Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Shaun Green)

GLaDOS, GLaDOS, oh so monstrous,How does your garden grow?> With portable cells and many dead Chells,And propulsion gel all in a row.>

The original Portal’s Test Chamber 17 is notoriously the level in which the Weighted Companion Cube made its first appearance… and met its fiery doom. Though not before it became the cube with a face that launched a thousand memes.

Thanks to an enterprising level designer, laakkone, that Chamber can now be played in Portal 2. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The above trailer is the work of Portal 2 machinima-maker 'Harry101UK'. The mod powering it is Portal Stories: Mel. It's a new story, based in the Portal 2 universe, about new protagonist Mel and the new personality core that she's travelling with.

The mod boasts custom textures and animations, and over 20 new maps. It's also been Greenlit—meaning it will be made available directly through Steam. And, unlike last year's Aperture Tag, it will be entirely free.

For more, head over to the mod's Steam page. Portal Stories: Mel is due out early-2015.

Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Portal 2 during this week's Midweek Madness*!

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer

If you search Steam for nothing and then sort nothing by user reviews you'll get a neat list of the most popular games on Steam among user reviewers, based on the percentage of positive reviews on the system. Portal 2 wins. Of 35,550 reviewers, 99% like the game. Make more games please, Valve.

If you prefer raw numbers, Dota 2 (94% of 280k users like it) and Team Fortress 2 (97% of 200k like it) come out ahead. Skyrim also does well. 98% of 78,842 users like Skyrim.

One Finger Death Punch, Crypt of the Necrodancer and Nuclear Throne have 99% positive ratings too, which is good, because those games are totally ace. In fact, the whole list is a brilliant resource if you're looking for ways to spend your spare Steam wallet pennies in the Steam sale.

Here's a shot of the top ten. What do you think?

PC Gamer
MOD OF THE WEEK

In Mod of the Week, Chris LIvingston scours the world of user-created adventure for worthy downloads. This week, a Portal 2 mod that fuels our dreams of an above-ground Aperture City.

Apart from a guard booth and a small shed in a field, most of what we've seen of Aperture Science has been carefully hidden underground. Perhaps if things hadn't gone so horribly wrong in their massive subterranean lab, Aperture eventually might have built a proper above-ground campus, like Google or Microsoft.

That's the premise of Above Aperture. You're on an excursion to Aperture City, a large above-ground compound littered with buildings and devious test-chambers. 

Yes, you're still as trapped as Chell ever was, but the open-air nature of most of the chambers and the little outdoor strolls you take between the challenges give it a different feel than the subterranean labyrinth we're used to. Aperture City, naturally, is abandoned and crumbling, and armed with only your wits (and a cool handheld device), you're trying to find your way out, or at least your way through

Above Aperture features some custom models and art, as well as a really nice piece of custom music. Not only are the maps lovely to look at, but they're pretty challenging as well. I spent a good deal of time in the very first level wondering just what the heck I was supposed to do. I could clearly see the spots I needed to get to, and I knew I had the tools to get there: my portal gun, a light bridge, and a faith plate. There were even clues in a few spots, little arrows painted on the concrete... anyway, it was a challenge, a nice twist on the standard game-play, and quite satisfying when I finally figured it out.

Light bridges are a big part of most of the puzzles, but there are other familiar elements: laser-beams and mirror cubes, a bit of gel, a few turrets here and there. The chambers are nice and big, and for me, they're the best kind: where you sort of wander around for a bit before you even try anything, peering at the walls and ceiling, trying to put the solution together in your head before you actually start firing the gun.

I really do like being above-ground, too. I know, it's just a skybox, and the maps may as well be underground anyway because you're trapped in them either way, but it still feels a bit more freeing being able to see the sky (though no moon, of course). It's also one step closer to my ultimate Portal dream: a huge GTA-style metropolis I can fling portals around in.

If you spot a radio during your travels, make sure to take it with you: there's a cool custom song hidden somewhere in the maps, and you won't want to miss it. (I definitely missed it my first time through.)

Above Aperture is in three parts which you can subscribe to here. I certainly hope there will be more of this adventure to come: the puzzles are pretty fiendish and the maps are very well designed, not just in how the puzzles function but in the overall atmosphere as well.

You can also check out more of the modder's Portal 2 workshop items here.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

GRaDUATE

Have you ever idly wondered whether GLaDOS might have been up to more research and testing than the Portal games let on? A study from Florida State University into the effects of playing Portal 2 on a variety of skills won’t do much to ease your fears, then.

According to the study, spending eight hours playing Portal 2 is more effective at improving a range of cognitive skills than a dedicated brain training program called Lumosity.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

GRaDUATE

Have you ever idly wondered whether GLaDOS might have been up to more research and testing than the Portal games let on? A study from Florida State University into the effects of playing Portal 2 on a variety of skills won’t do much to ease your fears, then.

According to the study, spending eight hours playing Portal 2 is more effective at improving a range of cognitive skills than a dedicated brain training program called Lumosity.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

In almost every strategy, management or sim game I play, I will immediately turn off the music which comes with the game in favour of my own. That means that Steam Music Player sounds like a good idea to me even if I long ago abandoned mp3s in favour of streaming. The built-in functionality, which lets you browse your music library and control playback from in-game using the Steam overlay, has just left beta after its initial announcement back in February.

To celebrate, Valve have made the soundtracks for some of their games freely available to those who own the associated games, including Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and its Episodes, Portal, Portal 2, and the Dota 2 documentary Free to Play.

… [visit site to read more]

Portal 2 Blog

It seems Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 have launched Merchandise Workshops, where the community can submit, vote on and sell their own non-virtual, actually real t-shirts and posters. And so far, the response from their communities has been overwhelmingly positive. So we thought: What if we applied that same idea, but to a good game, with a smarter, more attractive community? Introducing the Portal Merchandise Workshop, where you can heroes can bravely design their own Portal universe concepts.


"But what if my ideas are bad and I don't have any talent?" you ask. Don't sweat it, you're still covered.


Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Portal 2 during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Portal 2 draws from the award-winning formula of innovative gameplay, story, and music that earned the original Portal over 70 industry accolades and created a cult following.

The single-player portion of Portal 2 introduces a cast of dynamic new characters, a host of fresh puzzle elements, and a much larger set of devious test chambers. Players will explore never-before-seen areas of the Aperture Science Labs and be reunited with GLaDOS, the occasionally murderous computer companion who guided them through the original game.

The game’s two-player cooperative mode features its own entirely separate campaign with a unique story, test chambers, and two new player characters. This new mode forces players to reconsider everything they thought they knew about portals. Success will require them to not just act cooperatively, but to think cooperatively.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
...

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