My thoughts on Half Life 2.

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#1 Posted by kage_rancid (1 posts) -

i've recently started playing Half Life 2 and I am just getting through the river part with the fan boat and at first i was quite enjoying the game, and honestly I can say i still kind of am. But I've gotten quite bored with the game so far and I definitely cannot understand why people praise this game so much. It seems like its just another generic shooter that everyone would call crap today. Now I'm not the kid who plays call of duty and thinks. WOW THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER MADE!!!! Far from it (although i still play call of duty because its entertaining) But as far as I can tell Half Life 2 seems like a half decent Indie game with a few good voice actors, not something to be considered a Triple A title. There are tons of cool things about this game that I feel even cooler if it seemed like they worked harder on implementing them in better ways. The physics puzzles were kind of cool, but they were relatively simple and easy to complete. People say Half Life is the greatest video game Valve has ever produced, but i disagree. I think the source engine that they designed AROUND half life 2 and the one that's used on newer games like Portal 2 is great. (although not the best)

The game itself bores me to be blunt. I enjoyed it for the first half hour or so because it gave me a bit of a chase scene. But once I got a hold of a weapon the enemies dropped like a fat dog from a hot air balloon and all the challenge was lost. I even turned up the difficulty but they still dropped fast, the only thing that changed was that i lost health faster.

I like the game, its a decent game. But its (so for) only consists of get from point A to point B without any REAL explanation on why you're going there other than there are people there that need to see you so they can send you to another place because there are people there that need to see you, so you're like cool... and just go there and shoot things.

There characters so far are quite difficult to care about. The girl, So uninteresting i don't even know her name (and pretty much the same for everyone else too) is just another character. Not someone who seems important, or really even necessary except as a person to tell you that you gotta do something. The doctor is a little more interesting, if only in a comical sense, but still not interesting enough to remember his name at this point in time. Hell in Halo 1 i knew Cortana, Captain Keyes, and Master Chiefs name within the first ten minutes and Captain Keyes isn't even a main character. (a main plot point but not character)

The most entertainment I got from half life 2 so far was the little teleportation device in the lab, and when i broke that by accident, i was off to be bored once more.

So those are my thoughts on Half Life 2 (so far). Another boring point n click shooter with very little else to it than a pretty physics engine. (and one i think Amnesia: The Dark Descent outshines) The game is as entertaining as an arcade rail shooter and the story is meh with very little explained to you. I get that you're supposed to EXPERIENCE the story but there isn't much of an experience when the main character is a mute moron that lets everyone walk all over him. I would rather have cut scenes than bad half assed cut scenes that aren't cut scenes but instances where you're not allowed to do anything but sit back and watch, maybe move the camera around. OH WAIT THOSE ARE STILL CUT SCENES! stop saying there are no cut scenes in this game you guys -_-

Also those manhat robots are annoying, not challenging.

#2 Edited by Camoufrage (84 posts) -

You're a few years late.

Yeah, HL2 is a pretty great game.

#3 Posted by GunstarRed (5398 posts) -

I like this game, but it's boring, it's ok, but I don't like it because it is boring.

Online
#4 Posted by SomeDeliCook (2341 posts) -

A brand new account doing nothing but calling Half-Life 2 boring and saying the characters suck but the Halo characters are better. 
Yeah ok

#5 Posted by YummyTreeSap (353 posts) -

I think HL2 is a good game, but it doesn't have the atmosphere and charm from the original game that I hold so dearly. My main problem with HL2 is that too much of the game is based around showing off the physics engine. Maybe it was REALLY COOL when the game first came out (and indeed, it was!), but playing it in retrospect feels a bit… empty? By now we've seen all these physics engine tricks a million times in various games, so none of that has much appeal anymore. I loathed the 'sand floor is lava' aspects with a burning passion. I did like the parts you use the turrets as a defense though and kind of wish they'd expanded on that a little bit.

#6 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1872 posts) -

Yet another "I played this game almost a decade after it came out, but I am going to judge it as a modern game and wonder why everyone loved it so much. Everyone else is wrong, I am right" thread.

Setting aside that a lot of the elements of this game that you dismiss as "just like every other shooter" are just like every other shooter because they were popularized by this game, you are still flat out wrong about the characters and storytelling. Some elements of the game haven't age great, but I would still rather play HL2 than pretty much any modern shooter.

#7 Posted by hollitz (1588 posts) -

I never thought HL2 was anything special, aside from the gravity gun. The last level is pretty great, maybe one of the greatest levels in any FPS, but the rest of the game is just a slog.

#8 Posted by Pr1mus (3959 posts) -

Guys i think this man speaks crazy but i'm not sure because i don't speak crazy.

Playing a 9 year old game a quarter of the way in and judging it by today's standard... yeah, don't do that.

#9 Posted by BisonHero (6790 posts) -

I still think it's neat how both Half-Life 1 and 2 handled objectives. Instead of giving you a nice little pat on the head every 10-15 minutes with a "objective completed, you saved the president's daughter, here's a beer", it's more like "BITCH EVERY COP IN THE CITY LOOKIN' FOR YOU, YOU GOTTA GET LIKE 200 KILOMETERS AWAY TO OUR SECRET SAFEHOUSE", and then you just travel through the countryside, on the run from the law, for a while.

People bitch about the pacing and how long the game is relative to shooters of the time and certainly shooters of today, but I like it. I got a real sense of an actual journey out of it, which you don't really get from spending 5 minutes on a Warthog every now and then.

And yeah, like everybody is saying, you seem like you're missing some perspective on the game and how much it influenced a lot of shooters for at least 4 or 5 years after it came out, though right now everybody is copying Call of Duty instead. Also, though there isn't a lot of it, the characterization and voice acting is fine. If you didn't pick up their names, that's your fault for not listening.

#10 Posted by Lagaroth (171 posts) -

@ll_Exile_ll said:

you are still flat out wrong about the characters and storytelling.

A great way to make an argument. I mean the OP is probably just a troll post, I actually thought it would be a spam bot when I first clicked, but still.

(For the record, I also thought Half-Life's characters and story were boring as hell.)

#11 Edited by Maajin (1079 posts) -

Are you sure Amnesia: The Dark Descent's physics engine outshines a ten year old game? Would you go so far as to say Far Cry 3's graphics are slightly better as well?

I'm pretty sure you're just flame baiting, but in case you're not, read a little about the Source Engine and what it did at its time.

#12 Posted by MiniPato (2747 posts) -

I played it last year. Thought it was good. Not particularly game-of-the-decade great, but I enjoyed it. I guess I could see how back when it first came out, people would find it mindblowing. But I think it's impossible for anyone to play a game in a mental time capsule, free from the influence of modern games, and feel the same way as someone who played it when it first came out.

I'll admit that I mostly went into HL2 with an antagonistic attitude cause people lather praise on it so thick that I can barely breath out my nose. But I came out of it enjoying it and was never really bored by it. I guess if there were some monetary exchange rate for enjoyment, HL2 being good by today's standards would be phenomenal by 2005's standards.

It's not a perfect game though. Did not really care about the story and characters whatsoever. Though that's probably in large part of not having played HL1. Then again, having played the Black Mesa mod, I found HL1 to be quite boring in comparison but the story about as uninteresting.

#13 Posted by Aetheldod (3682 posts) -

Dude just play the whole game then come back and really talk about the game .... This is the best game ever , granted Im the crazy person who plays it every year at least once :D

Or what you need big pointy arrow and big explotions all the time to enjoy a game? You havent even got hold of the coolest weapons yet. Also this game comes from a time were good golly you have to think and see things in order to get the bigger picture. You wont get (thankfully) the idiotic big oh my god amuricuh splotions and shit shit boring ride of Call of duty.

#14 Posted by BisonHero (6790 posts) -

@hollitz said:

I never thought HL2 was anything special, aside from the gravity gun. The last level is pretty great, maybe one of the greatest levels in any FPS, but the rest of the game is just a slog.

Really? The last level isn't bad, and it's certainly an enjoyable payoff for the story, but if you only enjoyed yourself in the level where you have double the shield energy you should normally have, and have a one-hit kill gun that doesn't need ammo and think that is some great testament to FPS game design, then maybe you should stick to playing [insert title of generic power fantasy video game here].

#15 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1872 posts) -

@Lagaroth said:

@ll_Exile_ll said:

you are still flat out wrong about the characters and storytelling.

A great way to make an argument. I mean the OP is probably just a troll post, I actually thought it would be a spam bot when I first clicked, but still.

(For the record, I also thought Half-Life's characters and story were boring as hell.)

A fair point, but I honestly didn't feel like going into an in depth analysis of the game's characters and storytelling when the OP probably won't even respond. I've engaged in this argument so many times that I'm just sick of it. I will engage in a legitimate argument, but I don't feel like wasting time on someone that can't understand that if you play a game this long after it was released, it is simply not going to resonate with you the same way it did for those that played it when it was new and praise it as an all time great.

#16 Posted by hollitz (1588 posts) -

@BisonHero said:

@hollitz said:

I never thought HL2 was anything special, aside from the gravity gun. The last level is pretty great, maybe one of the greatest levels in any FPS, but the rest of the game is just a slog.

Really? The last level isn't bad, and it's certainly an enjoyable payoff for the story, but if you only enjoyed yourself in the level where you have double the shield energy you should normally have, and have a one-hit kill gun that doesn't need ammo and think that is some great testament to FPS game design, then maybe you should stick to playing [insert title of generic power fantasy video game here].

I liked the last level because the best gun in the game (which is barely a gun) suddenly had completely new mechanics. The environment was cool and the ending was rad.

HL2 is kind of a power fantasy the whole way through. Cipher character, virtual girlfriend, getting into a crane and knocking dudes around, shooting down a helicopter from a boat, being the Free-Man! who is practically worshiped by aliens. Sounds kind of par for the video game course to me.

I'll admit that I have questionable taste when it comes to FPS level design. I really liked the Library in Halo for fuck's sake. No need to pounce on me for having a different opinion.

#17 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

Your thoughts pretty much suck. Your writing leaves a little on the floor if you ask me. I find your observations lacking in what I really want to know about this game. As in coherent thought, that's a start, about Half Life 2.

#18 Posted by Zajtalan (1163 posts) -

you just gotta feel it and you weren't feelin it

#19 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

@Zajtalan said:

you just gotta feel it and you weren't feelin it

Exactly. The feeling of traversing the Half Life 2 universe and running into its beasts and bad guys, feeling like a FREE MAN walking long miles to help the good guys, it was amazing.

#20 Posted by joshthebear (2700 posts) -

Reavenholm is where it's at, with Father Grigori.

#21 Posted by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

@kage_rancid said:

  • At first i was quite enjoying the game, and honestly I can say i still kind of am.
  • But I've gotten quite bored with the game so far and I definitely cannot understand why people praise this game so much.

This is the most schizophrenic fucking thing I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

I'm assuming a troll (but, seriously, why go to all the bother of typing out that inane shit). I weep for you, either way.

#22 Posted by Nilazz (630 posts) -

I played through Half-Life 2 for the first time last year and I was blown away. I had tried it a couple of times before but something always got in the way ( like the release of a new game ) but one day I decided to sit down and play it start to finish and damn what a good game.

The story and the atmosphere is just great, running around in Ravenholm with a couple of surround sound headphones on is one of the scariest things I've done in gaming.

#23 Posted by project343 (2835 posts) -

Half-Life 2 is probably my favourite shooter. So I guess I disagree? You also seem to also be missing the part where this game released in 2004--like, a week after Halo 2 released.

It has such genuine characters, a ton of spectacular mystery, a really visceral feeling to all the guns and physics (that almost all shooters of today cannot hold a candle to), and it has a spectacular pacing. Not to mention that it went on to plant the success seeds of Steam's future, and be the base for so many amazing Source mods...

#24 Posted by TheHBK (5548 posts) -

Half Life 2 is one of those games that had to have been played when it came out to truly appreciate it. Today, it would feel outdated. Back then it did things no first person shooter did.

Just like the original Half-Life, you are living this singular adventure through Gordon Freeman's eyes. You are him, you keep your thoughts to yourself but whatever thoughts you are having, they are also his. And this is why the game can seem tedious, there are no fade outs unless you get your ass kicked or you travel through time. You experience the full journey of running away from the oppressive overlords of earth to get to the resistance hideouts and find your way back to try and free the city.

A lot of the confusion comes from people not actually paying attention to the game and that happened to me. And in the first game too. But you run from the city, escape to the canals to get the resistance headquarters. That gets invaded and you have to make it to the prison where Alyx's dad is held but he gets taken back to the city where it all started and you have to battle to the citadel to free him. Not complicated, but you get to see a lot of how the world is ravaged by the invasion. Ships are stranded on beaches because the ocean is being depleted. Aliens have dug themselves into the world. Zombies rule and priests have gone crazy.

The other part of this is how revolutionary it was. At the time of course. Physics puzzles man. They might seem simple today but fuck. I don't just push this box on this predetermined square grid, I have to pick up boxes, stack them to get to where I need to. I have to get this ramp up somehow. The hell. Or the first time Alyx looks down at you, how amazing those eyes looked and how the Source engine's strong point was facial animation that was so important for being in the first person view only. And this was back when FPS didn't fly around different characters or through time, you got an adventure.

I understand completely that times have changed and it is hard to appreciate it for what it was back then. You had Doom 3 and Half Life 2 as the big FPS of that year withe Halo 2 coming out a month later. It was a different time and out of those Half-Life 2 was the one that did things differently.

#25 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

Great first post, tell me, do you talk bollocks for a living or did you just save it for this forum post?

#26 Edited by 9cupsoftea (654 posts) -

When I first played half-life 2 I had the same reaction, it felt drawn-out, with long stretches of dull gameplay, no viscerality to the combat, and a confused story. Now though, a couple of years after playing it, I realise how brilliant it really was.

I can still remember that tense helicopter battle, where I was running from cover to cover, working my way around to figure out how to beat - no cut-scene, no change of pacing, no conveniently placed chest high walls, it just happens and I intuitively 'got it'.

I also remember the great tension of clambering around that sky-high bridge, almost feeling the vertigo - one of the few times an environemnt in a video game felt genuinely dangerous. Similarly with the ant-lion sands.

Finding a friendly face in the scariness of ravenholme, or marching with my ant-lion posse, or joining the villagers to fight the drop squads together - I never played another game where I felt so dependent and happy to fight alongside people. It's almost like the feeling of playing co-op, but without actually doing it.

Everything hl2 does is so subtle that it passed me by the first time. The way it segues from section to section, really naturally, as if the game world just exists and you happen to be passing through. And the way it makes you feel desperate, excited, scared, or tense without using cheap tactics. It's like one of those books that you don't really enjoy at the time, but which you end up remembering and referring to for the rest of your life. Sod it, I'm gonna play it again!

Edit: and also, I think it stands up completely. I think anyone who plays it now will still call it one of the best, if not the best, shooters ever - even you OP, if you finish it.

#27 Posted by ProfessorEss (7469 posts) -

Playing Half-Life 2 today is not the same as playing it when it came out.

I think there's fair criticism to be made regarding the fan-boat level, many people I know found it a little tedious and a few (myself included) have been straight up screwed by the auto-saving in that level. That being said, it still doesn't matter because even without beating it, everyone I know was still amazed by what they did play of it back in it's day.

And yeah, physics man, physics.

#28 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I compare every modern game to HL2: "Does it have a gravity gun?" If not, it's not better than HL2.

#29 Posted by Fynnius66 (6 posts) -

In my opinion the best thing this game has going for it is the world that it creates. Gameplay has dated pretty badly, i think.

#30 Posted by VoshiNova (1732 posts) -

Unfortunately your entire first paragraph can be explained by the fact that it's nine years old. However, I always suggest playing the first Half Life to completion before jumping into II as it's best to have a reference point for where the gameplay comes from.

When the going gets rough, try spotting the G-man in the "the wild."

#31 Posted by Jams (2965 posts) -

This was the original video that got me stoked for HL2. There was nothing else really like it at the time.

#32 Posted by CptBedlam (4454 posts) -

Yup, that's pretty much exactly how I felt when I was playing the game back when it got released. One of the most overrated games of all time.

#33 Edited by oraknabo (1514 posts) -

It seems like this board is flooded with post like this recently, especially about Half-Life 2. Do you guys go on IMDB and rate down all of the old movies because they don't hold up to contemporary standards?

There was NOTHING like Half-Life before Half-Life.

You have to understand FPS games of the time. Think about Wolfenstein 3D and Doom as the basis of your understanding of what an FPS is. Yes, they are fun, but those two are basically just running through corridors shooting enemies. If you were lucky enough to be exposed to Ultima Underworld at this time you actually got some RPG mechanics and a conversation system in a similar world , but most people just played Doom.

Then there's System Shock and Marathon, neither of which are widely popular, but they at least try to tell a story through audio and text logs, but the basic gameplay is still fighting enemies and accessing logs and terminals.

So, next we get real 3D with Quake, but it's pretty much just a better looking Doom where you run through corridors shooting enemies.

Duke Nukem is able to give us more interaction with the environment and a feeling of a story from start to end, but Half-Life starts out in a world of other people who actually acknowledge your presence. It attempts to tell a story from beginning to end by setting up the cause of the situation in-game, not "you are a space marine being dropped into this situation" then you work your way up out of Black Mesa and into Xen.

After that we get a lot of great games like Deus Ex, System Shock 2 and Thief that push in new directions, but Half Life 2 pushed its graphics and physics way beyond anything anyone else had done to make the world as convincing as possible. Sure it's linear and it doesn't have one stand-out mechanic that makes it unique (other than maybe the gravity gun) but it was a pretty spectacular thing when it came out.

I can't remember anything I played before HL2 (except maybe Psi-Ops which came out the same year) that used physics as well. I think of HL2 being to game physics as Mario 64 is to 3D platforming. I also can't remember anything with as convincing outdoor environments.

I remember the feeling of shooting an exploding barrel yards away from any enemy and seeing its explosion set off two other barrels, causing a chain reaction that eventually killed the enemy. I had never had a gaming experience like that before. Ever. I also have vivid memories of fighting the first gunship out on the road by the coast littered with dead cars--the attacks from the gunship throwing the cars off the road--and when I finally took it down, it came, falling out of the sky, straight at me, slamming the remaining cars on the road as I dodged it. What game had anything like that at the time?

The other great thing about the game is that it committed to telling its story through scripted scenes in the environment, avoiding cutscenes. Not a lot of games had done this at the time (Thief did) and watching two human characters have a conversation in front of you was a huge step forward from running around an empty environment listening to audio logs and reading text from consoles. Even on face animation alone, the game is important.

It also had vehicle segments which most people aren't huge fans of, but they weren't common at the time in FPS games.

It's really easy to criticize this game 9 years later in comparison to the Halo, Call of Duty, Crysis, Far Cry, FEAR, STALKER, Killzone and whatever other games. Some have much more open environments or more impressive scripted sequences and all of them have better graphics now, but if you're really going to try to understand why an older game is considered great, you have to turn off that part of your brain and understand where things were at the moment the game came out.

#34 Posted by eggscanjump (1 posts) -

@oraknabo: That was really well said. I agree with you on every word. I just made this account now to tell you this. :)

#35 Posted by project343 (2835 posts) -

@9cupsoftea: Your first paragraph really upset me, mostly because it was literally the inverse of my opinion (the pacing being spectacular, the weapons feeling unbelievable, etc.). Then I continued and am so happy about that turn around.

One thing Half-Life 2 does that, to this day, no/few other games do is that it doesn't feel 'designed.' It doesn't feel like a set of carefully planned combat encounters in very carved and polished playspaces. It just feels like they built a world. And when you start looking at how linear the game actually is, it is mystifying that the game feels as open and nonlinear as it does.

#36 Posted by buft (3321 posts) -

@Jams said:

This was the original video that got me stoked for HL2. There was nothing else really like it at the time.

still blows me away today because at the riem there was nothing like this

#37 Edited by s10129107 (1191 posts) -

The Half-Life world is a bit of a rabbit hole. You realize more things about the world as you pay attention and piece things together.

It seems like you haven't even gotten to Ravenholm or gotten the gravity gun (which is one of the definitive points of the game). Ravenholm is one of the best parts of the game.

This was the first game where the characters emote, that was a big deal. Subtle contortions of the face and subtle body language was a major breakthrough. Just about everybody loved Alyx Vance at that time.

It does kinda have the ALLSTORY, though.

#38 Posted by Jams (2965 posts) -

@buft said:

@Jams said:

This was the original video that got me stoked for HL2. There was nothing else really like it at the time.

still blows me away today because at the riem there was nothing like this

All this time later, I still remember that guy asking, "Will this run on my 486?" and everyone laughing.

#39 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 posts) -

@Fynnius66 said:

In my opinion the best thing this game has going for it is the world that it creates. Gameplay has dated pretty badly, i think.

Absolutely this.

#40 Posted by Winternet (8035 posts) -

Unless you're Gabe Newell, I don't understand the purpose of this.

#41 Posted by oraknabo (1514 posts) -

@eggscanjump: Thank you. It's always nice to get a compliment, even for a forum post.

#42 Posted by BisonHero (6790 posts) -

@s10129107 said:

It does kinda have the ALLSTORY, though.

That's not even a little bit true, unless you think every video game ever is the ALLSTORY because the protagonist is present at way too many world-changing events and everyone keeps giving him objectives to do on his own because it's a video game. Or if you just mean because "He's the solitary little guy, fighting the big bad organization", well yeah, that's every FPS video game ever. But assuming you're referring to Ryan's Halo 4/Assassin's Creed 3/Mass Effect 3 ALLSTORY:

There is no precursor race. Gordon Freeman in HL2 is respected because in HL1 he turned out to be more resourceful than a scientist should be and shot up a bunch of aliens and dudes and killed the Nihilanth in Xen, but he's not "The Chosen One". The Vortigaunts revere him only because he freed them from the mind control of that creature, not because there's anything actually prophesied about him or anything. The G-Man obviously has plans for Gordon, but again it seems more to do with his appraisal of Gordon's abilities than anything unique or magical about Gordon (same as with Adrian in Opposing Force). While the G-Man keeps hinting at Gordon having some special purpose, I really think Valve has no idea where they're going with that, given that the G-Man was created in like 1998 and there's no way they had much of a story planned out back then (or even now).

Similarly, if you read the Portal 2 comic, the last living scientist at Aperture chose to wake Chell up from suspended animation instead of anyone else, not because she had any particular strengths or great intelligence, but because all the psych eval tests noticed that she stubbornly refused to give up, no matter how impossible something seemed.

#43 Posted by s10129107 (1191 posts) -

@BisonHero said:

@s10129107 said:

It does kinda have the ALLSTORY, though.

That's not even a little bit true, unless you think every video game ever is the ALLSTORY because the protagonist is present at way too many world-changing events and everyone keeps giving him objectives to do on his own because it's a video game. Or if you just mean because "He's the solitary little guy, fighting the big bad organization", well yeah, that's every FPS video game ever. But assuming you're referring to Ryan's Halo 4/Assassin's Creed 3/Mass Effect 3 ALLSTORY:

There is no precursor race. Gordon Freeman in HL2 is respected because in HL1 he turned out to be more resourceful than a scientist should be and shot up a bunch of aliens and dudes and killed the Nihilanth in Xen, but he's not "The Chosen One". The Vortigaunts revere him only because he freed them from the mind control of that creature, not because there's anything actually prophesied about him or anything. The G-Man obviously has plans for Gordon, but again it seems more to do with his appraisal of Gordon's abilities than anything unique or magical about Gordon (same as with Adrian in Opposing Force). While the G-Man keeps hinting at Gordon having some special purpose, I really think Valve has no idea where they're going with that, given that the G-Man was created in like 1998 and there's no way they had much of a story planned out back then (or even now).

Similarly, if you read the Portal 2 comic, the last living scientist at Aperture chose to wake Chell up from suspended animation instead of anyone else, not because she had any particular strengths or great intelligence, but because all the psych eval tests noticed that she stubbornly refused to give up, no matter how impossible something seemed.

Firstly I said kinda, you're right to mention that HL2 doesnt (necessarily) have a precursor race, but there are a lot of videogames including half life and MANY others that share similar threads. Also movies and books. I'll go over some similar themes.

Where do I begin.

Fighting against the alien race with a nebulous background. The reapers / the hive mind / the pods all share similar threads but the Reapers and the Pods are almost identical both as devices and as characters. They are all the shit your pants unstoppable force that only Gordon / Shepard / Chief can lead us through. The pods and the reapers are even visually similar.

I'm gonna be unfair and start some of my arguments from HL2. Chief was plucked out of stasis to fight the Covenant and figure out the Halo rings. Shepard was plucked the Military to be the Human Spectre and solve the mysterious mystery of the mysteriously mysterious husks. Gordon was yanked out of wherever the hell he was to fight the Benefactors. It feels to me like the Immaculate Conception story beat. Here's the Messiah being born. It might be a little more profound in Halo where you emerge from the Cryo pod and HL2 where the GMan plops you into city 17.

I also think that the uncovering Silent Cartogopher, the Alien artifact with "the visions" from Mass Effect (and to an extent the first meeting with Sovereign) and the accident at Black Mesa are similar events that lend to similar overall themes (maybe even the writing on the wall in AC although i'm really not going to talk about AC that much as i stopped at 2). Its that massive introduction and exposure. It feels to me like stepping out of the Vault in Fallout 3 felt. Its the feeling of "theres a much bigger wider world than I thought and a much bigger mystery than i thought".

The repeated references to Gordon as "The one free man". This is a Jesus metaphor just like Halo and Mass Effect. Savior who will sacrifice himself at the end (what do you wanna bet) along with Alyx and a passi of followers that revere him (apostles) and the large establishment enemies who persecute him (Romans). Masterchief has the same thing going (Cortana and all the Marines) , so does Shepard. The Resistance, the UNSC and the Alliance all serve very similar functions.

Theres a lot of other sutff but this response is already too long and off of the original thread. I'm sure you can pick out a lot of other games with similar threads, and the reason is because it's lazy. It's the easiest possible story for this context. Thats more or less what I meant. That being said I still love the Half-Life story and universe and I got deeep into it once upon a time.

#44 Posted by buft (3321 posts) -

@Jams said:

@buft said:

@Jams said:

This was the original video that got me stoked for HL2. There was nothing else really like it at the time.

still blows me away today because at the riem there was nothing like this

All this time later, I still remember that guy asking, "Will this run on my 486?" and everyone laughing.

yeh plus all the oooohhing and aaahing, thats exactly how i reacted

#45 Posted by BisonHero (6790 posts) -

@s10129107 said:

Fighting against the alien race with a nebulous background. The reapers / the hive mind / the pods all share similar threads but the Reapers and the Pods are almost identical both as devices and as characters. They are all the shit your pants unstoppable force that only Gordon / Shepard / Chief can lead us through. The pods and the reapers are even visually similar.

I don't really see what you're saying here. Sure, they have some similarities because they're all sci-fi games made in the same decade, but it really has nothing to do with your overall messiah story. In fact, those settings differ considerably. HL2 takes place in a police state where the bad organization has already won, Mass Effect largely takes place in friendly territories and there's an entire first game where no one even believes there is a real threat, and Halo has similarities to Mass Effect's setup except with the addition of the Covenant who are misguidedly making things way harder. Halo and Mass Effect have some overlap in their destructive alien races, but the Combine have more in common with something like the Borg than the Reapers.

I'm gonna be unfair and start some of my arguments from HL2. Chief was plucked out of stasis to fight the Covenant and figure out the Halo rings. Shepard was plucked the Military to be the Human Spectre and solve the mysterious mystery of the mysteriously mysterious husks. Gordon was yanked out of wherever the hell he was to fight the Benefactors. It feels to me like the Immaculate Conception story beat. Here's the Messiah being born. It might be a little more profound in Halo where you emerge from the Cryo pod and HL2 where the GMan plops you into city 17.

The Immaculate Conception is actually just the idea that from the moment he was conceived, Jesus was free of original sin, so I assume you're more referring to the virgin birth of Jesus, which is a separate concept. Getting back to your examples, how do they mean anything at all? Very few video games aside from like Fallout 3 and Assassin's Creed 3 tell the entire life story of the main character, because in most cases, why the fuck would you. Every game starts pretty close to the moment when your character is suddenly needed for some great adventure, because the game IS that adventure, and why would you show any other part but the interesting part? Games contrive all kinds of story reasons for your hero to be taken from their everyday life and suddenly become inexplicably important and central to the story, but that doesn't make every video game protagonist a messiah figure, it just makes them a hero. In Ocarina of Time, I'm sure Link's life in Kokiri Village was pretty boring prior to Navi coming to get him, but that doesn't make him a Jesus figure. The stasis of Master Chief and Gordon Freeman is just a convenient excuse for the writers to not have to fill in what the hero has been doing between adventures. In HL2 in particular, it's nothing like a virgin birth, because Gordon does have past exploits, and they're referred to pretty frequently. Overall, what you see as the virgin birth, I see as the call to adventure, and basically every game has it.

I also think that the uncovering Silent Cartogopher, the Alien artifact with "the visions" from Mass Effect (and to an extent the first meeting with Sovereign) and the accident at Black Mesa are similar events that lend to similar overall themes (maybe even the writing on the wall in AC although i'm really not going to talk about AC that much as i stopped at 2). Its that massive introduction and exposure. It feels to me like stepping out of the Vault in Fallout 3 felt. Its the feeling of "theres a much bigger wider world than I thought and a much bigger mystery than i thought".

I don't really get what you're going for. Most sci-fi/fantasy games tend to have a moment where they try to hook the player with some mysterious, awe-inspiring shit that is going down in their original setting. It's called writing. There are about a zillion games I could describe as "some big crazy event in the beginning of the game is the impetus for the player to explore the world and solve mysteries".

The repeated references to Gordon as "The one free man". This is a Jesus metaphor just like Halo and Mass Effect. Savior who will sacrifice himself at the end (what do you wanna bet) along with Alyx and a passi of followers that revere him (apostles) and the large establishment enemies who persecute him (Romans). Masterchief has the same thing going (Cortana and all the Marines) , so does Shepard. The Resistance, the UNSC and the Alliance all serve very similar functions.

I already covered the "One Free Man" thing. Gordon isn't special because he's some magical chosen one, he's special because of all that hard work the player did in HL1; Gordon/the player earned that respect. Yes, the Vortigaunts revere him, but largely because they appreciate that he freed them by killing the Nihilanth. He saved their entire people, so specifically, yes, he is literally their messiah, but he's not the Jesus kind of messiah where your death/resurrection is critical to you saving everybody. If you really want to make a tortured analogy, I guess that makes Gordon into Moses and the Vortigaunts into the Jews or something, but that's not even the metaphor you're trying to argue.

It's a goofy plot device, but the reason all the humans in the resistance are so stoked that Gordon is back and they think he can help overthrow the Combine is because he's the fucking John McClane of Black Mesa, and single-handedly did tons of shit when Black Mesa went bad. Everyone thinks he's a badass who overthrow alien aggressors because you spend all of HL1 BEING A COMMANDO BADASS WHO OVERTHROWS ALIEN AGGRESSORS. Aside from that, you're referring to a completely hypothetical ending to the Half-Life series/trilogy that may never exist. And I really don't think Eli Vance, Alyx Vance, Dr. Mossman, and Dr. Kleiner somehow correlate to the 12 Apostles, especially given that Gordon is a solitary traveler that is never around those characters for more than like 2 minutes at a time. Sure, Mossman betrays you (if you wanted to pick an obvious Judas figure), and then it leads to the crucifixion/sacrifice of EXACTLY NO ONE, then she's back on your side like an hour later. Your criteria are so loose that basically any game with allies could suddenly be a metaphor for having apostles. In Twilight Princess, Link meets up with this group of like 4 NPCs who are part of this resistance group; Link must be a messiah because those are his apostles! :/

I agree that all 3 series share some incredibly broad story beats common to a lot of sci-fi video games, and that Mass Effect and Halo especially accidentally converged because they both rely so heavily on their "precursor race that was powerful they could wipe out all life in the galaxy" bullshit. But I'm really not seeing HL2 as making Gordon a messiah, as much as he is the hero. He's constantly involved in important world changing events, but largely because the G-Man is manipulating things so Gordon can be "the right man in the wrong place". The implied reason for this is that Gordon is a useful tool for the G-Man because he is resourceful and persistent. It remains to be seen whether he saves the entire galaxy/dimension, because we don't know how far Valve will take it in terms of Gordon single-handedly destroying the Combine, and whatever other threats he may encounter.

#46 Posted by DrGreatJob (129 posts) -

Looking back at the game (and having played it recently,) I'm pretty impressed with how well it holds up. It still has a lot of fun, interesting gameplay. The biggest problem when compared to modern shooters would be the pacing after the amazing intro chapters, particularly during the air boat and buggy sequences. I feel like those dragged on and on. By the time I was done with the vehicles, I was totally sick of both of them. The jalopy in Episode 2 was a similar concept to the sections, but without the pacing issues. Then again, Episode 2 is one of the best Valve products ever released.

#47 Posted by LackingSaint (1848 posts) -

You're only on the boat part? That's what, like 2 hours into the game? Seems a bit early to write an essay on why you don't like it.

#48 Posted by MormonWarrior (2638 posts) -

I played through this game around one and a half times to try to figure out what people see in it. I don't get it. It features:

  • Nausea-inducing first-person perspective (this is literally the only game that has ever bothered me, even including Portal)
  • Weak, unsatisfying guns with extremely limited ammunition
  • Retarded enemy AI
  • Dated (even for 2004) health system
  • Clunky first-person platforming/puzzles and wonky physics
  • An overrated manipulation ("gravity") gun...except for the last half hour when you can throw enemies with it
  • Awful, AWFUL overlong vehicle sequences

I could understand the game being kind of a cult favorite, but its widespread acclaim is really confusing to me. I can understand liking the atmosphere...maybe the characters too? None of that resonated with me but I can get that. The first game was groundbreaking at least. This one was just kind of a badly-paced mess. It's not a good FPS (it was outdone at the time by Halo) or a good first-person adventure (Metroid Prime handily bested it there). It's kind of middle-of-the-road at best.

#49 Posted by believer258 (12085 posts) -

I played through this game around one and a half times to try to figure out what people see in it. I don't get it. It features:

  • Nausea-inducing first-person perspective (this is literally the only game that has ever bothered me, even including Portal)
  • Weak, unsatisfying guns with extremely limited ammunition
  • Retarded enemy AI
  • Dated (even for 2004) health system
  • Clunky first-person platforming/puzzles and wonky physics
  • An overrated manipulation ("gravity") gun...except for the last half hour when you can throw enemies with it
  • Awful, AWFUL overlong vehicle sequences

I could understand the game being kind of a cult favorite, but its widespread acclaim is really confusing to me. I can understand liking the atmosphere...maybe the characters too? None of that resonated with me but I can get that. The first game was groundbreaking at least. This one was just kind of a badly-paced mess. It's not a good FPS (it was outdone at the time by Halo) or a good first-person adventure (Metroid Prime handily bested it there). It's kind of middle-of-the-road at best.

The health system isn't dated. I like health and armor better than regenerating health.

At the time, though, Half-Life 2 was perfectly paced, did set pieces wonderfully and in ways that no other game had really done, had well-written dialogue that didn't make you groan, had animations that are still better than almost anything released today with the exception of Rage, introduced a great physics engine which hadn't really been seen before either, introduced a famous tool to play with those physics, and just looked really, really fucking good at the time. In addition to that, it had a wide variety of environments and FPS games were not anywhere near as tired then as they are now.

These days, many of the things that it did first and many of the things that it did well have been surpassed at least once or twice, but you have to remember the time to understand why this game was great. I didn't actually play it until 2008 and I thought it was fantastic then as well, but it seems like the more time goes on, the more people will say "why is this game great" without understanding much about it or the games surrounding it in 2004.

#50 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3908 posts) -

@believer258: Yeah pretty much nailed it. Trying to find out why the game is so beloved but using todays standards is super dumb and totally unfair. Hell it set some of what's standard these days. Games that were said to be amazing back in the day could be kinda unplayable now, doesn't make what they did any less impressive.

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