Portal 2 DLC Drops – Gamers Rage and Rejoice

Wednesday 05th, October 2011 / 13:32 Written by
in Gaming
Portal 2 DLC Drops – Gamers Rage and Rejoice

With a new set of co-op adventures for bionic buddies Atlas and P-Body and a new challenge mode that allows you to pit yourself against Steam friends and the Portal community, there’s a fair amount of new content for a free DLC pack. However, the response to Valve’s largesse has been a mixed one, with gamers both raging and rejoicing in response to the release.

The new set of co-op chambers have been generally well-received as challenging, fun and supported by the ever-hilarious writing that has helped boost the Portal series to the dizzying heights of critical acclaim. However, the new challenge modes and lack of new single-player test chambers have not gone down so well.

The challenge modes allow you to play through broken-up sections of each chapter of the Portal 2 experience. You race against time to complete each section as quickly as you can using as few portals as possible. You’re not only up against the clock, but also your Steam buddies and the Portal community at large, as the leaderboards allow you to mark your best attempts against the rest of the Aperture Science test subjects!

Portal 2

While this all sounds like portal-powered fun, there’s still some unhappy campers. It’s the lack of any kind of medal or award for completing the challenges that’s tweaked a few gamers’ noses. This means that if you like your challenges with a competitive edge, there’s only the thought of comparing stats ranked up on the leaderboards.

The challenge mode in the original Portal had bronze, silver and gold medals for each challenge chamber, which were advanced and slightly modified versions of those found in the single-player campaign. You were also scored on how many steps you took to complete the challenge.

These omitted elements of the original Portal challenge mode have been sorely missed by many gamers, taking the gloss off the new Peer Review DLC.

It seems you can’t please everyone, as apparently even high quality free content isn’t flameproof against gamer rage. For those who felt let down by the Peer Review DLC, let me put things in perspective:

Earlier this year, Dragon Age 2 offered up a DLC option called “The Exiled Prince” that gave you an additional party member with a relatively weak story arc to explore. This DLC cost $7 and added a paltry amount of content and little value to the existing game.

By contrast, this Portal 2 DLC gives you maybe an hour or two of prime additional co-op content (depending on your puzzle-solving speed and skill) and a chance to challenge yourself again on every section of the existing content, marking yourself against both friends and strangers. All for the price of… zip, zero dollars.

Portal 2

Therefore, when it’s placed against the backdrop of DLC as a whole, the Peer Review really does represent the better, brighter end of the DLC spectrum. In this context, I don’t think the lack of medals is really the thing to focus on. Admittedly some modified challenge test chambers would have been nice but as they say, the price is right, considering what you are getting.

When lots of publishers are trying to squeeze every last ounce of revenue from their released titles, DLC often become a dangerous tool that is overhyped and represents poor value for the consumer. However, when it’s done right, for the right price, DLC can allow a developer to go back and revisit, tweak or expand on its game, adding in elements that simply couldn’t be properly implemented in time for release.

This adds actual value and encourages gamers to revisit an old favorite and experience it with a new, exciting twist. While this instance of gifting the fans with free, high-quality DLC may not become a runaway trend in the gaming industry, it makes a most welcome change from the deluge of DLC dross that’s being shovelled out.

I hope you enjoy your extended Portal 2 adventures. As an added bonus, if you haven’t bought a copy yet, it’s currently being offered on Steam at the 50% reduced price of $15, available until October 6. If you were holding out for a good deal on one of the top games of 2011, then now’s your chance.

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Ree Saunders

About the author

Surfer, blogger and social media addict, Ree has definitely already seen that funny video you just posted on Facebook. He loves taking his kids on adventures (Instagram opportunities) and if his old body can take it, surfing the raging left-hand tubes of Indonesia or his native Jeffreys Bay beaches in South Africa. Otherwise, he'll be surfing the raging YouTubes instead.

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11 Comments on “Portal 2 DLC Drops – Gamers Rage and Rejoice

  • seeing as you meantioned the exiled prince i will start there if you pre-ordered Dragon Age 2 it that DLC came as part of the package along with a couple of other choice morsels. Now as far as the Portal 2 DLC is concerned yes it’s free but this does not automatically make it good and so far i have not been able to hook up with my co-op buddy to try the co-op part of the DLC so that niether here nor there but when i am asked to atempt to do something switfly and then made to wait on several occaisions for up to a minute with the clock ticking prominently in front of me before i am able to enter the chamber to start the test i have to wonder if the chamber could not have been reworked to allow me imediate access to these chambers. Leaving it as it is however just comes across as lazy and uncaring

    • I have studiously read this comment three times. What is most remarkable about it is not the mind-numbing lack of punctuation, but the fact that each time I read it, I understood it less, not more. That’s really something quite special you’ve pulled off there.

      What follows is my attempt to make sense of this grammar and punctuation black hole where commas, full stops and capital letters have been lured and bludgeoned to death:

      1. Yep, you could get DLC free if you pre-ordered Dragon Age 2. However, for those who didn’t it was overpriced and poor quality. My point was that there is a lot of overpriced DLC released that adds little value to its parent game.

      2. I agree, being free doesn’t automatically make something good. However, if it is good, then also being free of charge is a hell of a bonus.

      3. I’m sorry, I am lacking the internet Rosetta Stone necessary to decipher this stream of consciousness that has something to do with the Peer Review challenge mode. I can only guess that you’re experiencing some form of bug? I’d offer another explanation but that would require another inspection of your comment and I don’t think my sanity can take that right now.

      • I found his comment very easy to parse, actually. He thinks the Challenge Mode is clumsily segmented, as it contains numerous sections in which the player is forced to wait for a scripted event to complete while the clock is running down. I haven’t played any of the segments with the exception of the very first, so I’m not sure if he is referring singularly to the elevator sections preceding each floor or story sequences in general.

        It pays to not be snobby on the internet, especially with videogame fans.

      • @Niall Haviland Are you serious? You’re talking about being not being snobby and then you’re using words like parse? The irony there is rich as hell.

        The guy is using a 6 line sentence with no commas. How the hell do you “parse” that easily?

  • actually there are several chambers where a scripted event holds you back from getting to the task in hand. the chamber in question has sveral pannels not quite in postition right behind the door. with the journey from the elevator and then waiting for these panels to be moved back in place it is almost 45 seconds befor you can enter the chamber. surely valve could have altered the chamber for these timed challenges so that participant had an unhindered run. i hope that is clear enough for you

    • Right, yes I’m with you now. Sure, Valve could have altered the chambers to remove scripted parts that held the player back. However, since everyone has to wait through these sections, it’s still a level playing field. Nobody is going to suffer a worse time if everyone has to wait the same amount of time.

      I admit, it’s not ideal since you may want to repeat a challenge many times to improve on your score, making it an irritating wait. I can only presume that Valve thought that this minor irritation wasn’t worth the time investment necessary to alter it, seeing as they were already running late on their “end of summer” release target.

      It might also be something that could be addressed in a later patch.

  • I agree with Tom to a certain extent about the “complaints vs price” issue. However, for those of us who play strictly single player, the lack of new chambers was a bit disappointing. I’m a senior gamer (as in age…not experience) and was definitely looking forward to new puzzles…which I would gladly pay for. When I bought the game the kid at the game store said new puzzles would be available in the summer so it was a big incentive for me (free or not….). Having said this however, this is one of the best games I have played and would happily buy it again knowing there would never be an add. chamber.

    • Indeed, if you’re purely in it for single player then the DLC doesn’t give you any new puzzles to solve, just timed challenges of the same material. I can see how that might be disappointing but hopefully it will encourage more people to dip their toe into the multiplayer pool.

      Portal 2′s multiplayer element is something really special and I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially now that it’s been fleshed out further.

      However, with any luck Valve will turn their hand to adding some more single player content in a similar DLC vein, just don’t expect it any time soon!

  • Tom – thanks for putting the release in perspective. I had heard a lot about it (during the long, hot summer) and knew in advance there would be little new for the single player. And that was correct. But…one advantage you haven’t mentioned for single players is the ability to go to a specific level or chamber without having to play through others to get there. I had been trying to get the under 60 second Achievement for one of the chambers (9 or 10, can’t recall) and was sick to death of running through the one before to get there (still haven’t beat it yet). AND there’s even a clock to tell me how I’m doing! This was a triumph. Now I can’t wait to try the co-op levels. Thank you, Valve, not only for the added FREE content, but for the original games themselves. A work and a wonder we need more of in this boring and humorless world.

  • Caleb, you make a good point…achievements are not available in Challenge mode. But it is much easier to practice there than in Developer or regular modes.


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