By John Walker on April 19th, 2011 at 3:19 pm.
There’s are some extremely strange bits and pieces flying around about Valve and Portal 2 today, all over the place, and perhaps best summed up by the cavalcade of nonsense being posted on Metacritic by confused disgruntled gamers (and presumably quite a few trolls). The main contentions:
1) Portal 2 is 4 hours long
2) There’s Day 1 DLC
3) It’s a console port
4) The Potato Sack ARG didn’t change anything.
Let’s have a think.
1) Portal 2 is not four hours long. My first run through the single player took me about eight hours. Partly because I took my time to explore everything, finding easter eggs, and enjoying the dialogue. And partly because that’s just how long it is. I’ve replayed a bunch of it this morning, from about 8am to 12pm, and knowing what to do and ploughing through it as fast as possible, skipping past all the longer conversations wherever possible, I hadn’t reached the end of the second act in the four hours. So, including the co-op content, I was not even halfway through the game. People claiming to have completed it in four hours are either some sort of speed-gaming geniuses, or lying.
2) There is no “Day 1 DLC”. There is the daft store, with all the overpriced guff that aesthetically augments your co-op character for the enjoyment of the one other person you’re playing with. I’m very happy to be disparaging about such silly expense, but it absolutely isn’t missing content for the game being charged for on top of the box price. That is something that gets me really riled, and something that I think openly mocks the customer – discovering that even though they’ve paid for the game, if they want to full version with all the missions/levels/weapons, then they need to pay more. But that’s in no way the case here. You’re not missing out on anything, but for some pointless skins and hats for the co-op character that make no difference at all to the game.
3) I’ll eat ten hats if it’s a console port. The game looks stunning, running in mega resolutions, in a game that’s obviously primarily designed for PC. Yes, there are 360 and PS3 versions, but no, the PC version at no point feels anything like a bad port. In fact, I wonder at how some of the co-op levels are even possible with only a controller for reflex movements. There is, however, one epically stupid mistake, where for the split second it takes for the game to save the words, “Please don’t turn off your console” appear on screen. This appears to be the evidence people have for the port claims, and there’s absolutely nothing else about the PC version suggests it’s a port, and even if it were, it would be a bloody perfect one in which there were no reasons to complain whatsoever.
4) This one is tougher to figure out, really. To the best of our knowledge, as a result of the ARG, the game did come out a few hours earlier than certainly we’d been told to expect. Whether Valve oversold the possibilities of what might come about from people engaging in the Potato Sack CPU business is still up in the air. Clearly there are some who are upset that it didn’t bring the game out over the weekend as so many had hoped, especially if they paid for the Sack in the attempt. We’ll be contacting Valve to see if they want to comment on how it all went.
As for complaints about the content being the same as Portal, the writing being trite or obvious, or the endings having been ruined by Valve, these really are just troll comments with no basis in truth whatsoever. To find out why we think it’s one of the best games this year, and likely will be by the end of the year, read our review here.