Portal 2: Co-op

It’s tough to shake that feeling that by including co-op in Portal 2, Valve was simply looking to justify a full price tag for the game. The first game didn’t need it, so why cram it into the second? It’s a moot question in the end as Portal 2’s co-op proves itself more then worthy with all the creative flare Valve is known for. My co-op partner Patrick and I completed the entire game together, so we thought we give you both of our opinions in a dual-review of Portal 2’s co-op.

It’s true that two brains are always better then one, this rang particularly true during Portal 2’s co-op. It always seemed that when I was at my wits end, Patrick would jump in with the next idea to keep the creative ball rolling, and vice versa. The puzzle’s are more difficult than anything you’re going to find in the single player, luckily you have two sets of eyes to notice different aspects of any particular puzzle and compare notes with. Even with voice communication, describing exact precise portal placement and timing presents a formidable challenge, or it would if Valve hadn’t already thought of that. From the beginning you have the ability to ping (mark) specific spots where you need your partners portals, as well as having access to a countdown timer to help with the timing aspect. It’s just a nice touch to help keep things reasonable in some environments that can get a little hectic.

Patrick: I agree with Jordan. Having a partner there increased the difficulty greatly because instead of thinking with 2 portals you now had to think with 4. So while the difficulty has increased two-fold it is balanced because you have another brain there working with you. Like Jordan said, we often found ourselves helping each other out a lot. I’d see some way to do something that Jordan didn’t and vice versa. The pinging that Jordan mentioned helped out greatly. It was nice to be able to ping those hard to describe areas, this made the user experience flow without frustration.

All of the interesting puzzle components from the single player eventually make an appearance. Like in the solo play, you are presented with each in order starting with light bridges and ending in the goo type puzzles. None of the puzzlers were particularly devious, but some were a little nasty and required some macgyvering with object to try and cheat the system a little bit. I’m not sure if we solved every puzzle the way it was necessarily suppose to be solved, but I don’t want to know. Solving puzzles in a broken down science center ought to require a little cheating in my opinion.

I don’t think it’s possible to cheat in this game. If you are “cheating” it’s probably more complicated than the way the puzzle was meant to be solved. I like how Valve decided to organize the co-op levels into “worlds” inside the main hub. Each world contains a new element, as Jordan mentioned. This way you can switch your brain to light bridge mode, or goo for example. The progression was nice and it never felt like it put something in front of us that we couldn’t handle. I love at the end of each “world” the fact that we had to do something outside of the test chambers. This was probably my favorite part of the co-op experience and would have liked to have seen them include more levels like those. DLC?

Although you are your testing partner are both mute, the clever dialog of Glado’s accompanies you along the way. She might be trying to sew some seeds of competition between the players or just insulting you, whichever it is, it’s probably going to make you smile or laugh.

I found the commentary of GlaDos particularly amusing in co-op simply for the fact that she tried to make you guys hate each other. Be it by saying “Oh, blue did much better on that chamber than you did” or “What was that orange? You don’t like blue? I won’t tell him…”. I personally am kind of over GlaDos but this type of dialog really did make me laugh.

The very minor complaints I had with the single player did show up in co-op. Any puzzle no matter the length is followed by the same dis-assembly of the two characters followed by load screens. That’s a little annoying thing that might not even be noticeable…if it didn’t happen to often.

Agreed. I felt like it took away from the games momentum and just felt unnecessary. The only difficult part for me was trying to figure out when I should hold back and let Jordan do his thing or when to step up and take control of the fate of these two robots. My only other complaint is that it’s not really fun to play it again, especially with someone who hasn’t played it yet. Often times you will find yourself standing there biting your tongue while your partner takes forever trying to figure out the chamber. It isn’t fun.

All in all the Portal 2 co-op was awesome. We really enjoyed our time with it and can’t wait for more DLC.

[starreview tpl=46 size=’30’]

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