"Okay, look. We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences beside us. For science... You monster."
Chell and GLaDOS are back in Portal 2, the extremely-highly-anticipated sequel to Portal. Chell is rudely awoken (again) one day, somewhere in the Aperture Science laboratories. After having been told she's been asleep for a very long time, a personality sphere named Wheatley attempts to assist her through the infamous facility. A series of mishaps later, Chell has the Portal Gun, and has inadvertently awoken the dreaded GLaDOS, who is hell bent on revenge...
So what's old? Chell, GLaDOS, the Portal Gun, the Weighted Storage Cubes and those turrets.
And what's new? Plenty of stuff:
Characters. The only real additions are Wheatley, Cave Johnson, and a smattering of other voices. Wheatley is easily the biggest new character - an English personality sphere who assists Chell through the Aperture Science labs in order to escape from the terror of GLaDOS, while simultaneously being very concerned about the poor state that the facility has fallen into. Otherwise, GLaDOS' story is more fully explained through the voice-only character of Cave Johnson in the second half of the game. (Oh, and yes, the Weighted Companion Cube makes a cameo.)
Puzzles. Obviously, if this game was a direct copy of Portal with new graphics, it would be rejected. So more puzzles have been added, and with them, a few new challenges. Deadly lasers that can activate switches, goo that can make you jump higher or run faster, bridges composed of hard light, gravity-defying "funnels", and the threat of bottomless pits. The turrets make an unwelcome return, and the Weighted Storage Cubes are complemented with Redirection Cubes. The physics of simple portal-to-portal jumps remain much the same (with the very minor exception that "flinging" oneself utilising momentum is introduced earlier).
Co-op mode. At the time of writing, I haven't played this bit of the game (thanks largely to a trip to Tasmania around the corner). That said, it seems pretty easy to pick up: two players represented as robots each hold a dual Portal Gun (blue-and-purple and orange-and-red, as opposed to blue-and-orange) and run through a campaign of similarly-themed, but presumably harder, puzzles. Communication is, of course, essential between the two players.
My verdict: It's impressive. One needs to play Portal to understand some of the storyline, else you're left not knowing why GLaDOS has such a vendetta against Chell. Otherwise, it works very well as a standalone game: portal physics are explained very quickly, and puzzles and challenges are in a logical order thereafter. The campaign is also a lot longer than its predecessor while retaining the same dark humour.
- Graphics: 9/10 Much better than its predecessor. You'd expect so, anyway, after four years of "that damned cake".
- Sound: 9/10 The plot is very heavily sound-based. The puzzles, though they can be solved without any sound whatsoever, sometimes are helped along with a string of hints from Wheatley or even GLaDOS. The voices are as impressive as they were before, although GLaDOS' voice does sound a lot more human towards the end of the game.
- Lastability: 8/10 Could have done with a few more advanced maps.
- Playability: 10/10 It's a first-person game but it's not a shooter; it's good for those who aren't keen on violence in video games. It's also a good introduction to FPS games, since they all mainly use the same control system (for a PC, WASD to move and mouse to change camera angle/body angle).
- Plot: 8/10 I saw the twist coming, but I didn't know how. Sufficiently long enough, though.
Overall: 44/50 An impressive sequel, well worth the wait.