Game Time: 'Portal 2'

EntertainmentGamingStephen Merchant

Portal 2PC, X360, PS3/$49.99-$59.99/April 19

The Orange Box. To anyone outside the gaming universe, the words mean nothing, but to those in the know they represent one of the game industry's best compilations to date. Valve's multigame pack was designed to feature the second episodic installment of the "Half-Life 2" series and the long-awaited multiplayer shooter "Team Fortress 2." No one could predict that a little title called "Portal," with its addictive gameplay and witty humor, would cast a gigantic shadow over the highly publicized sequels. Now, with fans clamoring for more GLaDOS and cake references, Valve has finally decided to give the world a new and completely overhauled edition: "Portal 2."

Aperture Laboratories is back and testing subjects with traps and tricks, all in the name of science. Unfortunately, the insane A.I. known as GLaDOS has returned as well, hoping to add some twists, turns and a fair bit of torture to the mix. Armed with the latest in Portal technology and a vague understanding of physics, you'll do your best to survive each trial and ultimately escape the testing facility.

At first glance, "Portal 2" may seem like a first-person shooter, but it's actually more of a first-person puzzle game. Once you begin, you will find yourself in a test chamber where you will need to accomplish a series of tasks to reach the exit. Sadly, this will just bring you to the next test chamber and a more difficult task, but eventually, with some clever shots from your Portal Gun, you may just find an escape. Aside from the standard gameplay, the sequel is bringing a few upgrades to the table. The addition of new obstacles and devices such as Excursion Tunnels, which will slowly transport you from Point A to Point B, and the highly destructive Thermal Discouragement Beams will offer a bevy of new options for escaping death.

While the numerous single-player additions will keep just about everyone occupied for quite awhile, it's the new multiplayer feature that will keep them coming back for more. A second cooperative campaign is now available for two players, but as the number of portals doubles, so does the difficulty. Both players will need to work together to accomplish each goal, because each step becomes much more dangerous.

The original "Portal" stole hours away from every gamer that decided to take up a Portal Gun and make a stand against GLaDOS. Now "Portal 2" is ready to do some damage of its own.

Media Link: Stephen Merchant, the voice of Wheatley, also stars in "Tooth Fairy," airing Sunday, April 17, on Cinemax.

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