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Discussion in 'General Chat' started by theHonk, Apr 14, 2008.
In short, it's no fun at all.
It's a narrative-led game, but has a very poor story. There was a shitload of loose ends and unanswered questions left by the first game, and by the end of Half-Life 2 none of them had been tied up or resolved. We still don't know who the G-man is (or why he's mysteriously invincible), what Gordon's been recruited for (and who by), why the government decided to kill all the Black Mesa scientists, and a bunch of stuff I've forgotten. Not only do we have no answers to any of these, but there is a whole NEW bunch of unanswered questions! Enforced mystery is irritating enough in regular TV shows like Lost, but it is extremely lazy and unwise to do that kind of thing with a high-production-value computer game series, where new instalments can literally take half a decade or more to produce.
Anyway, that's not actually the story itself, just the way it's presented. As I said before, the story is poor. It's basically a bunch of clichés thrown together. That's the kind of thing you expect in a computer game's narrative, but it didn't stop Max Payne or KOTOR from having fantastic, emotionally gripping stories. Presumably Deus Ex managed even better, but I never got round to playing through that one.
The execution is poor. Gunwielding enemies are best combined with the game's best AI, which generally makes them a mid-to-late game opponent, with dumb run-straight-forward-and-bite-you cannon fodder filling the low end of the learning curve at the opening part of the game. They got that balance down *perfectly* in HL1, starting out with mindless critters and introducing tougher and more intelligent projectile-based enemies as the game went on. The AI, toughness and gunwielding nature made the military grunts a threatening and deadly opponent in the mid-game.
HL2, on the other hand, introduces its gun grunts right at the start, and so they are dumb as a post, extremely weak, and provide absolutely no menace despite the fact that they appear throughout the entire game.
One thing HL2 did very well was the walker enemies, which had all the right elements to be a fearsome late-game opponent. Good sound, toughness, anims...
And then they #$%#ed it all up by making that classic mistake, introducing a monstrous weapon in the final level that makes every enemy you face in the game look utterly ineffectual. God knows how this ever happens, every good storyteller knows that it's a bad idea to devalue the ultimate foe. By being able to take the walkers out in a heartbeat, it instantly makes all your hard-fought battles with them in the past seem meaningless... "oh man, if I had that uberweapon I'd have ploughed through them in five minutes".
The weapons are not satisfying to use. They're either too quiet, not characterful enough, or (and this is my major gripe about pretty much every shooter in the last decade) don't have enough ammo/have a tiny ammo carry capacity.
Again this is a step backwards from the original game, which has one of the all-time most satisfying machineguns, that monstrous desert eagle, and the pair of sci-fi weapons (egon and gluon) which are just perfection. Even the HL1's most pathetic weapon, the hive hand, has a brilliant sound effect. HL2's best weapon is the gimmicky grav gun, which I didn't like to use too often because the permanent sound effect while grabbing something is very wearing.
There was a real lack of those setpieces that you remember for the rest of your life. You're never going to forget tiptoing around the tentacle beast in the blast pit, or the battle at the station with the giant blue creature, or blasting a giant testicle spider square in the sack with a shotgun, or the floating teleport foetus from another dimension... Where were those imaginative flashes of brilliance? The only part of HL2 that really stayed with me afterwards was floating through the Citadel on a conveyor - and that was entirely down to the phenomenally detailed work of the level design. Even the Tremors-esque avoid-the-sand setpiece was something I'd played the year before in Jedi Academy.
On a related subject, I didn't really find any of the environments terribly exciting or memorable (Citadel excepted), but I know a lot of horror fans love Ravenholm, so I won't argue that point.
Hated the vehicles, using them made me feel light-headed and sickly, and I'm not exactly inexperienced with driving games.
I also didn't feel that they made enough use of character interaction - HL2 made some ASTONISHING leaps in facial animation; the series' selling point has always been its involving nature; and they'd obviously gone to some effort to write out personalities for the characters. But the points where these achievements were actually utilised were quite rare, and fairly brief. Obviously they rectified that with Episode 1, and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the main game as a consequence.
So, here's what Half-Life 2 did well. It's probably the most polished computer game of all time, a real testament to Valve's status as one of the best developers of all time, probably THE best. It's pretty telling that games like Doom 3 and Prey took a similarly massive amount of time to develop but had nowhere near the depth of general quality or programming excellence that HL2 boasts.
The realistic look (for the time - although it doesn't exactly look dated even today) added something very tangible to the game's motifs of rebellion and fascist repression.
Like the original game, it's very involving, and the gritty visuals and excellent character realisation combine with the old dynamic to make it hugely absorbing.
The sound and visual design is uniformly excellent (weapons excepted), and enemies like the massive flying drones and walkers are highly characterful. It's just a shame that the game design robs them of the menace they really should have.
I could easily forgive the lacklustre story if the game was fun to play, with the satisfying weapons, cool/imposing enemies, memorable setpieces and interesting locales that defined the original game.
Half-Life 1 was by no means one of my favourites but I acknowledge its excellence as one of the greatest games of all time, and I play through it fairly regularly.
But for all its polish and depth, I do not think Half-Life 2 was a good game. I don't have any desire to play through it again, and I've only replayed it once since its release, to refresh my memory for Ep 1. I decided not to buy Ep 2 when I heard that it still doesn't answer any questions or advance the story in a meaningful way.
sirrusly, whats with peopel bagging transport tycon? was and still is awesome. i still play locomotion every other day.
my top 5 would be (in no order):
Sim City 4
Transport Tycoon Deluxe
Jagged Alliance 2
eve is so much better. only reason i dont play it at the moment is i dont have enuf free time to play it fully
I reckon ey! Yeah F1 97 just had so much fun in it but also it didn't have the tackiness of the F1 games that followed. Well ahead of it's time.
NFS 2 SE
Time Crisis 3 (my buddy had the gun for it, soooo much fun)
Street Fighter (2)
Gran Turismo 2
Ace Combat 5
GTA San Andreas
i have f1 97 on cdrom still. it was epic. so not realistic, but maaaaaaad fun.
It's lol how you spent so much time typing such a hilariously wrong/retarded eassy that it makes me wonder if you did it because you were raped by Gabe Newell as a kid or something. I'm not gonna even bother pointing out the tons of retarded shit in there. I will say that ONLY thing you were right about were the meh driving physics and AI. Other than that, something is off in your head.
Maybe because I played half life 2 only recently, but I really didnt enjoy it. I got really sick of it and was annoyed with the vehicles. I think they killed it for me. That and it just feels dated now. I still love half life 1 and would probably like to tear through that again
The HL2 does feel dated, the egnine deff still has life in it.
If you're so smart and I'm so wrong how about coming up with a remotely intelligent response?
- Operation Flashpoint
- Simbins GTR/GTR2
- Gran Turismo Series
those are my favourites,
closely followed by other Simbin titles, COD series and GTA series.
I agree like 47 billion % with everything in this poast, minus the quarters lost. My best friend had it on SNES, so no quarters used. Ive beaten that damned game like 400 times.
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wtf @ coming out of a ~4 year hiatus.
Apparently, there really is no hope for us. <A BORDER="0" HREF="http://www.supercars.net/PitLane?displayFAQ=y"><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/sad.gif"></A>
Wow thinking about all those old games you listed (most of which I had to) got me thinking about all my TI-99A games I had too.
oh my god I forgot EVO!
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a lot of stuff gets answered in the old side story games, n00b
and if the enemies aren't mean enough turn up the difficulty, the game default is easy
You're kind of missing the point there. In any case, HL1 wasn't exactly Ninja Gaiden either.
Also, what do you mean by 'old side story games'?
I can't remember which Amiga I had when I was very young, but I had tonnes of games, like Giana Sisters and Sensible Soccer, awesome stuff.
Gone already. <A BORDER="0" HREF="http://www.supercars.net/PitLane?displayFAQ=y"><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/sad.gif"></A>