The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the non-spoilery version

I said I would, so now I babble about this. This will be light on the spoilers, since the game’s pretty new still; I’ll come back later and spoil the poop out of it. I do have a review already posted, so don’t expect this to be all review-y. This is more general blather and nitpicks.

I think I’m the only one, but I preferred Episode One. City 17 is possibly my favourite environment in any FPS, and I really liked trying to escape from it. Also, Episode One had no goddamn vehicles. Weapon placement in Episode One seemed to have more thought put into it; maybe that’s a necessary consequence of being weaponless for two-thirds of the game. It just seems like the majority of the weapons in Episode Two (all but the crossbow and not-especially-useful rocket launcher) are just sort of "there;" you walk around a corner, and, hey, a shotgun! Cool!

I didn’t really care for the long cave sequence that begins Episode Two; crawling around in tunnels fighting antlions just doesn’t do it for me. The sneak-around-the-antlion-guard bit was pretty kickass, though. After getting out of the cave, my enjoyment increased a good amount; the zombie factory was fun, but I liked the bits with the Combine the best. I generally prefer fighting the human(-ish) opponents to the monsters and animals, personally.

But what I hate – by which I mean "with the red-hot intensity of a thousand suns" – is vehicle levels. I like my games to stick to their mechanics pretty consistently, and shoehorning some wacky driving controls into my shootin’ game is going to piss me off. Fortunately, there isn’t really anything difficult to do with the car this time (with one exception that I won’t talk about in the non-spoiler column).

The achievements are interesting, but unfortunately pretty bland. The majority of them are awarded for progress through the game (completing a level’s major objective generally gets you an achievement), or are very hard *not* to get (kill an acid antlion?), or are just grind-y (kill X mobs with the gravity gun). There are very few that are actually won for doing something interesting and difficult (killing a hunter with its own flechettes, for example, or launching the gnome, which is the World’s Most Difficult Achievement).

October 17th, 2007 Posted by | Games | no comments

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