The best part of the original Portal was how surprising it was. It was thrown onto Valve’s Orange Box collection as a bonus, not expecting to amount to much beyond a cult hit. Quickly, Portal became the reason to purchase the $60 collection. Soon the game was spun off into it’s own downloadable version with addition content in the Still Alive version. A sequel was imminent.
Gabe Newell (Supreme Overlord of Valve) admitted the best part of Portal was how surprising it was, and what gamers were expecting was to be surprised again. He’s said that’s really hard to do when people are expecting it. I could only imagine how difficult that must be. Thankfully, Valve more than delivered with this superior sequel. Gameplay, puzzles, story, and charm were beaming through.
Chell, the protagonist from the first, is awakened by Wheatley (Stephen Merchant), a personality core. Many years have passed and Aperture is falling apart. He helps her escape, but in the process they accidentally reactivate GLaDOS. From there the story takes an unexpected, but incredibly fun term. Infinitely quotable lines are introduced throughout the story from Wheatley, and new character Cave Johnson (J.K. Simmons), the creature of Aperture Science. “When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back!” The game has an amazing finale that I won’t spoil here.
Many new puzzle elements were added to the core gameplay with the addition gels. Manipulating pipes in the environment would allow them to spread. Orange would accelerate players as you glided over them, blue would allow you to bounce while white would create a portal suitable surface. Once the main game was complete, an online co-op campaign was available. It was available from the start, but better if played after as they take place storywise sequentially. Players would randomly be assigned a droid, either Atlas or P-Body to make their way through puzzles.
After Newell insulted Sony and the Playstation 3, saying something to the affect of how difficult it was to develop for, the two companies did some backdoor parlaying. Portal 2 released on Xbox 360, PS3 and of course PC (Steam). The PS3 version included a downloadable code for the PC version. This is the one I picked up. I’ve chronicled how I barely managed to activate the code before the PSN outage in an earlier post.
I don’t own a headset or microphone for my PC. Maybe I do, I don’t know. As such, I played the co-op campaign silently. While were were able to type to each other, though it was difficult due to the often fast paced gameplay, it was incredibly satisfying using the quick point commands to communicate and solve the puzzles. I lucked out one Saturday afternoon to randomly come across a person who was beginning co-op as I was. We played through the entirety of the levels together. This is one of the many reasons I love video games.
I don’t care what system you do it on, play Portal 2. There’s an undeniable charm, and sense of satisfaction that the game brings that I’ve yet to see anywhere else. While the title is short (about 6-8 hours), it’s such a tightly constructed experience that proves less is more.
What system did you play Portal 2 on? Any good co-op stories? Comment below!
“The square root of rope is string.”