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PAX Prime 2010: Portal 2

PAX Prime 2010

Portal 2 layers on an all new Co-Op feature on top of the already excellent base concept of its predecessor. A short hands-off demonstration reacquainting us with the pithy commentary of Glados, while introducing two new characters – orange and blue robots – who had their work cut out for them in a series of preliminary puzzles.

The first couple courses were fairly straight-forward. Players learned the basics of laying down portals which allowed them to overcome obstacles and reach otherwise distant heights, while also serving as a tutorial, explaining how to designate targets for their teammates portals on the walls. And that’s just the icing on the cake.

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Following the simplistic introductory stages came some more tasking challenges which required the robots to co-operate accordingly, in order to make it to the elevators which bookend each of the stages. In one area, both players had to align their portals so a laser could shoot straight through four wall segments, triggering reflective cubes along the way. The ability to use four separate portals makes all the difference in these types of puzzles. In another area, the blue robot was sent indefinitely falling through a series of portals until his orange teammate activated a portal on a slanted wall timed perfectly so his teammate was sent flying over a pit of acid and into safety.

One of the most interesting things about the demonstration was the ability for the robots to emote off one another. The two teammates embraced one another affectionately, at best reminding us of the strong sense of personality found in many of Valve’s titles, and at worst providing a few awkward Army of Two flashbacks for some…

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Valve is suggesting that this so-called “Collaborative Testing Initiative” multi-player mode will be double the length of Portal. While the original game’s quality and unique design made up for its relatively quick story, Portal 2 looks to expand on the qualities of the original while maintaining the same high standard in terms of game design. From everything we’ve seen today, Valve’s latest game is totally worth getting hyped over. Portal 2 is currently slated for release on February 9, 2011, for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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