I Hope We See Portal 2 On Other Current-Gen Platforms
Portal and Portal 2 are coming to the Nintendo Switch as part of the Companion Collection, and that’s incredibly exciting, but why stop there? Portal 2 is one of the best co-op games ever made and it has yet to be topped, but if you want to play it with your mates, you have to dig out your old console versions or have a PC handy. No thanks. I can play the Jak and Daxter trilogy on PS4 or bloody Blinx on my Xbox One, but not Portal 2 – make it make sense.
I didn’t play much of Portal 2’s co-op mode when it first came out. My friends were on console and I was on PC and the little I did play was a headache because of my bad internet. I missed out big time. In the years since, I’ve played it with both strangers online and through snippets of the campaign with friends, but never from start to finish. It’s one of those games that has been hard to get through completely due to all manner of circumstantial bullshit. Now that I finally have the time, means, and desire, I can’t. I missed the bus and Gabe Newell isn’t coming back to get me.
Co-op games usually cater to one player as well, meaning that puzzles aren’t designed around needing two people. But then you get the odd solely two-player game like It Takes Two. Holding up platforms for each other, figuring out puzzles together as something clicks into place, and sabotaging for a cheeky chuckle as your friend sighs over the mic are all things that make co-op such a good genre, and one we sadly don’t see enough anymore. I can’t count the number of times I moved my portals at the last minute to send my bud hurling into the void – sorry, but not really. But the same was done in kind and we sat there laughing like a couple of idiots. I’d love to rekindle that magic all these years later with a port that goes beyond the Switch.
Portal 2 has a witty, unspokenly dark story that tugs on the heartstrings way more than I’m comfortable with. Being betrayed by a talking little sphere voiced by Stephen Merchant gave me trust issues and bonding with GLaDOS of all people felt wrong, but I cherished my venture into the depths of Aperture Science with my pet potato project.
That’s all fine and dandy, but I also cherished the original Portal’s simplicity – there wasn’t much of a plot, really. You completed puzzles for a murderous robot who was just having a bit of fun, ending it all with turrets, lasers, fire, and explosions. The puzzles are Portal’s core appeal, not its story, and 2’s co-op embraces that.
Chell is essentially Gordon with a robo-leg and a robot archnemesis, a voiceless blank slate for the player to paint with their own personality. The world around her is the character, but the two co-op exclusive robots ATLAS and P-Body ooze charisma (they also ooze ooze with their colourful gels). They’re richly animated, giving off almost stage-play like performances with their slapstick antics, and that bleeds into the gameplay with their emotes and designs both being comically proportioned for added effect. There’s tall and lanky and short and stubby, a dynamic duo that’s as old as time, and together they collaborate helpfully – or less so – to get through GLaDOS’ labyrinth of puzzles.
It’s a perfect recipe for a perfect game on top of another perfect game – have I mentioned how perfect Portal 2 is? I love it, and I would love to have another chance at trying the co-op, so as it comes to Switch, maybe it’s time for Valve to look at Xbox and PlayStation as well. Portal 2 is a masterful classic and it’d be a shame to leave it behind on consoles that have long begun to gather dust.
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