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The Quixotic Engineer

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Love You Weighted Companion Cube

Having picked up the Orange Box late last week, I finally got a chance to play through Portal this weekend. Despite its brevity (3-4 hours for the main story), I can say with conviction that it will be remembered as a classic for years to come.

Valve could have easily rested on their laurels and sold Portal on its unique first person puzzle gameplay alone. Instead, they went the extra mile to really flesh out incredible atmosphere, terrific voice acting and quite possibly the greatest video game ending I've ever seen. They mix genuinely hysterical dialogue with a terrible sense of dread, which puts you on the edge of your seat while you're chuckling to yourself. It's as if someone mixed Cube and Brazil, then threw in an awesome portal gun for good measure.

The enemy turrets say "No hard feelings!" in a sing song voice when you deactivate them. The ubiquitous AI voice promises you cake at the end of the test, but when you venture behind the scenes you find scrawled graffiti saying "The cake is a lie!" There's danger everywhere, and your only friend is your stalwart Weighted Companion Cube.

Portal is awesome!



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