Details of Portal 2‘s co-op mode are beginning to emerge from E3 2010 now. While the exact context of the cooperative story is still not clear, what is now known is that you do not play as humans – one of you will be one of the Aperture Science automated turrets, and the other is a “personality sphere”. GlaDOS, the somewhat demented AI villain and only real “character” of the first game (not counting the lovable companion cube), has decided that there is new data to be gathered by subjecting two individuals to the tests at the same time, and that’s where you come in.
There are some potentially useful HUD communication features present in Portal 2‘s co-op, including the ability to mark areas or objects with Look Here, Go Here or Place Portal Here icons. These will show up in your companion’s HUD, and can make complex puzzle solving easier. A potentially even more useful feature for this often geometrically bewildering game is the ability to press a button to make your own view turn splitscreen (no word yet on how this might affect local multiplayer, if there is any, on consoles) – half of your screen will then display your companion’s view for even greater coordination. Since you can apparently use your companion’s portals, and of course vice versa, keeping track of exactly what the other player is doing may be the only way for the puzzles not to become completely overwhelming.
Speaking of overwhelming, we are also hearing reports that the cooperative mode of Portal 2 has a significantly increased difficulty in terms of puzzles – though this is based on a comparison to the first game and not the singleplayer. Co-op puzzles require close and constant teamwork from the players, from a mechanical point of view as well as actually solving the series of actions required to complete the puzzle. So far, I’ve yet to hear something about Portal 2 that doesn’t just increase my excitement for the game even more, and I’m sure the same is true for anyone that enjoyed the first game.