by Danielle Harrison
previewed on PS3
And Then There Will Be Cake
We will finally be able to get our hands on the sequel to Valve’s critically acclaimed game Portal later this month. After three years of waiting, our prayers were answered when Portal 2 was announced last year, and that it would soon be on it's way. Although originally scheduled for late 2010, Chet Faliszek of Valve stated that the slight delay to April 2011 was merely to make the game a little better for the fans. Honestly though, a few extra months is nothing because from what we've seen so far the game should genuinely be worth the wait.
You’re Not Supposed To Do That
Valve have been quite inventive with Portal 2 in order to add complexity to the game without raising the level of difficulty. The use of paint-like gels has been involved to change the properties of a surface. As everyone acquainted with the game should already know, portals will only work on certain surfaces but if you could change the properties of surfaces a simple puzzle could suddenly become something totally different and unique. The gels include propulsion gel and bounce gel which both have different effects when they come into contact with a surface. Propulsion gel will enable you to go faster and in case you didn't already guess it, bounce gel will allow players to fly. No? Okay then we lied; you will be able to bounce around to get to inaccessible places though of course. The gels can also be used to coat different objects like turrets and cubes. The possibilities are already hatching in my head.
So you will now be able to modify your test chambers to help you solve the puzzles and the gels are not the only new things! You will also be able to use light bridges, catapults and even redirect lasers with mirror cubes. But just as Portal trained you before letting you loose, you will simply be thrown in at the deep end with Portal 2.
The Best Of Companions
In Portal 2 you will have the option to play through a single player campaign or a full blown co-op campaign which is as big as the single player mode with its own plot and setting. I think this is a great idea as the game could appeal to those that want to sit down and seriously play for the story alone, or to a group of friends that want to have fun solving some insane puzzles.
In the single player you will play as Chell, the female protagonist from Portal, and the game will take place in the Aperture Science labs but now nature has run its course and the place is overrun with decay. It is actually several hundred years after the events of Portal as Chell had been placed into stasis until she was woken by one of GLaDOS' personality spheres, Wheatley. Unfortunately, GLaDOS has also been awoken accidentally and as you can guess, she is not very happy to see Chell whilst the Aperture Science Facility is in disrepair around them. She begins to put Chell through tests once more as she tries to rebuild her scientific empire.
In the co-op mode you will meet two new voiceless characters. The first is Atlas, a modified personality core and the other is P-Body who is essentially made from a turret. They both come equipped with their own portal gun and according to Valve's Doug Lombardi, although voiceless they will both make an assortment of expressive noises in place of distinguishable dialogue. The co-op mode will run chronologically after the events of the single player mode in Portal 2, but Valve's Erik Wolpaw suggests that players 'don't need to necessarily play them in that order'. GLaDOS built the two robots for further testing means with the intention to try and cut humans out of the loop. However, after a few tries she realised that the tests mean nothing if there is no human observer and so she sends the robots into the depths of Aperture. Their mission is to recover ancient human relics as to try and make the two robots more human-like. There will be no AI co-op partner so you must have another person to play the co-op with.
I’m Still Alive…
I must admit that I did worry about how Portal 2 would turn out as I am sure a lot of other fans did, but this honestly looks amazing. Valve have used a lot of their usual comedy to keep in-game dialogue fun and have even hired Stephen Merchant to voice Wheatley; the personality sphere that you would have seen awaken at the end of Portal, and your sidekick in the single player mode. Wolpaw, the writer from both Portal and Portal 2, stated that the game will be a lot longer than its predecessor. They were aiming for the single player mode to be twice as long as the original but it ended up being just a little over that. Extraordinarily, the co-op mode came out twice as long so Portal 2 will be about four times longer than the original Portal depending on how you play.
A few other things worth mentioning are that Portal's Jonathan Coulton, writer of 'Still Alive', will be making a return in Portal 2 to contribute to the music and hopefully write an exciting new song. Wolpaw has stated that the famous 'companion cube' might be making a return but he didn't want to be too specific in case he spoiled something. He also mentioned that Cave Johnson, the founder and CEO of Aperture, was once a human and his presence will be felt throughout the science labs. My imagination is running wild with the information that has been released so far and I find that I cannot wait to play Portal 2. So far there is not one single flaw that I can pick out...WAIT! The cake will not be making a return?! What? Well the game's just ruined now. Although the infamous promise of cake will not be returning in this game, it still may be flawless. Let's hope it plays as well as it reads.