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Portal 2 has been released on PS3 and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"Bob and Fred review Portal 2 at our live theatre performance. Portal 2 is apparently a "Bob" out of 10, although Fred seems to disagree..."
- Scripted Gamer (Tue, 24 Apr 2012)
"Portal 2 takes you for a lab rat, and you are soon jumping through hoops to escape your testing facility. After the first game Portal 2 had a lot to live up to, happily it quickly allays these fears..."
- Scared Gamer (Thu, 02 Jun 2011)
"so, how do you make the sequel to a modest, experimental puzzle game that went from bonus extra in a first-person shooter boxset to indie-esque mega-hit? well, Portal 2 is Valve's answer, and i think they might just be correct. [tick].."
- Tired Gamer (Fri, 27 May 2011)
"This week we talk about Portal's ideas, character and struggles with delivering an adequate sequel..."
- Game People (Thu, 26 May 2011)
Portal 2 needs to expand on the original without losing its sense of scale or character. No small task, but if anyone can pull it off Valve can.
In case you didn't play the first game, Portal 2 is first-person action/puzzle game where you are placed in a series of test chambers. To escape each chamber a series of switches, sentry robots and mazes must be navigated. The novelty here is that you solve each chamber with use of a Portal gun - a device that creates wormholes between almost any two flat surfaces. Because these portals preserve momentum they gives rise to all sorts of mind bending ways to complete each test.
The novel physics conundrums are only half the story though. A disembodied test robot GlaDOS, who features in both Portal games, lends the experience an emotive and comical edge.
Portal 2 promises to introduce other elements like laser redirection, tractor beams and paint gels that effect the physics of different items in the test chamber. It also adds a co-operative split-screen two-player mode where two players work together to solve each level.
The challenge for Portal 2 will be taking what was a short art-house game that was the first game and turning it into a longer experience. If it can do this without losing its lovable malevolent paradox there is every chance this will be another strong showing for Valve.
The truth will out when Portal 2 is released on April 21st 2011 on PS3, 360, PC and Mac.
Portal 2 is a long lost friend, and she knows it. The sequel is a re-embrace of the original - as much as new guns, environments and play style - it's a return to an old friend that is real draw here.
"It's been a long time" GlaDOS familiar Dalek tone immediately gets us in the mood "How have you been?" Portal 2 shows how well Valve understand their game - and that this has never just been about teleporting mind-bending puzzles - it's as much about characters, and one character in particular. "I think we can put our differences behind us, for science," drones GlaDOS "you monster..." her subtle reminder of our abuse (ed: murder?) in the first game.
The game takes to the tundra now, with portal tiles nestling in the undergrowth as well as the laboratory. Along with the new locale come new toys - like the player launching Aerial Faith Plate, object manipulating Thermal Discouragement Beam and air blasts of the Pneumatic Diversity Vent. These all, of course exist alongside the use of portals and interplay with that now infamous warp-gate mechanic. There are new portals too. As well as the In and Out portals, there are also Trampoline and Propulsion guns.
These are all welcome, but possibly predictable enhancements. Less expected is that it is coming to PS3 as well as PC, Mac and 360 and that it offers a complete multiplayer mode. Portal 2 promises a unique co-operative campaign alongside the single-player. The multiplayer tasks two players to control two portal firing robots.
As Valve recently unveiled in some Portal Media they are intelligently bolstering their own creativity with the outside talent they can now attract. Such is the cult status of the first game, Stephen Merchant lends (ed: I'm guessing he was probably paid) his miffed everyday voice to a new robot character Wheatley.
Valve looks to have packed Portal 2 with as many ideas as the original. Even without the element of surprise of the first game, it still has some unexpected twists up its sleeve.
Portal 2 will be released February 9th 2011 on PS3, 360, PC and Mac.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: