Is Portal 2 as good as Portal? The beloved game of the orange box outshining Half-life 2 in places.
First the single-player. A lot of the beginning has been shown in videos already, but the humour even when you know its coming still works. If you haven't played Portal, a few of the references to the game might go over your head, but the game doesnt dwell on past successes. No this is Cave Johnson's Aperature Science, where Science not only brings you the game on time, it releases it more that 3 days early (unless you are a UK retailer that is).
The new characters bring depth to the backstory, and with both the writing and voice-acting being spot on. Wheatley, and Cave help expand what we know of the facility, both whats happening now, plus how Aperature Science began. Even why you are tested so much in Portal 1.
The disrepair and plant life makes the scenery look lush, and you are as often behind the scenes of the test chambers as in them. The two worlds of the broken down behind and the perfectly clean test chambers is even greater, and shows the facitlities main focus.
As you are brought through the facility, each new trick is given to you, building up through the game as each new trick is learnt and understood. For veterns of Portal 1, this style of play should be familar, but expect to be find the first few levels far too easy. The new tools added to the game, like the thermal discouragement cube, suction funnels, and gels each add their own challenges, and have added to the enjoyment of Portal. The only missing thing from the first game is the Ion ball things that frankly were a nuisance when they bounced off the wrong wall. If something doesnt go right now, its because you didnt solve the puzzle not that you were hit by a bouncing ball of death from an unseen angle.
It is definitely worth buying Portal 2 just for the singleplayer, and the co-op is just as good. The co-op follows P-Body and Atlas, two testing robots running through GLaDOS' testing chambers. With Co-op the chance of killing yourself or your team-mate is alot higher. However as the robots are just that, you will end up just moments behind, unfortunately without your previous portals. Interactions between players including pointing exactly where you want them to play portals, and timers so you can do things at the same time. The pointer is the most useful, but I suggest us a microphone for plans, too often did I feel I had to type out the solution.
The Co-op has a basic story line, and is split into 5 sets of chambers, which once you have played a level once, you can replay it again without having to play the previous levels in a set. Useful if your partner has to leave midgame. You can also bring someone new to the co-op to the very last level straight away if you so wish (after you both have completely the basic co-op tutorial). This has the advantage that if you are with someone else you can play any test chamber you wish (as long as one of you has unlocked it), but could spoil the fun if someone is under prepared for the challenges, or ruin the basic plotline of the co-op campaign. Replaying a level with someone isnt as fun, as you already know the solution to the test chambers. Part of the fun is from finding out what to do, and when you can "accidently" muck up just to drop them in a pile of goo.
Overall both the singleplayer and co-op is fantastic, and makes it worth playing, but dont be surprised if you have to take a break from the co-op ... unless more test chambers appear.
(Reviewed on a PC) read