May 12th, 2014

portal shield

NVIDIA told us Portal would be arriving for their SHIELD gaming handheld today. It’s in the Google Play Store for $10, as promised. What they didn’t tell us is that Half-Life 2 would be jumping on for the ride on the same date and for the same price.

Both games — staples of Valve from earlier this century and in recent years — feature the same full-fledged experience you’d find if you played it on PC. It won’t look nearly as good as it would on a high-end gaming PC obviously, but for an Android-based handheld they’ve achieved something pretty remarkable.

We imagine you could just as easily stream these games in higher quality using NVIDIA’s GameStream feature, though that requires a capable PC and an always-on data connection. A native option could prove to be much more useful for folks who don’t have such flexibility or the required hardware.

half-life 2 shield

Portal is a first-person perspective puzzle shooting platformer. Try saying that 3 times fast. You use a gun that will open portals that you can walk through or send objects through to complete many different levels and challenges. It’s one of the most unique concepts ever brought to gaming, and its insurmountable Metacritic score of 90% is very well deserved.

On the flipside, Half-Life 2 is a bit long in the tooth by today’s standards, but it was one of those genre-defining games when it launched nearly a decade ago. We’re glad to say that the game has aged quite well after all this time, and it’s that level of quality that has us eternally hoping for a Half Life 3 launch to eventually happen. Half-Life 2’s biggest feat were its advanced physics and interesting weapons. None of it is too interesting to the new-age gamer, but what it was capable of was largely unheard of back when it first launched.

Whether these games alone are enough of a reason to buy a SHIELD is up to you to decide for yourself, but if you don’t already have one and you decide you want to play these classics on the go you can grab one for just $200 from Amazon right now. Already hooked up with a SHIELD? Then head to the source links for the Google Play downloads.

[Portal, Half-Life 2]

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