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Perpetual Testing Initiative – Status: Success.
For those of you who love Portal, you’ll also probably love Cave Johnson, especially his melodic tones that assure you that, no matter what, testing will continue. That was the voice of the trailer announcing Portal 2’s new, free, DLC that has enabled players to construct their own levels within the parameters of the maddening world of Aperture Laboratories. This is something that I’ve wanted to be able to do since completing the original Portal, and the fact that the DLC is free was not only a massive play by Valve to increase sales when Portal 2 went on a coinciding steam sale, but more importantly showed that the company cares about its customers.
The Perpetual Testing Initiative allows players to enter a map editor where creations are only really limited by the extent of imagination and deviousness. The editor interface is easy to get to grips with, yet mastering the art of true level design is incredibly tricky. We’ve all sat there playing a game and thought how easy a job it must be to design levels. Oh, how I miss that sweet, blissful ignorance of misguided arrogance. Level design is hard. I put around 4 continuous hours into what I thought was a Portal puzzle so devilish that it would stump even the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson. I handed the controller to my housemate, smirking at how he will fail my epic test. He finished it within 4 minutes. Yet I wasn’t annoyed or disgruntled. I was motivated to spend even more time creating ridiculously complex routes and mechanics so it might take him 6 minutes to complete next time.
That is the wonder of this DLC. You will spend hours gleefully expressing your creativity attempting to create a monster puzzler level that no one on Earth can complete. Every player can upload their levels to the Steam Workshop thus creating massive web of levels, designs and it really shows how beloved Portal 2 is. This DLC will keep you playing Portal 2 for hours and hours. The Perpetual Testing Initiative is, in my eyes, a massive success and has given players exactly what they want. The only drawback for this, is that unfortunately for the Xbox 360 and PS3 owners, Valve has ‘no current plans to release the Perpetual Testing Initiative’ for these consoles.