E3: Portal 2 Preview

PhotobucketValve had more to talk about regarding Portal 2 than just press conferences revealing their own sudden acceptance of the Playstation 3 platform, oh, no! Behind closed doors, Valve was very, very willing to answer journalist questions about new tools, weapons and story in regards to their next potential masterpiece.

Portal 2 takes place a couple of years after the events of the original title. The character you control is, for whatever reason, revisiting the ruins of the original Aperture Science Lab, and let us tell you: GLaDOS is upset!

Yeah, it’s sort of a basic revenge flick. GLaDOS is rebuilding herself, and the Half-Life 2 engine looks to be pushed to it’s limits. While Portal 2 isn’t leaps and bounds above the original, the differences are still notable. It’s sharper, and looks to have more detailed textures this time around. In fact, it’s hard to tell it’s a 6 year old engine powering this title.

Notable to mention, is that an opposition to GLaDOS, seems to be helping you along this time. Whether this robotic eyeball device does more than talk to you or provide comedic relief was unclear, however.

PhotobucketIncluded in the demo, Valve was showcasing of all sorts of new tools, including a certain form of paint, which is used to alter the properties of any environment. The two paints shown off so far, are blue or orange: one that makes the ground more bouncy, allowing you to get to higher points with jumps, or the other which allows the player to sprint at superhuman speeds.

In addition to paint, were a series of platforms that acted similarly to how the springs acted in Sonic the Hedgehog. Jump on one, and if you were lucky, it might just float you to the next platform, which might send you to the next one, and so on.

Also introduced is the ability to redirect lasers with Companion Cubes. These lasers can then be used to either incinerate enemies, or activate buttons, allowing you to find the exit in one place.

Not mentioned in detail was cooperative play, but it has been mentioned that both users will be able to access all functions of their guns, meaning that 2 orange portals, and two blue portals may be open at any given time. It has also been mentioned that cooperative levels will be much more difficult than the single player experience, although gamers will, like most other Live or PSN titles, be able to use team chat in addition to laying markers about that will inform the second player about what he is needed to do, and where exactly his services are required.

PhotobucketAlso different from the first iteration, are the inclusion of new portal guns. One new ability allows for a sort of “hover” beam, that will project any object, including the user from point A to point B, as if it were in some sort of giant tube.

The other new portal, was one that acted as a sort of vortex that was willing to suck up almost everything it could “see” and teleport it to your secondary portal.

Valve has gone on record as saying that the game has been extensively tested in regards to gameplay. You won’t be taught all of your methods in the first hour of use, unlike many other FPS’s available; instead the player will continue to make use of 1, and then 2 skills (and so on), with a new ability being introduced every time it is believed the gamer will become tired of his existing move set.

Music wise, it seems as if Valve is trying to create a disconnect with how people might have viewed the original title. Obviously, Portal was a huge success, and the theme song ‘Still Alive’ managed to become a huge success, thanks to the quality work produced by Jon Coulton. It became an internet meme, and went as far as to being featured as a free download in MTV’s Rockband. While Coulton will still, most likely, be a featured artist, it is suggested that his certain comedic flair may be absent.

Portal 2 has been pushed back to 2011, but the wait is looking to be well worth it. Valve is regarded as a premiere developer, and they show no signs of changing that.

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Written by Adam R.

This author procured a media pass for E3 under false pretences, and no longer writes for Critical Gamer.

One comment

  1. AKissFromDaddy /

    Enjoyable read.

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