Portal 2 XBOX 360
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Released on 21-Apr-2011
Portal 2 draws from the award-winning formula of innovative gameplay, story, and music that earned the original Portal over 70 industry accolades and created a cult following.
The single-player portion of Portal 2 introduces a cast of dynamic new characters, a host of fresh puzzle elements, and a much larger set of devious test chambers. Players will explore never-before-seen areas of the Aperture Science Labs and be reunited with GLaDOS, the occasionally murderous computer companion who guided them through the original game.
The game’s two-player cooperative mode features its own entirely separate campaign with a unique story, test chambers, and two new player characters. This new mode forces players to reconsider everything they thought they knew about portals. Success will require them to not just act cooperatively, but to think cooperatively.
Portal 2 on Xbox 360 Features:
- Extensive single player: Featuring next generation gameplay and a wildly-engrossing story.
- Complete two-person co-op: Multiplayer game featuring its own dedicated story, characters, and gameplay.
- Advanced physics: Allows for the creation of a whole new range of interesting challenges, producing a much larger but not harder game.
- Original music.
- Massive sequel: The original Portal was named 2007's Game of the Year by over 30 publications worldwide.
The Impossible Sequel
Portal 2 is no ordinary big game sequel. For starters, it doesn't exactly follow a big game. The first Portal was a short puzzle adventure that creator Valve released as part of The Orange Box, with Half-Life 2 and its episodes and Team Fortress 2, back in 2007. It was also released as a standalone download game.
But Portal's wicked sense of humour and brain-melting puzzles quickly earned it a passionate fan following. In the game, you have to escape a series of test chambers (devised by a mad computer called GLaDOS) using a kind of gun that can open two connected portals on certain surfaces, allowing you to teleport yourself or objects around the room. You can even use it to bend the laws of physics for example, placing a portal at the bottom of a long drop and another in a wall above you, so you fall vertically through the first and shoot horizontally out of the second.
Portal was small but perfectly formed, and it's hard to imagine how Valve could expand on the idea for a big-budget, full-price sequel. But they have done and they've done it brilliantly.
Fun with computers
Portal 2 is a full-scale single-player game with a great story, and a separate co-op campaign for two players. It feels very much like Half-Life 2, as in it's a well-rounded, gripping science-fiction epic. Only in Portal 2 you're exploring, platforming and solving riddles rather than shooting at enemies.
Oh, and laughing. Portal 2 is hilarious. GLaDOS is back with her cruel, sarcastic quips delivered in a mechanical monotone. You're also accompanied for much of the game by a metal eyeball called Wheatley, who sounds and acts like a dim, accident-prone middle-manager from Bristol thanks to voice actor Stephen Merchant.
Although the player character never says a word, the jokes and banter of these two computers and some other recorded voices you'll hear later on, when the plot takes an unexpected twist will have you roaring with laughter. The story sets up some spectacular action set-pieces, too.
Science is the answer
But the meat of Portal 2 is the test chambers themselves. You'll be scratching your head figuring out how to escape them using not just the portal gun, but a series of new devices and toys introduced in this sequel.
There's the Aerial Faith Plate, a sprung platform that shoots you into the air; the Hard Light Bridge, a beam of light that works as a platform; the Excursion Funnel, a sort of tractor beam; and Repulsion, Propulsion and Conversion Gels, which are coloured paints you can splatter around the rooms to increase your jump height and running speed or make portals in hitherto inaccessible places. That's on top of several different kinds of switches and objects (including laser switches), and the stationary gun turrets you need to pick your way past.
For chamber after chamber, Valve finds hugely fun and ingenious ways to combine these elements with the portals themselves. Wisely, the designers avoid mixing all these mechanics together early on it's only towards the end of the game that things get really convoluted. You will get stumped sometimes, but it's always worth it for the massive satisfaction of the eureka moment when the solution pops into your head.
Two heads are better than one
All that goes double for Portal 2's co-op mode, where you and a friend play as two comical robots (the animation in this game is exceptional), meaning that you can have four portals on the go at once. Valve uses this to put together even more devious tests of your ingenuity and skill.
If that sounds brain-scrambling... Well, it is, but because you can talk through the puzzles with a friend and combine your brain-power, you will get through and you'll have a blast doing it. It's a fantastic experience, unlike any other co-op game. You really need to work together, and you're rewarded with huge laughs and opportunities for slapstick fun not to mention hours more fun and new puzzles to solve after you've completed the single-player game.
Thanks to a hook-up with Valve's online service Steam, PS3 owners will be able to play this mode with PC and Mac players. The console versions have a split-screen option, too. The game looks and plays sensationally on PC but Portal 2 is a classic, whichever machine you choose to play it on.
It may only be April, but Portal 2 is an easy contender for game of the year. It's great value and totally original, with a satisfying story, a laugh-out-loud script, a wickedly clever design and a completely new kind of multiplayer experience. An essential purchase.
+ A big, exciting, mind-expanding single-player adventure that's unlike anything else.
+ One of the funniest games you'll ever play.
+ Co-op campaign is an unforgettable experience.
- Some Half-Life fans might think it's too silly to be set in the same world.
- Not as simple and pure as the first Portal.
- Might make you feel stupid.
Portal 2 out this Friday for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, and wee getting properly excited about it. The reviews are in, and the game riding very high on Metacritic with an overall score of 95%. There are only a handful of titles that ever see that kind of response.
There plenty to enjoy, by the looks of it. A devious blend of puzzle game and first-person shooter, Portal 2 drops you back into Aperture Science test labs and hands you your portal-gun again. Your objective is to get through a challenging series of rooms by placing firing bizarre physics-bending doorways into the walls and floor. It ingenious stuff.
Valve, the Half-Life creator, and the game developer, has upped the ante on this one, throwing in new elements like gels that allow you to move quickly or bounce across surfaces, and a bigger emphasis on physics. There also a separate co-op campaign that casts you and a friend as a duo of quirky robots armed with portal guns of their own.
Stephen Merchant, the co-writer of The Office, hands in a stellar performance as your guide, Wheatley, and the script is one of the funniest in gaming.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about, then, you can get down to Gamestation on Friday.
Good news: at least three million of you out there have really excellent taste. How do we know that? Because Valve, the legendary PC developer, has just announced that it sold 3 million copies of Portal 2, its latest title. That according to Joystiq at any rate.
Phew! That not bad going, considering the game only been out for the last few months. It entirely deserved, however: Valve puzzle-action game makes for an amazing experience on the PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or Mac, and we can think of a game that made us think so hard or laugh so hard for quite a while.
While this is all great to hear, though, what we really want is for Valve to shed some light on what it up to with its brilliant Half-Life FPS series. The sci fi shooter has been away from our screens for too long, and wee getting serious withdrawal symptoms. Hopefully the fact that Valve is booked in to demo a game at Gamescom this August should mean wel hear something, at least, on that front very soon.
Fans of the critically acclaimed Portal 2 can get their hands on a new downloadable content pack this week.
Gamers will once again have to combine their wits to figure out how to use their portal-generating powers to navigate various perplexing test chambers, while outsmarting the ever-vigilant AI overseer GLaDOS.
The DLC will also introduce a new single-player and cooperative challenge mode, as well as online leaderboards.
Portal 2 topped the UK charts on its release in April 2011 and has since gone on to sell more than three million units, as well as receiving universal critical adulation.
The quirky first-person adventure earned praise for its ingenious puzzles, interactive storytelling and offbeat sense of humour, as well as its vocal performances from the likes of Stephen Merchant and JK Simmons.
Skyrim and Portal 2 lead GDC Award nominations
The nominees for this year's prestigious Game Developers Choice (GDC) Awards have been announced, with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Portal 2 leading the pack.
Voted annually by industry professionals, the ceremony will take place on March 7th 2012 during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, representing some of gaming's most prized accolades.
Bethesda's smash hit role-playing title and Valve's comedic puzzle action game both received five nods each, in categories such as best game design, best audio, best technology and best narrative.
Both titles were also named in the game of the year category, alongside superhero sequel Batman: Arkham City, hardcore role-playing action title Dark Souls and sci-fi shooter epic Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Other titles to receive multiple nominations included acclaimed games like Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, LA Noire and Battlefield 3.
Last year, Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption dominated the awards, claiming the game of the year prize as well as three other gongs.
Games. Girls. Historically they've not really been words you put together, at least not in a positive way. Time was girls barely played games, and when it came to female characters in games, they were rarely more than damsels in distress.
But things are changing. Games have evolved. Female characters are stronger, bolder, more prominent and, most importantly, playable.
This is our run-down of some of the best and brightest girls in gaming today. The women who solve problems, kick @$$ and actually matter.
Lara CroftLara seems the obvious place to start really, the first real female lead in a game - not simply the character you played, but the character the game was centred upon. And she was the first to really achieve widespread media attention.
Lara Croft and Tomb Raider took a male-dominated genre and character type and did a gender switch. Strong, feisty, independent and intelligent, Lara was everything a stereotypical female character wasn't. That said, there was always one thing (well, two things) that garnered Lara the most attention.
Since 1996's original Tomb Raider, Lara has appeared in eight sequels to date, with a ninth due this year. Again simply titled Tomb Raider, we go back to the start of the story and find out what made her the woman she is.
Tough, smart and sexy, there's no doubt that Lara Croft is still the benchmark.
Resident Evil: Revelations
The Resident Evil series has seen many female characters, from the cunning Ada Wong to the tough Sheva Alomar. But Jill Valentine is the one that stands out.
Debuting in the original Resident Evil and continuing throughout the series, Jill proved herself to be more than a match for those virus-ridden zombie types. Jill was designed to complement partner Chris Redfield by having different strengths and skills, thus showing that she wasn't just a female 'version' but an independent character and a genuine alternative to the male lead.
A promotion to sole protagonist for Resident Evil 3 showed she was capable of carrying a game on her own. Although she would return to shared billing in later games, including this year's Revelations, her continued appearances throughout the series is testament to the strength and staying power of the character.
Street Fighter X Tekken
Where would this list be without Chun-Li? The archetypal beat 'em up girl showed she could certainly handle the male fighters and spawned a thousand* imitators.
Introduced in Street Fighter II, Chun-Li is one of the few characters to have appeared in almost every Street Fighter game (and crossover game) since. She has a fighting style, a character and a story that is completely her own. She's as tough as they come, but at the same time, her avenging-her-father's-death motivation showed a humanity that sets her apart from the crowd.
With a look as iconic as any you are likely to find in gaming, Chun Li has been taking on - and taking out - all comers for 20 years and shows no sign of stopping. Which is just fine - would you try to stop her?
*not actually a thousand. This is a dramatic exaggeration!
Lightning and Serah
Final Fantasy XIII-2
The Final Fantasy series is well known for blurring gender roles, with androgynous boys and tomboyish girls. Appearances aside, it has had some strong female characters, exemplified by the Farron sisters, Lightning and Serah.
Lightning was the protagonist of FF XIII, a soldier whose gruff confidence hides a more sensitive, vulnerable edge. At once both strong and feminine, she may be one of the most mature and emotionally rounded characters in the FF franchise. Serah takes the lead in FFXIII-2, and is almost a mirror image of Lightning - seemingly vulnerable on the outside, but tough and determined, and willing to do what needs to be done.
Lightning and Serah go beyond two-dimensional 'types' and prove we can have strong female characters that don't have to play up - or play down - their femininity.
SPECIAL MENTION: Samus Aran
Yes, she doesn't have a game out at the moment, but this list would be remiss without a mention of Samus Aran.
Ten years before Lara put on her exploring shorts, Samus was the surprise lead in Metroid. Surprise in that it was only as you completed the game that she took her helmet off and you discovered she was, well, a she under all that armour.
One could argue that hiding her true identity is doing her gender a disservice. But by removing gender from the equation, Samus was the first character that showed gamers that women could do blowing stuff up in space just as good as men, something she would continue to do in 11 more Metroid games (as well as turning up in a handful of others). And, after all this time she still keeps the armour on.
While Samus was someone I couldn't not mention, Chell is a bit more of a question mark for this list. After all, the star of Portal and its sequel is silent and largely off-screen, due to the first-person nature of the game. Plus she was only female because it was thought this best suited the scenario of Portal, rather than any desire to make a female character.
But it's that "what works best" thinking that makes her an important figure in the history of female characters - she's not there to make a point. And that is a point worth making.
So what does the future hold?
In 2012 we'll be seeing the Buffy-esque cheerleader vs zombie fun of Lollipop Chainsaw, point-and-click piracy with Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, and the largely-female cast of Akai Kitana Shin making their way to UK consoles. The Dead or Alive franchise returns with Dead or Alive 5 which looks to have toned down the exaggerated sexuality of the female fighters. There continue to be rumours of sequels to Bayonetta and Heavy Rain. And some day - maybe this year, maybe next - Beyond Good and Evil 2 will finally come out and Jade will get another chance to show the world what she can do.
Female protagonists are increasingly giving their male counterparts a run for their money. But who's your favourite? Who do you play as, and who would you add to this list? Why not leave us your comments below.
Bethesda's sprawling and brilliant role-playing monster, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, fus-roh-dahhed it's way to an impressive five wins last night at the Interactive Achievement Awards.
Skyrim took home the top honours as Game of the Year, as well as awards for best RPG, gameplay engineering, game direction and story.
Other winners included Modern Warfare 3, which was voted best action game, FIFA 12, named best sports game, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, honoured for its multiplayer achievements. Uncharted 3 took home gongs for its animation and art direction, while the toys-come-to-life family hit Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was singled out for its contribution to outstanding innovation. Britain's own Stephen Merchant took home the award for outstanding character performance thanks to his superb turn as Wheatley in Portal 2.
The ceremony was held during the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. Not to be confused with the Swedish Battlefield developer, DICE (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is an annual gathering for the great and good of the games industry, and the Interactive Achievement Awards handed out at the event are the gaming equivalent of the Oscars. Only without the long emotional speeches, dance routines and dewy-eyed montages of dead celebrities, obviously.
The finalists for the 2012 British Academy Video Game Awards have been announced, and this year everyone will be watching the detectives, as Batman: Arkham City and LA Noire top the lists with eight nominations apiece.
Categories include Action, Artistic Achievement, Design, Story, Innovation and, of course, Best Game. Batman and LA Noire rub shoulders with FIFA 12, Portal 2, Skyrim and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in that category. The omission of best-seller Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 may raise eyebrows, but that gets a nod in both the Action and Multiplayer categories.
Promising indie projects get a look in thanks to the Dare to be Digital One's To Watch award, and there's also a public vote, with ten blockbuster games to choose between. You can head to http://www.baftagameaward.com to pick your favourite.
The winners will be announced at a sure-to-be-lavish ceremony on March 16th.
The people who actually make the games we play got to have their say last night in San Francisco, as the Game Developers Conference celebrated with its annual awards show.
Bethesda's Skyrim, the fifth entry in the popular Elder Scrolls series, took home the top prize for Best Game, adding yet another trophy the Bethesda's groaning awards shelf. "We never imagined the reception the game would get or the success that it has had," game director Todd Howard said,
"Thank you to everyone who supported us. Thank you to everyone who's making games that inspire us."
Elsewhere, Portal 2 warped its way to three wins, the biggest haul of the night, as developers from around the world picked it for Best Narrative, Best Design and Best Audio. Naughty Dog won Best Visual Arts for the thrilling cinematic sweep of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, while Battlefield 3 was rewarded for Best Technology.
Legendary designer Warren Spector, creator of the original Deus Ex and, more recently, Epic Mickey, was given a lifetime achievement award. "Changing players' lives is - I promise you - much more satisfying than generating massive revenue," he told his industry peers.
New York's prestigious Museum of Modern Art has ended decades of debate by embracing video games as an artform worthy of permanent inclusion. Fourteen titles will be installed in the Philip Johnson Galleries from March next year, with the goal of expanding the collection to forty titles over time.
Among the first games to be honoured are such classics as Pac-Man, Tetris and SimCity. More modern titles include SONY's bonkers roll-em-up Katamari Damacy, Valve's brilliant Portal and the wonderfully simple endless runner Canabalt. Nintendo's Animal Crossing and indie sensation Minecraft are among the games that will join the collection later.
"Are video games art? They sure are," reads the museum press release. "The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design," the statement said. "Our criteria, therefore, emphasize not only the visual quality and aesthetic experience of each game, but also the many other aspects - from the elegance of the code to the design of the player's behaviour - that pertain to interaction design."
Acclaimed movie director Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind such cult hits as Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth and this summer's monster mash Pacific Rim, may be moving closer to getting his long-gestating horror game, InSANE, into our grimy clutches.
Originally in development at Saints Row studio Volition for THQ, the publisher recently announced it was unable to fund it and handed it back to Del Toro to shop around. According to an interview in the Toronto Sun newspaper, a new home for the game may be revealed sooner rather than later.
"We are in talks with a very, very big company," Del Toro reveals. "I can't say who, but it's one of the big ones. They really responded to the game, they responded to what we were trying". The delay does mean that some of the work already done on the game will need to be redone, as some of Del Toro's original ideas have now been realised in other games, but he's still intent on delivering "a really immersive narrative experience".
The exact nature of the game remains suitably shrouded in mystery, but from what Del Toro has said in the past it's an ambitious sandbox game heavily inspired by the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft. ""We're being really, really nasty in the game," the director said last November. "We're really trying a lot of stuff that I don't think would even fly in the movies."
Del Toro is being more hands on with the game than most Hollywood types who dabble in gaming. A big gamer, he even asked Valve's permission to cast Ellen McLain, best known as Portal's GLaDOS, as the voice of the computer AI in Pacific Rim.
Portal 2 is no ordinary big game sequel. For starters, it doesn't exactly follow a big game. The first Portal was a short puzzle adventure that creator Valve released as part of The Orange Box, with H…
Portal 2 out this Friday for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, and wee getting properly excited about it. The reviews are in, and the game riding very high on Metacritic, with an overall score of 95%. There a…
Good news: at least three million of you out there have really excellent taste. How do we know that? Because Valve, the legendary PC developer, has just announced that it sold 3 million copies of Port…
Portal 2 receives free DLC pack this … (04/10/2011)
Fans of the critically acclaimed Portal 2 can get their hands on a new downloadable content pack this week.…
Skyrim and Portal 2 lead GDC Award no… (09/01/2012)
The nominees for this year's prestigious Game Developers Choice (GDC) Awards have been announced, with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Portal 2 leading the pack.…
Games With Girls (09/02/2012)
Games. Girls. Historically they've not really been words you put together, at least not in a positive way. But things are changing. Female characters are stronger, bolder, more prominent and, most imp…
Bethesda's sprawling and brilliant role-playing monster, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, fus-roh-dahhed it's way to an impressive five wins last night at the Interactive Achievement Awards.…
The finalists for the 2012 British Academy Video Game Awards have been announced, and this year everyone will be watching the detectives, as Batman: Arkham City and LA Noire top the lists with eight n…
The people who actually make the games we play got to have their say last night in San Francisco, as the Game Developers Conference celebrated with its annual awards show.…
Portal, The Sims and Minecraft showca… (30/11/2012)
New York's prestigious Museum of Modern Art has ended decades of debate by embracing video games as an artform worthy of permanent inclusion. Fourteen titles will be installed in the Philip Johnson Ga…
Del Toro in talks with a 'very big co… (07/01/2013)
Acclaimed movie director Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind such cult hits as Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth and this summer's monster mash Pacific Rim, may be moving closer to getting his long-gestating ho…
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