Sunday, August 03, 2008

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (2007)

Another good intro as EP2 flowed well from EP1, as EP1 flowed from the original HL2. It really was a nice gaming ride through the whole HL2 series. I do think I enjoyed the EPs more as they cut the fat out of the sections I didn't enjoy. Think I liked EP1 more than EP2 though. I would like to see more of the combine battles of EP1 with the more outdoor levels of EP2.

At first I was overjoyed that it appeared we finally got to play in some nice open outdoor areas. This was trampled as you have to go tunnel crawling for a very long stretch. While the ant lion bits weren't overly hard, it was sort of like a repeat of the tunnel/sewer of HL2. After finally seeing some open top ground I didn't like being forced back underground.

Later on you do get some top ground travelling done. Getting to the car to traverse the larger areas was OK, but I was burnt out on being indoors by then. It was cool to look back once you got to it and be able to see all the areas you had just walked through as you could make out the buildings you had just been in.

Outdoor bits were good in that there was a mix of houses and outdoors to run around in. There did seem to be a lack of traditional combine soldiers though. Guess I should replay EP1 for that though. The last battle was fun as it was more open, but the level was still just a few hallways disquised as valleys instead. The map appears open and is pretty, but its not as open as ArmA/OFP maps or even STALKER. Still, while the boss battles may have been harder than regular battles, it only took a couple reloads, if that, to do them so my boss battle hatred was quelled.

The ending was brutal. Not just the final boss level, but the actual ending. I was not expecting that. I cannot wait for EP3. Well, except for STALKER: Clear Sky, but I'm a post-apoc junkie and dug STALKERs open levels.

Done with my play/replay of the HL series so now on to something else. Think I might grab FEAR and play through that before I go back to some tac sims or RPGs. Though itching to replay SS2, Deus Ex and NOLF1 still.

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