Being that my username is HonestDragon, I have to be honest with you guys: I really, really, really enjoy the games that Valve produces. Everything from Half-Life to Team Fortress 2 to Left 4 Dead to Portal, I love these games. When I heard about Portal 2 coming out, I was excited. Especially with the trailer showing two new robot buddies that you get to play as for a co-op campaign. The first Portal gave gamers a new experience with the first-person genre and to use their heads more so for the unique puzzles. That plus the fact that you had a homicidal mechanical monster known as GLaDOS insulting you and offering you false promises of cake.
Portal 2 returns with the original system of using the Portal Gun to produce portals to work your way around the facility rooms, while avoiding hazardous dangers. To answer any question about whether or not you are returning as Chell from Portal, yes you are. This time around, however, you are accompanied by a friendly little robot named Wheatley. Wheatley explains that Chell has been in a deep sleep at the Aperture Science facility which has undergone some extensive damage (hinted heavily that it was from Chell's battle with GLaDOS in Portal or possibly Armageddon). I won't go too into detail with the plot, but you and Wheatley basically accidentally revive GLaDOS who is very "happy" to see Chell still alive. Needless to say, the escape from the Aperture Science facility is going to be tougher than expected.
Gameplay, as I stated before, returns with the use of the Portal Gun, but with new puzzles to solve and a new tool to help in your efforts. This new tool is called Mobility Gel, which spawns around the second act of the single player campaign. Mobility Gel comes in a few colors that represent their special abilities. Repulsion Gel (blue) allows you to gain great heights when you jump on it. Propulsion Gel (orange) allows you to gain great speed when you walk across it. Conversion Gel (white) allows you create portals on any flat surface after said surface is coated by this Gel. Also, about the jumping great heights thing, do no worry about losing health when falling from a great height. The Long Fall Boots that Chell wears gives her greater resistance to falls that can otherwise do great damage.
With the addition of a co-op campaign, a buddy can join you in the fun. Two heads are better then one, but be prepared for more challenging puzzles. The robot buddies you control are ATLAS and P-body, or Blue and Orange as GLaDOS calls them. She considers them better test subjects than humans since they can't die and they can constantly do test after test. Another bonus here is that ATLAS and P-body can both produce two portals each. ATLAS gets the orange and red portals, while P-body gets the blue and purple portals. Makes you think that you will need four portals to solve the new puzzles!
The graphics are very well done. There are literally no loading or texture issues. With the Aperture Science facility being in what looks like demolished to broken condition, the player can see rubble, exposed wires, broken glass, growing plant life, and many other things that give the hint that the facility is in disarray. Other areas include parts of the facility that have heavy flooding, old offices, and long abandoned test sites.
The puzzles can be very simple to very challenging. Granted, the co-op campaign allows two people to think together to solve the rooms, but irregardless it's a good old time to play this game with a room full of friends as GLaDOS insults you or Wheatley bumbles about. REMEMBER: Look around your surroundings including around corners and up on the ceiling! There are always certain ways to complete a room, but it's not impossible to figure out. A few times you may find yourself smacking your head saying, "Duh! I should've seen that!" Or what I found myself saying, "Oh, crap. What did I do?" Each and every room has all the necessary items you need to solve the room's puzzle, so there are no worries over whether you should have brought an item from one room with you into the other.
Speaking of GLaDOS and Wheatley, the writing to Portal 2 is incredible. Although our main girl Chell does not say a word, the mechanical co-stars make up for that. Both GLaDOS and Wheatley are hilarious, even though the former of the two is trying to kill you. The little robot Turrets are funny as well, but again, even though they are trying to kill you they are still pretty funny. Most of the things you hear will have you laughing from the sheer awkwardness, stupidity, or irony that you experience. Other characters are introduced as well, but I will let you see that for yourself.
So if you are reading this review and have not played Portal 2 yet, do yourself a favor and get it. If you don't like puzzle games, then don't bother. However, if you are a fan of Valve games or just a fan of Portal or want a challenge, definitely pick this up. This is also a great game to play with friends. You will have a blast with Portal 2.