Half Life 2 Episode 1


I've just finished playing Half-Life 2 Episode 1, the sequel to Half-Life 2. It's visually stunning and very rich in content. If you've played the Lost Coast level, you've seen the little equivalent of DVD commentary tracks — inserted notes by the creation team describing the technical details of what's going on — and seen the new Rendering Engine. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best looking game I have ever seen.

halflife2 episode1.

Quake 4 and Doom 3 are good, but they don't have the wide open feel that this game does. They don't have the fantastic lighting and character animations or the sense that you really are wandering around a city somewhere in Eastern Europe. (The design team used picture of hospitals around Chernobyl for the hospital interiors!) And they certainly don't have Alyx following them around! (She's the young lady in the picture on the game page.)

(Aside: my 6 year old daughter thinks that Alyx is much cooler than Lara Croft, who looks deformed in the latest Tomb Raider episode. A 20" waist and a pair of 42DDs do not really go together well.)

The Steam system seems to have had all its early bugs sorted out. Pre-ordering the game was a simple matter of entering some details, pushing a button, downloading it, and just waiting for the release date of June 1. (Although they neglected to mention that that was June 1, west coast USA time, which is pretty much June 2 over here. Still, I came back from a pint after work on Friday night to find the game ready and waiting for me.)

I do have one complaint about it: it's very short.

It costs USD 19.95, and there was a 10% discount for pre-ordering it. So, roughly about HKD160. What do you get for that? A game that can be finished in two nights of playing, with a few moderately difficult puzzles and some tricky Boss Combats (where you have to defeat a large and ornery Foe, for those not up to speed on gaming jargon).

A typical computer game in this genre (first person shooters) will cost about USD 40 and give you at least a week's entertainment, maybe more. (I played though Half-Life 2, before this one came out and it took me at least two whole weeks of playing for a few hours in the evenings.) For the amount of game-play involved, I think it should really be around the USD15 mark, maybe even USD 10. It seems really short for 20 bucks.

Hopefully, Episode 2, which is due in Q4, should have more game-play. The trailer (at the end of Episode 1) looks awesome.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on June 4, 2006 1:01 AM.

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