Portal review
A Very Good Puzzle Game

The good:

The game is very fun on your first play through, as well as challenging.

The bad:

The replay value is relatively lacking, despite Valve's efforts.


Valve Corporation released their prized product, The Orange Box in October of 2007. The package contained five games, three of which were new releases. One of those games is titled Portal, and is Valve’s first project based in the puzzle genre. The game was an ambitious project, but of course, Valve prevailed once again, and successfully produced a wonderful video game.


Portal takes place inside of the Half-Life universe (Half-Life is one of Valve Corporation’s video game series) inside the Aperture Science’s Enrichment Center. You play as Chell, a girl who has very little background. You basically know absolutely nothing about her, sort of like how Half-Life starts out with Gordon Freeman. Valve does a very good job at keeping people wondering what is going on when a game starts out. Chell wakes in a chamber inside of the Aperture Science center, and you have no idea how she got there, or why she is there. As you rise, a computer named GlaDOS greets you. From there, you enter a series of chambers. Each chamber contains a puzzle to solve. As the chambers go on, they become more challenging and more involved. Once you get the hang of the game, you receive the Portal Gun, which you must utilize for the rest of the game. The gun releases two portals, a blue one, and an orange one. So, if you walk through a blue portal, you come out of the orange one, and vice versa.

Using the Portal gun adds a new depth to puzzle games. The game does a wonderful job at making you use your head, and the difficulty of the later puzzles can often be a tad frustrating. It is actually all good fun though. Surprisingly enough, the game does have a small story involved. It revolves around the computer, GlaDOS and becomes more apparent as you play through the game. Portal actually does have a very surprising ending, which is not common for puzzle games.


The game has superb graphics. Since it is running on the Source engine though, what can you really expect? Everything appears very crisp, especially the acid found in select chambers. The first time I saw that, I was actually surprised at how good it looked. The obstacles that get in your way are also crystal clear. There really is nothing for me to complain about in regards to the graphics in this game.


The sound goes hand in hand with the graphics. It is also very well executed.. The Portal gun makes an interesting and unique sound when fired. Nothing to complain about here either.

Replay Value

The game’s replay value is really the only area that I have to complain about. Portal has 19 test chambers to play through, and if you decide to play through the game again, you are not seeing anything new, and you will finish the game very quickly. However, Valve did do a fairly decent job at enhancing the replay value. They added Advanced Chambers, which are enhanced versions of the games chambers which are more difficult. They also added Challenge Chambers, which require you to complete chambers in the least amount of steps, least amount of portals used, or least about of time used to complete the chamber. An example of a Challenge Chamber is to complete Portal Chamber 13 in 40 seconds or less. These challenges are pretty fun, and require you to think quickly. Valve also added in multiple achievements to require on your adventure, which are actually pretty fun to achieve. Valve did a fairly decent job at adding replay value to a game like this, but In the end, the game still does get boring after a while.


Portal is a solid video game. It is a fun and challenging puzzle game which requires a lot of thinking. The graphics and sound is top notch. However, the only problem I have with the game is the replay value. If you are still wondering whether to purchase this game or not, I would purchase it. It is not very expensive, being priced at $19.99 individually, and it is also packaged in The Orange Box for only $30.00! However, I would try out the free demo available on Steam before you make a decision on whether to buy the game or not. That is what I did, and I was not disappointed when I purchased it.

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