Thursday 28 February, 2008
Wow, so I finished Portal and it is as short as people make it out to be. Of course, the last level is quite long, but I wouldn't say that it is particularly difficult. In fact, I wouldn't say that the game is particularly difficult per se, though once finished I guess I could go out and try the bonus levels that are supposedly more difficult. In fact, I wonder in what ways they are more difficult.
In my opinion, Portal is can be challenging along two dimensions. First, there is the difficulty associated to the hand-eye coordination and timing. A few times you have to open portals at the right moment, time your jumps carefully and that sort of thing. Thankfully, these kinds of challenges are the least and I can see how the design could have easily gone down the "jumping platforms and moving crates" route. That would have been a real disappointment. The second dimension for challenge is the puzzle aspect of figuring out how to get to the exit using portals. Clearly, this is the innovation that this game presents.
So, do the bonus levels make more use of mind-bending spatial puzzles or require you to time your jumps and actions more precisely? I look forward to finding out!
For the record, there are parts in this game that are laugh out loud funny and yes, the writing and voice acting are great. They really help enhance the experience. I was particularly surprised when GlaDOS congratulated me when I finished a level before "she" had finished giving me the instructions. (basically she stopped giving her instructions and said something that made me feel all warm and fuzzy).
It's almost all the "harder puzzles" kind of challenge.
Sunday 2 March, 2008 by ajrich
There are two categories of bonus maps: The advanced maps, which are altered versions of certain rooms that require a lot more figuring out, and the challenge maps which are identical to portions of the main game, but you have to complete them under new restraints There are three kinds of restraint: fewest portals, fewest steps, and least time. So the only "jumping platforms and moving crates" challenge that they really push you on is the least time challenges.
I'm guessing you had comments turned off when you played through the first time - be careful if you choose to go through it with the comments turned on, as one of them gives away the solution to one of the least portals challenge.