Half-Life 2 + Episode 1 + Episode 2

the Orange Box

Getting through Half-Life 2 didn’t take as long as I had originally feared; the nausea settled after awhile and episodes 1+2 only took roughly half as long to blast through as the original did. Apart from a slightly refined level design, I don’t think the series evolves too much over these three games, so I’ll simply treat it as a single game. I will say that it could well have evolved more during the episodes since they spent so much time on them, though.

Half-Life was a breakthrough in FPS design, mostly due to the prerecorded sequences of the story occuring withouth removing control from the player, and the story this allowed for. I was already bored with FPS games by then, and my friend showing me some scientist getting pulled into a crack in the wall wasn’t enough to convince me that it was worth playing. Half-Life 2 has reportedly done similar groundbreaking things, and I have to admit it does very many pretty new things very well, although I don’t have the time or energy to find out which ones it actually did first. It doesn’t matter anyway, except for providing an explanation to why it would be considered one of the greatest games of all time.

Now, I liked Half-Life 2. Mainly for the same reasons I like most of Halo; the gameplay is streamlined for a good experience. Levels are just long enough not to become boring, the difficulty is set just right and there aren’t any really frustrating problems to solve – you really can tell that many hours of playtesting went into this game. I also thought the story was good, even though the presentation of it had some embarrassing dips in every part.

It is kind of difficult to come up with an extended opinion about a game that is so iconic – thought it gives me some theories about why people dislike Halo. Halo has a better AI, Half-Life has a more coherent story and setting but both are very well-balanced, polished games that don’t seem out-of-the-ordinary or special unless you played them when they first came out.

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Posted on Nov 28/07 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »