Review – Portal: Companion Collection

We have a new compilation of old games being released for the Switch. In theory, that’s common practice, and not something that should wow any of us after five years. But this time, it’s different. We are talking about Portal 1 and 2. Those are arguably two of the best games of all time, titles the WTMG team reached to the conclusion of being virtually flawless. Portal: Companion Collection could have been just a mere emulation of two great games on the Switch, and it would have already been worth the purchase. But Valve did its homework, ensuring these two games would run perfectly on the system, taking advantage of its features, all while including extra content such as extra maps and developer commentary. In summary, a nearly flawless compilation.

Portal: Companion Collection

Gotta love the motivational speech.

What can we even say about Portal and Portal 2 that hasn’t been said already? These two games are so obnoxiously flawless it’s nearly impossible to find issues about them. I could have easily written a one-sentence review stating that it’s a Portal collection for the Switch, and that would have been enough to warrant a purchase. Those two games hold up surprisingly well, especially the sequel, which blows the more iconic predecessor out of the water thanks to its vastly lengthier runtime (a short duration may have been the first Portal’s only issue), hilarious script, amazing performance by Stephen Merchant, and co-op multiplayer. It’s not exactly about how they play that matters in this particular collection.

Portal: Companion Collection Wheatley

Wheatley, one of the best characters in gaming history.

Considering it’s the Switch we’re talking about, we never know if a game will run well on that platform, no matter how old it is. There was no excuse for Star Wars: Republic Commando to run so poorly on the system, for instance. Meanwhile, a game like Wreckfest, which made Xbox Ones and PS4s scream in agony, ran shockingly well, with some caveats, of course. Portal: Companion Collection‘s two titles are some of the best remasters available on the Switch. You can criticise Valve for their lack of gaming output, but you have to admit: when they release a game, the damn thing is almost always technologically brilliant. That’s the case in here.

Portal: Companion Collection Cake

Mandatory “The Cake is a Lie” reference in a Portal review.

Making the original Portal run at 1080p, 60fps on docked mode, 720p on portable mode is excellent, but not exactly shocking. That game, believe it or not, is already fifteen years old, and was surprisingly small in scope. I’m pretty sure not even Valve thought Portal would garner as much praise as it did. Having Portal 2, which featured larger levels, better visuals, and a lot more particle effects, running at the same conditions, is the more interesting achievement. It’s also impressive how well it holds up graphically after all these years. It feels fresh, with a unique art style and excellent lighting effects. In no moment did that game, or the first Portal, stutter with its framerate, even when I tried to come up with the stupidest, CPU-ravaging portals just to test if the games would crash or not.

Portal: Companion Collection Lasers

Now you’re thinking with portals… and lasers!

What else is included in Portal: Companion Collection? Well, both titles feature developer commentary, which is a neat bonus. There are some additional maps, which is a godsend for Portal, a game notorious for its sinfully short length (even though it is replayable as all hell). If you like to play your first-person Switch games with some extra layers of immersion, both titles also feature motion controls, which work better than I was expecting, to be honest. Finally, Portal 2‘s multiplayer remains intact. Both splitscreen and online co-op modes are included. All for less than thirty bucks. A steal, if I say so myself.

Portal: Companion Collection GLaDOS

GLaDOS is a sassy minx, and we love her for it.

Finding issues in these games is the real challenge. I just can’t. I’m not even angry, I’m being so sincere right now: Portal: Companion Collection is the real deal. It’s easily one of the best “retro” compilations on the Switch. You get two of the best games of all time running flawlessly on both docked and portable modes, with a fantastic framerate, motion controls, developer commentary, additional maps, online multiplayer, and more. Do yourself a favor and grab this cheap as hell collection if you’re a Switch owner. Even if you’ve played Portal a bagillion times before, it’s still worth another playthrough. Or ten.

Graphics: 9.0

Both games run at the highest resolutions and framerates possible on the Switch’s hardware, both on docked and portable. While not exactly a feat when it comes to the first Portal, it is more impressive when we talk about the second one.

Gameplay: 9.5

A fantastic framerate on both games and the inclusion of motion controls are the highlights of this compilation. I would have preferred for the button placement to be a bit different, but that’s just me reaching for something to complain about.

Sound: 9.5

The voice acting, the iconic lines, the music… it’s all pretty good.

Fun Factor: 10

Two of the best games of all time, running flawlessly, with extra content, motion controls, and on-the-go. Portal: Companion Collection is so good it’s challenging to even nitpick about it.

Final Verdict: 9.5

Portal: Companion Collection is available now on Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.