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Author Topic: Half-Life 2: Episode 1 Impressions  (Read 3332 times)
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whiteboyskim
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« on: June 01, 2006, 03:36:57 AM »

Considering the game unlocks in a few hours I thought it'd be a good idea to go ahead and get the thread going. I'll probably snag this off steam later this week once things have calmed down a bit. Until then, have at it. biggrin
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 03:58:17 AM »

A few hours?  I think it unlocks at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow doesn't it?

I have it preordered and loaded up so I'll get some playtime in tomorrow night.
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2006, 04:04:31 AM »

How long is this supposed to be?

Guess I missed out on the pre-order, but am still kind of interested.
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2006, 06:50:55 AM »

Quote from: "stiffler"
How long is this supposed to be?

Guess I missed out on the pre-order, but am still kind of interested.


Four to six hours; should be in all the stores tomorrow.

And yeah, 10 hours before the game unlocks is a tad early for an impressions thread. :roll:
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2006, 11:35:32 AM »

Quote from: "Sarkus"
Quote from: "stiffler"
How long is this supposed to be?

Guess I missed out on the pre-order, but am still kind of interested.


Four to six hours; should be in all the stores tomorrow.

And yeah, 10 hours before the game unlocks is a tad early for an impressions thread. :roll:

He just wanted digital dibs on the thread.  Whitey rolls that way yo.   Cool
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2006, 01:43:24 PM »

Eurogamer has their review up: link.
Quote
Actually, as cosily familiar as you'll be with most of what Episode One has to offer, new additions and a shift in emphasis make it a refined, fat free Half-Life adventure that's rarely less than brilliant.

Quote
Given that Episode One will only clock in at around five hours on most people's first run-through (and - it's fair to assume - even less on any repeat play) you might assume that there's not much to it - but you'd be wrong. Set across five contrasting chapters it's a wonderfully balanced affair that rarely dwells on one element too long. The focus on action and combat is sensibly weighted, there are no vehicle sections at all, no time-wasting exploration required and a more satisfyingly logical approach to puzzles. All round, the gameplay feels tighter and more refined. It's evident Valve has listened carefully to the feedback from last time around and really worked hard on polishing Episode One as much as possible.

Quote
Valve's smart enough to keep switching styles, though, and consistently manages to make each chapter interesting and varied enough for you to always want to know what's around the next corner; it's the gaming equivalent of an addictive page-turner.

Quote
Perhaps we'll only really be able to fully judge the Half-Life 2 Episodes in context once we've played all three, but even at this point it's abundantly clear that there's more gameplay variety and design inspiration in the first five hours than most full-length games at triple the price.

Score 9/10

Can't wait till tonight!
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2006, 01:49:57 PM »

*cough*PADDER!*cough*  :wink:
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2006, 02:37:42 PM »

Actually I thought it unlocked at midnight not 10 a.m. My bad.
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2006, 02:43:04 PM »

Did somebody say,

PADDING?!!

OH YES SIR RIGHT HERE IS WHERE IT IS AT!

ALL THE PADDING YOU'D WANT!















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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006, 02:46:40 PM »

That's ... that's a lot of padding. Um ...
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2006, 04:01:49 PM »

All I want to know is if you could run Half Life 2, should you be able to run this or have they beefed it up so much that there is no guarantees.
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2006, 04:10:11 PM »

Quote from: "mikeg"
All I want to know is if you could run Half Life 2, should you be able to run this or have they beefed it up so much that there is no guarantees.


My understanding from various interviews is they actually streamlined things. Even with the inclusion of HDR Valve tightened code where they could and in the process of adding subtle facial animations and such somehow managed to make the code more efficient. Hopefully that translates to running better than its predecessor did.
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2006, 07:04:55 PM »

Actual impressions :lol:

So far it seems pretty good.  HDR is incorporated, story elements, some jumping puzzles.  I'm still only in chapter one of five.  It does feel like you have less control now, as Alyx is apparently along for most of the ride and is pretty willing to tell you what to do.  I wonder if the difficulty level affects the speed at which she comes up with solutions.

A nice feature I'm looking forward to is replaying with the commentary on.  If you turn that on at the beginning, it's like Lost Coast with "bubbles" to interact with.  Supposedly there are 115 for the whole episiode.
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2006, 07:13:27 PM »

Enjoyed what I've played so far. If the chapters are of equal length its not to long of a game. I went through 3 in a little over 2 hours. Still its got good action and that great polish/production values that Valve does.
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2006, 10:41:40 PM »

Just beat it, and I enjoyed the entire game! I cannot wait until Episode 2, the ending is a real cliffhanger!
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2006, 01:13:15 AM »

Just finished it myself and thought it was very well done too. Probably took a little more than 5 hours for me. Of course a typical cliffhanger ending, but it was worth it enough for me to want to try the next episode when Vlave get it out. Plan on going through again with the commentary on to see what it offers.
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2006, 03:43:04 AM »

I haven't finished it yet (I think I'm in Chapter 3 somewhere) but thus far I'm kind of mixed on it. On the one hand it absolutely fits into the Half-Life universe and perfectly continues the story and I love Alyx, but on the other hand a lot of the action seems like variants on "hang on while we throw swarms of enemies at you." The action in HL2 was more organic, in my opinion, than this one.
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2006, 08:21:43 AM »

I'm hoping we get more time with Barney in some other episode.  Haven't seen him yet in Episode 2, but I know he's in there from a screenshot somewhere.

As much as I love Alex, it'd be cool to run around with Barney, with him constantly cracking jokes about things that happened back in Black Mesa.

I mean, I still want to hear him deliver that line, "Remember when we thought Black Mesa was as bad as it could get?"
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2006, 07:08:30 PM »

Just finished it myself, probably about 5 1/2 hours total time.  The commentary should make a second run through worth it.  The game also killed my optical mouse, which made the last bits harder than they should have been.

My overall feeling is that it was worth it, but I would have liked to see a variation in the gameplay.  HL2 was great because you had the vehicle segments to break up the narrowly linear foot segments.  This had none of that to break it up.  In the later areas I kept being reminded of parts of HL2 that I wasn't so keen on.  For example, the last two chapters are similar to the Follow Freeman chapter of HL2 - urban combat, etc.

Still, I'm definately on board with Eps. 2 and would like to see what happens in terms of the story.
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2006, 09:21:55 PM »

I am plowing through and just got to the big ant lion fight in the parking garage and the frame rate has dropped to almost unplayable.  Just about turned it off.  Literally stops, then starts, etc. etc.

Other than than major problem, it has been cool.
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2006, 01:20:08 AM »

Great. Now I'm stuck in the area where:

Spoiler for Hiden:
you flip the switch and then the door on the far side of the water pit opens up. Naturally the electricity then runs through the water and electrifies everything in site. There are the ceiling mouth things hanging everywhere and I haven't figured out how to get across it. Any help would be appreciated.


Heading back in now to try it again. smile
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2006, 07:33:01 AM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
Great. Now I'm stuck in the area where:

Spoiler for Hiden:
you flip the switch and then the door on the far side of the water pit opens up. Naturally the electricity then runs through the water and electrifies everything in site. There are the ceiling mouth things hanging everywhere and I haven't figured out how to get across it. Any help would be appreciated.


Heading back in now to try it again. smile


Here's how you do it:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Go around and kill all the ceiling hanging monsters.  Put the blue barrel underneath the walkway by the switch that runs out in the direction of the door; put it at the end so the walkway doesn't sink when you get to the end of it.  Turn on the switch.  Jump from the now supported walkway to the standing walkway by the circuit breaker.  Jump to the concrete to your right.  Jump to the enclosed room.  Jump out the broken window to the walkway that winds around to the door.


Have fun.
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2006, 08:27:47 PM »

just a little heads-up for those who haven't picked up Episode One yet...it's on sale at Target this week for $14.99.  i saw it in-store this afternoon and in this week's ad.

unfortunately, i stopped at Target after picking it up at BestBuy for $20...guess i'll have to go back for a pricematch...
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2006, 10:47:21 PM »

Just finished and I actually like it much more than HL2 itself.  And much longer than I expected.  Every time I thought it would be over it would just keep going.  And I loved the ending.  Wow.  The way that whole thing just.... :wink:
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2006, 01:16:55 AM »

What a helluva ride! That was awesome, Episode 1 is a shining example of how an episodic release should be. Incredibly level design, KILLER soundtrack, and top-notch voice acting. The action sequences were great too, I don't know what you guys mean by not having any variation in the gameplay because it was there. Obviously there were no vehicles, but each chapter seemed to have its own feel to it, and a few decent puzzles thrown into the mix.

This game makes the Sin episode seem like shit, not just gameplay-wise but also graphically. After playing Sin I thought the Source engine had aged but playing Episode 1 reminded me of how beautiful it still is. This game simply MUST win level design and art direction awards.

Kudos to Valve for an awesome release, they've got me for the next two releases no doubt.
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2006, 10:02:56 AM »

Good game but only 5 hours of gameplay ?! oh come on valve.
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« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2006, 01:09:44 PM »

Quote from: "Maggot"
Good game but only 5 hours of gameplay ?! oh come on valve.

For $20?  Or $18 if you preordered?  That's a pretty fine deal.  New games cost $50-60 and sometimes only last 10 hours or so.

Not only that but it's a hell of a fun game.  I actually had more fun with it than with the original HL2.
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« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2006, 09:20:31 PM »

I just realized, this is the first game in which having a teammate along with me that I had to protect didn't feel like a chore.
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« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2006, 12:05:37 AM »

This is apparantly on sale this week at Circuit City for seven bucks.
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« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2006, 05:02:31 AM »

Quote
I just realized, this is the first game in which having a teammate along with me that I had to protect didn't feel like a chore.


That's because you didn't really have to protect her, she has infinite HP as far as I can tell. That or she's immune to grenades...
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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2006, 05:38:27 AM »

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I just realized, this is the first game in which having a teammate along with me that I had to protect didn't feel like a chore.


That's because you didn't really have to protect her, she has infinite HP as far as I can tell. That or she's immune to grenades...

Nope.  She died a couple of times on me.  Once she was swarmed by antlions and another time she was swarmed by zombines.
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2006, 07:12:16 AM »

I'm pretty sure Alyx survives better on lower difficulties, which explains the different experiences people seem to have.  I played through the first time on easy and she never died, even in situations where I died or it took me forever to figure out what to do.
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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2006, 07:33:28 AM »

She basically has Halo style health.  If she gets hurt enough in a short timespan she'll die.  But, if you have a moment to rest she regains all of her health.

They've also given her a lot of health to begin with to cope with the fact that she's an AI and can't react the same way the player can.  Oh and she can't pickup health packs.

On top of that you have her semi-scripted reactions to various creatures that allow her to deal with close in threats like zombies.

While it may not be realistic, it's gameplay focused, so it works.  I was playing on normal difficulty and she never died on me.  I guess you guys just don't treat your women well.  Tongue

Also, it's really, really cool to listen to the developer commentary on how they evolved Alyx's character during the development of episode 1.  For instance, they originally had Alyx kinda taking the lead, or have Alyx urging Gordon on to try and create a sense of emergency.  However, they found that this made her into basically a nag, so instead she basically follows you and backs you up when needed.
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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2006, 12:34:40 AM »

Alyx needs to give me a swift kick in the butt when I can't figure out what to do next.  biggrin
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