Portal 2: Wait Listed

There seems to be a bit of backlash against Portal 2. According to Metacritic the score for Portal 2 is currently at 94/100, but only if you look at the critics’ scores. If you look at user ratings the average score drops all the way to 7.1/10.

Like Blizzard, Valve is a group of people who are committed to the “we’ll release it when it’s finished” school of design. They’re one of the few development teams that can still get away with this attitude. Almost without exception, they’ve released incredible games; Half-Life and all its add-ons and sequels, Left 4 Dead, the original Portal.  They’ve also been incredibly open to the mod community. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent with the original Half-Life playing Counterstrike, Team Fortress or Day of Defeat. I believe Portal started out as student project and was purchased by Valve. Allowing people to mod their game and release content for free is one of the ways that Valve grows talent. They see who’s creating a brilliant mod of their game and bring it on to publish it professionally or let it grow the fan base.

Because they don’t release unfinished products, release only high quality games and support the mod community, they seemingly had built up an incredible amount of goodwill with consumers. But with Portal 2 they seem to have stumbled. I have no doubt the game is fun. The original Portal was brilliant and would probably, if I actually created a list, simultaneously be in both my top 10 for puzzle games and first-person shooters. Portal 2 may even be more fun and challenging than the original. The critics seem to think so. Yet I won’t be buying it until it hits the bargin bin.

The reason is quite simple, and where I think Valve has stumbled, the original Portal was an undiscovered gem of a game that was bundled with Half-Life 2, HL2: Episode 1, HL2: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2 in the Orange Box. When included with four other games for 50-$60 getting the 5-7 hour Portal was an incredible bargain, but now having bought or being asked to buy the 5-7 hour Portal 2 for $50-60 by itself has people balking. It’s the reason I’m not running out and buying it.

Valve has generally done a good job of meeting or exceeding expectations with their products. With the Orange Box they set a really high bar and releasing a game with so little content in comparison has disappointed a lot of fans. Had they bundled Portal 2 with a couple of other games (Where the heck is Half-Life2 : Episode 3 anyway?) I think that the response would have been very different. Valve is a victim of their own success and being unable to clear a hurdle they set for themselves with the Orange Box. A good number of people just don’t seem to think that Portal 2 meets their expectation of value from Valve. Some may also be frustrated because they’ve been waiting years for the continuation of Gordon Freeman’s fight against the Combine and instead we’ve gotten Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 since we last saw Mr. Freeman in action.

I’m sure Portal 2 will be a triumph (I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS!) and I’ll be getting it myself once it drops to a more reasonable price. Once that happens I’m sure I’ll be happy with my purchase.

0 Responses to “Portal 2: Wait Listed”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

April 2011
« Mar   May »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1 other follower


%d bloggers like this: