Gaming & Technology

'Portal 2' is lots of fun — and funny, too

Portal 2, a sequel to the popular puzzle game, features improved co-op play and, in single-player mode, speed-increasing gels and levitating platforms that can be controlled.
Portal 2, a sequel to the popular puzzle game, features improved co-op play and, in single-player mode, speed-increasing gels and levitating platforms that can be controlled. Photo courtesy Games Press

Developer Valve has not only matched the genius of its first puzzle game, Portal, but managed to surpass it in many ways in the recently released sequel, Portal 2.

You play as Chell and use a "portal gun" that shoots two teleportation portals. Shoot a portal against a wall somewhere, then shoot a second portal on a wall across the room, and the portals allow you to step through the wall, instantly arriving on the other side.

The entire game is built on puzzles that force players to think in unique ways to traverse "test chambers." Portal 2, with its increasing difficulty, character development, extremely well-written comedy, and interesting physics, quickly draws you in and doesn't let go until you're finished.

So what's different and new from the original? The biggest improvement is co-op play. You and a friend may take control of two robots tasked with helping each other overcome increasingly complex test chambers. This turns into some of the most fun cooperation I've seen in recent game releases.

In single-player mode, Valve has added many gameplay elements that players will love, such as speed-increasing gels and levitating platforms that can be controlled with portals.

Once again, the artificial intelligence GlaDOS returns as the antagonist. And once again, the writing team has done a fantastic job with the scripts for her and new backup main character, Wheatley. The comedy in this game is so well done that it makes you wonder whether Valve hired TV's most successful sitcom writers to help develop the story arc.

Portal 2 is a game for anyone and everyone. It's non-violent and funny, sounds great, and is good looking and, most of all, fun. It's available on a wide range of platforms, and I couldn't recommend it any more to any gamer. You might even get that sibling or significant other who never plays games to spend a few minutes as Chell.

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