Poor Mans Reviews: Half-Life 2 Episodes 1 & 2

Release Date: June 1 2006 (Episode 1) and October 10, 2007 (Episode 2)
Systems: PC
Developer: Valve
Rating: M
Metacrtic Score: 87, 90

Last review for 2014! I wasn’t too sure I was going to review these, hell, I wasn’t even sure I was going to play them. But I decided that the best way to end the year was with something nice, so here is more Half-Life 2. You really can’t get much nicer than that, can you?

Spoiler warning: I will have to talk about the end of the original game here, so read at your own risk. Almighty, here we go! After blowing up Dr. Breen’s transport at the top of the Citadel a group of Vortigaunts teleports you and Alyx out of harms way as the entire building blows itself to hell. Once out and once the both of you reconnect you soon learn that the Citadel’s core is unstable and is about to whip out City 17. Unfortunately there is little time for the both of you to get to the train station being uses to evacuate people, so you decide to go back in a stabilizer the core in order to give your self more time. Once inside you find a message from Dr. Judith Mossman. Alyx saves the message as well as the rest of the information floating around the Citadel. It would seem though that the Combine both knows that you have all this information and doesn’t want it getting out. After stabilizing the core the two of you make it to the train station and flee the city. The core soon becomes unstable again and explodes, knocks the train you’re on off it’s rails.
Episode 2 starts off with Alyx finding you in the wreckage of the train. The two of you then start making your way to White Forest, the base the rest of the City 17 survives have gone too as well as where Eli and his team have gone in order to help close the portal gapping over the ruined city. Once you inevitably get to the base you soon find it under siege and you have to protect it while the team get ready. After a pretty annoying battle every one goes and watches the missile/satellite launch and…
everything turns out okay! The portal is closed and every one lives happily every after no i’m not in denial nothing bad happens shut up.
The story here is….more Half-Life 2. In the end that’s the most I can really say for it. When played back to back this did feel like more like an epilogue rather than a continuation. And that’s exactly what it was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable, but don’t go in expecting Half-life 3. I would say the biggest flaw is the same that most movies have when they are split into 2 parts: very little actually happened in the first part making it feel a little superfluous. Valve could have just as easily condensed the first episode, added it to the second and sell it as normal DLC. And as everyone who has ever talked about this franchise has said, we need either Episode 3 or the third game. Episode did end in a satisfactory way to just jump into a third game without the third episode (if by satisfactory you mean “heartbreaking”) so there really isn’t any need to not make the game already.
Valve, we mean it. It’s been over 7 years now. Give us Half-Life 3.
Story: 4/5

Game Play:
Again, it’s more Half-Life 2. If you like the main game, just get these as well. If you haven;t already, just buy them all at once. However, I did notice I was more frustrated throughout these two mini campaigns more than I ever was in the man game. Like the last battle, I was saving after every kill because it was so frustrating and I wanted to make sure that death wasn’t that big a penalty. And through a large section of Episode one your only weapon is the Gravity Gun. This made me play a more passive role that I would have liked, leaving most of the combat to Alyx. And between each of the games you some how manage to lose all of your weapons. I mean sure, a few things are likely to get tossed about when a train crashes, but could Gordon really not spend a few minuets looking for his guns so he’s not wandering off helplessly? Apparently not.
I complained a bit in my review for the main game about the buggy mission and it makes something of a return here and it’s…still kind of annoying. Maybe it’s the control set up that bothers me i’m not really sure, but I much prefers the time spent on foot more that the time spent behind the wheel.
I also complained about how much shorter that the original game was compared to the original “Half-life”. With this added content I acctually spent more time with this game than I did with the last, but it’s up to you wither or not it’s worth it to spend another $10 for about 8 hours of content (but trust me, it is).

Game Play: 4/5

Music and Sound:
At this point i’m sure we can all guess what i’m about to say: it’s more of the game we loved, so it’s still fantastic. However, there is one thing I found annoying. When ever I paused the game all the sound would stay active, forcing me many times to unpause and do something so my computer would end the cacophony of gunfire explosions and enemy screams. At one point I just muted my entire computer because I didn’t have the time. This was an issue with the main game as well but I hardly paused that game so it didn’t bother me as much. It just strikes me as odd that the company who made four nearly flawless games would make such an obviously bad decision as this. Or maybe it was their way of forcing you to keep playing. In the end it’s a pain in the moment, but not enough to drag down the experience as a whole.

Music and Sound: 4.5/5

Overall Score: 4.16/5

Who is this game for:
Do you play video games? Then this is for you. It’s as simple as that, either you like video games and need to play these games, or you don’t like games and….well thanks for the traffic but why are you even here?

And With that, Happy New Year! I’ll see you back here on the first!


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