After the first Portal, I was left wondering if there was more to the story. If GLaDOS was truly still alive, then there had to be more, right? Well, Valve answered that question, and they gave us Portal 2, a game that improved upon nearly every aspect of the first game, and added even more for players to do.
First off is the brand new story. You still play as Chell from the first game, but Aperture Science has been torn apart, and GLaDOS is asleep. An AI core named Wheatley wakes you from stasis and tries to help you escape. In the process, you wake up GLaDOS, who begins repairing the facility and putting you through test chambers to keep you busy. As you go along, Wheatley continues trying to help you escape. Eventually, you get to learn more about the history of Aperture Science, and also the history of GLaDOS herself.
Portal 2 is a much larger game than the original. When you think you might be nearing the end, another plot twist arises and you are thrown back a few steps in your journey to escape the facility. The length of the game comes with a number of new ways to get around though. You encounter repulsion, propulsion and conversion gels, as well as lasers, hard-light surfaces and excursion funnels(levitation beams).
The gels can be a bit confusing to get used to, but they do add a bit of a challenge to some chambers. Lasers can be redirected using Refractor Cubes, allowing you to power up panels that can open doors or activate other tools. They can also be used to take out turrets with ease. The hard-light surfaces are very useful, as they can get you to areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Excursion funnels are useful for the same reason, but they can also help to push or pull turrets or cubes around.
While there are a number of new ways to get around in the Portal universe, the developers kept everything relatively simple. Some puzzles take more time than others to figure out, and I know I found myself ready to give up on certain levels a few times, but they are all manageable. The key is almost always to not over think it and to try different things.
My favorite addition in Portal 2 is the co-op campaign. In this brand new multiplayer experience, you can play with a friend locally or online and work your way through this unique campaign. You play as two Aperture Science bots who are being sent through the test chambers by GLaDOS, who hopes to eliminate human testing so she can continue testing forever. Each of you has your own portal gun, allowing for four portals to be open across the chamber at any one time. No chambers are recycled from the single player campaign, so it is an entirely new experience built specifically for two players. However, many of these co-op chambers are much more difficult because you are able to have four portals open, adding a bit of a challenge.
If you were a fan of the first game, Portal 2 is definitely a game for you. Improvements were made to every aspect of the original, and the new additions offer some new styles of gameplay. If you never played the first game, then you can still dive in with Portal 2. Some of the plot may be a little confusing, but you can catch up easily enough. Portal 2 is a game I believe everyone should at least give a chance. It has something for everyone.