TIME FOR SOME PORTAL 2 LOVING.
'Cause I just finished it. And it was amazing. And Wheatley and GLaDOS have all of my feels.
First, I have a theory. Okay, so Cave Johnson, Mr. Science himself, wanted to transplant himself onto what later became GLaDOS, but he said that if he were to die before the transplantation could happen, then Caroline would be the next candidate for GLaDOS.
My theory is they were partially finished with Cave’s transplant. Therefore, the operating system of the facility (like the thing to which the cores, including GLaDOS, were attached) was very saturated in Cave’s ambition and disregard for human life.
Therefore, when Caroline was attached to the already Cave-like system, the machine retained much of Caroline’s love for science and her voice, but it still had Cave’s evilness whirring in the background. This explains why, when GLaDOS is detached from the main system, she begins to become more Caroline-like. “But Laura, her memory is triggered by the sound of Caroline’s voice.” While this is true, remember, GLaDOS had access to everything in the facility, and given her appreciation for Cave’s ideas and tapes, she probably would’ve heard Caroline at some point. I think the reason she was able to figure out who Caroline was and to relearn some of Caroline’s emotions was, in part, due to the fact that, as dPOTaTOS, she was completely Caroline as opposed to a Caroline/Cave hybrid.
Now, when GLaDOS is reattached to the Cave Machine, she comments that she felt so great after saving Chell. Then, she deletes the Caroline part of her. Again. CAAAAAVE. CAVE JOHNSON DOES NOT WANT CAROLINE TO FEEL AFFECTION! AFFECTION INTERFERES WITH SCIENCE! BLUH.
This Cave-is-the-machine theory also explains Wheatley’s madness. Before his attachment, Wheatley was the best ally ever. Well, to be fair, the only other ally was the Companion Cube, which didn’t have a British accent, or talk, really. And I guess Rat Man did some cool stuff, but Chell never really met him, and so there was never a bond there… OKAY, MOVING ON. Wheatley was a sweet little core until he was attached to the Cave Machine. Then he became evil. Later, he complained of an “itch.” While GLaDOS was able to deal with this itch because of her superior intellect and love for science, Wheatley… No. However. When Wheatley is hurtling in space with the SPAAAAACE core, he says that he really wish he could just say sorry to Chell. So. Once he’s detached from the Cave Machine, he’s just sweet ol’ Wheatley.
Anyways, I loved Portal 2. In my mind, there’s a needless Portal 3 wherein Chell somehow launches herself into space, retrieves Wheatley, and reunites with GLaDOS. Chell and Wheatley then remove GLaDOS from the operating system, restore Caroline, and go home to live happily ever after.
Don’t even judge me.
Final comments, Portal 2 was amazing. Where the first Portal game was a very subtle game (the villain wasn’t even identifiable until you were past the halfway point), Portal 2 follows more of a definitive plot line. GLaDOS is wonderful as always, and POTaTOS is even better. “BECAUSE I’M A POTATO.” Anyways, Portal 2 really rounded out her character through her dialogue and the plot. GLaDOS sans her morality core is delightfully sarcastic. “This plate must not be calibrated to someone of your…generous-ness.” However, her past as Caroline helped to balance the acidity of her disposition and also helped to explain some of her motivation. But as much as I love GLaDOS, Wheatley’s most definitely my favorite of the Portal 2 characters. Stephen Merchant is an absolute treat. The designers did a great job with his expressiveness as well as with fine-tuning the details of his character design (I loved that at the end, when he’s floating in space, his pupil is cracked). The dialogue for him is wonderful as well. Obviously. As far as the actual gameplay goes, I think that there were some flaws. Although the puzzles were very inventive and, as a whole, very fun, they were definitely overshadowed by the plot, and I found myself powering through the stages and getting incredibly frustrated when I got stuck because GODDAMNIT, I NEED TO SEE WHEATLEY AGAIN, AND GLaDOS NEEDS TO BECOME CAROLINE AGAIN, AND BLUHBLUH FEELINGS. That aside, there are several puzzles in the Aperture facility (not a proper chamber, just the guts of the facility) that, in my opinion, are needlessly long and difficult because there’s a lack of guidance (I don’t need everything written in capital letters for me, but some indication of progress would be nice to make sure that I’m not backtracking). Again, this goes back to the fact that I didn’t want to spend my time dilly-dallying through the facility; some additional dialogue (in the form of some Cave Johnson tapes or POTaTOS commentary) would have been much welcomed through long spans of puzzling in the internal part of the Aperture facility. The aesthetics of the game have been greatly improved, choosing to do a sequel post-apocalyptic sequel was a great choice because the grungy textures are a great way to update the glossy look of the previous game. Music is also an improvement; the soundtrack is absolutely vast (I believe it had to be split into three very large parts). Also, there’s quite a bit more variety, which is nice. Jonathon Coulton comes back again for the end song and is great as always. Overall, it’s a wonderful game that’s well-deserving of the praise it’s received.
Final thing just to wrap up this long-ass post. I am kind of half-hoping for a third Portal game, despite the fact that Portal 2 did a fantastic job of wrapping up the story (to be fair, the first Portal also did a good job of wrapping things up). I don’t know how I feel about a full release; on one hand, I’d be ecstatic, but on the other, I think the series is phenomenal just as it is and worry that a third release would make the story drag. However, I think a mini-release would be nice (though, I guess that’s what co-op was meant to be). Maybe even a short movie about the aftermath of Portal 2 or about the gap between the two games. That would be nice. Didn’t Final Fantasy do that? That’s what should happen.
Anyways, this is already incredibly long. Time to stop.