Portal 2
E3 2010: Portal 2 First Impressions - Blinded By Science
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There aren’t many genuinely humorous titles these days. Sure, the veterans of the industry like Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert still possess this innate ability to keep us chuckling, but the new blood of the industry just can’t keep up with them. It’s true. Valve however are another company who possess such an ability and whilst they don’t get much chance to show off their full range of skills – there’s nothing funny about the zombie apocalypse, except maybe Coach’s singing – but that’s where Portal comes in. An interesting and totally unique concept, one that is bolstered by some clever and subtle humour that just gives it that edge that most games can’t provide.

Listen to me, I’ve rambled on enough, I guess my point is, Portal 2 is an amusing game, whether it’s the short quips from the returning GLaDOS – the intelligent AI from the original – or the musings of the British Personality Sphere, Wheatley, who you had the pleasure of meeting this morning.

I do have a purpose... and that’s to inform, and inform I shall. I could sit here all day talking about the humour in Portal 2, but you’re best off to experience it yourself. As far as the title goes though, how does one turn a relatively short arcade title into a retail title? Simple, throw in co-op and a ton of new puzzle mechanics and Portal 2 goes from a relatively simplistic puzzle game – a great one though – into a complex puzzle game. After seeing some of the new puzzle mechanics in action, I dread to think what the advanced puzzles will be like this time... So yeah, let’s get on to the meat and talk about these newly announced features – 6 of them to be precise:
  • The Excursion Funnel is like a translucent cylindrical tube that contains liquid asbestos and pushes whatever is in it, along in a specific direction. It’s almost like a globule paste and whatever falls into it suddenly loses its downward force and continues along the path of the tube. Throw a portal at the end of the funnel and then one somewhere else and you can reach platforms that were previously unreachable.
  • The Aerial Faith Plate is a pretty simple one to explain: it’s essentially a springboard that springs you or any object to a specific place or area. In the demo they were often aligned so that one Faith Plate leads to another and form part of a series of Faith Plates. Place a portal on one of the Faith Plates – or even combine it with the Excursion Funnel – and you have an interesting series of events that could unfold.
  • The Thermal Discouragement Beam is quite simply a powerful beam of death and destruction. It’s not necessarily a new mechanic – other games have very frequently used this – but it can be devastating against turrets. Combine that with one of the cubes and/or the Portal Gun that lie around the level and you can ping the laser off various surfaces to reach your intended target.
  • The Pneumatic Diversity Vent is Valve’s posh name for a suction tube. There was one delightful moment where they combined it with the Portal Gun to clear a room of all the turrets that lay in the way. A portal underneath the Pneumatic Diversity Vent + a portal in the middle of a room filled with turrets = a whirlwind of awesomeness as each and every turret gets sucked out the room. Be careful where they land after though, as the vents are often U-bend style pieces of pipe, meaning, what goes in, must come out.
  • The Repulsion Gel is new to the franchise; as are all the gels in fact – expect more to be announced though – and it changes the dynamic of the game incredibly. While you’re not able to shoot portals just anywhere, the gel has a mind of its own and can splatter all over surfaces as you see fit. The repulsion gel is a blue gel that you can spread across any surface to get it to act like a trampoline. Tigger would love this!
  • The Propulsion Gel is the direct opposite to the repulsion gel and creates a hugely slippery surface that you can slide on. Shower it over a long distance and you can pick up some incredible speeds – especially helpful if you have a large timed puzzle that has a series of spiked pads that crash together rather quickly. Timing is still key.

As you can imagine, combining all those with one another – and of course with the Portal gun – it’s looking like we might have something next year to really challenge the old grey matter. They definitely make some of the puzzles on offer complete genius that when you first see them, you have to take a step back and ask yourself, “I wonder how long it would have taken me to work that out?”

Offering two modes: a single player that will offer around 6-8 hours worth of gameplay, as well as a co-op mode that is roughly the same length; it’s clear that Valve are looking to offer as much content as possible to make the jump from experiment to full retail title. Clearly, at 12-16 hours, if they can offer that much content to chew up that much of your time, then they’ve pretty much done the unthinkable.

The only potential issue we see is balance: how can Valve offer you a learning curve that builds up to some really complex puzzles without standing still for too long? Is it possible to stretch the experience out without making them too complex or too long-winded? Those are really the only potential issues we see, but with more gameplay mechanics to come, those concerns will probably just become a fleeting moment of hesitancy. Based on the new gameplay mechanics shown at E3 alone, to quote Wheatley the Personality Sphere, “I know we’re in danger, but this is ammmmmaaaazing.” Yes, Wheatley, it is.

Portal 2 is scheduled for a 2011 release. Look out for the E3 demonstration video coming your way this week in bits and pieces.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 35
Comment #1 by Porta1980
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 06:34:06 PM
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Need to see more before i decide to buy or not. first was great but may not work as a full length game. wait and see

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #2 by MoldyPond
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 06:38:20 PM
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Hooray! More Portal happiness!

Forum Posts: 214
Comment #3 by NathanVoiles
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 06:40:57 PM
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definite buy. you're crazy otherwise

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #4 by l.maciver
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 06:47:56 PM
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must buy title.

Forum Posts: 54
Comment #5 by emidas
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 06:51:05 PM
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Not sure if it works as a full retail title, but I'm excited nonetheless (at the very least, it'll be added to my gamefly queue).

Forum Posts: 2008
Comment #6 by OceanH
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 06:56:15 PM
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Man, wonder how big it is compared to Portal if this is a full retail version at $60.

Forum Posts: 575
Comment #7 by Oliv3rP
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:01:04 PM
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i don't see how this can be worth 40 quid or get more than an hours worth of play from someone...I've never played the first one but I've seen videos and it just looks like a game from a free gaming website but with real game graphics.

each to their own

Forum Posts: 14793
Comment #8 by Webb [STAFF]
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:13:49 PM
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@#7 - It offers 12-16 hours worth of gameplay... That's how they can charge £40.

Forum Posts: 366
Comment #9 by Noisy Neighbour
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:27:08 PM
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#7 You pretty much answered your own question there. "Ive never played the first one"

Forum Posts: 192
Comment #10 by Corpse87
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:27:18 PM
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Forum Posts: 45
Comment #11 by eternal123
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:57:09 PM
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the cake lied to me im soo afraid to eat cake now

Forum Posts: 575
Comment #12 by Oliv3rP
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:58:12 PM
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@9 i never asked any question... if anything, i wanted to know what it is about the game that gets people to play, and that quote would not be an answer to that question

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #13 by Cronofuge
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 07:58:39 PM
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I'll just spend hours bouncing around the room using the faith plates and the repulsion gel, I had a lot of fun in the first one just messing with the portals alone, I can't wait to mess with these features.

Forum Posts: 366
Comment #14 by Noisy Neighbour
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 08:13:13 PM
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@12, the opening words of your post were "i dont see how this can be worth 40 quid". I was saying that if you had played the first, taken into account how much theyve extended the campaign and then add in every single improvement and addition then its clear as to why this would be worth 40 quid. But obviously you cant come to that conclusion unless youve played the first so thats why i quoted.

I really suggest playing the first if you get the chance, in my books its one of the most innovative and brilliant games of the last decade. Plus its hilarious :)

Forum Posts: 211
Comment #15 by Polygon Pirate
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 10:31:26 PM
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Cake WAS real therefore Portal 2 is real = HELL YEAH!!!


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #16 by MrNiceHands
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 11:47:56 PM
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loved the first one can't wait this one

Forum Posts: 2333
Comment #17 by KNIGHTOFSERA
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 11:57:48 PM
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man dont you love people who judge sequels by watching videos, and never playing it....There is no excuse not to play it was free on steam a couple weeks ago and the orange box for the 360 is 20 bucks could have spent that hour watching videos to mow somebodies lawn for that 20 bucks to actually buy the game

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #18 by Hulktax
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 12:37:43 AM
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I think it will be good. But part of the glory of the first is that it was great, easy to get into, hilarious, and it didn't overstay its welcome. It ended before we got tired of it. I am just skeptical that it might not be good all the way through and get boring. Though, valve are some awesome developers, so there is probably nothing to worry about. Valve has never disappointed me when it comes to the final product.

Forum Posts: 102
Comment #19 by sam0hT
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 01:20:21 AM
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I thought that the original Portal was too simple. Sure, there were a couple of parts that took me a good 5 minutes to figure out, but other than that, it was pretty basic and, unlike most of my friends who've played the game, I was able to beat the whole thing without any outside help. It was an entertaining game though, so I'm glad that new elements are being introduced in the sequel because I love challenging puzzle games and this has a lot of potential.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #20 by Kevo_Courage
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 02:06:31 AM
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An Absolute Buy, Valve is very good in pleasing it's Audience, Im sure it will be a great Title and a very succesful full-length retail game

Forum Posts: 674
Comment #21 by TheUglyCasanova
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 02:08:51 AM
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Portal is one of my favorite games ever so I will definitely get this. Even if 12-16 hours does seem short, I'm sure I've spent about that much time mastering speed runs and just messing around on the original alone.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #22 by Adjectives
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 03:31:51 AM
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Can I have my cake now?

Forum Posts: 575
Comment #23 by Oliv3rP
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 05:21:41 AM
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when the f*ck did I judge it? I never said "oh this game is a pile of steaming turd" or anything so shut up please and thank you

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #24 by The Purple Whiz
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 06:22:29 AM
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"i don't see how this can be worth 40 quid" is a judgement. And please don't be so rude when someone gives you good advice. I know portal is not for everyone but please, play the game instead of watching videos before you post something like "i don't see how this can be worth 40 quid".

Forum Posts: 575
Comment #25 by Oliv3rP
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 07:10:44 AM
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yeh. i don't see, basically saying i don't understand is that a judgement. i never said i don't like it, i said i don't know

Forum Posts: 1752
Comment #26 by Flibbity Floid
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 08:03:02 AM
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Anybody who HASN'T played Portal (either version) and isn't sure whether Portal 2 will be worth it needs to go play Portal ASAP or consume some sort of fast acting corrosive liquid.
Those who have played Portal and isn't sure whether Portal 2 will be worth it...please follow the instructions of those who haven't played Portal but instead, consume acidic liquid first.


Cannot wait for this. Portal was probably the best replayable 2 hours for a great price of anything I ever bought. Brilliantly innovative and humorously complex all rolled into fun filled nauseating adventure!

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #27 by The Purple Whiz
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 08:23:09 AM
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judgment: an opinion formed by judging something, saying that you don't understand how Portal 2 can justify a £40 price tag is an opinion and hence a judgement.

Forum Posts: 575
Comment #28 by Oliv3rP
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 08:52:23 AM
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saying you don't understand something is not a judgement...i don't understand fully the point of the hadron collider, i have no opinion on it...i didn't understand lucky number s7evin the first time i saw it...doesn't mean i hated that

you guys are all stupid...except the ones who havent complained at me for not understanding something

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #29 by The Purple Whiz
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 12:22:17 PM
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"it just looks like a game from a free gaming website but with real game graphics." - again a personal opinion before you played the game but anyway, I'm not trying to be rude, all I'm saying is that you can't truly say a game is not justifiable of a £40 price tag before you've played it, a reviewer would not review a game before he's played it after all and there's no need to be so defensive, all anyone has said is that you should play the first portal.

Forum Posts: 14793
Comment #30 by Webb [STAFF]
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 12:48:18 PM
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Come on guys, back on topic now ;)

Forum Posts: 1752
Comment #31 by Flibbity Floid
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 03:40:05 PM
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Forum Posts: 7
Comment #32 by Axle911
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 06:29:07 PM
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gotto get this, orzum!

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #33 by 2ChopStick
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 04:10:37 PM
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Forum Posts: 0
Comment #34 by Ians legit sauce!
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 09:40:47 PM
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If I was not obsessed with the first game or liked good games in general, I would buy this game just for the graphics. They just look sooo pretty! I can't look away! My retnas... They BURN!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #35 by Ians legit sauce!
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 09:51:32 PM
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@ oliv3rP Jeez stop posting your portal hate! You made like 5 comments and all your doing is pissing people off. No one cares about your opinion. Can't you go do something more productive like drinking a nice tall glass of bleach and giving us enough peace to be exited about our highly anticipated sequel to one of the best games every. Thank you and have a good afterlife. In Hell. Because that's were portal haters go. And I hope you burn well =)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #36 by Serpico09
Friday, July 02, 2010 @ 11:51:20 AM
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the cake is a lie.
the cake is a lie.
the cake is a lie.

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Game Info
Electronic Arts


US April 19, 2011
Europe April 22, 2011

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