a-fan-made,-7-hour-portal-2-prequel-simply-hit-steam-free-of-charge-and-it-is-so-good-that-i-am-unhappy-valve-stopped-making-portal-once-more

Keep in mind when Valve made an ingenious pair of puzzle video games about portals after which didn’t rely to 3? Nothing new there, but it surely’s a disgrace Portal stays considered one of Valve’s forgotten youngsters whereas the corporate goals to hold exploring Half-Life. Nowadays, the hallowed halls of Aperture Labs solely make an look when Valve wants a fast and quirky tutorial for its newest VR {hardware} or PC handheld. However the Portal group by no means stopped testing. They have been at it for years importing new check chambers, authentic tales, and full fan campaigns to the Steam Workshop.

This weekend, a giant one dropped.

It is referred to as Portal: Revolution. It is a fully authentic seven-hour marketing campaign with new characters, mechanics, and a narrative that takes place between Portals 1 and a couple of. It is an enormous mod—so huge that developer Second Face Software program revealed it with its personal standalone Steam web page and thumbs up from Valve. Revolution was constructed on Strata Source, a “community-made department of Source engine” formally licensed from Valve. Revolution continues to be very a lot Portal 2, you even have to personal it first, however Second Face says the upgraded engine means it will probably do issues that “could be unattainable in Portal 2.” I’ve put virtually two hours in to this point, and I am beginning to see what they imply. Revolution is not simply “extra Portal.”

Although the start is. In a wierd echo of Portal 2’s opening, you play as an unnamed Aperture check topic awoken by an AI core named Stirling many years earlier than Chell is unearthed by Wheatley. Stirling is a beaming, cartoonish upkeep core attempting to place Aperture again collectively once more after some “monster” destroyed all of it, however he wants a human to assist.

portal revolution

(Picture credit score: Second Face Software program)

Props to the modders behind this: Revolution would not instantly throw you into the deep finish assuming you have been enjoying Portal 2 at an knowledgeable stage for 13 years. In a really Valve-like style, the puzzles begin small whereas Stirling’s totally voiced narration units the stage. You discover a portal gun that solely shoots blue portals, throw just a few cubes on buttons, and take numerous elevators.

The familiarity makes for a gradual first chapter that lasts a bit of longer than I wanted to get my sea legs again, however Chapter 2 started with a startling realization. I nonetheless hadn’t gotten my orange portal button. Truly, I am in Chapter 4 now and I nonetheless haven’t got it.

Each puzzle to this point has compelled me to work round anchored orange portals, and I form of adore it. Having much less flexibility round portal placement makes for easier puzzles in some methods. I am getting overwhelmed far lower than vanilla Portal 2 and I’ve but to have a brain-melting second where I angrily blast each wall in sight hoping to by chance discover a solution. The limitation takes an necessary variable off the board, however having much less energy over portals creates a unique form of difficulty because the complexity ramps up in chapters 2 and three.

portal revolution

(Picture credit score: Second Face Software program)

And where I am at now, issues are beginning to get actually fascinating. I am on the floor of Aperture Labs portaling round dilapidated check chambers beneath a crisp blue sky. I did not know Portal 2 might look this gorgeous. If solely Chell might’ve puzzled below these circumstances.

Mechanically, Revolution is lastly incorporating extra authentic components. Blue and orange gel is coming into the combo alongside new “cleaning” showers that immediately negate gel results and clear coated cubes. Most just lately, I needed to douse a dice in orange gel to slip it down a ramp, one thing I am unable to keep in mind ever doing in Portal 2.

My solely early gripe is the story. I am having a blast seeing Aperture from a brand new perspective, however I am unsure Stirling is a perfect touring companion. Up to now his dialogue is dry, his jokes are principally retreads of Portal 1’s corpo-dystopian humor, and he simply would not put the persona in “persona core” the way in which Wheatley and mates did in Portal 2.

portal revolution

(Picture credit score: Second Face Software program)

Perhaps that’ll change as I attain the midway level of Revolution, however I will not be disillusioned if it would not. I am very impressed by Portal: Revolution—if not for its excessive bar of high quality and completeness as a mod, then as additional proof that Valve left a variety of meat on the bone with the Portal collection. That is the Portal 2: Episode 1 we by no means bought.

Portal: Revolution is free for Portal 2 house owners, and in the event you someway haven’t got Portal 2, it is on sale for $0.99 for the subsequent few days.