I admit that I’m not a huge fan of strategy guides that are 100% video. I prefer video to be an optional part of the guide, to help one get through a spot that they just don’t entirely understand how to do from words alone. For instance, back when I was playing Uncharted 2, I nearly rage quit over the Jeep hopping sequence. I could not figure out how to jump from truck to truck without something blowing up and killing me. Thanks to a video of the sequence, I immediately understood that I was not jumping to the correct truck for one jump. After that was corrected, it was super easy. Future Press has also implemented the idea of supplemental videos with their strategy guides for Bayonetta and Portal 2. IGN, however, has made their Portal 2 strategy guide solid video. There are no screenshots. There are very little words. So yeah, I was apprehensive about liking this at all. I mean, it’s kind of like having the entire game handed to you, right?
And here comes the part where I admit I was wrong. While yes, I still think that this many videos kind of gives away the whole game, all of the videos have been done very, very well, and they are broken up by both chapter and Achievements/Trophies. For the chapter walkthroughs, the reviewer commentates on what he is doing, what the player can expect, and even gives the little tutorials on how to do things–such as the double fling–that the game doesn’t really give newbies. Because of the constant commentary, the game isn’t exactly “given away” because the player won’t be able to hear everything GLaDOS or other characters say over the reviewer. If you listen very closely, you will catch nearly everything that is said, but if you do that, you probably won’t be paying attention to what the reviewer is saying or the strategy presented.
In the walkthrough videos, the Achievements/Trophies earned outside of story progression are presented separately. Here there is no commentary, but since so many of these Achievements/Trophies are so off the wall and in strange places, a voice-over would be a little distracting.
The downsides I found are very nit-picky I admit, but they’re still there for all users to consider. The walkthroughs for each chapter are partitioned into one or two videos instead of into each separate area Chell might visit in a chapter. As such, users won’t be able to quickly look for that one spot that is giving them trouble; they will have to either watch the video in its entirety or try to skip ahead where the buffer allows for it. Like I said, it’s nit-picky, but it’s a viable concern in terms of efficiency.
So if you aren’t looking to read about what to do for Portal 2 in terms of well, reading anything, then IGN’s Portal 2 strategy guide is definitely the way to go. Very well done, and the video format is pretty perfect for this type of puzzle game.