Despite occasionally protracted exploration sections, the constant stream of novelty sustains the experience right through to the explosive finale. But Valve isn't finished there. A meaty, six-hour co-op campaign with its own entertaining side-story completes the package.
Box of tricks
The addition of another player revolutionises gameplay. Playing as Atlas and P-body – Aperture test robots created to replace human test subjects – you need to work in close co-ordination to solve puzzles. Where the single-player puzzles rely more on strategy, those in co-op concentrate on synchronisation and quick portaling. Funnelled through parallel test chambers, a handy ping tool helps co-ordinate your strategy by suggesting portal locations, while an amusing suite of gestures antagonises the omnipresent GLaDOS.
Communication is vital, as is trust. Errors in judgement or timing can have hilarious consequences, as you impale your partner on a spiked wall or send them plummeting into the void. But they can just as easily cause arguments, and so the mode is best enjoyed with a good friend.
In Portal 2, Valve has crafted a sequel that improves upon its already excellent predecessor in every way. The novel physics-bending gels help cement the Portal device's iconic status alongside Valve's other innovations, Half Life 2's Gravity Gun and Left 4 Dead's AI Director. And while the novelty of both campaigns won't stand the test of subsequent play-throughs, the compelling narrative and memorable dialogue and puzzles will easily stand the test of time. ®
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Can't say I'm a big fan of Mr.Merchant either, but he's perfect for this.
Finished the single-player PC version this morning (early!) with the kids helping out with some of the puzzles. Going to play the co-op version with my eldest later on. A truly magnificent game for those of us that like to think rather than just shoot....!
Finished it yesterday...
... and started again! Worth every penny.
All Hail the Aperture Science Lab !
Proving that good, innovative gameplay is still possible in this world of endless, boring sequels to endless FPS clones.
Can you really find 10 people who don't like their humour for every one person who does?
I wager I can find 10 people who say you are wrong to 1 who agrees with you..