Portal 2 is due to amaze - the beloved franchise stole the hearts of us gamers with promises of cake and the curiously hilarious glaDOS. Today, we here at Game Rant were invited in to a private meeting with Valve, who showed some new features in the game: you've got a new friend and several all-new gameplay mechanics. We've got some exclusive photos to show you, as well as a debriefing on the new features themselves.
Firstly, you're Chell again in the game, though it takes place several years later. The Aperture Science Facility has long since seen its better days, though it is slowly rebuilding itself under the guidance of a recently awakened GlaDOS. Early on in the game you're introduced to a new friend - the Personality Sphere. With a quirky English accent, the personality sphere looks to be a quirky companion, though I have no idea how he actually helps you, as you have to carry him everywhere. I'm sure Valve has found a way, though his commentary is reason alone to take him with you.
At some point you run into the Queen herself - GlaDOS will have quite a few things to say to you:
"Oh, it's you! It's been a long time. How have you been? I've been really busy being dead... you know, after you murdered me."
Now here's where it gets interesting: GlaDOS has a lot more prepared for you than she had last time. Pneumatic Pumps behind walls have been slowly rebuilding the center into a formidable arena once again; albeit this time vegetation has overgrown most of the facility. Let's take a look at some of the new gameplay mechanics that are set to create completely different challenges and scenarios.
The Thermal Discouragement Beam
Aperture Science may have put a nice spin on the title, but it's accurate - a laser to the face tends to be pretty discouraging. There are "Mirror Cubes" that tend to be located near the never-ending lasers, which the player can use to dynamically alter the laser's paths. In the demo, the player used a portal to aim at a turret, and used a sphere cube to direct the laser to the portal - and just like that, there's a burning smell ("Ah. Ah. It burns." says the turret).
Ew, slime. But not just any slime - the blue repulsion gel will be dripping around, and it turns out if you take a step on it, you get launched like a frisbee into the air. And I'm not saying it merely bounces you, got get launched. The video shows the player placing a portal under the source of the drip, and the globs of slime (which almost look cell-shaded when in glob form) will splatter onto the ground, where the player can jump onto them and catapult themselves up to a higher level.
The similarly named Propulsion Gel looks the same (you know, minus the fact that its orange instead). However, this stuff (which according to Aperture Science started as a failed pudding) slides the player along at increasing faster speeds. It's a slippery substance, and it can come in useful if - say - you need to quickly slide through a row of walls which have spikes that close in towards you. Which is exactly what was happening in the demo, until the player used a portal to spray some slime down a linear path. Sliding along, Chell narrowly avoided row upon row of impaling spikes thanks to the orange, slick goo.
GlaDOS disapproves of using gel to survive.
Pneumatic Diversification Vent
Aperture Science is quick to explain that the giant vent (which sucks in anything near it and sends it flying down the ol' tube) does not judge. It's a diversification vent which sucks in all things equally, and is not racist. Anything near the end of such a tube will be sucked in and likely killed, unless it has an exit nearby. Placing an exit portal underneath one, and then putting the entrance portal near a group of turrets will literally see the turrets sucked into the portal, and then straight into the - er, series of tubes. It's a wicked way to one-up your otherwise immobile opponents.
As you can see, these are all things that change the way the game plays completely; new challenges arise and new ways to overcome puzzles are created. How you use them is up to you, but Valve is giving you all the tools. With a tentative release date set for 2011, expect to be chasing cake and hopefully Still being Alive within a year.
What do you think about the new gameplay additions? Do you like the changes Valve is making? Anything you wish they would add?
Portal 2 is in development for PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac OS X.