You may remember that a few months back, a little game called ‘Portal 2’ was released. It was no big deal or anything, just a sequel to an enormous cult success of a side-project game, which was only very slightly hyped up before release, so that a handful of people would be aware of it and maybe buy it later on. Of course – in true GLaDOS spirit – I’m lying, and it was one of the most cleverly hyped up games I have ever committed my wallet to. So naturally, when we finished that game, we did a review-thingy of the robotty co-op mode. Now, several months later, we’ve got round to trying out the brand new – and free! – Peer Review DLC, and spent roughly three hours completing the brain-melting puzzles that came with it.
The least I can say at this point is well done, Valve. Not only did they release the DLC for free through Steam – something rarely seen with regards to DLC for most other full retail games, unless you’re willing to pay through the nose for some extremely short addition to a story you’ve already completed – but they released something that was fully voice acted, cleverly written, incredibly challenging, and bloody funny. We had an absolute hoot making our way through the surprisingly tough test chambers, with an unexpected over-arcing storyline in the background, of which our only knowledge or explanation of was through the diabolical and schizophrenic computer mind of GLaDOS, everyone’s favourite genocidal maniac mastermind.
The micro-story ties in brilliantly with certain events from the single player story, and yet in a way you might never ever suspect. Promises are made, concerns are shared, and instructions are given – profusely – and without GLaDOS’s expert script and hilarious delivery, I’m not sure this DLC would have been even half as special as it is, because for free DLC to convey this much care, detail, and attention, it simply blew our minds. It’s funny, fresh, and kept us playing until 1.30 in the morning, despite our eyeballs damn-near screaming in pain at the unblinking, unrelenting determination to stay focused on the screen and solve every last puzzle.
Speaking of the puzzles – the mind-boggling, portal-laden gameplay at the core of the Portal IP – who ever thought that completing a mere 9 new test chambers could take up around 3 whole hours of gameplay, especially considering we managed to complete the entire co-op story – the one that shipped with Portal 2 – in less than 6 hours. Of course, theoretically somebody much smarter than us who wasn’t fighting to keep our eyelids open against the cries of their scorched retinas might be able to beat it in 1-2 hours, but we also like to look around at stuff, and have a good discussion about what’s next in the puzzle. Then again, sometimes we just run around shouting and yelling and falling through each-others’ portals into pits of acid. It’s total chaos, really…
Get it, play it, enjoy it. Go!