Valve is probably the most exalted PC game developer in the market right now. Probably even more than Blizzard. Of course, Blizzard used to be totally invincible at a time- Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, and many others are till date regarded as some of the best PC games ever. But that is a thing of the past. Today, in the time of High Definition, of Graphics, Halo, nothing, nothing at all beats Valve at PC games. With games as spectcular as Left 4 Dead, Half Life and Counter Strike, Valve are practically invincible now.
One game that best exemplifies and personifies the perfection that all their games have boasted of this generation is a game that, originally, wasn’t even released separately. It was just a part of a compilation, but it was this very game that made that specific compilation, The Orange Box, what it is considered to be. That game is Portal, Valve’s best title this generation.
Portal was a First Person Adventure game, much like the last generation’s beautiful title, Metroid Prime, and not a First Person Shooter. The game had practically no enemies at all, and all it concentrated on puzzles and platforming. It provided for a very unique and refreshing formula, driving the gaming industry forward with a boost of innovation and perfection. What was best about Portal was that it was almost equally good on all the three systems it was released on (Xbox 360, PS3, PC).
It was received by rave reviews all over the board. Critics and gamers alike cited it as one of the best games to have been released in recent memory, and Portal immediately became a fan favourite, and soon, the clamouring for a sequel of Portal began. I know we have been waiting for the third episode of Half Life 2 for quite some time now, but Valve listens to its fans, and once again, Valve has obliged. We are getting a sequel to the much acclaimed Portal, and Portal 2 will be with us not any later than February next year.
But Portal’s legacy is not an easy one to live up to. Being the legendary game that Portal was, its sequel will definitely have a hard time living up to the name it bears. And thus, question, doubts, and often, apprehensions are seeded in fans of the first Valve puzzle game. Will it be as good as it is hyped to be? Will it stand up to it’s legacy, to its predecessor’s acclaim? Will it surprise us and innovate in the same way the original Portal did?
Those are questions that can answered, but the asnwers are something that cannot be re-affirmed right now. So for now, let us satiate or thirst for more Portal by targeting these questions one by one.
The Aperture Science Enrichment Center, Portal 2’s version of the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, will make the player face similar challenges as Portal. We, the players, will face the same challenging puzzles and platforming sections that we came to love in Portal. For those who are not acquainted with Portal’s gameplay, the aforementioned gun, referred to as the Portal gun, is used to create two distinct portal ends, orange and blue. The portals create a visual and physical connection between two different locations in three-dimensional space. Neither end is specifically an entrance or exit; all objects that travel through one portal will exit through the other (quoted from Wikipedia).
This gameplay mechanic provides for an immense element of strategy, adding innumerable layers of depth and complexity to the gameplay. Seeing how good this mechanic worked out in Portal, and the fact that it will be returning in Portal 2, is simply a re-assurance than Portal 2 will be one heck of a game.
Not only that- several new additions such as the Pneumatic Diversity Vents (ability to use air currents to push a turret over or to draw objects into the suction), Excursion Funnel (bring players or other objects to otherwise inaccessible areas) and Propulsion/Repulsion Gel (boosts player’s speed as she crosses a surface/ allows players to jump from a surface) will be featured in the game. Many new means of transporting in the game’s environment will also be incorporated.
One pretty neat addition in the game, something that the original Portal was unable to boast of, is co-op. Let’s have a look at it:
Portal 2 will allow two players toplay through the campaign co-operatively. In this mode of the game, both the players will be given separate Portal guns (though one can use the other player’s portals if need be), and to avoid any confusion, the colour of both the players’ portals will be different, for the sake of convenience. In this co-op mode, players will face several sections that will be more challenging than they would be in the single player capmiagn, encouraging both the players to work together. Split screen will be available for those who will be playing locally, and those who play online will be able to have temporary split-screen, so that they can play what to do next together more easily. Not only will the players have the ability to voice chat during this mode, they will also be able to use in the game to signal their partners what they plan to do next.
As is pretty apparent from the information above, the new co-op will definitely add even more depth and replayablity to the already complex and fun formula of the game. We will have to wait and watch about that, though, as it is something we have never seen in a Portal game. Although, it looks like an interesting idea.
Valve are known to be rabid PS3 haters, especially Doug Lombardi. His announcement at E3, then, that their upcoming game, Portal 2, would be best on Sony’s home console, PlayStation 3, came as a huge surprise to us.
But what will be so good about the PS3 version that will make it the best version of Portal 2, better even than the PC version. Valve have already announced they will not be supporting 3D or Move, so they cannot be it. So what is it then? I’ll tell you: it’s the PC-PS3 interconnectivity. Valve have said that the general idea is that “you will be able to play between PS3 and PC.”
Of course it hasn’t been confirmed yet. All Valve have said is that it is “something the team is gunning for.” But then again, what other explanation can you think of? How, other then this, can the PS3 version turn out to be the best of all? This, according to us, is the only plausible explanation.
Portal 2 will release for the Mac OS, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 February next year. What are your expectations from the game? Tell us via your comments.