May 3, 2011

Review – Portal 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:53 am

Portal 2
I think it’s fair to say that probably every game is made, at least in part, by committee. The results can be fairly obvious; it’s easy to see when some executive has made the decision to pursue a Call of Duty or a Gears of War.

Valve, by contrast, produces perhaps the purest product available on the current market; the games where it’s clear that most decisions have been made in the interest of making the best videogame possible.

Portal 2 exemplifies this condition; it is pure game, straight through, with each facet specifically calibrated to produce what, undoubtedly, becomes an instant classic the moment the disc enters the tray.

The sequel returns the player to the life of Chell, unknown Aperture test subject, as she awakes hundreds of years after the events of the original game, once again trapped in the Aperture facility. If this change of circumstance is somewhat mystifying, then I recommend reviewing the updated ending to Portal (dispensed via Valve-patch), or better yet, reading the online comic bridging the events of the two games.


October 11, 2010

Review – Left 4 Dead 2: The Sacrifice

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:33 pm

This past week saw the release of “The Sacrifice,” Valve’s latest add-on for the Left 4 Dead games. This new campaign serves as a prequel to Valve’s previous DLC, “The Passing” which featured an appearance from the original survivors of Left 4 Dead—one man short. “The Sacrifice” gives players the opportunity to experience the events leading to “The Passing,” and the loss of one of their comrades—and not the kind of loss where you pick him up from a hero closet a few minutes later.

To avoid any confusion, “The Sacrifice” is available for both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2—but the package is slightly different. The version for the original L4D includes only the new campaign, “The Sacrifice,” played with the standard enemies and equipment of that game. Alternatively, the L4D2 version includes the new campaign and an updated version of the “No Mercy” campaign from the original game, with both taking advantage of L4D2’s expanded arsenal and enemies. Regardless of which game you play, you’ll be playing these campaigns as the original survivors.

Considering that the release of Left 4 Dead 2 was not universally supported by fans of the original game, the decision to release this add-on for both products was a pretty sound strategy, likely good for business while also appeasing those who were not supportive of the release of L4D2.


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