If you’re going to review Portal 2, that’s cool with me if you don’t bring up Jesus. Seriously, I’m totally okay with that. I reviewed Portal 2 here and I didn’t once mention Jesus, or any other religious figure. It’s a perfectly viable approach. So why would I have a problem with this Jesusless review of Portal 2?
Because the site is called Christ Centered Gamer. I followed a link to the review because I was genuinely curious to read a Christian perspective on Portal 2. Doesn’t a game about an all-powerful being putting her hapless subject through trails resonate with a religion that sees fit to include the story of Job in its bible? Isn’t there a cute analog to the Incarnation of Christ when GlaDOS is made flesh in a potato, tormented by a bird, bereft of much of her power, and brought to a closer relationship with Chell? Do I detect something Christian in Portal 2′s vertical movement, plunged into the depths and eventually reaching into the heavens? Doesn’t Wheatley’s easy descent into cruelty say something about human sin, even if he’s a man-made simulacrum of humanity? Isn’t Cave Johnson about as big a blowhard as Paul? Okay, I’m not really a Christian, so it’s not my job to come up with that stuff, but that’s the sort of thing I’d like to read about.
Instead, I got a review that’s no different from what I could read on a boring ass secular site like Gamespot or IGN. It’s all stuff that may as well be on the back of a box. Not a shred of insight, much less Christian insight. Which is really nothing new. So many reviews are dryly observational, minus any meaningful perspective, or much insight, or even context.
I poked around Christ Centered Gaming in vain, hoping to read about how Alan Wake’s dark world might resonate with a Christian, or how a Christian might feel about the historical representation of his religion in Paradox’s strategy games like Victoria II. No such luck. Instead, the Christian perspective is reduced to an absurd morality score, explained here, in which points are docked based on the presence of occult themes, profanity, violence, homosexuality, or disrespect for family values. In other words, the only potentially interesting observations are reduced to a numerical score that equates Christianity with facile morality. I suppose it’s about as helpful as any review score.