ADD Gamers – Game Review
By: Luke Harris
Game: Half-Life 2: Episode One
The phantom G-man.
Letter Grade: B+
+ More Half-Life 2!
+ Only $20.
+ Still a good plot.
+ Same great graphics and physics.
+ A lot more puzzles.
+/-Alyx, Alyx, and more Alyx
- No new weapons.
- Only one new enemy.
- A tad short.
- More, NOW!
Nearly a decade ago, Valve, an unknown developer promised the world a revolutionary FPS. …They did. Many years later, they promised a sequel that would beat the original in every aspect. They did. They promised us a semi-sequel, originally titled “Half-Life 2: Aftermath”. They lied. Instead we get three separate episodes, which are going to be released within several months of the other. This Half-Life title delivers, but it doesn’t have as much as its predecessor did.
You immediately assume the role of Gordon Freeman, (yes he survived), the mute Theoretical Physicist who defeated the alien invaders with a crowbar. What a man! You’re dug out of the rubble by a couple of friends, and you make your way back into the citadel, where there’s about to be a instantaneous spontaneous synapse collapse. Not sure what that means, but with that many big words it can’t be good.
95% of the game is spent with your old friend, Alyx Vance. She still has her gun, hacking tool, and hoodie. Whereas for the first couple hours of the game, you only have your nifty gravity gun. There are plenty of bricks, barrels, and cars to throw at your enemy, so don’t worry about being light on ammo. Eventually you get all your weapons back. The crowbar being the last one, actually. Unfortunately, there are no weapons. There are flares you ignite to see in the dark, and you can set zombies on fire with, but all it does is make them angry and well…on fire. It takes them a while to die from being lit up, and it’s not really practical. This is qualified as a tool, not a weapon, anyway.
If you don’t like Alyx, you won’t like Episode One. Nearly every minute of the game, you’re helping her out, escorting her, lighting her path, covering her with surprising fire, and opening doors. Where would she be without you? She has a couple new moves up her sleeve, such as close quarters combat, and using a sniper rifle with good accuracy…but wouldn’t it be more fun if I could do that myself…? I spent time watching Alyx do all the fun stuff where I have to rush into danger with my crappy weapons and no physical combat. Aww…Gordon sad…
All the same enemies are back. Combine, headcrabs, barnacles, manhacks, and one new one. The Zombine. It’s a nasty headcrab zombie that happened to be a combine first. Sometimes they shamble at you, sometimes they charge, and other times they pull out a grenade from their vest and blow themselves up. Sounds great, but they’re the only new enemy in this whole game, and they could have been in the first one anyway.
The entire single-player experience should take you about 5-7 hours to complete. Not bad, but HL2 was nearly 20 hours for me the first time though. And as sad as I am to say this, I never even beat HL1 until recently. So it’s fun while it lasts, but there’s not much to do again. No real parts that will stand out over the years. There is an additional creator’s audio commentary, which I really enjoyed. Give it a try the second time through.
And since it’s only $20, just give it a try. If you liked HL2, you should at least LIKE this one. But I wouldn’t plan to marry it.