Finished my replay of HL2. The first time while I enjoyed the game, I was let down by the "on a rail" experience that it was. I was used to more open ended maps that some other games offered and was hoping HL2 was going in that general direction. Even if it was not a fully open world at least the illusion of freedom even if all roads led to the same map exit.
This time it was more enjoyable since I knew what to expect. Just think of it as a sci-fi action movie where your always on the run. The best parts to me were the beginning and other combat sections in City 17. I really want to see a RPG in this setting. It would have been also nice to be able to explore it more. Still had the most fun fighting the combine in the urban environments and I also liked the short underground tunnel zombie fight. I preferred that to Ravenholm and would have liked the tunnel to be a longer sequence.
While I liked the scenery and some of the bit pieces during the boat and car sections, those seemed to go way to long than they should have. Maybe it was because these came after a overly long sewer/pipe section. I didn't mind them in general just after a while they were too long as if it was just an excuse to show off vehicles and physics. The occasional stop, while enjoyable, didn't help since I knew I had to get back in a vehicle. I'm not against vehicles, just these sections were way to long for their own good. I didn't want to just drive past everything, I wanted to go check it out.
The atmosphere of the environments and attention to detail were top notch though. I loved slowly walking through the worn out urban decay. Its amazing the amount of stuff in each level compared to HL1. Maybe thats where my let down comes from as I wanted to take my time and explore these sections instead of being pushed through them. Maybe they tried that though and testers got lost and didn't like that since not everyone is into just wandering around the wastelands.
I also played through the extra level Lost Coast. While it looked pretty and was nicely full of environmental stuff, it was quite short and you didn't get to go to the interesting looking places. While it was decent for a quick playthrough, I really wanted to get to the town or industrial area. I did explore a wreck behind where you start but wanted to explore the others too. Maybe I need to switch back to Morrowind or Oblivion to get my exploration fix.
Now off to play Episodes 1 & 2. I really need to try Garry's mod, for some world building fun and maybe see what other SP HL2 mods are out there.