Best Sound Design 2011: Portal 2

Portal 2 is the one game this year that blew my mind more than any other. It truly rewrote Valve’s design book, it is their best game to date, and completely revolutionized the ‘ironic non-interactivity’ stuff they’ve been on about since Half-Life. Except, in Portal 2, came one of the most drastic experiments of all time. Literally blending gameplay and sound into one solid mixture. When you slide across the gels, when you fly through the air, the dropping of cubes; the little cues of gameplay movements and sound all match up so perfectly. The crisp techno soundbites seem to crunch and flow with repeated beats and twisks and whisks of the volume and it all feels so fluid.

Portal 2 is unlike any other game I’ve played. I can play it with my eyes closed, at least, some of it. I can just feel the soundtrack bleed through my movement. Right and left clicking a different itch of the volume triggers, letting the flow get dictated by all kinds of different movement leaders. This is a game that prides itself in delivering a linear set of puzzles, a linear narrative and (above all) a linear movement of pace. It works within the confines of ‘cinematic’ yet goes so much more beyond. It truly is a work of art and well deserving of this accolade. All of Portal 2‘s elements are given the same amount of care but the sound design is like no other and for that, it deserves this Blogossus piece of award.

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