Portal 2 E3 Preview

The veil has lifted on Portal 2. After a successful Portal 1, fans demanded a sequel. What took Valve so long to make it (three years) is that they wanted to surprise fans rather than give them the same thing over again. Today, Valve talked story and a load of new features that will make the game’s puzzles four-hundred times harder. Seriously.

A “bunch of time” has passed between the first game and the sequel. Aperture Labs have become overgrown with forest and greens as GladOS was killed and it was left to ruin. However, GladOS comes back into the world and begins rebuilding the test chamber as the player makes their way through the game. Naturally, she wants revenge on Chell – the “monster” (GladOS’s words) who killed her in the first game.

Portal 2 introduces new characters besides the regular Chell and GladOS. One of those characters was shown to us today. His name is Weatly; he’s one of the personality cores trapped in the test chambers for just as long as Chell was. He’s an interesting little guy. Just about everything he says is funny. At one point in the demo, he had to open a door for Chell, where she sticks him in the wall slot to do so; he pauses and tells her “Well I can’t do it if you’re watching”, where Chell then has to turn around for him to open the wall.

Portal 2 has a large amount of new elements that add a lot more thinking to its puzzles. First up, there’s the Excursion Funnel. This is a moving wave of energy that when stepped in, moves the character in the path its going. The can use portals to alternate its path and can even use them to get them floating upward.

Then there’s the Aerial Faith Plate. This thing will propel you with “fifty-thousand foot pounds of torque.” Basically, it’s a launch platform that will will shoot you really far.

The Thermal Discouragement Beam is next. This is a beam that runs through a room that, in order to activate something, a player must link to an opposing point.

Here’s a good one. The Pneumatic Diversity Vent allows players to link portals to a huge vacuuming machine. This will help rid turrets and other baddies on the field by shooting one portal where the air is being sucked and another where teh enemies are. That will suck the enemies into the portal and throgh the vent.

Then there are gels. There are three types of gels. Repulsion Gel allows players to bounce really high. Propulsion Gel allows players to move really fast.

I’ll tell you, all the footage we saw (which you can see below), really makes the game look difficult. However, it looks like that’s Valve’s goal.

“We still want people to think their way through the game and kind of learn how the new mechanics work and feel really smart when they get through a particular part of the game.”

As for how long the game should be, the Valve guy said it should be at least double the length of the first game, which came after I told him it took me about eight hours to complete.

You can check out all the footage I saw, which Valve generously let us record, below. Enjoy.

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