No, probably not. Learn what? That no-one likes a silent protagonist.
OK, maybe I am being a bit generalized with that, but hear me out.
I can't remember the last time I heard someone say that they actually liked having a silent protagonist, but beating Portal 2 last night really brought my hatred to a boil (yes, it took me that long to beat such an excellent game). While I've been faced with a few silent protagonists over the years, e.g. The Rookie in Halo ODST (which was bearable), any RTS game, ever
(which is understandable), and Isaac Clarke (which was changed for the infinitely-better in DS2), Chell really takes the cake (!) as "Person who should talk more."
Now, throughout the whole game, Chell's "smugly quiet" behavior was really disappointing. I'm sure an intelligent maybe-gynoid like herself could have thought up some snappy retorts, or at least screamed in pain once in a while.
However, once you reach Wheatley and attempt to push the stalemate button, resulting in your near-death, something really awesome happens. Perhaps my favorite moment in the game: You don't die
Seriously, spoiler alert.
Not only that, but you show the most human characteristics you have the entire game; you don't give up, but you stagger up to your hands, look over your shoulder at Wheatley defiantly, and blast that sucker into SPAAAAAACE!
Chell 2, robots 0.
The point I'm trying to make is that I connected more with Chell in that moment than I had in any other part of the game, or the first one, for that matter. And yes, you could argue semantics and say that she is still technically a silent protagonist, to which I reply: That's right, and think of how much more
compelling that scene would have been if she had shot Wheatley a clever one-liner! It's a little action-hero-cliche, but it's badass
The theory that a silent protagonist allows the player to herself in the shoes of her virtual alter-ego is absolute rubbish. You can't relate to a character that doesn't respond to anything around her (ironically enough, it was actually easier to identify with robots who talked in chirps and whistles, because at least they talked somehow, danced, high-fived, etc. They were more human that Chell!).
Devs, at the very least, put in more reactions to the outside world that aren't verbal if you're that
attached to silent characters.. The defiant I'm-not-dead stance Chell displayed was good, but it was too little, too late, considering it was the first emotion she displayed the entire game
. Chell is without a doubt the weakest character in Portal, and that's just sad.
And, by the way, did anyone else see that other human when they were running through Wheatley's ramshackle tests?
LOOK WHO CAME: