Portal 2 Set for April 21 Release Date - Plot details abound

Red Buttons always spell trouble....
Game publisher Valve has finally announced a release date for the long expected Portal 2. The cross platform game will ship on April 21, 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Apple Mac platforms. It's sure to be a popular game - and this time, it's a stand alone game and not part of an Orange Box.

Doug Lombardi, vice president of marketing at Valve had this spin to share "Portal 2 is Valve's most innovative title in the company's history and will be launched with a first-class launch campaign this April," "We're excited to be working with Electronic Arts to deliver this title as we expand our platform strategy to include the Mac and PlayStation 3 platforms."

The plot of Portal 2 takes place hundreds of years after the first game. Despite her apparent destruction at the end of Portal, GLaDOS, an artificial intelligence computer system, is "still alive". The player controls Chell, the same protagonist from Portal.

Portal 2 will take place in the Aperture Science Labs, untouched by human hands but overrun by decay and nature. At the start of the game, Chell is awakened by a pre-recorded male announcer, guiding her through the facility. Chell meets, Wheatley, who has become concerned for the state of decay of the Lab and seeks to remedy it. Wheatley acts as the player's guide during the tutorial and initial stages of the game. The two encounter the dormant GLaDOS and accidentally wake her; the computer accuses Chell of murdering her years ago. GLaDOS begins to rebuild the ruined facility, and puts Chell under more tests, stating "I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."

Portal 2This month, IGN was lucky enough to get their well manicured hands on a copy of Portal 2 and some nice things to say about the first 30 minutes of the game:

"So what exactly has changed in the sequel? Valve's added in plenty of toys to help you solve puzzles, including spreadable globs of bouncy goo and jump pads and light bridges and more. But what really stands out is the sound. Trapped in your room at the start, you're awakened long after the shiny and clinical cleanliness of the Aperture Science facility has rusted. It's in the process of being gobbled up by grasses, vines, and trees. It turns out you're a forgotten survivor, and your room is only one of many hanging in a Matrix-like storage facility where other test subjects were placed to await their trials."

IGN further went on to say of Portal 2:

"The goal throughout is simply to escape, though doing so requires you to pass right by GLaDOS's deactivated body, which doesn't stay slumped over for long. What dangers wait for you and Wheatley and whoever else beyond that point remain to be seen. The short, tutorial-style challenges separated by elevators that comprise the first 30 or so minutes of gameplay feel highly reminiscent of the first game, but the connecting story sections leave me hopeful that there's a lot more to this sequel in terms of puzzle complexity and entertaining character interaction."

Innovative Co-op Mode

This new version of Portal will also have two player co-operative mode. Two new characters will be introduced for this  mode, which will have its own unique plot and setting. These two characters are Atlas and P-body, a modified personality core and turret gun, respectively; both units are bipedal and equipped with their own portal guns.

Though once part of the networked facility, they have become separate entities and are treated to similar abuse by GLaDOS through a series of complicated test chambers through her "Cooperative Testing Initiative". The robots will make "expressive noises" in place of distinguishable dialogue, according to Doug Lombardi. GLaDOS appears to be troubled by the robots working together, and will attempt to aggravate their relationship through verbal trickery such as praising one robot over the other. Check out the trailer from Youtube which shows off this new game element:

You can pre-order Portal 2 from Amazon here.

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