Gamescom 2010: Portal 2 PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Aug 20, 2010
What We Know:
Valve’s brilliant yet somewhat limited puzzle “shooter” Portal took the gaming world by storm when it was released as part of the Orange Box (still arguably the greatest $60 package in gaming history). Now Valve is giving the game its proper due in Portal 2 by upping the puzzle platforming ante and expanding upon the narrative of the first game to a ridiculous degree.
What We’re Seeing Now:
The demo Valve showed off at Gamescom 2010 followed the same formula as the one shown during E3, with a few welcomed exceptions. In the new demo, Chell is once again guided around by the loveably innocent AI bot Wheatley (only now with the proper voice of the brilliant Stephen Merchant). In the first section, Wheatley provides light in a series of pitch black corridors. The lighting effects are particularly gripping, and the total darkness serves as a great contrast to the sterile, bright white walls of Aperture Science.
The demo then shifted to showing off some crazy combinations of the few new puzzle elements being introduced this time around. For instance, the Excursion Funnel is great for moving yourself across large open spaces thanks to its gravity-defying capabilities. But when you drop some massive globs of Repulsion Gel into the beam, suddenly you’re able to create a line of bouncing material that can then be used to propel yourself across a gap. Or you can drench a row of turrets with the goo, and watch them all ricochet around the room like a chipmunk on Adderall.
Another simpler combination is one we’ve seen before but not in this way, and it came down to placing one portal beneath a flow of bouncing goo, and one on one side of a forked beam, thereby spraying the left side of a long hall with blue goo, then doing the same thing on the opposite side of the beam, which sprayed the adjacent wall. This then let Chell bounce between the two walls, over a pit of some kind of nasty, no doubt death-bringing ooze, and finally to safety.
The rest of the demo was similar if not the same as E3’s, and showed off the new Propulsion Gel and Faithplates. What was particularly interesting was that during the quick gameplay trailer that played at the end of the demo, there was a brief moment where you were sliding down what looked like an energy chute, as though you could create some kind of light road. It only lasted about half a second, so I can’t be sure, but, like everything else Valve has shown of the game, it looked utterly mental.
Hopefully we’ll be seeing a bit more of Portal 2 in the coming months, and if not, then we’ll just have ot wait until February 9, 2011 when the game hits PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.