(Click HERE to read the review of Portal 2’s single player!)
First thing’s first – Portal 2’s co-op is a LOT of fun. Seriously. If you own Portal 2 and don’t at least give the co-op a shot, you’re missing out on a huge portion of the experience. Sure, the meat of the game is the single player experience, and nothing the co-op does can pass that. However, Portal 2 will likely live on in our minds for its incredibly fun co-op campaign just as much as its single player campaign.
Unlike most co-op games, Portal 2 forces players to actually cooperate. How many co-op modes have you played where cooperating boils down to “not killing each other” and the occasional boost up a ledge or whatever? With Portal 2, you actually have to work together the entire time. There are a few puzzles early on where only one player is really needed to place the portals, but as you go on, the challenge rooms get harder, and both players will need to think and carefully place their portals and movements in order to get through.
Players play as two robots created by GLaDOS to continually test, and each has their own portal gun. The blue robot (Atlas) can create a dark and light blue portal, while the orange robot (P-body) can create an orange and red portal. Both players can pass through either color (so blue can pass through the orange robot’s portals), but they can’t be interchanged. You can’t come into a light blue portal and come out through the red portal. Half of the challenge in each room is finding a way to make it so both players can get through to the end, and if the game was tricky enough with only two portals, you can imagine how mind-bending it can get when you throw around four portals!
As with the main game, personality oozes out of every orifice in Portal 2. While the robots don’t talk, they can perform various emotes, which often causes GLaDOS to yell at them. Emotions ARE reserved for humans, after all. GLaDOS will taunt the robots as they make their way through the chambers, often congratulating one player while scorning the other. The way these three robots interact is some of the best interactions a game can have, and it’d be great to see the co-op expanded in the future.
For console players, co-op can be done splitscreen or online, but be sure if you go online, you have a microphone. Trust us, you’ll need to communicate with one another. The game provides a few rudimentary tools to aid with co-op in the event of a lack of verbal communication, such as a ping to show where you’d like a portal placed or a player to stand, a countdown timer for synchronized button presses, and more, but this game, this experience is best shared with a friend. It’s rare you’ll sit there in silence and solve the puzzles without at least a little communication, and when you finish a chamber working together, it’s an awesome feeling. Portal 2 can be an absolutely amazing bonding experience for anyone. Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of chances to betray your partner and kill their cute little robot. It’s ok though, they come back.
What this all boils down to is the fact that Portal 2’s co-op is an incredible experience. Much like the single player, it’s best when it’s new and you don’t know how to solve the game’s puzzles, but this time you get to share that with a friend. Make no mistake, however, you will have to work together. When you combine Portal 2’s single player and co-op together, you get an amazing package that few games can match. Sure, the run time may be a little low, but when you consider the quality of the game, as well as the amount of fun you’ll have playing through (especially with a friend), it’s well worth the price. Portal 2 will easily be remembered as, well… The next Portal. And that’s about the best praise you can give a game like this.