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Minas Tirith Forums » Computer Games » Now You're Thinking With Portals (Page 1)
Author Topic: Now You're Thinking With Portals
White Gold Wielder
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OMFG Portal. I've been waiting and it's out. Actually played from 2:00 to 5:00 AM last night. Clicks on every level for me. So good it hurts. Can't wait for sequels / add-ons.

The old trailer for the uninitiated:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4jnl0hRB9I

Get it here:
http://www.steampowered.com/v/index.php?area=game&AppId=400&cc=US

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Vahndel
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I've really been anticipating this one, it looks like a real mind-bending game. I hear it'll also tie into Half-Life as well, so all the better. []
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Roll of Honor Belegurth
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Out of interest I checked this video (not that my computer would run any game that was released after 2001), and I don't get it. You have this one "weapon" (it's rather a flashy device, is it not) that allows you to travel through space and that's it? I always thought blowing enemy soldiers away was way more fun than dropping wooden boxes on inanimated canons, but then that's my deranged nature perhaps []

Is there a story to the game?

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Roll of Honor Athene
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This is exactly the sort of game I love: minimum shooting, maximum mind-****ery.
[]
Although I admit to preferring the stylised little guy in the demonstrations.
[]

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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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It's a puzzle-oriented game, right? The computer voice scares the crap out of me, but I'm intrigued. BF says it's really good. Plus, the sarcasm they have going on in the game from the main computer system (with the scary voice) is rather amusing.
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White Gold Wielder
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The ending sequence is one of the best I have ever experienced. If you don't love Portal before the ending credits, you will after.

From ShackNews :

quote:
Portal Review
by Carlos Bergfeld Oct 10, 2007 12:38am CST

As the only part of Valve's Orange Box package that isn't a proper sequel or expansion, Portal can be played without any prior knowledge of the Half-Life series. That's a plus in the sense that it makes this portion of the box more accessible to a general audience, as the title is without a doubt the most interesting take on the puzzle genre in years. It's essentially a combat-free game--having been spawned by a now Valve-employed team at DigiPen, which mandates its students game be nonviolent--though it features the first-person view and play mechanics most commonly associated with shooters. There are a few tweaks; weapons are replaced with the titular portal "gun," and levels require careful thought rather than twitch reactions. Perhaps most impressive for a puzzle game, Portal actually features a substantial narrative of skillfully subtle execution.

From the moment you start playing, the game's immersive, self-contained story unfolds without a break in the action, in signature Valve style. A feminine robotic voice greets you when you awake in a sterile, gray observation room and guides you from one test chamber to the next. This seemingly innocuous guide quickly gains a sort of benevolent taskmaster personality and becomes the game's central narrative device, lending encouragement or even humorous discouragement in some cases. "The enrichment center regrets to inform you that this next test is impossible," the voice says at one stage's outset. "Make no attempt to solve it." Though the comedic elements are a welcome addition, the tidbits of information offered by the monotonous voice actually reveal much about why you're running through this obstacle course of sorts inside the so-called Aperture Laboratories in the first place.

As the title suggests, the gameplay centers around a gun-like device allowing you to place two connected portals on nearly any flat surface. If your character or an object goes through one portal, it comes out the other, retaining its momentum and exiting at the same velocity with which the first portal was entered. Valve executed this system beautifully, and once you get the ability to place both portals, you'll undoubtedly spend a bit of time putting a portal directly above you and below you to simulate an infinite drop, your character plummeting faster with each cycle. Or try placing the two portals in convenient proximity to your character, using them as a looking glass of sorts to examine the protagonist--a woman, as it turns out.

Following standard puzzle dynamics, the stages start with easy challenges, acquainting you with the game's methods at a steady pace. Like any puzzle game, the central mechanics are simple: jumping, picking up objects, and eventually placing portals--starting with just one blue portal, and then adding the second orange portal later. You'll use portals to best complete each room by pressing buttons, manipulating blocks, sending energy balls on convenient trajectories, and becoming a human cannonball to reach each test chamber's exit. Through the 19 chambers, the challenge increases at a suitable pace, forcing you to build on what you've learned in increasingly innovative ways, but never demanding a large enough leap in puzzle logic to stump you.

Tips from your robotic guide are paired with a helpful diagram--masked as an elaborate warning sign--at each test chamber's entrance, revealing which skills you'll need to utilize in each level. A smaller caution sign depicting a figure being struck by a block indicates you'll need to manipulate objects in the current stage, for instance, while a black-and-white depiction of a desperately drowning caricature tells you the chamber floor won't be an available route through a level. On more complicated stages, squares with a sequence of dots placed conveniently near suggested portal placement locations indicate the order in which you'll need to perform a level's tasks.

Since travel through portals retains momentum, hurling yourself through these magic doors to cross chasms or other obstacles becomes an essential skill, and remains a thrillingly visceral exercise in physics throughout the extent of the game. After placing one portal on a wall or conveniently slanted platform, a second portal placed at a distance below your character serves as the point of entry. Using the momentum gained on the way down to the portal below, you'll shoot from your higher portal at a speed relative to the distance you dropped--and that's just the beginning. Didn't get enough air? Try replacing your portal on the ground with another below you before you hit the ground from your first launch, adding another cycle's momentum for a doubly forceful impetus.

Portal's 19 test chambers in its 10 chapters are a perfectly encapsulated gameplay experience, with each new test increased in length, and building on prior challenges an expertly tuned pace. The final chapter culminates in a thrilling test combining all prior exercises and wrapping up the surprisingly fleshed-out story as well. Still, despite Portal being a perfect slice of innovative gameplay, its two to three hours of gameplay end far too quickly.

Luckily, advanced versions of several stages as well as "least time," "least portals," and "least steps" challenges unlocked after the first playthrough significantly enhance its playability. Thought one of the levels was too easy? Try the advanced version, in which you can't touch the now-deadly floor, and that helpful block you used to hold down a button is nowhere to be found. While I'm not usually enthralled by time-attack modes, I couldn't help trying to test myself with Portal's extended playability options, which you'll be rewarded with achievements for completing in both the Xbox 360 and PC versions.

There were just a few sections of the game where using the Xbox 360's gamepad made things slightly difficult for me, but otherwise, it all felt extremely natural on the console. Of course, I'd be greatly envious of PC Portal players once the mod community goes nuts with the title and starts making Portal chambers and gameplay modes of its own--apparently, Valve has taken steps to fairly easily integrate custom content into the game.

Whichever version you play, you're going to be impressed again by Valve's commitment to innovation--not to mention the game's ending sequence, which I have no reservations in saying features the greatest original musical composition--courtesy of Jonathan Colton--ever included in a video game to date. The song is equal parts triumphant, humorous, and enjoyable--a fitting end to a game summed up by all three.


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Roll of Honor Ecthelion of the Fountain
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i loved portal, it is up there with darwinia as far as breaking the mold games, games that dont go with the comfortable evolution that has been relied on too heavily in games recently. im curious about the tie in to the borealis and half life 2 ep 3. i would trade my trusty crowbar for a gravity gun and portal gun, and that is saying alot.

im wating for all sorts of user made content.

i created an mp3 of the ending song, love it.

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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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I got to the second to last chapter on my boyfriend's computer, but didn't complete it. Now I have it on my computer. I love GLaDOS. []
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White Gold Wielder
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Good interview with some of the creators. A cinderella story for programmers!

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=524 (perhaps a spoiler or two)

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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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"...you will be baked. And then there will be cake." []

Boyfriend wants them to make a plush of the weighted companion cube. []

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Miranthridel Bloom
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Played it at a friend's house thte other night as part of a Guitar Hero III/Portal/Family Guy marathon to celebrate my exams being over. Didn't get to the companion cube (this time) but OMG, Portal FTMFW. LOVE this thing. [] [] []
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Roll of Honor Ecthelion of the Fountain
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companion cube

i made it through all the advance chambers the other day, sure adds a level of difficulty to them.

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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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quote:
Boyfriend wants them to make a plush of the weighted companion cube.
They have []

I still haven't played, but my dad has a copy so it's just a matter of getting him to give it to me...

I got interested in a round-about way...My interest was piqued here, but it wasn't until I heard the wonderful Jonathan Coulton song from the credits that I started reading up on it, haha. He is a great great guy who makes lots of his songs downloadable for free!

From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Archer
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Then of course there's the moving, "All We Want to do is Eat Your Brains," which is Jonathan Coulton at his most lilting. []
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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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I love his covers of "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "I Will." But also "Creepy Doll," "Tom Cruise Crazy," and of course "RE: Your Brains." He's just fun to listen to. And he made the hideous (musically) "Baby Got Back" listentoable!
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CloudStrife
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Played it today for the first time. I started Playing around 8 this morning and had finished by 11. It was great but I just wish there were more. Can't wait for add ons and such...
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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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WAHHH THE COMPANION CUBE IS SOLD OUT WHAT WILL I DO???? [] []

I really, really don't want to resort to ebay. []

I want the plush, not the mirror thingys.

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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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eBay isn't a resort; it's a wonderful place full of joy. And....really expensive companion cubes...
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lord Glorfindel
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I've never used eBay myself, for the reason that everytime someone I know uses it, it goes horribly wrong, or just crazy prices []

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Official God Father Of Lentil
"LG for PM!!!" - CloudStrife
"LG = Lifes Good = Lifes Glorfindel" - Cloudstife (él es mi amigo!)
"LG, you're evil. Just plain evil" - Aermir
"I REALLY must get around to terminating your account LG!" -Wetwang
"You mad blighter" - Gloin the Dark

From: I grew up in Europe, where History is from. | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Lillianna
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That's exactly what I mean - jacking up the prices for teh cubes. []
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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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Glorfy: I've had nothing but positive experiences. Though there have been some bumps, the sellers have always bent over backwards to help fix them. Even through language barriers. Even from Communist countries with horrible mailing systems that lost my order. Everything turned out great...And I got three Sleepy Hollow action figures for about $15 (including shipping) [] [] [] thereby cementing further my geek status!
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lord Glorfindel
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I can't think of many off the top of my head, but the latest problem for a friend occured a few days ago, she bought an album advertised as a special edition, with live bonus tracks, turned out to have no bonus tracks, prompting further investigation revealing it to be a Russian fake.

But I guess like many things, some people are lucky, some aren't.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Official God Father Of Lentil
"LG for PM!!!" - CloudStrife
"LG = Lifes Good = Lifes Glorfindel" - Cloudstife (él es mi amigo!)
"LG, you're evil. Just plain evil" - Aermir
"I REALLY must get around to terminating your account LG!" -Wetwang
"You mad blighter" - Gloin the Dark

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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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So you report the person to eBay so they can shut them down [] What a jerk...Your friend should get a full refund for that.
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Inc'
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Snöwdog
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ebay is sort of a crap-shoot. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
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