science as a spot. It is pretty much as good a sequel as you could possibly presumably hope for to probably the most authentic and ingenious video games ever made.
At least, that’s what I assumed.
While I genuinely imagine Portal 2 is a unbelievable sport, my one criticism of it’s that it doesn’t carry something basically new to Portal’s puzzling idea. Sure, it provides further puzzle parts like lasers, light-bridges, and varied environment-affecting fluids. But these are pretty minor iterations upon the identical idea. They don’t have that very same “wow” issue you get if you stroll by way of one in all Portal’s portals for the primary time, gasping as you instantaneously transition from one level in house to a different.
But I additionally thought this wasn’t a good criticism of Portal 2, as a result of I didn’t imagine it potential to rekindle that second of astonishment. Then I performed Portal Reloaded, which has made me fall in love with Portal’s puzzling in a complete new manner, and made me realised that Valve barely scratched the floor of Portal’s puzzling potential.
Portal Reload is a standalone Portal marketing campaign. Taking place throughout the cavernous confines of Aperture Science, it options the identical test-chamber construction and wry, frivolously sadistic humour of the 2 official video games. But it makes one main addition to Portal’s mechanics, including a 3rd portal you may place on the earth.
This Portal works in another way from the blue and orange portals already featured within the sport. Whereas these portals are for shifting immediately by way of house, this new, inexperienced portal enables you to step seamlessly by way of time. Specifically, it enables you to journey between the current and future variations of the very same house, with a twenty-year hole between them. Present Aperture Science is all clear and gleaming and new, whereas future Aperture Science is soiled and crumbling and overgrown.
Taken by itself, this impact is cool, however not that spectacular. What you’re basically doing is shifting between two mirror pictures of the identical puzzle chamber, one glowing recent, the opposite outdated and dilapidated. It’s how Portal Reloaded makes use of this premise to create conundrums that makes it presumably essentially the most sensible puzzle sport I’ve performed in the previous few years.
Portal Reloaded’s puzzling is outlined by two key guidelines. The first is that in the event you transfer an object within the current, that motion will by mirrored sooner or later. If you progress an object sooner or later, nevertheless, its current equal won’t be affected. The second rule is that current objects can’t be taken into the long run, as this violates the legal guidelines of causality. Future object, nevertheless, may be introduced again into the current.
Reloaded makes use of this idea to create some actually brain-frazzling puzzles. To give a quite simple instance from the sport itself [MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW IN THIS PARAGRAPH], one puzzle requires you to position a dice on a button to carry down an elevator, then place a dice at on a button on the high of the elevator to open a door. Solving this puzzle requires you to position the current dice able the place you may attain it from the elevator, then take the long run dice, carry it by way of the portal, and place it on the current button. At this level, you could transfer to face on the elevator, then choose up the current dice. This causes the long run dice to immediately transfer from the button within the current, to the place sooner or later the place you moved the current dice to. This allows the elevate to return up, and so that you can full the puzzle.
If that description has turned your mind into jelly, keep in mind that this can be a easy instance of Portal Reloaded’s puzzles. Later puzzles significantly enhance the complexity, letting you place time portals your self, and introducing ideas like utilizing time portals to propel your self over gaps. One of its slyest options is that the current and the long run variations of the chambers don’t at all times match exactly. Windows within the current could also be shattered sooner or later, whereas lacking flooring sooner or later could also be intact within the current. These variations open up new pathways which are each an extra headache and a delicate nudge towards the answer within the puzzle.
Playing Portal Reloaded, you may really feel your personal thoughts attempting to wrap itself across the idea of considering in 4 dimensions, the nuances of trigger and impact, how the current and the long run relate. It’s merely sensible, to the purpose the place I discover myself wishing that Portal 2 had this idea, that I may return in time and insert the mechanic into Valve’s sequel. It’s virtually bizarre how shut Valve skirted towards the thought themselves. Portal 2 is basically constructed upon the premise of seeing Aperture Science in a number of time slices, the analogue previous and the destroyed future. It edges so near Portal Reloaded’s revelation that I battle to imagine Valve missed it.
It’s additionally value noting that, past its phenomenal idea, Portal Reloaded is a well-made sport in any other case. The little story it weaves is attention-grabbing, and it efficiently mimics Portal’s personal model of humour, albeit with out the voice appearing expertise of Stephen Merchant and Ellen McClain. The solely actual grievance I’ve about it’s that it’s very quick. Then once more, the unique Portal was additionally a fleeting affair, and Portal Reloaded is totally free, so it could take essentially the most curmudgeonly soul to criticise it for that.
Anyway, in the event you’re even barely all in favour of Portal, you could completely play Portal Reloaded. It’s the closest factor to Portal 3 that we’re ever more likely to get, a mod that splendidly innovates on Portal’s premise, bringing one thing genuinely new to Valve beloved puzzling collection.