Half Life 2

I've been playing Half Life 2 recently, since EMW bought the Orange Box and passed his HL2 and HL2:E1 licences to me... cheers mate.

The game is well done, pretty and plays well. The physics is nice. For reference, although a recent patch changed the default difficulty to easy, I'm playing on normal. Sorry, no funky screenshots like Pete's, thought about this while walking in.

However, I'm having a bit of an issue with the plot. Or, more specifically, the rationing of it. Spoilers follow.

So you start off, and look, there's plot! all around you. You're drawn in as you meet up with old friends and swim in the sewer system (hmm...). The plot seems to be progressing nicely, and you're about to be teleported to where you can do the most good.

The teleporter malfunctions. Yeah, that did seem too easy. You grin and carry on. They tell you you have to make your way there by the old route which is dangerous. But its OK, you're Gordan Freeman PdD (kicking ass).

You wend your way through the city, shooting the (presumably) bad guys.

You get to an outpost and they say "well done for getting here, don't worry, its only a few dozen miles from here". But its OK, have a boat.

OK, lets go boating. This is quite fun until gunships start turning up. You go through quite a long section, clear out an enemy base or two, and eventually get to an airlock. Woohoo, you're actually there, and everyone is pleased to see you. There's a little bit more plot, and you're given a cool new toy, the gravity gun.

But wait, the bad guys are attacking. You run inside only to find that a convenient landslide has split you up from the people you're meant to be helping. Again. FFS. You'd better go through Ravenholm.

Zombies and headcrabs, headcrabs and zombies. OK, you get to play with the gravity gun (circular saws are fun!) and the fast moving zombies are really well done, but I'm constantly aware that I'm only here because they decided I should be. Yes, its a recap on enemies from the first game, but its quite a long section for a recap.

You make your way through the mines and emerge in a railyard. Surely I mist be getting near the place I'm supposed to be by now? You fight your way in.

You get to an outpost and they say "well done for getting here, don't worry, its only a few dozen miles from here". But its OK, have a car.

No, wait, didn't I do this before? Come to think of it, have I really found out any more plot since the start? Yes, people recognise me and give me new guns. Yes, someone has been kidnapped in case my motivation is flagging.

I know HL2 is "episodic". What that seems to mean at the moment is that they're saving the plot for episode 1. Or at least, a bit of it.

I've carried on and am working my way through the car section. But I would not be surprised (I would be disappointed) to find out a bridge collapses and I need to go a dozen miles in a small plane. There might even be a spoonful more plot in it.


I know where you're coming from, Byrn. The plot is a bit like that to start with. It gets much better later on and in the other Episodes, it gets MUCH better indeed. The plot does come in a fair bit later but the difficulty is with plot is that it's quite often a case of "Stand and watch other people talk", which is not great for a game that's shooty.

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