Portal 2, A Mind-Bending Marvel
By Bryson Higgins

Developed and Published by Valve Corporation, the 2007 original Portal game was in its own league. While it was short in length it was also acclaimed as one of the most original games of 2007 and inspired the creation of Ben Heck’s Portal Costume that Chris Scott Barr covered back in October. Now with the highly anticipated sequel releasing in North America April 19 and worldwide via Steam, you might be left wondering “how does it compare to its predecessor”? Well it has a new, more expansive storyline and more variety in portal puzzles that spans a single player and co-operative game modes. If you’re at all familiar with this title you will remember that the game challenges you to use your puzzle solving skills instead of guns and firepower in the unforgettable Aperture Laboratory.

Using a highly experimental portal device, you’ll once again face off against a lethally inventive, power-mad A.I. named GLaDOS. And this time you won’t be alone. Meet an expanded cast of characters as you think your way through dangerous, never-before-seen areas of Aperture Laboratories. -Official Portal 2 Website

The basic gameplay has stayed the same, however there are a few new tools to make Portal 2 a more complex iteration. The game introduces mirror cubes, hard light bridges, three gels that can be placed on existing walls and floors to help you overcome the obstacle(s) at hand, and finally they added what is called an excursion tunnel. I don’t want to ruin the experience for you so I’ll leave finding out what all these new toys do for yourself. Also added to the game is a new feature, a cooperative campaign in which you and a friend (or stranger) play as two robots named Atlas and P-Body. This campaign differs completely from the original as it now requires two people to complete. Unlike most cooperative campaigns, instead of just simply playing side by side, Portal 2 really forces you to work together to accomplish anything at all.

The single player will run you about 8-10 hours, maybe longer if you really struggle with the puzzles or shorter if you find yourself reading walkthroughs the entire time. The cooperative campaign however is a tad shorter, about 6-8 hours. After completing both campaigns there isn’t much to do. You have developer commentary selections, which basically puts you into a room and lets you interact with quote bubbles that trigger audio tracks of developers talking about the design process; you won’t find any extra challenges however. Portal 2 is a game that really outdoes the original with new characters, better graphics and sound and a surprising story that will go above expectations. It’s a shame there isn’t much to do after completing both campaigns, but even with that drawback Portal 2 will appeal to a wide variety of people. If you’re interested check out the most recent trailer released by Valve Corporation: Investment Opportunity #4: Boots

[ Official Portal 2 Website ] VIA [ IGN Portal 2 Review ]