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In a dimly lit meeting room sequestered from E3′s frenetic show floor, Valve’s Erik Johnson was on hand to discuss the gritty details of Portal 2, which aims to exceed the level of success achieved by its predecessor. Helping them achieve this is Portal’s ensemble of quirky characters — including the sidesplitting GLaDOS — who return to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Portal was a totally game-changing-game… one that definately took me by surprise. So what can we expect from the next installment?

Seeing as Portal 2 is a sequel, players will encounter a plethora of changes and new gameplay elements during their portal-hopping travels throughout Aperture. Still changing the game? You decide, here are five that stand out from the rest.

The environment: Chell’s second expedition into the bowels of Aperture’s test chambers may be the biggest surprise of all - the once pristine and metallic hallways are now choked with vegetation and fauna.

GLaDOS — now since recovered from your naughty rule breaking in the first game — is slowly rebuilding the labs and offices of Aperture in order to subject you to yet further testing. Johnson explained that a long time has passed since Portal’s finale, which is evident given the encroaching plant life infringing upon the typically ordered lab setting.

The Excursion Funnel: Science and unconventional names go hand in hand, and the devices used at Aperture are no exception. The Excursion Funnel (pictured above) simplifies the unenviable task of transporting objects (and people) by existing as a mobile energy tunnel.

Simply put, the funnel, which is controlled by portals, carries objects over the ground in a straight line, allowing players to serenely float into previously impossible-to-reach locations and perches within the room. Having trouble with those annoying portal-proof walls? An Excursion Funnel will save the day!

The Thermal Discouragement Beam: Don’t feel discouraged from the imposing title — the beam is a simple laser of heat, nothing more. That’s not to say you won’t meet a painful demise if you cross one, however.Thankfully, the beam’s deadliness can be used to your advantage; a short demo showed how a new usable cube containing a crystalline prism (pictured above) can reflect the beam with cruel precision — in this case, giving a pair of unaware turrets an unsubtle and fiery death.

Repulsion and propulsion gel: Aspiring virtuosos will have a field day with these curious new substances that coat some of the lab’s surfaces.

The repulsion gel, a bright blue liquid, acts as…well, a repulsive force when touched, launching the player in the exact opposite direction, often to dizzying heights. The potential for this new gravity-defying tool is awesome, as we were shown a short clip of a player cleverly using multiple repulsion gels to cross a room by bouncing horizontally between two walls. Very cool!

The maroon propulsion gel predictably serves as a means for a quick exit, drastically boosting the speed and momentum of the player. This momentum continues in the air, causing you to zoom quickly through an area. It isn’t just for kicks, though — the extra surge of speed will be needed for certain scenarios, such as a timing puzzle involving clanging doors filled with deadly spikes.

Portal 2 Screenshot 6 E3

Two player co-op: Portal fans will finally be able to jointly plumb the depths of Aperture Science in the much-requested co-op mode. And before any loremasters begin to clamor about multiple Chells running around, Valve assured us that both the single-player and co-op plots are mutually exclusive while also tying in via the omnipresent GLaDOS.

Players will take control of two robotic denizens of the labs, each equipped with the same portal technology encountered in single player. Sadly, tight-lipped Valve revealed no more on the matter, only indicating that co-op players will meet the same level of humor and wit from GLaDOS as it interfaces with the mechanical newcomers.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for Portal 2 to hit the shelves!

(via @BitMob)

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