Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Portal : Still Alive (and Kicking)

My leading contender for "Game of the Year" so far in 2008 is Portal. Yes, I know it came out last year, but I'd just gotten an XBox 360 in June, along with The Orange Box, and that's when I got to play it. My previous blog entries detail pretty well my love of this game.

But what about "Portal : Still Alive", recently released on the XBox Live service as a downloadable version of the original with 14 new "Challlenge Levels" added? Well, it's great, too. I've been playing it for the last week, first going through the 19 levels of the original and beating it again before tackling the new levels.

The new levels are, so far, not all that much of a step up in difficulty from anything seen in the original ones. There are some new environmental elements that pop up, though, which makes the new levels feel refreshingly different at times. I won't spoil them other than to say that they are platforming classics.

Missing from the new test chambers is the voice of the computer GLaDOS telling you about cake and such, but this omission is a minor loss. The levels themselves are all good, bringing back that Portal feeling when you swear you can actually hear the wheels turning and sparks clicking in your own noggin when you figure things out. I wish there were more than 14 new levels, but I'll take what I can get.

So the game is fine, but the package - 1200 Microsoft Points - is sort of a rip off for those of us who own the Orange Box. In my opinion, just the new levels should have been available as a free download for Orange Box players alongside the 1200-point whole package offering.

But Portal : Still Alive is what we got, at least for the time being. For myself, it was worth it just to get these new levels and play them. For someone who is only casually attached to Portal, or whose moral compass allows them to deny themselves the absolute joy of new Portal levels to stand firm against such a rip off, this package might not be ideal.

I'm so apeshit for this game that's I'd probably plop down ten dollars every month for another 14 levels. I hope they don't do that, but instead just focus on a proper sequel for a game that certainly deserves one.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

I saw this and thought about picking it up. Most of my xbox points have been going towards Rock Band [2] songs recently.

I did however grab Braid on the xbox live arcade and _LOVE_ it.