Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Orange Box part 3

FINALLY I AM BACK! and that means that today I review...

Half Life 2 Episode 2

Im going to finish this stupid series of mine quickly because honestly I'm not really sure what to say about this game. Its Half Life 2, its pretty amazing, it is kinda short, not much else to it really. If you have played Half Life 2 then you pretty much have to get this, some of the ways they introduce characters i find a little strange, people ether act like you have know them the whole time, or if there is a particularly interesting character, you don't get to have them around long enough for them to be awesome. Alyx is a great companion to have and she is one of the only AI controlled partners that I find to be truly of help, at least in combat that is. The series staples are starting to wear a little thin I'm afraid. i find that i get a little bit annoyed when i am presented with a section that i have to go it alone, because for one reason or another my partner has to stay behind. Every Half life 2 game has had this and while the experience is still fun, Valve put so much work into having these big battles with really interesting and smart AI companions, only to ditch them and have you go it alone. I understand the fact that they have to mix up the game play every once in a while to keep things fresh, but I find that it really isn't keeping it fresh, its tedium. You have to do this at least 3 times in the length of Episode 2, and I don't really like those parts. If this game wasn't half life 2, but had the same structure as another game i don't think it would be nearly as good as it is. But it isl half life 2, and that means it still has the great characters, wonderful environments, and interesting physics puzzles, and engaging story. The introduction of a few new enemies is nice. I especially like the new hunters. The new weapon they put in I find was a big waste, because you never got to use it until the very end, and while that section of the game is seriously intense and great fun, I feel that Valve could have done something to introduce it earlier, so the player could get to use it more, and get the hang of using it. The graphics are pretty amazing for an engine that is much older then those of the newer games like crysis. The source engine is great because it is very adaptable and you can hear all about that in the developer commentary, which is present in episode 2, just as it is in the rest of the Orange Box. Again, for game enthusiasts, the developer commentary is really great and it sheds some light onto how much work has gone into the game, and it makes you appreciate it on a whole new level, plus there is replay value because of that, and you may take your time and discover new things rather then rush through it trying to get to the end as some gamers do. Overall I find that Episode 2 is a great addition to the half life 2 series, although it is starting to show some age. If Valve can break away from the formulaic game play experience they have been releasing so far, and actually answer some of the series burning questions, Episode 3 could be an amazing game.

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