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E3 '10: Portal 2

The original Portal was one of those touchstone games that only comes once in a great while. A perfect combination of humor, mind twisting gameplay, memorable characters and an perfect ending that left you wanting more. A game that crossed genres to reach many different types of gamers. Could lighting strike twice in the same place? If what I saw demoed at E3 is any indication, Portal 2 has every chance of being just as popular as the first, if not more so.

Portal 2 takes place "years" after the ending of the original game. GLaDOS is dead and Chell has been put in stasis, finally awakening into the wreckage Aperture Science labs. She meets up with Wheatley, a Personality Core robot (those little eyeball like fellows you incinerated in the first game) who leads her through the rubble and both discover that GLaDOS is not dead after all. She really is still alive (as the hit song implies). Since the only way GLaDOS knows how to relate to Chell is through testing her, GLaDOS rebuilds the decaying labs and once again Chell must figure out how to make it through using the infamous Portal guns.

This time however, some new items have been added to change the experience. In the short demo we saw, several of these were shown. First there was the tractor beam like tunnel (Pneumatic Diversity Vent) that could be manipulated to suck unsuspecting turrets through walls or eject Chell to otherwise inaccessible places. There were also two types of "paint" that added different effects. Orange (Propulsion Gel) would make the player move faster while the blue paint (Repulsion Gel) provided bounce patches. Aerial Faith Plates can be used to eject objects and Redirection Cubes that can be used like mirrors to direct Thermal Discouragement Beams (deadly lasers) away from the player and on to enemies. A two player co-op mode will also be included, ensuring even more difficult puzzles to warp your fragile little mind.

In the short time we got to see the game there were many "laugh out loud" moments, proving that the writing is as sharp and clever as the first. The gathered crowd greeted the showing enthusiastically as if seeing a long lost Weighted Companion Cube for the first time in years. GLaDOS has us right where she wants us.

Portal 2 will launch in 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3, Mac and PC.

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