There is really no way to simplify the story without giving spoilers here. So let's just skip into the review.
If there is one thing that I outright hated in Portal 2, it would have to be the load times. There are A LOT of them. In between each "test" there is one. Sometimes there isn't even a "test" to go through and it is just a bit of banter between the characters. There were just too many and some of them were long. Really long. Sometimes longer then the level you are going into or just came from. One would think that this would have been addressed with everything else that was going on.
The only other thing that comes in close to being hated is the communication between players in co-op. All done through pointing and leaving markers. It is understandable given the setting and limitations between all the co-op options, but it gets annoying as hells when you know how to solve the room but can't really convey the instructions to you partner. Of course this is only a factor in online co-op, but it led to at least an hour of me wanting to smack the other player senseless because my basic points and digital grunts did not come across as shoot a portal here and then fall through this portal.
Ok, there is something to say when a game from the first minute can get me to crack a smile after having one of the crappiest days ever. This was actually the case when I first started playing. Next thing I knew was that I had lost 5 hours of my life as I was further sucked into the story and world that was presented. This was one of the more worrisome parts to Portal 2 because the first one had such epic humor and fun story backing the game play. It felt like it would be a tough challenge, but it was nailed perfectly.
I will admit that I was also concerned with the addition of all the other gels and things you were required to use. I think I even said it might be a little too much. Consider those words eaten. All of the new additions to the game play were amazing and did nothing but add to an already proven game. It did leave me a few times scratching my head trying to figure out how to use them effectively, but that is a good thing. Not too many new things, just enough.
Now there was one aspect that I did not expect to enjoy all that much, the multiplayer, but outside of the above gripe it actually melded well with the way the Portal 2 plays. It added that perfect little extra that we had to wait for with the first Portal (Portal: Prelude). On top of offering up more tests and levels, it also adds a bit more to the overall story of the game world. No spoilers, but it can be used to explain future releases of the franchise. If not that, at least it will give us all quite a bit of replay as we drag our Steam, PSN and XB Live friends through all of the rooms.
Speaking on that, even though it isn't for all of the release versions, it is pretty epic that PSN users can tie not only their Steam account but their saved game between the PS3 and PC versions. I only tied it once, but I was able to pick up for a bit on my PC from my PS3 main play through and be able to continue forth from there on my PS3 when I could get back to the console. It doesn't totally bridge the gap between PC and console gaming, but it is a huge stride.
Should You Get It?
Now to expand on that. It has been a few months since I have had this much fun playing a game. Even the few things I hated about the game would fade out of the limelight due to how much fun I had. On top of that, there are so many options for great re-playability. One of which I enjoyed was hopping into online co-op to watch as n00bs try to figure out puzzles that are a lot simpler than they look from the start. Granted I struggled at some of them, but now that I know, I get to watch in humor just like I know I was watched.
I will add in that I would hold off on picking up Portal 2 if you have not played Portal yet. As if that could really be the case, but the story of the game makes worlds more sense if you have played the first game. But that is really my only reason on why you should not give Portal 2 a shot.
Portal 2 was developed and published by Valve on April 19th for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac. A PS3 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I played through the main story and the entire co-op portion, both online and offline.