Portal 2 is the sequel of the 2007 game of the same name. Released first on PC then on PS3 and Xbox 360 as part the 'Orange Box' compilation, it was a massive success and quickly gained a large following. The game was praised by critics and gamers for its unique puzzle-based gameplay which involved using a portal gun to solve tasks and it is considered, by many, to be Valve's best game. The sequel sees you playing as Chell who must, once again, escape from a mysterious testing facility.
For the most part, Portal 2 plays pretty much like the original but there are lots of new features. One of the big additions to the game is the coloured gels; repulsion gel, propulsion gel and conversion gel. I won't spoil what they do but they play a big part in solving the puzzles. As well as this, there are reflective cubes, tractor beams, aerial faith plates and much more. All these new features add to the gameplay and keep it fresh and interesting. It also makes the game more challenging because you have a lot more to work with.
I thought that the difficulty was just right in this game. It's not so easy that you can just breeze through it but at the same time, it's not so difficult that it becomes frustrating. The puzzles can require a lot of thought and many of them will have you scratching your head, trying to work out the solution. The satisfaction of solving a puzzle after staring at it for 30+ minutes is worth it though.
The game has a very good story which I find much stronger than the original's overall. There are a lot of new characters such as the various personality cores, Wheatley and Cave Johnson, which makes the game much more immersive than the first one.
Also present is multiplayer co-op. I haven't tried this yet but it can be played both offline and online, and features a different set of puzzles to the main game; many relying on team work.
Like all games, it's not without its flaws. One of the biggest problems I had with the game was the fact that you can't pick a specific test chamber. On the first game, there was a level select screen that let you replay any of the puzzles. In this one, you can only choose the chapters. This means you might have to go through three or four rooms to get to the puzzle you want. I also feel that some of the characters could've gotten more screen time. There were a lot of great characters - personality cores, turrets etc. - that had very minor roles.
Despite these niggles, Portal 2 is an excellent game and well worth buying. It takes what worked in the first game and adds to it. It's rare that a sequel improves on the original but that's exactly what Portal 2 does.
Vizzed is a free website that lets users stream a large selection of retro games, ranging from Atari and NES to N64 and PS1. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to set up an account on the website, install the required plugin and get the games running. This is a simple process and can be done in a few easy steps.
Step 1: Creating an account
To create an account, you'll need an email address. You can put your own if you want but if you don't want to give it out, you can use getairmail.com which gives you a disposable one. Check your email for a verification link and click it. You'll need to fill in the required fields to complete registration.
Step 2: Downloading the plugin: some of the games on the Vizzed website can be played straight away but to run the majority of the content, you'll need to download and install a special plugin. To get the plugin, click on 'Board' at the top of the page then scroll down until you see a section called Retro Game Room. Click on this, then click 'Download Vizzed Retro Game Room Plugin' and install it wherever you want.
Step 3: Playing the games: Once the installation finishes, you'll need to exit your browser and restart it for the plugin to take effect. Go back to the Vizzed website, log in to your account then click Retro Game Room. From here you can search for a game to play. You can type in a specific title or search by genre, console and letter.
One you pick a game, click on it then click 'Play Game'. A separate window will open and the game will be loaded, Once it loads, you can change the controls by double clicking the screen and clicking 'Define Controls'. You can play the games using the keyboard or with a USB Controller.
Notes: You don't need to make an account to use the website but creating an account lets you save and load the games, play an unlimited number of games each day and post in forums
Not all games will run flawlessly. Some of the games (N64 and PS1 in particular) have graphical glitches.
My Red Book is Rick Astley's seventh studio album. It was due for release sometime in early 2013 and it would have been his first album of original material since 2001's Keep it Turned On (His 2005 album, Portrait, was all covers). Two singles from the album were released (Lights Out, way back in 2010, and Superman in late 2012) and promotional copies were given out to fans. For whatever reason, the album wasn't released and to this day, it hasn't seen the light of day. It is unknown why Rick chose not to release the album and there is little to no information about it online (there isn't a Wikipedia page and it's not listed on his official website). The aim of this blog post is to give people a chance to hear the album as, despite being more than two years overdue, it hasn't been leaked online. I had actually been searching for a download of the album for a while but I had no luck. All I could find was a bootleg with the studio versions of Superman and Lights Out, another track, Relying on You, that wasn't even from My Red Book and terrible quality live recordings of some of the other tracks. I recently had a bit of luck though. I managed to find a CDr of the album on Discogs so I ordered it. I'll admit, I was worried that it was going to be a fake. About two weeks later, the album arrived so I opened it, put it into my PS3 and, to my surprise, it was the real thing. Listening to the album made me wonder even more why it wasn't released. Rick was heavily involved in the production of the album and he plays guitar and drums on a lot of the tracks. This gives the album more of a warm, live band sound which is quite different to his early synth-pop stuff. This isn't something that I'd usually do, but I've decided to make the tracks available to download. There hasn't been any word on an official release yet and I really feel like this is his best work. If it ever does get released, I'll delete the files straight away; I might even buy the CD myself. Until then, here's a link to download it:
Released in 1990, Flood was They Might Be Giants' third studio album and their first album released under major record label, Elektra Records. This was a landmark album, providing the band's biggest Hit (Birdhouse in Your Soul), and many consider it their best work. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the band have provided a free download. A live performance of the album in its entirety. These performances are culled from a 2014 tour of Australia and according to Flansburgh, "I would be lying if I said this was something we carefully planned,". he went on to say that they "wanted to do something different for the second show. So we played Flood in its entirety in a few different cities across Australia". The band did something similar, last year, with the first album and this proved successful. It's a well known fact that They Might Be Giants are one of the most internet friendly bands, and between these two albums and making their music available to stream on Youtube, they've really been embracing the digital age. The album can be downloaded here: