게시 일시: 2015년 2월 26일
While the gameplay mechanic is fresh for the first half an hour, it quickly wears on you when you realize that there's only one ostensible solution to every puzzle, reducing the game's 3D sections to little more than a way to get to the next shadow-based platforming segment. This gets better a little later on when interacting with the environment actively changes the shapes of the shadows you platform on, but even then it mostly gets reduced to a matter of fine-tuning your adjustment of the 3D world to get the 2D platforming stage you need. I can't help but feel like more could've been done, with more imaginative takes on puzzle-solving. Half the fun of Portal was simply figuring out what the hell to do. It lengthened the game and gave you a real sense of accomplishment for figuring out the solution- you won't get much of that here. All the puzzles are basically self-explanatory from a cursory look at the environment and the result is that the playtime is frustratingly short.
The other half of what made portal great were the characters. Contrast's characters are by-and-by large serviceable, if not particularly original. They make sense. They're people you've heard of, seen, probably even know, just not intimately. They're not perfectly fleshed out, but that may have been the point- after all, they're just shadows, seen only through a little girl's limited perspective. The voice acting works (Laura Ellis does a pretty fantastic job) for the most part and while you may not be entirely sold on how quickly characters' relationships advance, that too, can be forgiven. (I wonder if I'd have felt the same way had the puzzles been harder to space the game out a little more). After all, the main character is just a little girl- she can hardly be expected to understand all the nuances of the exceptionally adult world her parents are in.
So for the most part, everything works...until the ending. The finale is probably my least favourite part of the game. I really liked the nebulous uncertainty as to whether what you're seeing is purely symbolic, whether what you see is really just another facet of what you HEAR in the storytelling. Note that I don't hate certainty- it's just that this particular ending opens up a whole lot more questions when the game is supposed to be wrapping up.*
That said, get the game anyway (at least when it goes on sale). The patches have fixed 99% of the glitching issues,the 1920's noir-ish aesthetic is a breath of fresh air amidst the modern, high-tech settings of most games, perfectly grasping the grand, yet slimy setting of the period, and the soundtrack complements everything perfectly. Seriously, it's fantastic. Youtube it if you don't believe me.
My only real complaint apart from the underutilized mechanics is the game's brevity, which is a compliment in and of itself. After all, if a game makes you wish it were longer, it must be doing something right. So support the devs by buying the game! I can't wait to see what they'll pull off with a bigger production budget.
*:SPOILERS, YE HAVE BEEN WARNED:
If we make the assumption that Dawn is an imaginary friend, her general lack of backstory and characterization makes plenty of sense. The minute you make a character within the story you have to start explaining or justifying their existence within said story, "Who are they? Why do they care?" because if the characters themselves don't care about the story, how can you expect your audience to?
You don't have to do this with an imaginary character- fake people don't need real motivations, and you can be content with just using them as a vessel for your own curiosity. I'm not against making Dawn a character, but making her one at the end of the story when there's no possibility of coming up with her motivations just makes the entire experience jarring, because suddenly this empty vessel you've been inhabiting the entire time has sprouted an existence of its own whose motivations can't be explained by your own simple curiosity as a gamer. It leaves you going "whaaaaaaa?" and blue-balled over a very fundamental part of the game that no longer makes sense in the context of the story.