Portal 2 - Best on PS3?
Portal and Windows PC go together like pencil and paper; footy and beer; Lenny and Carl, but alas, PC is not the platform on which you should purchase Portal 2. Money aside, it’s the PlayStation 3 that looks set to be the prime console.
It’s a complete turn around by Valve, with Gabe Newell previously referring to the PlayStation 3 as a "total disaster on so many levels", after Valve made an absolute mockery of the PS3 port of The Orange Box. At E3 last year, Newell carefully proclaimed that the PlayStation 3 release of Portal 2 was "the best console version", as to not offend the PC brethren, while making amends with Sony.
The PlayStation 3 version is going to cost a little extra than the $50 Steam release (at least in Australia). However, if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, there’s no conceivable reason not to purchase a PS3 copy.
Case in point is your free Steam access when you buy the game on PlayStation 3. Simply purchase a PS3 copy of Portal 2 then link your PlayStation Network and Steam accounts and the game will unlock for use on your PC or Mac, free of charge. It’s the ultimate best of both worlds scenario and another pioneering act from Valve.
I hope to see more of this in the future. Imagine not having to limit yourself to one platform, or more importantly, one group of friends. You could play online with your console and PC buddies, two divided parties that multiplatform gamers must decided between with each new release. Only Valve would even contemplate such a genius, user-friendly, idea.
It’s also the first of many features that makes the Xbox 360 version redundant. The other key differences between the consoles versions is Steamworks support and cross-platform gaming between the PS3 and PC/Mac OS X versions of the game. While you can play through Steam on your PC if you purchase the PS3 version, there’s no stringent need to, as you can play with all of your keyboard-mashing mates from the comfort of your living room through your PS3.
Steamworks will allow Valve to implement auto-updates, downloadable content, and community support on the PS3, as it already does on PC. It will also make use of the Steam Cloud saving system, which is perhaps the most crucial feature. Gamers will be able to save on one platform and continue on another.
All of these features are mutual to the PS3, Windows PC and Mac OS X versions of Portal 2. The Xbox 360 game has been left out in the cold. Valve has reinforced that the core game is the same on Xbox 360, but it’s lacking an abundance of features. Why buy for the same price on Xbox 360, presumably, when the PS3 version grants you access to the game on three platforms with additional options?
Despite my praise for the PS3 package, I’m likely to buy the Steam version; however, that’s only because I’m Australian. The price difference between Steam and a retail copy in EB Games is going to be astounding. If I lived in a country that priced their games reasonably, there would be no dispute; the PlayStation 3 version would be coming home with me.
While PC is still Valve’s preferred platform, Portal 2 has been developed with consoles and PC in mind. One would assume that Windows, and maybe even Mac OS X, will come out on top, but I’m not so sure. While it won’t be better, the PS3 version might be just as good.
Even if it isn’t, you’ve got nothing to lose. You get a free copy on your Windows desktop and MacBook, giving you a vast spectrum of options. If the controller just doesn’t make the cut, head back to the keyboard. If you want to chill-out on the couch, boot-up the PS3. It’s the perfect scenario.
By Ben Salter
Which platform will you buy Portal 2 on?