Parent's Guide: Portal 2 - Age rating, mature content and difficulty

Parents Guide Portal 2 Age rating mature content and difficulty
11th May, 2011 By Ian Morris
Game Info // Portal 2
Portal 2 Boxart
Publisher: EA
Developer: Valve
Players (same console): 1 - 2
Online Multiplayer: 1 - 2
Available On: Xbox 360
Genre: First Person Shooter, Puzzle
Everybody Plays Ability Level
Content Rating
Violence and Gore: Cartoon, implied or minor
Bad Language: None
Sexual Content: None
Parent's Guide

While there's nothing in the way of questionable content in Portal 2, the gameplay is rather advanced, and requires a lot of critical thinking, which may make it unsuitable for younger children. Shepherded along by a robot named Wheatley, Portal 2 is an inventive puzzle game, which sees you taking part in a series of "test chambers", which ask you to solve a puzzle to progress, before you break out, and attempt to escape from the complex.

The gameplay revolves around a portal gun, which can be used to create a doorway to another part of the level - fire two portals, and you'll be able to reach the one by stepping through the other. It's this unique twist that's critical to solving the incredibly intelligent puzzles, whether you're directing lasers through them, dropping cubes into them, or even leaping into them yourself, effectively launching yourself off a cliff using a portal to gain momentum, and clear a gap. The game has a great learning curve, which helps newbies pick up the basics very quickly - but a lot of critical thinking is involved here, to say the least.

With a hefty dose of slapstick comedy, and a genuinely funny storyline, this is sure to go down a treat with kids - the only requirement being whether they have the patience to sit and think through the puzzles (or come and ask Mom and Dad). Although it requires the use of both analogue sticks on the controller, the game's mostly fairly slow paced, so your child won't need to be a master of the gamepad in order to succeed. The whole game's fully voiced and subtitled too, which eliminates two other barriers - although the game's still likely too difficult for a child who has yet to learn to read.

Mature Content

A puzzle game at heart, there's very little for parents to be concerned about in Portal 2.

With nothing in the way of sex, no bad language beyond "hell" or "damn", and very little that could be classed as violence (there are no human, or even living characters to face off against in the game), Portal 2 is about as clean as they come. About as "violent" as things get is when a turret shoots at you, which causes your screen to develop a red hue. When you've taken too much damage, the camera will drop to the floor, making it look as though you've collapsed, but there's no blood at all - although there are some slightly more mature themes at work here.

A few of the other deaths are a little bit more unnerving. At one point, you have to make a decision, and if you make the wrong one, the room you're in will be flooded with neurotoxin, which causes you to pass out in much the same way as a death, only this time, the screen has a green hue. The other death, which is as violent as the game gets, is provided by giant, crushing spiked panels, which line corridors, and smash together to trap anything in between. Again, if you get caught in these, the view simply drops to the floor, to make it look like you've been killed/collapsed - there's no blood, no gore, and nothing that parents should really be concerned about.

Family Multiplayer

Portal 2 has an entirely separate co-operative mode, which follows a similar structure to the main game, only with an interesting twist. Now, with two people firing their own set of portals, working together, and working as a team is essential to your progress, as you're relying on your co-op partner to help you reach the exit. It's a substantial experience, with plenty of witty dialogue, inventive puzzles, and twists and turns around the way - and the reliance on your co-op partner gives it a nice, buddy-buddy feeling, too. With some mind bending puzzles waiting for you, this is a game the whole family can get in on, as here the old adage has never been more true - two minds, or even three or four, are better than one.

Age Ratings

We Say
Violence and Gore:
Cartoon, implied or minor
Bad Language:
Sexual Content:

Format Reviewed: Xbox 360

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