Brilliant escapade that you are bound to love.
Half-Life 2: Episode One is sublimely fun. While the reviewers at Gamespot feel that the beginning sequence is a bit of a cop-out, I disagree. I think it’s clever. Though someone really needs to explain why the Vortigons are our friends now instead of our enemies as they were in the first Half-Life. After that, it is a wild ride of epic proportions.
Yes, the environments were incredible and the combination of fast-paced combat and puzzle solving was done wonderfully. But where the game truly shines is Alyx, your constant companion.
In most games, the friendly AI is often sorely lacking. One otherwise fantastic game at this time is Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a stunning game that everyone simply must play, but the friendly AI is idiotic at times. This is the polar opposite of Episode One.
Instead of hooking up with AI units occasionally, Alyx is there almost the entire time with you. There are two or three sequences where she must remain behind and you have to go solo, but these don’t detract from the game at all.
One of my personal favorite moments is during the battles through the headcrab-infested basements and sewers. You have to keep your flashlight on the target so Alyx can fire, else she can’t see and you both die very quickly. At a point in the dark, you can kill your flashlight and suddenly you will hear strange noises behind you. If you whip around and shine your light on Alyx, she laughs and says ‘got you!” Brilliant writing for the characters. She also comments on how the blasted flashlight’s battery runs out too quickly.
Yes, this is only 4-6 hours. I completed in around 4 at normal difficulty. And while I wish there were more, I was very satisfied with the game as a whole. This title is a must-have for anyone who has an interest in story-driven gameplay. Definitely play Half-Life 2 first, but you will love this and I’m sure we’ll love Episode Two and Three when they come out.