In: Articles by Leah "WhiteGodiva" Haydu2 May 2011
If that is true then four portals are better than two. Double your pleasure and double your fun.
Yes, get some Doublemint Gum and pair up with a friend for the all new co-op mode in Portal 2.
Leah: The most important piece of advice I can give about Portal 2 co-op is that when you play it for the first time, you should do so with a partner who has also not played it yet. Otherwise, you will never forgive him or her for spoiling your journey through a game that, more than any other I have played, honestly takes the descriptor “cooperative” to heart.
Thankfully, neither Holy Goalie nor I had played any of the co-op mode when we kicked things off. I had finished the single-player campaign mere minutes before, and he had played enough of the same to get the hang of the mechanics, but not much beyond that.
I’ve heard differing opinions as to whether a player is best served having gone through single-player first or heading straight to the co-op, and I have to say that the first option worked out really well for me. You’re not totally helpless if you don’t have the prior experience under your belt — particularly if you’ve played the first Portal — but I found it really helped to have been introduced more thoroughly to the new mechanics of the game before being sort of thrown into them with your partner. For Holy Goalie, playing the co-op first allowed him to fly through the single player campaign without much difficulty. So there is no right or wrong answer here.
Goalie: Right off the bat, the first thing you notice in the co-op part of the game is that there is more experimenting with your partner than there was the first time you had sex. Even though you both know basically what to do, you still have to instruct your partner on where to stand and what buttons to push and when. Luckily, that’s half the fun. Even if you do get goo all over you at times.
The cooperative levels are completely different from those in the single-player campaign, so at no point do you feel like you’re repeating yourself; while you’re using the same basic mechanics, they’re presented via a whole new set of challenges. Also, there isn’t much of a plot, and while what there is is tangentially related to the main storyline, you won’t spoil anything for yourself regardless of which you decide to play first.
Leah: It should definitely be noted that the brilliant writing and atmosphere that Valve have taken such pains to create are still very much present in this phase of the game as well. While your robot proxies are silent, they gain some funny emotes through the course of the levels, and of course GLaDOS sticks with you the entire time, making comments designed to make you doubt each other. “Orange, how well do you really know Blue?” Indeed.
Okay, so I do have another piece of advice that’s incredibly important to your Portal 2 co-op success: Listen. If you have trouble taking directions (or, for that matter, giving them), you’re not going to last very long. Right from the start, you need to get through your head that you are not going to be able to solve everything all by yourself. Sometimes you’ll see the answer, and sometimes your partner will, and sometimes you’ll both see it, but you’ll still have to work together to get yourselves to the exit. Even if it means that Goalie — or, um, whomever your partner is — just has to stand on a button whilst you do all the heavy lifting.
As long as you work well with your buddy, though, Portal 2 co-op yields some of the most rewarding play you’ll find. There’s nothing quite like staring at a seemingly unreachable Edgeless Safety Cube, working through things in your head, only to reach that magical “A-ha!” moment… And then go through numerous rounds of shooting portals at every available surface in every available combination to make your mental solution work. That’s true in Portal and Portal 2 anyway, so just imagine how much cooler it is working with a friend to reach that goal!
Watching the exit door open in a particularly challenging chamber gives an amazing sense of accomplishment, and it’s a part of the game that shouldn’t be missed.
If there is anything negative to say about the co-op mode, it’s that the replay value, much like the single player game, will be low. Once you’ve solved the puzzle or level, you’ve solved it. It may be fun to go back and play a few of the levels that required a certain amount of timing, but all the thinking has been done already. That aside, the co-op mode does not feel tacked or something that was an afterthought. It’s a nicely laid out set of puzzles that require you to use your single-player skills, but as mentioned, multiplayer mode is very different from the single-player, so nothing is spoiled on either side.
So grab a friend, and start experimenting.