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Author Topic: [Half-Life] Anyone think the game kinda sorta sucks?  (Read 4903 times)
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ravenvii
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« on: May 06, 2008, 12:45:55 AM »

I'm playing through this game, and so far I think it kind of sucks. It's not a horrible game or anything, but I've played much better. I'm now playing just to beat it so I can move on to Half-Life 2, which I hope is much better. I have the expansions, but I think I'm gonna skip them (I don't think they're really canon, aren't they?).

I'm at that part where there's this big fish in the water and stuff, right after the train cart level. I feel like I'm just slogging through. Does it get better?

Anyone else? Or am I the only one in a Half-Life-loving ocean?
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2008, 12:54:09 AM »

to be honest, I was never blown away by the original half life, but you can't judge it according to today's standards.  I mean, the game came out like 10 years ago.  10 years ago, I was stoked when I had a computer with a HUGE hard drive of like, 5 GB.
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008, 12:56:14 AM »

Yeah, I think it holds up really well for a 10 year old game (not many FPS's of the era are still playable for me) but if you've played all of the games that it inspired I'm sure a lot of the effect is lost. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008, 12:57:33 AM »

I cannot see of any way conceivable that someone could say Half-Life sucks, except if they just don't like First-Person Shooters.

Edit - Oh and the expansions happen alongside Half-Life. They are canon, though if I remember correctly they don't really have an impact on the story at all - they're just the same story from a different perspective.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 01:00:15 AM by cheeba » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 01:44:21 AM »

I could see how someone might think that if they're playing it for the first time today.  FPS's have changed and improved a lot since then.  I played it about 4-5 years after it first came out and was pretty impressed.
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 02:04:04 AM »

i'll back up what just about everyone else has said already...Half-Life was a fantastic, original game ten years ago, but it won't carry the same impact now because we've experienced so much in the meantime.  HL did many things that hadn't been seen in a FPS before that we now take for granted.  as someone who played Half-Life when it was new, i remember just how great of a game it was for the time, but even i can understand that it doesn't come across quite as impressively anymore.
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 02:06:22 AM »

The first time I played it when it came out I was blown away. An FPS with a story? Not just a story you read about while the level loads, but a story that you actually live through, instead of just one level after another and a random boss encounter after another? (note the reference to Quake I/II here) That was revolutionary.

It was also one of the first cases of a real, commercial game doing cutscenes in-engine. Machinima had taken off in the Quake days, made by regular people and telling any story they wanted, but this was the first time I saw it used in an actual game.

I tried replaying HL1 recently, and it's hard. The level design seems off or even amateurish compared to today's standards. There are lots of little things that just don't feel right. Playing it today kind of makes me realize how old I am (but no more than the Final Fantasy 2 music I listen to in my car).

So I can definitely see someone who loves today's FPSes playing HL1 today and thinking it's boring and (though this might be a bit harsh) it sucks. Instead of torturing yourself, read a good plot synopsis and move on to HL2 and the episodes. Those you'll love, and honestly, the first one's ending was a major anticlimax (though masterfully done).
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 02:10:18 AM by Skylark » Logged

ravenvii
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 02:16:50 AM »

Quote from: ScubaV on May 06, 2008, 01:44:21 AM

I could see how someone might think that if they're playing it for the first time today.  FPS's have changed and improved a lot since then.  I played it about 4-5 years after it first came out and was pretty impressed.

Well, I played Doom and Doom 2 (and beat them, and even Final Doom) recently and thought it was awesome as all-out, even though it's approaching 15 years old. Doom just felt like a much more polished game than Half-Life. Half-Life just looks too... amateurish like a poster above said, and it feels like a fan-made total conversion, you know?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 02:20:34 AM by ravenvii » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2008, 02:35:23 AM »

Although I still think Half Life is a cool game after all this time - I can see why some coming across it for the first time might not agree. There've been alot of improvements in all FPS aspects from graphics, storytelling, gameplay tweaks, ragdoll physics, etc.

I wouldn't recommend anyone continue with a game that they felt "kind of sucks". I'd shelve it and go on. If you've given it a decent chance to impress you and it didn't, then I'd say Adios Half Life.

Too bad though: An awesome game, classic in its time, now dismissed as sucky.

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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2008, 02:36:37 AM »

The game as a whole is great.  The last act sucks.

But any way, HL isn't just a shooter.  It's a story-driven action adventure game with puzzles.  So you have to look at it that way.  And consider the fact that it's 10 years old.  Half Life 2 is great (IMHO) but a similar idea.  It's not Call of Duty.
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2008, 03:01:56 AM »

The silo creeped me out then.  Thinking about it creeps me out now.

And the head crabs... shudder... Half-Life 2 does a lot of things better than HL1, but the head crabs from HL2 just don't wig me out like the ones in HL1 did.

Revolutionary for its time for telling a story with NO cutscenes.  Your character is more or less in control for the whole game time.  (In fact, I was a bit disappointed in the HL2 episodes for beginning on a couple minor cutscenes.)
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2008, 03:05:03 AM »

I thought the original game had its ups and downs in level design (damn you jumping puzzle), and yeah, the whole last act sucked.  But I loved the fact that there was a story, not everyone was the enemy and you weren't just same nameless soldier.

Oh, something I found out recently.  If you have an old copy of Half-life on CD, if you register it on Steam, it unlocks the platinum pack which includes the expansion packs and a whole of bunch of other stuff!!!!!
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2008, 04:02:27 AM »

I absolutely loved Halflife and still do.  Completely revolutionary for its time.  All those scripted events that you see in FPS games these days-Halflife is the grandfather of all that.  I hated the last part of the game but everything that takes place on earth is pure bliss.
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2008, 04:14:16 AM »

I loved Half-Life. Played it right after it came out. I've played it two, maybe three times now (can't remember exactly). However, even back when it first came out, I never understood the "It has a story!" stuff. Honestly, there wasn't a whole lot of story in Half-Life. The beginning was interesting, but really, everything was very "story lite." Maybe it's because I played story-driven games around that same time like Metal Gear Solid and some adventure games, etc. that really showed how little story Half-Life had. The only bits of story you got through the game were the changes in the environment. Sure, sometimes you'd run into a scientist or a barney and they'd tell you what was going on in a specific area (or, more likely, show you, by getting killed in a scripted event) but that wasn't really a plot, in my opinion. Half-Life 2 on the other hand, mixes all that stuff with some actual story, which is cool.

I never had any problem with Xen. The abrupt change in atmosphere was a bit weird, but it didn't bother me. Also, the platforming people always complained about was really simple. At least to me. The boss fight at the end was pretty cool once you figured out to hide behind the big spikes so you wouldn't get transported out. The ending was interesting (where the only real story was told, in my opinion), if a bit odd.

I still haven't played the expansions to the original. Even though I guess they're officially "canon," they weren't developed by Valve and therefore I had no interest. OpFor did sound semi-interesting, but, meh. I heard Blue Shift sucked. I have however played Azure Sheep, and it's generally along the lines of Blue Shift (playing as a security guard during the events of the main game), but apparently much better.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 04:16:28 AM by Kyosho » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2008, 07:01:12 AM »

I actually think Opposing Force(s?) was a lot more fun than HL. Maybe I just prefer more action in my games smile
I must admit I never really understood what made HL so much better than other games. Like Kyosho, I don't think the story was that amazing.

AFAIR Unreal had a way better story, and much more atmosphere.
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2008, 10:20:17 AM »

Half life was an experience. From the word go, you were Gordon Freeman. You never twiddled your thumbs through a movie or clicked through a 1500 word essay. Heck, it never even lectures you for more than a minute at a time. Black Mesa was a contiguous environment. There were no load screens, level breaks, or mysterious time lapses.  Start to finish, you live Half Life's story in real time through your own eyes. Throw in some of the best AI in the biz (aliens and soldiers don't act anything like each other), 3 way battles, and a story that tantalizes more that it tells, and you've got a classic that I feel holds up just as well today as it did 10 years ago.

Half Life also features a fantastic variety of gameplay. HL moves from bump-in-the-dark terror, to run-n-gun, to scrambling across a cliff face, to slinking through tripwires, and never once feels out of place. The game plays to survival horror nearly as much as it does FPS action. Even today, I feel there are few games that can compare to HL's set pieces and environmental puzzles.

Sadly Half Life would probably be considered too vague, overly long, and lacking in direction by modern standards. HL1 always had more of an "art house" style to it; less Bruckheimer and more Kurosawa. If it hasn't grabbed you by now, give it up. You're not missing any part of the story. Half Life 2 yammers on enough for both games icon_wink
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2008, 12:15:15 PM »

Oh and I loved the enemies at the time.  I swear those guys were working together to take you down.  I love how they would yell "Grenade!" Whenever they tossed one and when you tossed one back they would yell again and run for cover.
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2008, 12:43:26 PM »

Quote from: ravenvii on May 06, 2008, 12:45:55 AM

I'm playing through this game, and so far I think it kind of sucks. It's not a horrible game or anything, but I've played much better. I'm now playing just to beat it so I can move on to Half-Life 2, which I hope is much better. I have the expansions, but I think I'm gonna skip them (I don't think they're really canon, aren't they?).

I'm at that part where there's this big fish in the water and stuff, right after the train cart level. I feel like I'm just slogging through. Does it get better?

Anyone else? Or am I the only one in a Half-Life-loving ocean?

I think you're playing it 10 years too late, and back then it was the revolutionary step that you see with games today.  I'm sure you've played other popular FPS games that were released today, and the reason why they are good is because they used that formula that Half Life put in, and improved on it.  Now you're going back to a game that was made 10 years ago, and it's not going to be as new and exciting.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2008, 01:12:36 PM »

Just to put the game's release into context:

1994 Heretic
1995 Rise of the Triad
1995 Star Wars Dark Forces
1996 Duke Nukem 3d
1996 Quake
1997 GoldenEye (N64)
1997 Jedi Knight 1: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Outcast -1
1998 Rainbow Six
1998 Half-Life 1
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2008, 01:35:57 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on May 06, 2008, 01:12:36 PM

Just to put the game's release into context:

1994 Heretic
1995 Rise of the Triad
1995 Star Wars Dark Forces
1996 Duke Nukem 3d
1996 Quake
1997 GoldenEye (N64)
1998 Rainbow Six
1998 Half-Life 1

Don't forget about Jedi Knight!
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hmm...


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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2008, 01:49:43 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 06, 2008, 01:35:57 PM

Don't forget about Jedi Knight!

fixed!
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2008, 01:52:19 PM »

Dark Forces was 1995 eek

I fear I am actually 60 years old...
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2008, 01:56:31 PM »

Duke and Jedi Knight had very well told stories; the difference is that Half-Life took the C&C character immersion from the getgo, whereas the other two thrust you into the game right away.

There was never a feeling of helplessness.
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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2008, 01:58:28 PM »

Quote from: ATB on May 06, 2008, 01:52:19 PM

Dark Forces was 1995 eek

I fear I am actually 60 years old...

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« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2008, 02:05:15 PM »

Quote from: Pong on May 06, 2008, 07:01:12 AM

AFAIR Unreal had a way better story, and much more atmosphere.

Unreal had jack crap worth of story from what I recall because it built up to you finding this one person via all the scattered journals, only to find her dead at the top of a tower with the final 1/4 of the game left. I recall thinking that was the dumbest thing I'd played at the time, and I still consider it a roundly stupid game. But it was very pretty.

I will say that one of the coolest gun fights I ever had was in there. I was facing off with a Skaarj in a barn and we were trading cover and shots. He got behind a pole and I switched to the gun that fired those razor blade things that bounced off walls. I couldn't hit him directly so I blind fired at the opposite wall hoping for a lucky rebound. I fired one shot and it went behind the pole he was using for cover. I saw a spray of blood then his body slumped to the floor. I ran over to look and the shot had decapitated him. icon_twisted
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« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2008, 11:59:27 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on May 06, 2008, 01:12:36 PM

1997 Jedi Knight 1: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Outcast -1

<grin>

Oh, and Rise of the Triad... that name is just a blast from the past for me smile

Come to think of it, Jedi Knight was extremely cool in its time too, and it's another game I just can't replay now. There are too many weird puzzles and too much weird level design (I remember having to look around a room for 20 minutes before I found how to exit it last time I played it).
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« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2008, 12:12:55 AM »

Half Life was a great experience, though its linearity bothered me, even then.

The "They Hunger" trilogy was much more memorable. I remember more locations from They Hunger than I do from Half Life.
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« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2008, 12:16:16 AM »

Quote from: Skylark on May 06, 2008, 11:59:27 PM



Come to think of it, Jedi Knight was extremely cool in its time too, and it's another game I just can't replay now. There are too many weird puzzles and too much weird level design (I remember having to look around a room for 20 minutes before I found how to exit it last time I played it).
I finally finished Jedi Knight last year (after having gotten most of the way through it several times before).
IMO, it still holds up really well.
Holds my personal record for making me feel the most vertigo in any game. Loved it.
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« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2008, 01:15:18 AM »

God I love those old shooters.  I got my first gaming PC in 1998 and the first several games I played were Jedi Knight, Half-Life, Quake II and Thief.  I could still go back and play any or all of them and have a great time.
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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2008, 03:26:58 AM »

Quote from: Giles Habibula on May 07, 2008, 12:16:16 AM

IMO, [Jedi Knight] still holds up really well.

Perhaps I just have a low attention span... What others just find a good challenge is sometimes way too hard for me, and I lose interest smile

Quote from: Giles Habibula on May 07, 2008, 12:16:16 AM

Holds my personal record for making me feel the most vertigo in any game. Loved it.

Ain't that the truth. Still no match for that aspect of it (though I hear Crysis is good on that aspect in the later levels).
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« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2008, 05:15:25 AM »

Eh, kinda. The thing about Crysis is you're actively floating through the air whereas in Jedi Knight you could fall off those edges and you're screwed. JK wins the "I'm actually terrified of heights now, thanks Lucasarts" award. icon_twisted
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« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2008, 05:15:51 AM »

Quote from: Giles Habibula on May 07, 2008, 12:16:16 AM

Quote from: Skylark on May 06, 2008, 11:59:27 PM



Come to think of it, Jedi Knight was extremely cool in its time too, and it's another game I just can't replay now. There are too many weird puzzles and too much weird level design (I remember having to look around a room for 20 minutes before I found how to exit it last time I played it).
I finally finished Jedi Knight last year (after having gotten most of the way through it several times before).
IMO, it still holds up really well.
Holds my personal record for making me feel the most vertigo in any game. Loved it.

I'm not sure I could go back to Jedi Knight.  I'm pretty tolerant of poor graphics but, man, I thought it was relatively poor looking at the time (though getting a Voodoo card did help a lot).  Plus, I imagine I would find saber combat very clumsy these days.

But, yeah, did that game ever have some great level design with an unrivaled sense of scale. 
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« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2008, 08:54:31 AM »

1994 System Shock
1994 Heretic
1995 Rise of the Triad
1995 Star Wars Dark Forces
1996 Duke Nukem 3d
1996 Quake
1997 GoldenEye (N64)
1997 Jedi Knight 1: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Outcast -1
1998 Rainbow Six
1998 Half-Life 1


Fixed that for you...

The first hour or so of Half-Life is pretty great. I bought it because of that hour, as my cousin demonstrated it and we were both extremely impressed, and we set our expectations so high.

Sadly, it turned out to be a pretty generic shooter - albeit with some very nice action set pieces, but nothing like the story driven beginning, with lots of NPC interaction and a feel towards a more cerebral experience.

To be honest, I kinda expected it to be more like System Shock because of that introduction and first level, but I was ultimately gravely disappointed.

I know it's extremely popular, I just don't agree. Taken as a pure shooter, it's definitely one of the best of its time, but compared to games that attempt to go deeper than that, it can't hold a candle to the best of them. I'm talking about Deus Ex, System Shock, Thief and a few others.

Naturally, it's all about expectations and I know it was never meant as an alternative to those games, it's simply the impression I got from the first experience. I have a feeling most people would have much less respect for Half-Life if System Shock had been more accessible and visually exciting. But that's just a feeling. Given the response that another inferior game in the same kind of genre got (Bioshock) - that's not totally unreasonable to assume - but who knows.

In any case, no you're not the only one who thinks less of Half-Life than most.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2008, 09:00:25 AM by DArtagnan » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2008, 01:55:13 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 07, 2008, 05:15:51 AM

Quote from: Giles Habibula on May 07, 2008, 12:16:16 AM

Quote from: Skylark on May 06, 2008, 11:59:27 PM



Come to think of it, Jedi Knight was extremely cool in its time too, and it's another game I just can't replay now. There are too many weird puzzles and too much weird level design (I remember having to look around a room for 20 minutes before I found how to exit it last time I played it).
I finally finished Jedi Knight last year (after having gotten most of the way through it several times before).
IMO, it still holds up really well.
Holds my personal record for making me feel the most vertigo in any game. Loved it.

I'm not sure I could go back to Jedi Knight.  I'm pretty tolerant of poor graphics but, man, I thought it was relatively poor looking at the time (though getting a Voodoo card did help a lot).  Plus, I imagine I would find saber combat very clumsy these days.

But, yeah, did that game ever have some great level design with an unrivaled sense of scale. 

You're right about the graphics KG, Gamespot -yes they were actually reputable reviewers back then- absolutely gushed over the game, but only awarded the graphics a 7. It was 1 of the 1st games I fired up on my brand spanking new Voodoo2 and I remember even with that hotrod running it still wasn't too pretty. In thinking about Halflife, the thing that I remember setting it apart from most other games at the time, other than those already mentioned, was the quality of the textures. If memory serves me correctly they were a magnitude better than any other game back then.

I received the SE Halflife 2 box as a gift a few years ago and it included the marginally updated version of Halflife. I was surprised that it still held up well and was still a good gameplay experience.
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« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2008, 02:24:15 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 06, 2008, 01:35:57 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on May 06, 2008, 01:12:36 PM

Just to put the game's release into context:

1994 Heretic
1995 Rise of the Triad
1995 Star Wars Dark Forces
1996 Duke Nukem 3d
1996 Quake
1997 GoldenEye (N64)
1998 Rainbow Six
1998 Half-Life 1

Don't forget about Jedi Knight!

where's Castle Wolfenstein 3d, Doom and Hexxen?
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« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2008, 03:29:29 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on May 06, 2008, 01:58:28 PM

Quote from: ATB on May 06, 2008, 01:52:19 PM

Dark Forces was 1995 eek

I fear I am actually 60 years old...



It's amazing how great it looked at the time and how time's march makes it look so bad now.


Quote from: CeeKay on May 07, 2008, 02:24:15 PM

where's Castle Wolfenstein 3d, Doom and Hexxen?

Also, don't forget about system shock two.
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« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2008, 04:41:05 PM »

Quote from: DArtagnan on May 07, 2008, 08:54:31 AM

Naturally, it's all about expectations and I know it was never meant as an alternative to those games, it's simply the impression I got from the first experience. I have a feeling most people would have much less respect for Half-Life if System Shock had been more accessible and visually exciting. But that's just a feeling. Given the response that another inferior game in the same kind of genre got (Bioshock) - that's not totally unreasonable to assume - but who knows.

I don't really agree.  I played and loved System Shock on release but it didn't stop me from loving Half Life.  And playing and loving SS2 and Deus Ex certainly didn't lower my opinion of HL2 any.  They are different genres to me and always have been with SS and Deus Ex falling firmly in the RPG end of the spectrum.  I do think we're starting to see the genres merge but that's because part of that is seeing a lot of the more conventional RPG trappings being shed from those titles. 
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« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2008, 06:37:54 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 07, 2008, 04:41:05 PM

Quote from: DArtagnan on May 07, 2008, 08:54:31 AM

Naturally, it's all about expectations and I know it was never meant as an alternative to those games, it's simply the impression I got from the first experience. I have a feeling most people would have much less respect for Half-Life if System Shock had been more accessible and visually exciting. But that's just a feeling. Given the response that another inferior game in the same kind of genre got (Bioshock) - that's not totally unreasonable to assume - but who knows.

I don't really agree.  I played and loved System Shock on release but it didn't stop me from loving Half Life.  And playing and loving SS2 and Deus Ex certainly didn't lower my opinion of HL2 any.  They are different genres to me and always have been with SS and Deus Ex falling firmly in the RPG end of the spectrum.  I do think we're starting to see the genres merge but that's because part of that is seeing a lot of the more conventional RPG trappings being shed from those titles. 

Yes, you're right.

It's most likely my own personal expectation that got in the way. It's just that I heard so much about how Half-Life introduced story and meaning - post release - to the genre, where I personally thought System Shock did it much earlier, and in a much more impressive fashion. But really it depends on how much you distinguish between genres. It's probably common to see System Shock belonging to a very specific subgenre, to which VERY few games belong. In that sense, what Half-Life did had to do with the "pure" FPS genre and therefore can be said to drive it forward. That's just not what I see, as they're simply two approaches to an entertaining experience - and I prefer one over the other in a very big way.

But that's me, and I understand that I'm in a minority with that perception.
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« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2008, 06:51:07 PM »

Quote from: Giles Habibula on May 07, 2008, 12:12:55 AM

Half Life was a great experience, though its linearity bothered me, even then.

The "They Hunger" trilogy was much more memorable. I remember more locations from They Hunger than I do from Half Life.

That was my favorite addon..even more than the official ones.
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« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2008, 07:18:01 PM »

Quote from: DArtagnan on May 07, 2008, 06:37:54 PM

Yes, you're right.

It's most likely my own personal expectation that got in the way. It's just that I heard so much about how Half-Life introduced story and meaning - post release - to the genre, where I personally thought System Shock did it much earlier, and in a much more impressive fashion. But really it depends on how much you distinguish between genres. It's probably common to see System Shock belonging to a very specific subgenre, to which VERY few games belong. In that sense, what Half-Life did had to do with the "pure" FPS genre and therefore can be said to drive it forward. That's just not what I see, as they're simply two approaches to an entertaining experience - and I prefer one over the other in a very big way.

But that's me, and I understand that I'm in a minority with that perception.

FWIW, I don't think HL's story is any great shakes.  It was the story presentation that was pretty revolutionary- keeping the entire thing from Gordon's perspective, never losing control to display a cinematic, having the player play through scenarios that would be just used as pre-rendered cutscene "reward" in other games, etc.  That was all relatively new and proved to be pretty influential on the genre. 

I think SS's story presentation was just as influential, though very different.  Did any other game before it use diaries to tell so much story?  That's certainly a mechanic that has been copied over almost all genres since (but Half Life has so far avoided). 
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