When Portal was released back in 2007 it was part of the Orange Box package and served as almost a tech demo for this kind of gameplay. Not treated as a traditional FPS the player was given a gun that could open one portal on a wall and another portal anywhere else that would serve as its corresponding tunnel. This intuitive gameplay mechanic responded well with gamers and opened infinite possibilities on how puzzles could be solved involving them. Alongside the mechanics was a humor filled story and a sadistically charming facility robot named Glados. Vavle has alot to live up to on making the sequel to such a hit and it looks like they’ve done it again in a much bigger way.
Portal 2 puts you in the shoes of the same character from the original game. Set after the events of the first game, Chel has now awoken after being in cryogenic stasis for … a very long time. Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant) which is the robot that is responsible for the test subjects comes to your aid from a facility about to hit critical melt down. One of the immediate things you realize about this game is the structural change it has undergone since the last. Broken down areas, rust and plant fruition have taken over. It also guides you through how the facility came to be. The use of space is also a big thing to note as you will find yourself in tight corners to massive multilevel areas.
One of the things they expanded on was the story. You instantly fall in love with the characters and on how entertainingly witty the entire thing is. If there is a future where robots can be this funny then I’m in! While the main undertone that is played is about trying to kill you, you can’t help but be smiling the entire way through. Another really cool thing was a Commentary mode which little speaking nodes are set up in each stage and developer dialog can be heard on concept, character and level creation. Our only big complaint was since the story was a big focus this time around on single player it seems to be a bit on the shorter side and with no other modes of difficulty or challenges their is no real reason to return to it aside the Commentary mode.
It’s important to note that the puzzles is its strong suit and it certainly delivers. Ranging from solvable puzzles that are in plain sight, to others that’ll leave you scratching your head for sometime, the game never feels overwhelmingly difficult but tests your ability of somewhat pressured situations. New elements keep the gameplay fresh and alive at all times. From gel that’ll make you bounce really high, gel that can propel you at high speeds and other goodies while using portals to intertwine them is just a marvel. Graphically it’s just an update to the Source Engine used more then half a decade ago but it still manages to use it well with everything going on. This all changes however when you experience the game with someone in Co-op.
The Co-op is where the game really shines and breaks out of the mold of its past. The dynamic completely changes once you play with someone else and its nothing but a treat. Valve knows a thing or two about Co-op gameplay from their popular FPS Left4Dead series so making gameplay elements with the use of portals and two people would seem is not a hard task for them. When working with four portals it is important that teammates work together to figure out how to make it through. You can watch what your teammate is doing with a button on the controller and even use a ping tool on where you want a portal to go. You can even time a sequence with a countdown that can be desplayed. This is also very helpful for those that don’t have mic’s for communication so no one is stranded in the cold.
Portal 2 was a delight to witness and a breath of fresh air. The story is endless laughs and so is the co-op. Being a fan of the original I knew that Valve had their work cut out for them to please loyalist and they delivered. However right when you think you can play it forever it feels over in a snap. We’re sure they have plans to expand areas with DLC but we also hope that the world of Portals isn’t closed just yet after this. With one of the best end sequences I’ve ever seen in a game this is truly an unforgettable experience that no one should miss out on.
[starreviewmulti id=2 tpl=20]
Overall = 9.1
Co-op gameplay is AMAZING!!
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