Four Portals Are Better than Two - A Portal 2 Coop Review

No one saw Portal
coming.  Well, let’s
rephrase that.  We
saw Portal
coming, but no one saw the amazing following and success that
came shortly
thereafter.  No one
saw the ending
sequence, the incredibly dry humor, or the wonderful feeling of an
from solving a puzzle you’ve been stuck on for half an hour coming. style="">  What was once thought of
as an extra pack-in
to the Orange Box became a reason to purchase the Orange Box, and style="">Portal fever was in full session.

Now, everyone saw Portal
2 coming.

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style="font-style: italic;">But no one could see these two
goons coming.  Humanity is weak and fragile, so it's best to
use these robots that can't feel pain.

It promised the world with tons of
new gadgets, gizmos, and
a million more deaths in your future. 
delivered a cooperative campaign totally separate from the single
player.  Of course,
your mileage with multiplayer is
partially related to who you play it with. 
Let’s just assume that you’ve got a good buddy and a few
hours to both
aid each other, and of course, kill each other.

Because that’s what friends are for
in video games!


Portal 2 is rated E for Everyone. Robot explosions and dry humor insults are the worst things you'll experience first hand, but no one can prepare you for your wounded pride when you have to look up the solution to a room.

Gameplay - 97 / 100

The gameplay of Portal
2 is still as simple as point, left click, right click, and move on. style="">  Rarely do you have to jump
or crouch, and Portal 2 remains a
great game for
everyone coming from all walks of life, both the hardcore and those who
touched a video game in ten years. 
Little tools exist to make your life easier when
cooperating with random
people and those of you without microphones. 
You can play pings, do countdowns, request portals to be
placed and do
plenty of crazy gestures to get people to dance to your tune without

You now have four portals in
multiplayer.  The
hardest part about the game is getting
out of the mindset that you have to do all of the work yourself. style="">  Mind you, a lot of the
puzzles can be cheesed
or cheated through, but for the most part you’re going to need all of
portals of the rainbow in order to conquer the complex. 
Of course, this means you’re going to need
the cooperation of a comrade, so communication via voice, chat, or the
gestures and pings is essential to progress.

style="font-style: italic;"> href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 640px; height: 360px;" alt=""

style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-style: italic;">What looks like a typical laser
is none other than the Thermal Discouragement Beam.  Unlike
the original, you'll survive a little contact with these.
 What you really have to worry about is your comrade purposely
aiming it at your face for kicks.

New toys are available to play with. style="">  You’ll be aiming lasers to
hit switches,
you’ll be swimming through space with Funnels, and you’ll be using
little Gels
to change the area to a more suitable surface, be it through speeding
slowing down, or even creating a portal-capable surface on a wall that
normally not support it.  Once
is in play, so many options exist in order to get through the stages
that it
might rack your mind trying to find one of them that truly works,
instead of
leaving you stranded on a platform yards from the exit but just out of

For those of you that loved the sheer
insanity of flying a
million miles an hour through the portals and over the stages, a lot of
are out.  Most
puzzles are solved with
your brain instead of quick fingers, which will please the casual and
disappoint the few of us that took great pleasure in doing puzzles the
way.  It’s just a
change of pace, and
there are still plenty of times you can use unintentional cover to
turrets and do long jumps to bypass traps or death pits.

It’s style="font-style: italic;">Portal, only better!

Graphics - 90 / 100

While not disappointing, the graphics of Portal 2 really… didn’t change from the original. The Light Bridges look nice, and the distortion of looking through them as well as looking through portals is still top notch. The game still scales to a multitude of systems, and looks sharp at the highest settings. You and your robot companion will run and jump around like goofballs with quality animation, even when you do unintentionally awesome high fives.

Sound - 77 / 100

Music is nonexistent, which is wonderful for concentration and communicating with your partner, but really makes you feel like the co-op campaign was just the afterthought of a map maker. However, the ever present voice of GLaDOS is always around to make you feel better about yourself, insult your partner, or just revel in your repeated demise. Otherwise, the sounds of portals, various gizmos, and turret bullets piercing your torso repeatedly are quite good, if a bit repetitive. Of course, it’s only as repetitive as long as you keep dying on the same puzzle. If you’re tired of hearing gunfire, stop getting shot to pieces and move on!

Multiplayer - 95 / 100

It’s one thing to think with portals. style="">  It’s another world
entirely to think with
portals with a friend.  That
friend has
no idea what you’re thinking unless you’re on voice chat, which is
necessary.  You have
the ability to
indicate particular wall spots to the other player, and you can always
but a mic is essential to quick communication. 
That said, your multiplayer exploits can be enhanced with
a variety of
purchasable cosmetic enhancements, but these will cost you dollars from
wallet instead of any in-game currency.

href=""> style="font-style: italic;"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 640px; height: 360px;" alt=""

style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-style: italic;">Funnels are a joy and
frustration, essentially creating a slipstream to send yourself,
objects, and whatever else you can move around in one or more
directions depending on the Funnel.  Just like any bridge-type
in Portal 2 though, your comrade might close his portal and send you
into the abyss for a laugh.  Count on it.

Value - 87 / 100

For the low price of 29.99 to 59.99 depending on where you shop at this point, you get access to over 100 rooms that will drive you mad, with or without a partner. The cooperative campaign in particular has the potential for infinite fun. Valve is charging for cosmetic upgrades and silly hats, but they have promised that the first DLC pack of actual content will be free of charge. Even without the DLC of the future taken into consideration, you’ll put at least a solid 10 hours of carnage filled portal action.

Lasting Appeal - 60 / 100

There may be lots of rooms, but not necessarily lots of ways to do most of them. When it comes down to it, your memory will be against you as your friends pick it up and ask to play co-op with you. The magic of multiplayer is nowhere near as wonderful when someone already knows everything about the game and the solutions.

Pros and Cons


  • Some extremely well thought out rooms (3-8 in particular)
  • As well as some lovely unintended ways to get through them

  • Lots of new toys to test your wits, and your favorite narrator will test your will with taunts.


  • Paid cosmetic items, while almost the norm, are still offensive especially in a AAA title like this.

  • Not as much room for creative momentum slinging or ‘doing it wrong’ to get by.
  • You’ll want to wipe your memory Men In Black style afterwards, because it will never be the same the second time.


Portal 2 was a safe bet that decided to go the extra mile in a few areas. The map makers did exceptionally well in creating rooms that provoke thought, while not being frustratingly difficult. You’re still doing the exact same thing you were doing before, but there’s more of it now and it’s co-op. To be honest, can you really complain? I didn’t think so.

Overall 86/100 - Very Good


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