Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle game developed by Valve and published by Valve (for PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam) and Electronic Arts (via retail); it was released on April 19th, 2011. The sequel plays out over nine chapters and builds upon the physics-based puzzles of the first game by including a variety of new gameplay mechanics, such as laser beams that can be redirected by special cubes, zero-gravity funnels that can be redirected by portals, launch pads, and paint-like substances that change the properties of the surface it covers.
The story picks up many years after the events of the original Portal. Mute protagonist, Chell awakens to find the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, decayed and overrun by nature, as she must complete a new series of tests under the watchful eye of the hostile artificial intelligence GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System). Along the way, she receives help from a friendly personality core named Wheatley and explores the deepest depths of the laboratory, learning about the early history of Aperture through audio recordings made by the founder, Cave Johnson.
As well as the single player story, the game also includes a unique two-player co-operative campaign, involving a series of team-based puzzles; in this mode, each player controls one of two robotic characters: either ATLAS or P-Body. Players can customize their robot's appearance in the PC and Mac versions, similar to Team Fortress 2; this involves different customization slots (hats, skins, accessories, and special gestures) and an inventory system. Items can be gained by earning achievements; by transferring special items from Team Fortress 2; or they can be bought from an in-game store, where players can purchase items or gestures with real-world money.
All versions of the game include achievements for both single-player and multi-player campaigns. The Xbox 360 version also includes five avatar awards, including t-shirts, a hat, and an animated prop of the avatar wielding both the Portal Gun and the Weighted Companion Cube. The PlayStation 3 version is packaged with a special one-use code that unlocks a free copy of the game on Steam for the PC and Mac. It is also the first PlayStation 3 game to implement cross-platform compatibility via Steamworks (allowing cross-platform multiplayer with the PC and Mac versions, and Steam Cloud support for saved games). The PC and Mac versions are also cross-platform compatible via Steam Play. On November 6th, 2012, support for the PlayStation Move motion controller was patched into the game for free.
While the most of the basic gameplay of the original remains intact, Portal 2 introduces a few new mechanics to freshen the experience. These are steadily introduced throughout single player and co-op, and have the capability to make these new puzzles more complicated than those introduced in Portal.
- Aerial Faith Plates - pressure-triggered pads that launch objects in a particular direction with great force.
- Excursion Funnels - a kind of tractor beam that can be redirected by portals.
- Propulsion Gel - a kind of oil slick ejected from a dispenser that can be spread across surfaces via portals to enable fast running. The trailer states that this gel was first marketed as a diet aid, that "increased the velocity of any food that followed it through the digestive tract, leaving the body no time to absorb calories." Unfortunately, the product was pulled from store shelves when it was discovered that digestion plays an important part in the eating process.
- Repulsion Gel - a rubber-like substance ejected from a dispenser that creates a trampoline effect upon surface contact. Apparently, the gel was also marketed as a diet aid, as it "caused subsequently-ingested food items to bounce off the lining of the dieter's stomach and out his or her mouth," i.e. throwing up. For obvious reasons, this was also pulled from store shelves.
- Conversion Gel - Made out of moon rocks, this gel converts any surface into portal-able surface.
- Thermal Discouragement Beam - a fixed position laser that can be redirected by portals and aimed by portable optic cubes.
- Hard Light Bridges - A translucent but solid walkway that the player can walk on, and can be redirected with portals to reach certain areas.
In the April issue of Game Informer, the co-op mode was officially confirmed. It features a different story from the single-player campaign, and two new characters. These characters are two androids named Atlas and P-Body, one built out of one of GLaDOS' personality cores and the other built out of a sentry turret. The players have their own set of portals which both can use. It has been suggested that the
puzzles in the co-op campaign will be much more complicated than those in Chell's story; Valve stated in the Game Informer article that they are more comfortable pushing multiple players with more complex puzzles because "It's really easy to bounce ideas off each other, so complicated ends up being more fun."
Split-screen support is included as well as online co-op. To ease frustration for those without a microphone to communicate, Valve has implemented a system of contextual commands that lets one player tell their partner where to look, shoot portals, etc.
The game opens with Chell waking up in a cell reminiscent of a hotel room. Shortly after, a personality sphere by the name of Wheatley appears, offering his help in Chell's escape. After escaping from her cell, Chell finds a Portal gun and eventually makes her way to GLaDOS' chamber where there is a breaker room that might trigger an escape pod. Instead, Wheatley accidentally wakes GLaDOS. Upset by the fact that Chell killed her, GLaDOS disposes of Wheatley and throws Chell down an incineration tube.
After about 20 chambers of portals, cubes and fat jokes, a not so dead Wheatley appears and saves Chell. Together, they devise a plan to take GLaDOS down by shutting off her neurotoxin gas and replacing her turrets with defective ones. They then go face GLaDOS who powerless is replaced by Wheatley. In a shocking twist, it's revealed that Wheatley is even worse than GLaDOS. He takes GLaDOS and puts her in a 1.1 volt potato and throws both Chell and the potato down an elevator shaft. It is later revealed that Wheatley was designed by the brightest minds of Aperture as the biggest moron on the planet and was used to shape GLaDOS' personality.
After a rough landing, GLaDOS is taken by a bird while Chell is left on her own to explore Aperture's underground. It is here that we are introduced to Cave Johnson who guides the players through test chambers thanks to pre-recorded messages. Chell eventually meets up with GLaDOS who is extremely troubled by Cave Johnson's voice. It is revealed that GLaDOS is not completely evil and has a good, human side to her: Caroline. Caroline was Johnson's assistant and when Cave discovered that he was about to die due to messing around with moon rocks, he created an A.I. to run Aperture once he died: GLaDOS. Inspired by Cave's speech about lemons, GLaDOS decides that the only way to take Wheatley down is by asking him a paradox which should make him crash.
The two make it to Wheatley, who has let the facility run amok by forging blocks with turrets and by not attending to an imminent facility wide meltdown. Despite all this, Wheatley makes Chell test and attempts to kill her to no avail. As the meltdown becomes even more critical, Chell and GLaDOS make it to Wheatley's chamber and take him out by teleporting him to the moon. GLaDOS is put back in control and fixes the impending disaster.
In the end, GLaDOS admits that maybe humans aren't that bad and that she is going to let Chell go. She believes that Caroline taught her this and upon saying this, deletes Caroline from her memory. She reveals that she isn't going to kill Chell because it would require too much effort on her part and she just wants the human to leave. Chell is released from Aperture along with the companion cube.
Portal 2: LAB RAT is a digital comic created entirely in house by Valve. The first part of the comic was first published on April 8th, 2011, with the second released shortly after on April 11th, 2011. On November 16th, 2011, the completed comic saw print in the Dark Horse Comics publication Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories where it was collected with comics produced for other Valve titles Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2.
The comic was made to bridge the gap between Portal and Portal 2, while also expanding on the history of Aperture Science. The main protagonist of the comic is former Aperture Science employee Doug Rattmann aka "The Ratman" who is accompanied by a Weighted Companion Cube for most of the comic.
Images for Portal 2: LAB RAT were drawn by Andrea Wicklund (the main story) and the projects leader, Michael Avon Oeming (the layouts and flashbacks). Portal 2's writers Erik Wolpaw, Chet Faliszek, Jay Pinkerton and Ted Kosmatka handled the story elements.
The first DLC of the game named Peer Review was released on October 4th, 2011. The DLC was launched across all platforms free of charge. It mainly continues the story of ATLAS and P-Body assisting GLADOS in finding a mysterious intruder in the facility. It also contains a challenge mode for both single player and Co-op options. It allows the player to race certain maps, trying to place the least portals in the shortest amount of time. The player can also compare their scores with other players.
Perpetual Testing Initiative
The second DLC of the game was released on May 8th, 2012 and was called the Perpetual Testing Initiative. It enabled a free level editing and sharing service for the game. It was free for the users that have bought the game on PC and is included with the game. Users can create the levels, play them and share them with the community. The level editor uses a simple interface that is different to Hammer. Along with the level editor there is a storyline involving Cave Johnson, test subjects of Aperture Science and multiple universes.
On August 12th, 2012, the Perpetual Testing Initative level editor received a second update that allowed for co-op levels to be built and published as well. This update also added a "Quick Play" feature, which essentially serves as a randomized level select from the Steam Workshop community's top-rated maps.
Portal 2 MotionPack / In Motion
Developed separately by Sixense, the MotionPack was released on the PC on June 16th, 2011 in combination with the Razer Hydra. A PSN version was released on November 6th, 2012 under the name "In Motion", and is an adaptation that requires the PlayStation Move to play. Players select to play as either Atlas or P-Body, and then work their way through 20 new test chambers which introduce new mechanics not seen before, such as rotating and scaling objects, and stretching and manipulating materials to solve puzzles.
In the extras section, players can view the released trailers and teasers for Portal 2, as well as the two-part comic providing backstory. Also available is the developer commentary, which gives insight into the development of the game.
The game also features an "interactive teaser" for Super 8, an upcoming sci-fi film by J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. In this feature, the player moves around inside a train while listening to chatter on a radio. Eventually, the train crashes and throws the player out. When they come to, they make their way to a scripted section that ends the teaser with a unseen force bursting out of a train car. At the end, the game pulls up a Steam browser window and goes to a promotional site with the actual movie trailer.
User Created Content
As with most Valve games, the mod community in Portal 2 is huge. Only weeks after the game's release, Valve released all the tools the user needed to create custom Portal 2 maps. Soon after, ThinkingWithPortals.com announced their Summer Mapping Initiative, which had all of their community come together to create custom Portal 2 maps over the course of a few months. This was officially supported by Valve on their Portal 2 blog. The winners were announced on June 27th, 2011 on the official blog.
Although the original Portal was a runaway success, Portal 2's existence was not strongly confirmed until March 2010, when Valve released a number of updates for the PC version of the original game. These were unfortunately not made available to console owners due to difficulties getting updates through Microsoft's certification process for the Xbox 360 version of the game, and the fact that Valve wasn't involved with the PlayStation 3 version at all. The updates altered the ending sequence so that Chell is dragged away by an unseen figure while lying on the ground on the surface after the " boss fight" with GLaDOS. These new game files lead players to discover various clues and hints regarding a potential sequel through Morse code decoding, among forms of decryption of the games files.
Much as the first Portal originated from concepts seen in the 2005 DigiPen Senior student project Narbacular Drop, some elements of Portal 2 play mechanics have been based off the 2008 DigiPen Junior student project Tag: The Power of Paint. In both cases Valve recruited DigiPen students responsible for the projects to work internally on the Portal teams.
Pneumatic Diversity Vent - Similar to cube tubes in the first game, these vacuum vents are large enough to transport many objects and can even remove loose wall tiles. They appeared in early gameplay videos, but were cut from the game before release. According to Valve, they didn't really have a clear purpose and it was hard to make interesting puzzles with them. While present in some areas in Portal 2, they serve no purpose to the actual gameplay.
Walk on walls Gel - A 4th gel was designed that would let players walk on walls. The game designers admitted that the idea was a good one, opening new puzzle possibilities, but was abandoned due to the fact that game testers were experiencing nausea. Valve tried to minimize the sentiment of nausea by reducing player movement and frame rate but the idea ended up being left out.
Dialogue - A Garfield joke was meant to occur during co-op. The two robots stumble upon a comic of Garfield where GLaDOS begins describing what the comic is about and how it is unfunny. In a later scene, GLaDOS reworks the comic so that Garfield accidentally eats poisonous lasagna. The dialogue can be found in the game's files.
Objects - There were multiple switches that were not used in the final version of the game. Such mechanics include a disappearing bed, switches that change the content of a painting and a switch that makes all the furniture fold into itself. There were also signs that were of different colours.
Competitive multiplayer - Along with the co-op, a competitive multiplayer mode was planned, which was, according to Erik Wolpaw, an original take on Speedball (according to Kotaku):
We went down that path, actually, for a little while and had something up and running — the best way to describe it is sort of Speedball meets Portal. You know, a sports analogy. And it quickly became apparent that while it’s fun for about two seconds to drop portals under people and things like that, it quickly just devolves into pure chaos. It lost a lot of the stuff that was really entertaining about Portal, which was puzzle-solving. Cooperative puzzle-solving was just a much more rewarding path.
A second human character - The game designers originally planned that the co-op could be played with an AI partner and introduced MEL, another human test subject in Aperture.
The Alternate Reality Game
On April 1st, 2011, Valve released a special indie-game bundle named "The Potato Sack" on Steam. Soon after, it was noticed that the games in this bundle all contained strange references and achievements regarding potatoes. Between April 1st and 12th, more clues were discovered in the individual games: including hidden codes in the new level layouts of Toki Tori, hidden packages in the real world, strange symbols that resembled icons and designs from the pack, and the eventual appearances of hidden "consoles" in the games.
On April 12th, most of the games were "hacked" by GLaDOS. She began to appear in the games in some form, some in special levels made for the game. For example, Killing Floor received a new level set in the ruined Aperture Laboratories, complete with giant floor buttons, and also had the default trader replaced by a personality core. Later, it was discovered that potatoes found in the bundled games, if enough players find them, would steadily turn GLaDOS "back on" and release the game early. Portal 2 ended up being released approximately ten hours prior to its scheduled release date.
After the game's release, it was reported that the developers of the Potato Sack games were all given access to each others' IPs. They all worked closely with, but independently from, Valve in order to "put the launch of Portal 2 into the community's hands", according to Dylan Fitterer (Audiosurf). Additionally, in the released product, a cryptic audio commentary is attached to a series of images that show that the ARG was a fully planned-out event.
Games in the pack, which for a period were sold and half-price, included:
(*)Denotes games that were "hacked" by GLaDOS
- 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby) (*)
- AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!: A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (*)
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent
- Audiosurf (*)
- Bit.Trip Beat (*)
- Defense Grid: The Awakening (*)
- Killing Floor (*)
- Super Meat Boy
- The Ball (*)
- The Wonderful End of the World (*)
- Toki Tori
Additionally, owners of Team Fortress 2 who bought the pack, or owned the altogether individual games beforehand, were given a potato-powered hat, as well as earning a pin with a jiggle-boned Weighted Companion Cube for playing all of the games in the pack at least once.
Portal 2 was received with near unanimous acclaim from video game publications around the world. It has an average score of 95/100 on Metacritic. Portal 2 was also one of the most awarded games on the 2011 GOTYs, receiving the top award from several important publications, such as Eurogamer, Gamasutra, IGN and Kotaku.
On July 2011, EA reported that more than 2 million copies have been sold worldwide at retail only. It is estimated that Portal 2 sold between 2 and 3 million copies on Steam alone. Gabe Newell, head of Valve, announced in a interview from August 2011 that Portal 2 did better, sales wise, on the PC than on consoles.
The game's soundtrack is almost completely consisted of electronic music, composed by Mike Morasky. The music in the game borrows some of the "event" concepts introduced in Valve's zombie-shooter franchise, Left 4 Dead, by having additional music and sounds play when performing certain maneuvers or traveling certain areas.
Also returning is 'nerd-rock' artist Jonathan Coulton, who provides the track "Want You Gone" over the game's credits. The instrumental version of "Still Alive" is also present, but mostly as fan service. Also performing is the indie-rock band The National, who provide the track "Exile Vilify", which plays in one of the Ratman's dens.
Valve has made the soundtrack freely available from the official Portal 2 website where all three volumes are now available. The page also contains downloadable ringtones for the iPhone or Android devices.
|Track No.||Song Title||Track Length|
|01||Science is Fun||2:33|
|02||Concentration Enhancing Menu Initialiser||2:17|
|04||The Courtesy Call||3:37|
|07||Ghost of Rattman||4:06|
|09||The Future Starts With You||3:22|
|10||There She Is||4:21|
|11||You Know Her?||3:11|
|12||The Friendly Faith Plate||2:59|
|13||15 Acres of Broken Glass||5:00|
|14||Love as a Construct||4:57|
|15||I Saw a Deer Today||3:13|
|19||Turret Wife Serenade||1:39|
|20||I Made It All up||3:56|
|21||Comedy = Tragedy + Time||3:30|
|22||Triple Laser Phase||4:15|
|Track No.||Song Title||Track Length|
|01||You Will Be Perfect||02.39|
|02||Halls of Science 4||04.35|
|03||Bots Build Bots||04.07|
|04||An Accent Beyond||02.58|
|05||Robot Ghost Story||03.07|
|06||Die Cut Laser Dance||02.00|
|07||Turret Redemption Line||03.23|
|08||Bring Your Daughter to Work Day||02.40|
|09||Almost at Fifty Percent||01.59|
|10||Don't Do it||05.16|
|11||I AM NOT A MORON||03.46|
|13||Music of the Spheres||03.38|
|14||Your Are Not Part of the Control Group||03.24|
|15||Forwarding the Cause of Science||03.40|
|18||Music of the Spheres 2 (Incendiary Lemons)||02.43|
|Track #||Song Title||Track Length|
|01||Reconstructing More Science||02.36|
|07||The Part Where He Kills You||03.23|
|08||OMG, What Has He Done?||02.24|
|09||Bombs for Throwing at You||05.48|
|10||Your Precious Moon||01.55|
|12||Cara Mia Addio||02.33|
|13||Want You Gone||02.21|
|16||Some Assembly Required||01.50|
|17||Robot Waiting Room #01||02.14|
|18||Robot Waiting Room #02||02.14|
|19||Robot Waiting Room #03||02.14|
|20||Robot Waiting Room #04||02.14|
|21||Robot Waiting Room #05||02.14|
|22||Robot Waiting Room #06||02.14|
|23||You Saved Science||00.47|
- OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
- Memory: 1GB XP / 2GB Vista
- Hard Disk Space: At least 7.6 GB of Space
- Video: Video card must be 128 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0b (ATI Radeon X800 or higher / NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or higher / Intel HD Graphics 2000 or higher).
- Audio: DirectX 9.0c compatible
- OS: MAC OS X 10.6.7 or higher
- Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)
- Memory: 2GB
- Hard Disk Space: At least 7.6 GB of Space
- Video: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher
- OS: Ubuntu 12.04
- Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: nVidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1
- Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
- Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Installing this game to the Xbox 360 hard drive requires 4.7GB of memory.