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Portal (Series) Review

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Posted: 14 months ago, last updated 5 days ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer, @JonahMonaghan and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of increasingly ingenious (and malicious) test chambers, you must use your gun to escape. It’s a mind-bending challenge, but the real interest is the darkening tone of GLaDOS, who seems bent on foiling your progress, and the signs of previous test subjects spotted behind the scenes. As GLaDOS’s dysfunction turns to straight-up sociopathy, you must take on challenges with her tormenting discouragement ringing in your ears. The isolation is heightened by the introduction of a lifeless companion cube, which mocks your friendless predicament.

Portal is a series of puzzles that you solve with physics and lateral thinking. But behind the puzzles is the bigger mystery of where you are, and what these tests are for. This persists through the different games in the series:
  • Portal (2007) originally releases as part of The Orange Box pack. It was then released stand alone on PC, Mac,
  • Portal: The Flash Version (2008) was a spin-off for the web browser with lots of new test chamber puzzles using the portal gun,
  • Portal: Still Alive (2008) is a version for Xbox 360. This added challenges from the existing test chambers.
  • Portal 2 (2011) was released on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. It introduced two-player puzzles and featured a floating droid named Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant).

DetailsGame Details

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Web Browser, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @ValveSoftware

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 4 hours and 9 hours to complete.
 
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. You can play Portal 2 co-operatively. The time to complete the game ranges widely as it depends on how fast you solve the mind-bending logic puzzles.

CostsCosts

Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Portal Still Alive is rated PEGI 12 with language and violence. ESRB rated it TEEN with blood and mild violence. Players must avoid various hazards including gun turrets, which fire upon the player when encountered. When the player is shot, blood splatter can result on back walls of hallways and rooms.

Portal 2 is rated PEGI 12 with language and violence. ESRB rated it EVERYONE 10+ for fantasy violence and mild language. Players must avoid hazards such as stationary gun turrets, toxic substances, poisonous gas, and giant pistons; some sequences are accompanied by realistic gunfire. Robot droids can also be destroyed; for example, in one boss battle, players must defeat a robot by throwing small bombs. The words "damn" and "hell" can be heard in the dialogue.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Portal does not provide closed captioning for the tone of the speaker, however, the environment sounds are captioned.

Note, Portal can be modified using an in-game console to provide a more accessible experience. These console modifications are not included in our list of accessibility details.

Difficulty

How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

Cognitive Pressure

Low Pressure: Game tasks aren’t time-limited or with a high emphasis on performance. Or there is a low pressure play-mode available.

Save Anytime: The game automatically saves progress or you can save any time, and not lose progress.

Assistance

View Control Mapping: You can view a map of controls during play.

Tutorials: There are helpful tutorials, instructions and tips.

Reading

How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

No Reading: No reading is required.

Large Clear Text: Text is large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.

Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.

Speaker Indicator, their Tone and Environment Sounds: Captions indicate who is speaking and their tone, game sound and music.

All Dialogue is Voiced: All of the game dialogue and narrative can be voiced.

Controls

How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.

Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.

Remap Controls

You can customise the controls for the game as follows:

Select Preset Controller Mappings: Select preset button layouts.

Remap Mouse and Keyboard: Remap mouse and keyboard.

Remap Game Menu Access: You can remap buttons to pause and access game menu.

Invert X/Y Axis: You can invert the direction required to control looking and aiming.

Button Combinations

Specific button operation required to play

Holding Down Buttons Optional: Holding down buttons not required or can be turned off or switched to toggling the action on and off.

Rapid Pressing Optional: Quick, repeated button pressing not required or can be skipped or disabled.

No Simultaneous Buttons: Only one button or key required at a time, in addition to direction.

Vibration Optional: Controller vibration not used in the game or you can disable it.

Adjust Mouse/Stick Sensitivity: Adjust how sensitive mouse/stick controls are.

Image

How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Colourblind friendly: Game doesn’t rely on colour or can switch to colourblind friendly mode.

Clear Interface: The game navigation, maps and information are clear to read, large or adjustable.

Audio

How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Play Without Hearing: No audio cues are necessary to play the game well

Communication

How you can communicate with other players in the game and what options are available to customise and control this interaction.

Player-to-Player Communication

Preset Chat: Communicate with other players with word-less icons, sounds or preset phrases.

Text Chat: Chat to other players by typing text.

Voice Chat: Chat to other players by speaking with headset.

Ping Communication: Send quick preset messages to teammates as safer alternative to open communication.

System Settings

Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: @GeekDadGamer and @JonahMonaghan


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Games Like Portal

Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Portal or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Portal, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 12+ or ESRB TEEN games.

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