First things first, Portal 2 is a sequel, and it acts like one, so if you are thinking of playing it, play the original Portal first. Portal 2 is much harder and does not baby the player very often. The story is great, but you need to know the story of Portal 1 to really appreciate some of the dialogue and back story.
The gameplay is consistent with what you would expect from the original Portal, but the puzzles are much less obvious to solve, and the environments are a lot more interesting. There are some new gameplay mechanics involving funnels of light and a variety of gel liquids.
The gels are the interesting part. You can use the red gel to make surfaces slippery and in turn make you move faster. The blue gel makes surfaces bouncy and also works on turrets. The white gel is the most awesome addition, though: it makes surfaces portal-friendly.
There are many funny posters and signs scattered within the game.
Graphics are superb. From lighting to level design, everything is very realistic and very believable while keeping true to the Portal charm. The models look very nice, and the menus are very pretty. I want to compare the menu animations to those found in Assassin’s Creed II. Basically, the menu system has nice transition effects. The menus are very easy to navigate, but I would like to point out that you don’t use them for much.
The performance is outstanding, but if you need a boost, there are levels of detail to choose from. I ran the game on my old Core2Duo (1.8Ghz) with a cheap video card, and I managed to play the game without any performance issues at low detail. It still looks fairly nice at low detail, too.
The sound effects are similar to those found in the original Portal, and the music, while new, is true to the humorous nature and style of the original Portal. Portal 2’s theme song, or credits outro, is brilliant, but the original “Still Alive” was a tough act to follow, and while I like the new song a lot, I find “Still Alive” a lot more catchy. Both songs are great, though, and Portal 2’s ending is deserving of praise. Bravo, Valve. Bravo, Jonathan Coulton.
Portal 2 is one of those rare perfect games. It has absolutely no flaws whatsoever. The only complaint I could give about it would be a request for more single-player content than just the story mode. The original Portal provided challenge maps and could load custom maps. Portal 2 cannot currently load custom maps, and the only challenge maps you get are in the coop mode.
Overall, Portal 2 is brilliant as a play-it-once-and-never-go-back action adventure. The coop mode adds some replay value, and the story is so good that you will have a hard time accepting that it is over when it is. At just $40 for the PC version, it is a great value and a memorable experience. Buy it.
Okay, okay! I will cover the 2-player mode. Coop is fun, no doubt, and while I did not play coop much yet, I played enough of it to know it is a lot of fun. In the 2-player coop mode, you always start at a level with many challenge rooms to choose from. This level is the lobby in a sense, but no, you can't play around in the lobby until you get a coop partner, so you basically just use the lobby to choose what level you want to play. Thankfully, the lobby has a lot of options, and not every option is easy to get to.
Both players are robots. One is skinny and tall, while the other is shorter with a bigger waist size. The look of each robot is purely visual and does not affect gameplay. Both characters have the same abilities. You can unlock some robot customizations through achievements, but I have only been able to unlock a beanie hat and a weird flag thing so far, so don't expect much customization.
The coop story is very loosely related to the main story, and so far, I have not noticed much of a plot around coop mode, however. You just solve to get from point A to point B using four portals, two portals per player. The lack of a plot may be a good thing for some people, but I did feel slightly disappointed in that regard.
In coop mode, you get emotes instead of direct voice chat, which is good for me but bad for some others. See, I don't like to chat with my voice in games, and Steam already offers voice chat through the friends list, anyway. You can also type within the game by pressing 't', as long as you're not on a loading screen. Some emotes are less about communication and more about dancing or interacting with the other player physically. I suspect the Xbox 360 version relies on the party chat system for chat capability, and honestly, I prefer Steam.
Overall, coop mode is a blast to play. It may seem difficult at times but that's part of the fun!
Another thing to look for when browsing PC games is the system requirements. There are really 4 things you need to worry about: RAM or memory, processor, video card, and finally, the hard drive space. Memory can be upgraded fairly easily, and it shouldn't cost much. We recommend having at least 1GB memory, 2GB if possible. Your processor needs to be fairly modern, and a Pentium 4 probably won't cut it. We recommend a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo or better. Your video card should support DirectX 9 (or higher) and have a minimum of 256mb memory attached to it. We recommend 512mb or greater. Hard drive space is subjective, but we recommend having a fairly large amount of space. You could settle for as little as 40gb and be able to play most games, but we recommend having 80gb or more space to make sure you have room for multiple games at once. Most PC games don't run straight from their disc. They usually require an install process, and most modern games require around 8gb of free space to install.
PCs are the ultimate game console, because they can be upgraded, and they will never go out of style. PCs can also play most old game systems through emulators, so if you lose your Playstation, you can just play your games on your PC. You can also play classic arcade titles and have infinite coins!
A lot of people complain about having to use a mouse and keyboard to play PC games. This isn't a requirement, fortunately, and we have what we call gamepads or joypads. Yes, we can use game controllers! We can even use Xbox controllers! That said, it's not as plug-and-play as a game console, and some games simply will not work with your joypad. Fortunately, Steam tells you if games support controllers, and if your favorite game doesn't support them, you can map the controllers to keyboard and mouse controls.
Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.