Portal 2 faces backlash over paid DLC, short campaign

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With a Metascore of 95 based on 19 professional reviews, it would be an understatement to say Portal 2 was met with overwhelming praise when it launched this Tuesday. Of those 19 critics, all rated the game above 90 out of 100 and many of them described the sequel as a "masterpiece." Eurogamer in specific said Portal 2 is beyond perfect, scoring the game 100 out of 100.

Despite its universal acclaim among critics, gamers seem less convinced about the title's success. As of writing, approximately one third of Metacritic users have given the game a "mixed" or "negative" review, lowering the overall user score to 7.5 out of 10 for PC. Interestingly, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are currently faring just as poorly at 6.9.

Most of the anger seems to be directed at Portal 2's virtual store. Like Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 lets you purchase in-game cosmetics such as gestures, hats and skins for co-op characters. There's reportedly $80 worth of downloadable customizations and although they don't affect actual gameplay, players are disappointed in Valve for the blatant nickel and diming.


The developer is also catching flack over its Portal 2-themed alternate reality game. The ARG concluded by having participants purchase and play indie games on Steam in exchange for having Portal 2 released early. Despite a large community effort, the game was only released a few hours ahead of schedule. One user called the ARG a "money-grubbing viral marketing campaign."

Besides the virtual store and questionable marketing, some users are ticked over the game's relatively brief campaign. The single-player portion seems to take between five and eight hours depending on quickly you solve the puzzles, while the multiplayer lasts about three to six hours. That's admittedly toward the short side of things considering the game's full retail price.

Although the first Portal was criticized for being short, most fans overlooked the game's length because it was considered a freebie alongside HL2: E2 and TF2 in The Orange Box. The concept of using portals was also new to most players at the time, whereas some fans of the original say they cruised through Portal 2 because Valve has rehashed many of the puzzles and challenges.


We've also seen angry comments by PC gamers who say Portal 2 is a console port. Apparently, Valve slipped up and left a small console-related message when the PC version is saving: "Saving Game… Please don't turn off your console." Although this is a bit sloppy, we think PC gamers often use the phrase "console port" a little too loosely and it seems unjustified here.

From our perspective, some disgruntled gamers have a fair argument. Valve's marketing strategy and virtual store feel tacky to us and we agree that Portal 2's single-player experience is shorter than expected. However, we get the vibe that most negative user reviews are out for blood instead of offering a balanced summary. Do you feel like you got your money's worth?

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