- The gravity gun is rad
- The gravity gun is bad
xen was perfect
All of the Half-life games were good and still are good.
probably controversial opinion: it’s time to live up to my family name and face full life consequences
It was innovative at the time but I thought it felt viscerally unsatisfying to use. No matter what object I picked up and threw, I always felt like I was lightly tossing a stuffed animal.
If you wanna know how cool HL2 can be as a totally gravity gun-based adventure game with no shooting check out Research & Development
I played both games at least a decade-plus after release and with relatively little FPS experience compared to others and I have to say… 2 is so much better. I think the original has a pretty great first hour or so but I feel every section of the game goes on for at least twice as long as it should and is just a real slog to get through. Comparatively speaking the sequel is just much better paced and the gravity gun is fun to mess around with.
I liked how they kept incorporating vehicles into the games as the series went on. By the end of Episode 2 you’re in a car with a turret thing on the back driving through the woods fighting off multiple striders. Sometimes I think about could Valve have made a decent open world-ish Half-Life.
I greatly prefer HL1 to 2. Encounters and levels are more interesting and detailed. HL2 has two incredibly long and boring vehicle sequences and only one really great setpiece (ravenholm).
I mean though, everyone agrees Episode 2 is the best Half-Lifing right. I feel this is as uncontroversial as it gets
i wish i could have an objective opinion on 1 vs 2 but unfortunately the reality is that i get severe motion sickness within 5-10 minutes of playing the original half-life, before needing a break. it seems like a reaction specific to quake-era shooters.
2 is just instantly more accessible; even its colour choices make me feel calm and clearminded.
the action button review describing it as the “world 1-1” of FPSs nailed it, imo
This may be a false memory, but it seems like a small but vocal chunk of people on this site (or maybe Insert Credit?*) were put off by the fact that you can’t see Gordon’s body when you look down, etc.
In my (again, bad) memory, the lack of embodiment bugged a bunch of people A LOT. It struck me as interesting because I’m perfectly happy being the Steadicam from the Shining, floating around like a dunebuggy-riding crowbar ghost.
Am I remembering correctly, was that a thing people talked about a lot? Did/does being a floating gun without a physical presence harm the experience?
(*Long time lurker, never posted much because someone would always say whatever I would have wanted to say, but eloquently and insightfully. Lately I post more often because I’m old enough to not care that I don’t care what I think.)
Reposting my take from the doom thread as I think it’s a good one:
For me, what’s aged best about HL2 is the commitment for about a third of the game to a very particular coastal and canal setting. Speedboating through industrial infrastructure, searching rusted-out boats in the sunset, clambering on the metal beams under a bridge in the fog.
A lot of the other scenes that were more initially impressive, like robots striding through a blasted city or sublime alien architecture, have been done to death and “better” by 2019. But those quiet scenes on the coast remain distinctly HL2.
i think the depressing russian trip-hop style of half-life 2’s urban/industrial maps are also totally unique. when i think of what’s special about hl2 and all the mods and deathmatch maps that came out of it its all those prefabs and weird graffiti textures
this is the only game i even think about shit like “prefabs” with. its open source-ish nature - to paraphrase what someone else said on twitter i think - makes it this weird cybereuropean community theater project full of props intentionally designed to be recycled in other plays
my uncle let me play episode 2 when i was 11 and before then i had always seen hl2 on G4 and was so intrigued. episode 2’s first half was like a dream.
i know there werent/arent enough other kids who grew up with half-life 2 deathmatch. that game with low-gravity on is psycho
Yeah, there are some people here who find that intolerable about it. With 15 years of hindsight, here are a few things I’d say about it.
HL1 went really hard into platforming challenges and also appartuses like valves and ladders that you really need hands to interact with. The game design HL1 went with called for Mirror’s Edge super-physicality. But HL1 was blurry, blocky and the former state of the art was Duke Nukem 3D, so it was of a piece with the level of abstraction of the game as a whole and didn’t stand out.
HL2 moved away from platforming, but retained more than enough elements like ladders to make the problem noticeable. Secondly, HL2 invested vast efforts into improving lighting and object physics, taking a big stride towards photorealism there. But it didn’t invest in the inverse kinematics tech that would be necessary to solve the physicality problem. This created an uncanny valley.
There were marketing imperatives dictating this order of technical investment. HL2 was in a pre-Youtube era so that it had to above all look good in still screenshots and boxart. And Havok object physics made perfect sense as a gee-whiz feature for reviewers to highlight. But without being able to present physical movement in an animated advertisement (like Titanfall 2 could use to show off its wallrunning), the effort of enabling IK through all the spaces Gordon navigated must’ve seemed disproportionate.
Yeah aside from a couple of minutes on in-store demos around the initial release: I didn’t actually play Half-Life until about 1 month before Half-Life 2 came out. Which I bought immediately.
Half-Life is better. Its just more, pure FPSing fun. As you said, the levels and encounters are mostly way above HL2. Its much more focused on being an FPS. And the encounters make it feel natural and necessary to use the various guns and tools. And the Marines feel smarter and are otherwise way more fun to shootout with.
It also has an ending. The final boss of Half-Life might be the worst part about the game. But at least the game builds up toward something and has a final boss and finish.
Half-Life 2 in direct comparison, fundamentally misses a lot of the FPSing. There are little spurts here or there, where you are closed in and the gameplay is a little better. But, It took them a while (Episode 2) to figure out how to get that back, with larger environments. You spend a lot of the game doing really basic physics puzzles and it just feels like what? this is the best they could come up with? You want physics in a gun game to make it more fun?----Play Max Payne 2.
The A.I. upon release, was nothing even kind of special. I vaguely remember hearing later, that there were some bugs which were patched, improving the A.I. but, I don’t recall feeling a large improvement during times that I have revisited Half-Life 2.
The difficulty settings were messed up at release. I played the game on the hardest, with no real problems. Excpet the flying beetle bot things would suddently require like 4 times as many rockets to kill. Which was STUPID. So, I would turn down the difficulty for those moments. And then crank it back up, afterward.
Many of the extra tools in the game feel gimmicky and/or are only useful for a certain thing.
I don’t care for Ravenholm.
*this isn’t really a criticism but, by the time the game actually released, I didn’t think the visuals were particularly incredible. They waited a bit too long, in that sense. (even though they should have sat on the game for longer, to make it a better/more complete game). The art direction is what really drove HL2’s visuals to stand out.
The boating was fine. Although, it should have been better. If you are gonna go through all that effort to render amazing water and have a gravity gun----lets have a bit better water/boating physics. I mean, did Valve even play Wave Race 64???
The buggy was not fine. For a game where you spend that long in a buggy-----man it felt like shit to drive. And this was at a time when I was playing Battlefield 2, which has the. very. best. Keyboard and mouse controlled jeep/buggy driving, I have ever experienced. Even the newer battlefields don’t quite recapture it. My point is, WTF Valve?
I like the gravity gun. But, it frequently blocks your view, taking the wind out of its sails. They never really fixed that.
I did enjoy the coastal cruising thing. Making stops here and there. But…the stops often weren’t substantive enough.
Playing “hot lava” was brilliant, though. Took me back to my childhood days.
You finally get to where you are going and the game finally lets you really use the gravity gun and its for like 5 minutes. And then the game ends all-of-a-sudden hope you enjoyed waiting forever for that. After a long road trip of a sort of 1/3-in on FPSing: It would have been nice if that final sequence had been longer/more fleshed out as a proper payoff.
I get what they were trying to do with the outdoors stuff and the environments. I think they could have sat on the game for another year and it would have been better for it. They certainly had some amazing art direction and concepts for the baddies.
Half-Life 2 Episode 2 is the best valve Half-life since Half-life. The A.I. is much better. Enemy variety is better and they design encounters to flex that. Additionally, you have to dig deeper with your aresenal. Times when the game stops for some FPSing, its generally more substantial and better designed.
There’s a better through-line to what you are doing/where you are going. And it has a better build-up to the end.