I left you guys last month with the the conclusion that the original Half-Life is the greatest first person shooter I have ever played. So its a bit shocking to come here back and say that the sequel is better in every way you can think of.
The best thing about this game is that it still feels like Half-Life. Everything I loved about the first game is still here. They didn't drastically change the whole formula, or pretend that the first game never happened. The game begins exactly where the original left us. But at the same time, Valve has changed the structure of the game so that it still feels fresh and new, and not just Half Life 1 with better graphics.
Let me begin by saying I'm in awe of the world of Half-Life. Such attention in detail is mind blowing. I can' believe this game existed for over 7 years, and I have never even touched it. I'll go on and say this right now: If you haven't played Half-Life 2, you are missing out on a lot. It's an experience like no other, and once you see how incredible City 17 is you will understand what I mean. The final moments of the game in particular I consider legendary.
2 words: Alyx Vance
Probably the best heroine to ever grace a video game. The way she moves, the way she looks at you. The way as a player you begin to care about here as time passes. By the end of Episode 2 I felt as if she was part of me. Every step I take I make sure she was behind me. Don't get me wrong, its not an annoying escort. They do it in a way, where you want her to be with you. Those parts where we have to seperate, I not only get lonely, but a bit unsafe. I feel safer with Alyx even if she's not the strongest character created, but her presence is intimidating. And very few characters have that edge the way she does.
And similar to the original, you don't go gun blazing in the very first minute you play. No you walk around, and explore this city, meet the combine, and just learn about the place. You start to learn about the corruption, what has Gordon missed, and just how sick the combine as a race really are. They will do anything to kill any threat in their way, and the structure of the whole city design is pretty impressive. And this is coming from an architecture student. The way the citadel overlooks the city, and how eveything is linked to this citadel. Is just so believable.
Gameplay wise: Its Half-Life. Puzzles, Vehicle sections, Shooting, and exploration. It's as smart as a shooter gets, and the way they balance all of these sections make the game never boring in my opinion. Your always on the edge of your seat waiting for the next thing they're going to throw at you. You never know what happens next. And that's one area that makes this game much better than the original Half-Life. You're not just in one facility. (Black Mesa) The environments are always varied.
Everyone raves about the Gravity Gun and how innovative it was. And once you start using it you will know what the fuss is about. It's unlike anything you have ever played before, and it provides the game to go into directions you wouldn't expect. And the puzzles rely heavily on this gun, so its not just another weapon. It's probably the most important weapon in the whole game.
Everyone will find something that he will like about this game. Whether it's the puzzles, the level exploration, or just the shooting. But the game is also not perfect. The vehicle sections of the game are a bit longer than what I would have liked. They're fun, but after a while you get a bit tired from the controls. You'll find yourself preferring the old fashioned ****of walking and running.
It's also much easiar than the first game. I felt a bit of a survival vibe from the first one, due to its unforgiving nature. But this one the health packs are scattered around the area like garbage. So if you're one who loved the challenging aspect of the original Half-Life you can't help but be a bit dissapointed here. But then again, I'd rather have a better game, than a harder one.
I've played the episodes, and they're a great way of expanding where Half-Life 2 left off. But in terms of innovation, there's nothing new here. They're much more story-driven than the sequel, but at the same time, they don't feel as new. You will have to play them, because the ending of Half-Life 2 will make you, but you will not be dissapointed. Episode 1 is inferior to 2, but both are great games in their own right.
What more can I say about the game? I can keep on rambling about how "good" this game really is. This blog really could go on forever. It's the type of game you can't help but think about it wherever you go. During my ****s, I wanted to go home and continue this journey. Every bit of spare time, I went back and played Half-Life 2. And every moment I was glued to my screen wanting more.
And by the end of Episode 2? You will be crying for the next iteration. Half-Life 2 isn't perfect. And it could have been so much better. But what you get is an experience that very few games could compete with, in terms of replayibility, fun factor, creativity, storytelling, and overall satisfaction. It's one of the golden standards that many games will be compared to from today onwards. I present you: My Favorite Game of All Time. "Half-Life 2"