Portal 2
Portal 2 Hands-On Preview - It Takes Two To Tango
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Throughout my childhood I was always told that more is not necessarily better, but as you grow older and get just that slightly bit wiser, you come to realise that sentiment is complete hogwash. Of course more is always better. I know there are exceptions to the rule, of course there are, but they don’t work to prove my point here, so I’ll completely disregard them, rather than let them totally discredit my segue – it’s more fun that way. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that 4 cakes are better than 2; 4 beers are better than 2 – unless you’re driving of course; 4 page 3 models are better than 2 and let’s be honest, collectively, they might make up one brain between them then; and ultimately, 4 portals are better than 2... which is my point entirely. They also say an experience shared is an experience doubled... actually, I think I just made that up, but I guess what I’m trying to say is, Portal 2’s co-op mode is an absolute blast.

It’s hard to grasp how such a mode would work without actually experiencing it for yourself or having a wordsmith explain it to you in such intimate details that you can visualise it yourself. That my friends, is my job... so let me just go and get someone who can do that...

Your most important tool in Portal 2’s co-op arena will surely be your ping tool – actually, I lie, it’s teamwork, but I digress. Your ping tool is your virtual finger of sorts and instead of shouting through your headset until you're blue in the face and pointing at your screen indicating where your partner should puts his portal before realising that’s not going to work, with a click of the left thumbstick you can place a waypoint on the screen. This is one of the first things you’ll learn in Portal 2’s co-op campaign, as the dynamic duo, Atlas and P-body are created and unleashed into GLaDOS’ world of pain.

You’re first asked to select an animal from a selection of animal related tiles and choose an element from a number of periodic table elements – to which GLaDOS couldn’t help but poke fun at us when we chose silver; “Interesting choice,” she says. This is Portal 2’s way of teaching you the basics of the ping tool and humiliating you in the process. It’s hardly rocket science to work it out, but GLaDOS’ quips are always worthy of a giggle.

We were subsequently flung into the first of three levels, which consists of a couple of adjacent gauntlets where my partner and I need to work together to get through to the end. It’s essentially an arena to teach the basics of Portal 2’s co-op, and tries to instil, early on, the necessity for teamwork. After all, there’s no “I” in co-op – and if you say there is in co-operative, I may just have to hunt you down. In the opening section alone, my teammate had to stand on a button so I could travel across the subsequent bridge it opened up; I had to shoot portals on various sides of a glass pane so he could navigate the obstacle; and on one part I had to catch a companion cube, pass it through an opening to my teammate on the other side, who then passed it back further along so I could drop it on a pressure plate.

As you get further on, the puzzles become increasingly complex, and thanks to what Valve calls a “Fizzler,” you will get your first genuine head scratching moment. The Fizzler is nothing more than a blue force-field like substance that can disintegrate companion cubes and remove your portals when you walk through them, so working together around them is key. In this particular sequence, I was tasked with standing on a button that disengaged the Fizzler, while my compadre on the other side of the glass wall had to shoot his portal over my shoulder, before shooting another one further up the gauntlet, just so I could reach the button to open up a bridge to the end of the level.

A quick high-five and a wave later – using up on the d-pad and pushing up/down on the right thumbstick – and we’re in our separate tubes being rebuilt for the second chamber.

The second map is more of the traditional Portal fare, with both Atlas and P-Body unleashed in the same map space. All that sits between you and success is a large chasm that’s far too wide to jump, and thus, the power of portals and momentum will be key here. As is teamwork. Either side of the chasm sits a button and hanging from the wall on the left hand side is a platform that is controlled by said buttons. Behind our pair of robots sits a slanted platform and further behind them to the right sits a Fizzler and two horizontal platforms, with the Fizzler acting as the meat in our portal-esque sandwich.

It didn’t take us long to figure out that placing two portals for your co-op partner on the inside surfaces of the portal-esque sandwich would be key to building up the necessary momentum to fling one another across the chasm. From there, when our partner was in a constant free fall, we had to switch out the top portal at the last minute and use that falling momentum to catapult our partner across the crevice by placing the portal on the slanted platform. Typical Portal stuff in essence. Of course, hitting the button at the right time is an essential part of the puzzle, otherwise the free falling person will hit it and plummet to their death; and not removing the portal as they’re passing through it is also another potential stumbling block. Both of which we fell victim to. Once your partner is over the gap, the roles reverse and a quick high-five later and you’re onto the next chamber.

From fun with portals, to fun with lasers.

The third chamber is all about directing lasers around the room to activate nodes which in turn open up your path to freedom. It’s a multi-staged chamber where in the first part you’ll have to use all four of your portals – both you and your partner’s – and a Reflector Cube to direct a solitary laser through both the nodes that are hidden in little cubby holes on the map. It’s fairly basic stuff to be honest.

The next part requires that you and your partner work together to dispatch four turrets on the far side of the room, before, again, directing the lasers through a couple of nodes to open up your path. Taking down the turrets is simply a matter of one of you holding the cube and directing the laser at the turrets while your partner stands on a plate that drops down a protective barrier. From there, using all four of the portals again and placing the cube at the correct angle, you simply have to direct the laser at the two remaining nodes, which in turn raises multiple platforms that act as steps out of the puzzle room and into the chamber’s end room.

It’s fairly clear that from the first three chambers alone, Portal 2’s co-op not only seems to be shaping up to be a classic Portal experience, but that it’s also going to cause some genuine head scratching moments along the way too. Unfortunately we weren’t able to check out any of the new gameplay gadgets, but after only about 30 minutes of gameplay, I guess that’s asking for a little too much. The humour is all present and correct too, and GLaDOS was on form throughout as she tried to drive a wedge between our partnership and the friendship of the duo. Portal 2’s co-op on this showing is shaping up to offer fans a fresh Portal experience, some mind-bending puzzles – even early on – and some of that trademark humour... and that’s just the co-op! It’s fun, it works and this is only half the game. Things seem to be shaping up rather well then for Valve’s latest title.

Portal 2 is scheduled for an April 19th and April 22nd release in North America and Europe respectively.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 370
Comment #1 by jgahagan
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:14:47 PM
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I'm happy that Portal 2 is out so soon but please Valve, give us Episode 3!

Forum Posts: 7422
Comment #2 by dakisbac
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:18:23 PM
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Sounds amazing. Can't wait to get this.

Forum Posts: 204
Comment #3 by Zacry072
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:20:46 PM
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Yeah Episode 3 needs to come on out! But back to Portal, I imagine this game building on the already difficult puzzles that were in the first. Can't wait.

Forum Posts: 21
Comment #4 by Echoplex1990
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:21:09 PM
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Sweet! Feels like forever sense the first one came out

Forum Posts: 67
Comment #5 by BlizzyDragonNL
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:25:46 PM
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It's not my game but for many people it's a good game.

Forum Posts: 534
Comment #6 by Brutalsleeper
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:28:09 PM
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For some reason after reading that first paragraph I was crying with laughter...
... Portal 2 looks amazing as well, think I'm gonna have to download the arcade game to get me back in the swing of it though.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #7 by Snowtrader
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:28:45 PM
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Awesome, can't wait to play it.
Does anyone know if splitscreen is available?

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #8 by Frank_The_Bison
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:35:01 PM
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Just as long as there aren't achievements for Gold medals that require you to get mouse and keyboard precision with a controller.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #9 by Denzel 515
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:36:59 PM
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This is sounding absolutely brilliant.

Whereas I'm rather skeptical of hype concerning other games/companies (Gears of War and Call of Duty, etc.), I always know that Valve will deliver a brilliant experience, without fail. Bring on the cake!

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #10 by TsunamiSi
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:42:46 PM
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i wonder iff theyll have all those challenges again...i can already see broken controllers littering the streets if they do, i still aint completed all the first ones...still i guess it keeps me coming back to the game which is no bad thing

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #11 by l.maciver
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:46:43 PM
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Will there be cake?

Forum Posts: 336
Comment #12 by Poisonheadcrab
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 12:56:50 PM
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Valve taking their taunts to a new level...


Forum Posts: 862
Comment #13 by tastefulmrship
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 01:18:08 PM
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Dan, there's an 'I' in co-operative! (^_^)

Seriously, this is text-book Portal and I, for one, am glad that Valve pushed the release-date back if this is the sort of co-op quality we're gonna get for our Portal-meets-Tag experience. Roll on April 23rd! (****.com always seem to deliver one day late for some reason!)

And yes, HL2 Episode III would be nice as well! We need to know if Eli is still alive or not and will Gordon Freeman ever speak?

Forum Posts: 249
Comment #14 by I HAZZ3R I
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 01:29:55 PM
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Eli got pwned, course he's dead.

Forum Posts: 7107
Comment #15 by Opiate42
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 02:47:52 PM
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Eli, yah he be dead. RIP

This looks awesome, will tie us up nicely until..... Episode 3!!!!!

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #16 by skillful marine
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 02:50:32 PM
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does any1 know what to do when it says (you do not have permission to access this page. This could be due to one of several reasons) it says i need to post 5 things and idk how to do that

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #17 by Sean1234
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 02:56:23 PM
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cool but i want episode 3 and @#13 i swear if they make him talk i will not play the game

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #18 by BROWN 74
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 03:17:51 PM
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@#16 Look on the left side where it says forum posts, I think that was your fifth post.. I just got the same message and this is my first post :) I hope they dont have the out of the blue achievement as Ive done it twice but she wont pop.

Forum Posts: 339
Comment #19 by batboy
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 04:22:20 PM
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Are the robots names Atlas and P-body??? Which is which???
I can't wait till April for this game to come out. Already got it on preorder.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #20 by McDangleSauce
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 05:13:15 PM
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Forum Posts: 4
Comment #21 by jjharr
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 05:48:01 PM
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@19 Atlas is the blue-tinted modified personality core, P-Body is the orange modified gun turret.

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #22 by Carpet
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 07:36:23 PM
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@8 WAAHHHHH! hard achievements boo hoo. I hope the achievements are really hard so not just any scrub like you can get them. I want them to take skill and not have cheats so any faggot little achievement poser kid can get them. I want these achievements to be earned.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #23 by BS LIKE A BOSS
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 07:42:09 PM
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Im so sick of hearing about this portal shit. What was so goshdamn great about the first one. I really do not understand. Portal 1 was boring and terrible, so I imagine this game will be shit. Fuck Portal.

Forum Posts: 73
Comment #24 by The Ju1ce
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 08:50:50 PM
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What's the joke pertaining to "silver"? Why is that an interesting choice?

Forum Posts: 110
Comment #25 by Young Lil Teezy
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 09:50:23 PM
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Can't wait for this and #23 shut your ignorant cumdumpster

Forum Posts: 75
Comment #26 by Keirris
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 10:18:12 PM
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I Love Portal And Cant Wait for Portal 2 Though I Have to Agree with #1 What Happend to Episode 3?

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #27 by asilent boom
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 11:15:31 PM
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@23 If your so sick of hearing about Portal why did you click on a link with Portal 2 in the title? I guess common sense isn't common.

@7 Yes, from what I've read it will have splitscreen co-op.

Looking forward to this, really enjoyed the first. After this I hope Valve have plans for a Team Fortress 3.

Forum Posts: 662
Comment #28 by Pieville
Monday, January 24, 2011 @ 11:18:30 PM
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This looks really good and if it's split-screen that's even better!
I may pick this up!

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #29 by Frank_The_Bison
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 12:31:48 AM
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@ 22. Well i'm so sorry I can't jump out of the elevator, shoot the floor shoot the ceiling shoot the floor shoot the ceiling and land in the exit in a time span of half a second.

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #30 by S q u e e t l e
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 12:41:04 AM
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Can't wait!
People, there will not be a 3d episode but a 3d half life..... with a new engine, you'll see.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #31 by wyte
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 01:04:13 AM
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this game is going to be awesome

Forum Posts: 66
Comment #32 by TheBarry
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 01:05:01 AM
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Are these xbox360 screen shots? They mustve update the source engine again, bcuz i dont remember orange box graphics being this good

Forum Posts: 215
Comment #33 by TH3 XB0X G3N1U5
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 01:29:33 AM
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Cannot wait for this! First one was pure awesome, this will only add to that!

Forum Posts: 2615
Comment #34 by Venomized
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 02:19:59 AM
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Web, you sir have just made my life with this post and those screenshots.

Forum Posts: 69
Comment #35 by q WhiZ KiD p
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 04:36:04 AM
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Forum Posts: 271
Comment #36 by macd
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 05:01:22 AM
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I'm a total sucker for splitscreen if it has it. Me and one of my buddies love to co-op the hell outta anything that looks fun, this certainly fits.

Anyway, hopefully once this is out they can finish Half Life 2 Ep3. I need that game!!!

Forum Posts: 46
Comment #37 by PSlocombe
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 07:52:20 AM
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Awesome didn't realise it was so soon. Something to look forward to in April :)

Forum Posts: 454
Comment #38 by Caramel Cardinal
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 08:14:16 AM
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why do i get the feeling that by the time i finish the game both co-op and single i'll have scratched right the way though my skull to my brain

Forum Posts: 57
Comment #39 by RIIIPPER
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 11:30:41 AM
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@38, I'm right there with ya!! My roomie and I had a blast with the first game, so can't wait for this one, even if I have to wear a helmet to protect my head from all the scratching it'll induce... (and no, it's not lice, I checked) :)

Forum Posts: 122
Comment #40 by Poirot
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 11:40:19 AM
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I hope it'll have way more levels than the 1st one.

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #41 by ViNyLek
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 11:41:18 AM
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I thought they gave up on Ep3 and decided to make HL3 instead?? This sounds fun, but never was too interested in Portal, so will give this a pass. Good to say I can pass on another great game with all others coming out this year^^

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #42 by Haruya
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 01:10:17 PM
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I'm afraid I'm a bit confused about something. Is this gonna be a retail (full) game? Or is it gonna be an Arcade game like the first Portal? If anyone could answer this question for me, I'd be very grateful and willing to give a cookie. :p

Forum Posts: 669
Comment #43 by iBeatStuffUp
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 01:42:38 PM
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That first paragraph really ruined this whole write-up.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #44 by Hytti19
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 08:54:53 PM
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Didnt like the first demo, dont plan on waisting more time with this one.

Forum Posts: 893
Comment #45 by DaChiefOfOwnage
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 @ 11:12:06 PM
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Eurgh Episode 3 is turning into the new Duke Nukem.


Forum Posts: 155
Comment #46 by Stupid
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 01:01:05 PM
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"Eurgh Episode 3 is turning into the new Duke Nukem.


I feel it too buddy :(
One day... one day....

Forum Posts: 122
Comment #47 by thesilly101
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 01:27:13 PM
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cake!!! and i won't be sharing with my co-op buddy haha

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #48 by nitromefan
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 05:20:24 PM
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:D Is all I have to say to this...the trailer looks epic, and I thought it said it was coming out in February, although if it does come out in April its just in time fr=or my birthday :D :D :D CANT WAIT!!!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #49 by Voodoowhoodoo
Sunday, January 30, 2011 @ 11:38:49 AM
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AMG! How long before we see episode 3, or hl 3. I've waited yeeeeaaaarrrsss for it and must have played hl2 and the episodes at least 5 times over. No more cake, more grav gun!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #50 by PraiseTheBreadI
Tuesday, February 01, 2011 @ 11:47:44 AM
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Wow i cant wait for this :D!! Number one was amazing :D

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #51 by PraiseTheBreadI
Tuesday, February 01, 2011 @ 11:49:22 AM
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Wow i cant wait for this :D!! Number one was amazing :D

Forum Posts: 239
Comment #52 by SuperWoody64
Monday, February 07, 2011 @ 11:11:34 PM
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Portal2 this year, L4D3 next year, TF3 in '13, new counter strike in '14, L4D4 in '15...then...maybe...Ep.3

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #53 by playerforty4
Thursday, February 10, 2011 @ 12:19:44 PM
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Can't wait for this! I loved the first one.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #54 by basilisk26
Thursday, February 10, 2011 @ 04:14:14 PM
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will this be a retail or a dlc???

Forum Posts: 57
Comment #55 by Shade42
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 06:12:52 AM
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Very excited for this any news about Jonathan Coulton being involved with this game?

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #56 by martypants
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 01:53:11 PM
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@24 silver = 2nd place

portal is the mutts, cant wait

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #57 by chewysolodude
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 06:51:44 PM
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this should be even better

Forum Posts: 179
Comment #58 by Uranium Deposit
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:08:07 PM
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I can't imagine how challenging portal is with two people - no thanks to co-op in my puzzle games

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #59 by Goatmidget
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @ 10:01:10 AM
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This is very exciting, the first Portal blew my mind. The second one my just kill me. Oh and half of the stuff you see in the co-op trailer is actual gameplay, like when they hug, or wave, or high-five. The graphics are just overwhelmingly splendid.

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #60 by mulendorm
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 @ 07:09:45 AM
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Totally going to complete this in co-öp as soon as possible!

Forum Posts: 88
Comment #61 by xydz
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 @ 09:49:29 PM
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co-op portal!!

Forum Posts: 2099
Comment #63 by mjc0961
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 @ 04:09:24 PM
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Fizzler? I guess it is easier to remember and type than "Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grid".

Forum Posts: 1634
Comment #64 by HugTheBear
Sunday, March 27, 2011 @ 09:00:32 PM
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How hard is Portal 1? Should I play Portal 1 before playing Portal 2? I have been debating for some time now on whether or not I should purchase this game. It looks like you may have to be some kind of a genious to play this game lol.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #65 by LynnIsWin
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 08:14:05 PM
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After freaking out about Portal 2 for what seemed like EVER, my friend invited me to her house and - SURPRISE! - she rented Portal 2 for the day and we played Co-Op together, and I must say, it's pretty sweet.

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Game Info
Electronic Arts


US April 19, 2011
Europe April 22, 2011

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