I regret to tell you I didn't have time to finish the story mode of this game, so I can't talk about how it ended yet. However, I did get probably 4/5 of the way through and once I fixed my issue with the motion sickness, I seriously had a ton of fun with this game.
Spoiler warning for the ending of Portal and some major plot points of Portal 2. I'm not going to put it behind a cut because, I feel like these games are old enough at this point.
You start out in Portal 2 in what looks like a hotel room, and after some major skips in time, you wake up again to extremely deteriorated surroundings, and the game kicks off. You meet a new sentient robot friend name Wheatley who helps you in your effort to escape. Before long you are back into the rhythm of traversing through testing chambers similar to the structure of the majority of the first game.
Portal 2 starts out very similar to it's predecessor, but as a change of scenery the facility around you is crumbling and decrepit. After waking up GLaDOS, who carelessly tosses Wheatley aside, the second act of the game begins. While the gameplay loop of solving a puzzle then hopping in an elevator remains mainly unchanged, some new mechanics are introduced. Then finally, the third and final section of the game begins.
This is where the game surprised me. You follow an escape sequence similar to the end of the first game. After swapping GLADoS for Wheatley into the supercomputer that controls the facility, I fully expected to have to now go through a series of challenges from him. What I did not expect, was for the antagonist to get turned into a potato before the both of you fall down into an old facility… under the original one.
In this area, you eventually do get to a testing facility where the structure is reminiscent to the previous sections of the game. However, there is an added challenge of navigating to the next test sphere through collapsing architecture. In this part of the game, it really feels like you are peaking behind the curtain and watching how Aperture evolved. You puzzle through testing spheres from different decades starting with the 1950's and through at least the 1980's. This is where I got snagged on a hard puzzle and had to call it quits for the time being.
Portal 2 is the first game this year to get a score of 5 because I don't have anything negative to say about it. The story picked up from the last one, and took an unexpected turn that I very much enjoyed. The characters are full of personality despite being dead (?) or robots and the humor is one of the best things about the game. I found the puzzles to be a good challenge but never impossible. There is a great amount of satisfaction to be found from trial and error until you finally get a solution. Finally, for a 10 year old game it looks great. You never see your own character unless you do some funky portal tricks, but it's always cool to see that they bothered to animate her. The setting an environment is not exactly packed with details at every turn, but it doesn't need to be, and I liked the posters all over the old facility.
The only thing I do want to make a note of is, after playing for only an hour the first night, I got very nauseous. This is not new to me, it happens with some first-person games. The next time I sat down to play, I made an effort to sit further away from my monitor than I normally would, and adjusted the field of view in the developer console. I don't think this is an issue with the game, though I do wish the option would have been more accessible.
I look forward to trying the co-op sometime soon with Yavuz and I may do a separate writeup on that.