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I finished Half-Life 2: Episode 2 last night. It felt too short, though I think that's because it was a lot more battle-intense than previous installments. There was a boss battle at the end that I didn't recognize as such until it was over-- the guys at Valve are good at hiding stuff like that-- and there was very little in the way of puzzle-solving stuff.

The physics in the game are amazing. There's a cutscene in the beginning that has a sort of hyperreal movie quality that's just chilling, and the facial expressions are quite expressive: there is one scene where Alyx is gently mocking one of the scientists, and she gets this silly half-grin that looks freakin' real.

And she has a great ass.



This pic doesn't do it justice.

Everything's cranked up a notch from previous installments, subtle but there.

And there's a new creature to fight. Hunters. Sonofabitch.

There will only be one more episode in the HL2 episode trilogy. Hopefully after that there will be a HL3.

It's involving.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
saveau
Oct. 16th, 2007 12:07 pm (UTC)
There will only be one more episode in the HL2 episode trilogy. Hopefully after that there will be a HL3.</i>

Actually, the boys and girls at Valve have long ago ruefully admitted that this is Hslf-Life 3. They didn't start out intending that in the design phase, but well into the development of Episode 1 (when the project was still being referred to as Aftermath) they said "Yeah; this is honestly number 3."

Which means that if they release a Half-Life 3 it will actually be Half-Life 4, when you think about it... ;-\
magicmarmot
Oct. 16th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
Damn. Well, as long as they keep coming out with stuff and advancing, I'm there. I know that I was getting immersed in the story, which is way cool.
avindair
Oct. 16th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, "Alyx" has a great ass...which is to say, she was modeled really well, and the texture work on her jeans is freaking outstanding. And the facial deformations of the mesh for expressions? Fuggedaboudit!

Now, for my deep, dark secret: I only think Half Life 2 is "OK".

It's a masterpiece, I know. It has a deep, depressing, and involving story. The folks at Valve also do "story through interaction with the environment" better than the folks at Bungie. I get all that.

I just felt, well, bored when I played HL2 back in 2005.

That being said, I actually finished the game, which says something all by itself. But I never felt compelled to return to their world.

I think it's because I tend to like sandbox games more. Sid Meir's Pirates!, the GTA series to a small extent (I think it's a nasty misogynistic game, but I like the "living world" aspect), Oblivion, and hell, even Sims2, as the world's first softcore Lesbian simulator. And when I look at Spore I just freak out.

I guess what I'm saying is that FPS games don't...um...do it for me any longer.

And lo, I'm ashamed.
magicmarmot
Oct. 16th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
My deep dark secret? I paid a few bucks for "Peggle Deluxe" (which is not a gay pirate simulation), as well as a bunch of other Pop Cap games. They're cute and mindless and if I want a quick fix of something, they're handy.

The First-Person immersion aspect is something that I really like, but the games need something else. For instance, I tried Painkiller and wasn't all that filled with enjoyment, because it was pretty strictly kill anything that moves. I really got into the Splinter Cell series because of the stealth aspect, with multiple ways to achieve your objective. HL2 is sort of in-between, with some nifty technical achievements, and a commentary track.
avindair
Oct. 16th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
I miss MicroProse. Back in the '80s they understood what made players want to continue with their products.

Take the old F-19 Stealth Fighter "simulator". By any definition it was crude, inaccurate, and downright silly. The framerate on most PCs of the time often dipped into the single digits, the flight model was silly, and it was hard hiding from the enemy AA defenses and CAP fighters.

So why do it?

Because when you returned from a mission your "pilot" got medals and accolades. You'd see your pilot at the officer's club -- represented with a crude piece of artwork -- with dialog that supposedly reflected your performance. It was these soft role-playing aspects of the title that kept me and my friends (we often played it two player, with one person handling systems while I flew) coming back.

It wasn't just F-19. All MicroProse titles had this feature.

Man, I miss them.

Of course, their best title -- Sid Meir's Pirates -- is still available today...and it just kicks butt.
saveau
Oct. 16th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
Another series that managed that same thing just as well - if not better - was the old Wing Commander series. It felt like starring in a war movie.
avindair
Oct. 16th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
The Wing Commander series was freaking wonderful. Logical? Of course not. (A single fighter can take out a capital ship? Um...I don't think so.) Immersive? Hell, yeah!.

My personal favorite is still Wing Commander III. Never before (nor since) did a game with cut sequences provoke this set of reactions:

Flying mission ends, FMV scenes begin:

ME: Aw, man, I want to keep flying.

Then I'd get sucked into the movies, only to find myself here:

FMV sequences end, flying missions begin:

ME: Aw, man, I want to keep watching the movie!

And remember, the opening sequence of WC3 had an eleven minute cut scene that felt like the beginning of a great B SF movie.

Wow, do I miss those games.

Like you, I want to get my hands on the original footage. Then we can composite in better sets, better effects, and just cut together a much better Wing Commander movie than that Freddie Prinz, Jr. travesty.
saveau
Oct. 16th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
Half-Life 2 drew me in like few other games ever have. I was completely emotionally invested in the world and the people who lived and fought and died in it. I played it through twice; and each time I had the same reactions at the same places - kind of like how, twenty-five years and countless viewings since its original theatrical release, I still cry my heart out every time Spock dies in Star Trek II.

So... you should be ashamed!

;-)
avindair
Oct. 16th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know; that's why I kept it a secret.

By contrast, No One Lives Forever was just fantastic.

I think it's a humor thing. I'd rather laugh then feel depressed...and the HL2 setting is a serious frigging downer.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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