Portal 2: In Motion – The PS3 Attitude Review
Portal 2 was one of the best games of 2011, and improved on the original in pretty much every way. Six months later, the Peer Review DLC somehow made it even better. And now, the game’s set for another revolution with In Motion; developed by Sixense, this new DLC adds more levels to the game, which make use of the PlayStation Move motion controller; but does it work?
If you’re a Portal 2 fan hoping for a fully fledged expansion, then you should note that there’s no GLaDOS, no Wheatley, no Cave Johnson, and no Chell; in fact, there’s no story of any kind. This is slightly disappointing, but that was never the purpose of this DLC. What In Motion offers is simply a fun few hours with your Move controller and one of the best games of this generation.
With most Move games, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved when it comes to learning the basic controls. However, with Portal 2: In Motion, the controls feel so natural that it’s as if we’d always played the game with a Move. Sixense said it wanted to create ‘the most intuitive motion control experience ever seen’, and we think they just might have succeeded.
That said, the basic controls have been changed slightly, but it’s nothing you’ll worry about after the tutorial; the biggest change is that the Move button replaces square as the ‘use’ input. In a nice touch, the controller’s tracking ball will alternate between blue and orange (as the portal gun itself does in the game), depending on which coloured portal was most recently created.
As well as utilising the gameplay features introduced in Portal 2 (light bridges, tractor beams and propulsion gels), In Motion adds several new components into the mix that are only possible with the Move controller. First up is one-to-one, which is a great example of the tech; simply reach into the screen, and you can manipulate objects as if they were held in your own hand.
Next up is portal surfing, which allows you to move a portal once it has been placed, and even rotate its angle. And finally there’s scaling, which lets you increase or decrease the size and mass of a cube. All three of these features fit perfectly within the existing Portal 2 gameplay, and are used in innovative and unexpected ways to create some genuinely brilliant puzzles.
In Motion includes two new test chamber courses, each of which took us about an hour to complete (note that play times will vary wildly, depending on each individual player’s skill level). Two hours is arguably a little short for a £7.99 download (although PS+ subscribers currently get 30% off), but it’s reasonable considering the amount of work Sixense has clearly put in.
While the only way to play the new Move courses is by purchasing the premium In Motion DLC, the option to play the main game with a Move controller is available to all Portal 2 players, for free; just download the latest patch and you’re good to go. The patch also includes the In Motion tutorial, so you can get a feel for the controls before you decide whether to buy.
You can even use the Move controller in the competitive Challenge Mode, which was previously released as part of the free Peer Review DLC. This is significant, as the greater accuracy of the Move will, in theory, allow for faster times. It’s worth noting here that the Community Stats didn’t appear to be working at the time of writing, so hopefully this will get sorted soon.
Everything in the In Motion DLC looks and sounds exactly like it did in the main game, which is a very, very good thing. The graphics are as impressive as they ever were, with some added effects for the brand new gameplay features. Likewise, you’ll recognise all of the sound effects you’ve come to know and love, and suitably atmospheric music even kicks in once or twice.
Portal 2: In Motion is possibly the most impressive use of the PlayStation Move technology so far, with superb controls that are outmatched only by Sports Champions; it’s a real shame it didn’t come out closer to the Move’s launch. Regardless, In Motion is well worth a purchase by both Portal 2 fans looking for more puzzles, or Move owners wanting to dust off their motion controllers.