Someone please convince me why I should even finish Half Life 2.

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#1 Posted by TooWalrus (13258 posts) -

My friend Jason finally played Half Life 2. Like me, he was tired of hearing such great things about it, and not knowing what it’s all about. He bought the Orange Box, and played through Half Life 2, and both its episodes. He loved it. He told me he needed someone to talk to about how awesome it was, but everyone else played the game 5 years ago.

So he lent me the Orange Box, and after spending several hours on the first 5 chapters, I took the disc out went to play something else. There literally wasn’t a moment in those first 5 chapters I enjoyed.

I was told playing Half Life 1 wasn’t necessary to understand Half Life 2, but maybe it would have helped. Every character in the entire game has a hard-on for Gordon Freeman, and I’ve got no idea why. I wish they would have explained a tiny bit what Half Life 1 was even about. It would have been fine, but they feel the need to throw the phrase black mesa in there every 6 seconds. “Hey! I’m Gary! You know, from Black Mesa!” If I played Half Life 1, I already know who you are, and if I didn’t, I don’t know what this Black Mesa place is.

There are places in that game where they try to have a sense of humor, but their jokes just bug me. Attractive female character says “Ha, a man of few words, huh?” and I just think about how terrible that joke is, yes, I get it, silent protagonist, Gordon doesn’t talk.

There’s little-to-no story in the game so far. I get off a train, hear a speech about instinct and destiny, which was fine, I guess, but Bioshock did it better (yes, I’m aware Half Life is older). Then the story is “Get the fuck out of here.” So, after being chased by identical skull-mask wearing cops for awhile, I climb into a teleporter, which breaks. That was neat, but then I get to crawl through a system of tunnels for awhile, with 0 character interaction, with a boring crowbar, pistol and SMG.

After I make it out of these tunnels, I get to ride a fan-boat, which is no fun at all. The only story I’m given is: You need to get from one guys lab, to this other guys lab. Why? Because you’re Gordon Freeman, that’s why. And this entire time, the game is controlling terribly. Every time you hit X to grab a latter, it’s completely random wither you have to hold up or down to climb or descend it. I’ve been told mouse and keyboard are the way to play, but I was lent this Xbox copy, and I’m not going to buy the game just for a different control scheme.

So why should I finish Half Life?  I really want to like it, but so far, I see no sign that it's going to get any better. There MUST be a reason there are so many Half Life fanboys on these forums. Convince me what’s so great about the 2 half of this game, and it’s episodes. Maybe it’s great, and the first half just drags a little too long. Maybe this gravity gun I’ve heard about it the most amazing thing ever. I literally want you to spoil the shit out of this game for me, and convince me why I should finish it. 

#2 Posted by natetodamax (19230 posts) -

I thought it was a pretty fun shooter, but not much else. If you don't like it, then I don't see why you should continue playing it.

#3 Posted by Baillie (4318 posts) -
@TooWalrus: I was the exact same, I never finished it.
#4 Posted by Jothel (940 posts) -

Finish it, it's seen as one of the best games ever for a reason, discover that reason yourself.

#5 Edited by Venatio (4493 posts) -

I've bought the Orange Box on Steam and 360, I liked Half Life 2, I like the Source engine, the gravity gun and the physics but the game itself? meh, I played HL2 for the first time last year, it must've been pretty awesome in 2004 though, pretty boring in 2009
 
Bought it on Steam mostly because of TF2 and it was so damn cheap

#6 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -

If you have to ask us why you should continue to play a game which you've already played through the first five chapters of and not enjoyed it thus far. Then I think that answers your question, cut your losses and play something you do or will enjoy :)

#7 Posted by zombie2011 (5100 posts) -

I played Half-Life 2 without playing the first and i had no idea what was going on during the game, Headcrabs, Combine, Black Mesa wtf are any of those things. I didn't like the game, found it pretty boring especially the vehicle scenes that seemed to last forever and the stupid first person platforming. However, i did like Episode 2 i'd say just play that skip everything else.

#8 Posted by Skytylz (4042 posts) -

I can't help you, I loved it.  The endings are actually really good.  I hated the combat at the end of the episodes, but the end of Episode 2 is awesome. 

#9 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -
@Hamz said:
" If you have to ask us why you should continue to play a game which you've already played through the first five chapters of and not enjoyed it thus far. Then I think that answers your question, cut your losses and play something you do or will enjoy :) "
#10 Posted by bartok (2594 posts) -

That boat section was too fucking long and sucked ass. It pretty much took away my will to complete the game.   Towards the end is pretty fun when your gravity gun gets super charged and you are pretty much a golden gold but if you don't like the game then don't force yourself.  It is only a fucking video game so who cares if you beat it or not in the grand scheme of things.

#11 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Jothel said:
" Finish it, it's seen as one of the best games ever for a reason, discover that reason yourself. "
#12 Posted by Cameron (607 posts) -

I think it is too late. That game was super-impressive, both technically and narratively, in 2004, but now it is neither. Like most other shooters, it just doesn't age that well.

#13 Posted by DocHaus (1415 posts) -

At the time HL2 was released the Source engine was new, the Havok physics were awesome, and first-person physics puzzles were pretty creative and the gravity gun had just been the coolest thing ever to play around with physics even more. Nowadays they seem kind of trivial and boring.
 
If you want a summation/parody of the plot there's an old comic for that.

#14 Edited by ArtelinaRose (1863 posts) -

You shouldn't, because it's clear you aren't enjoying it. Just because some people say HOLY SHIT ITS AMAZING BEST GAME EVER UGHHH JUST THINKING ABOUT IT GIVES ME A BONER doesn't mean it's for you. Find something you'll like instead.

#15 Posted by Aetheldod (3788 posts) -

WTF????? You guys dont know shit about great games , Half life 2 is the best FPS there is , and the story is right there for the taking  , you MUST pay attention to the little details , also how there you make fun of Alyx Vance???? >:3 , if you expect to be sited down to have things explained then do not play this game , if you dont want to THINK , then stop playing this awesome game .... so how about it  ? This antagonism is enough for you to finish one of the greatest games out there???

#16 Edited by NobodyHIFI (96 posts) -

because its awesome?   

you claim half life controls terribly yet praise... ugh.. bioshock ignoring the most obvious... that the gunplay in bioshock is vomit-inducing its so bad

oh and xbox version lol

#17 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

I watched a let's play to get the story in HL1, and activated God Mode in HL2 'cause I was fed up with the gameplay and just wanted to find out the end of the story. To be honest, there isn't much in there that hasn't been done better since.

#18 Posted by babblinmule (1262 posts) -

I had to force myself to complete it just so that my mates would shut up. I too played it for the 1st time in the orange box and just didn't think it stands up very well today. That boat ride is one of the dullest FPS segments I've ever experienced - just a poorly designed, uninteresting mess of a level.
 
However, I feel that if I had played it on release, I would have liked it alot more as I can see why people thought it was so revolutionary six years ago.

#19 Posted by RuthLoose (846 posts) -
@davidwitten22 said:
" @Hamz said:
" If you have to ask us why you should continue to play a game which you've already played through the first five chapters of and not enjoyed it thus far. Then I think that answers your question, cut your losses and play something you do or will enjoy :) "
"
Third'd.  

It is kind of like Brad playing through Assassin's Creed 1 because he wanted to play Assassin's Creed 2. If you got a third of the way in and don't like it then maybe you should just cut your losses and move on.
#20 Posted by J0n3s1 (289 posts) -

JAAAAAAASOOON! 

#21 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -
@Aetheldod: Is that meant as sarcasm?
#22 Edited by glorious_leader (107 posts) -

First off, Black Mesa was a facility that accidentally opened up a portal to another realm, releasing an utter shit storm upon the complex.  While all the scientists were being killed off by headcrabs and armed military goons, Freeman took up a crowbar and fought his way out, and leaving a trail that presumably allowed others to get out in his footsteps.  This, mixed with his ending the enslavement of the Vortigaunt and his capacity to overcome impossible odds are why he's seen as such an epic hero.  Also, the reason characters keep saying they're from Black Mesa is because even someone that played HL1 wouldn't necessarily know they were from Black Mesa.  There were no unique characters in HL1, instead having a bunch of generic scientist and guards running around.  However, the main characters of HL2 have appearances that are a tossup to the generic skins from HL1.  The characters, now having unique identities, are simply confirming that they were one of those insignificant individuals you encountered at Black Mesa.
 
As far as HL2's story, it's presented through the eyes of Gordon as he experiences it.  There is no narrator telling you the plot details that the common man would have no idea about.  This is meant to immerse the player further, I suppose.  The storyline is mankind's epic struggle against this new fascist, alien regime that is slowly walking us into extinction, and you're seeing just one perspective in all of that.  And since that perspective is from the man that everyone looks to to lead the revolution against that regime, the story is told primarily through you taking the fight to the Combine.  
 
The game does pick up as it goes on.  But not so significantly that I would guarantee you'll enjoy it.  I love the game in its entirety, but it is starting to get dated.  That sense of innovation that made the game so amazing is going to slowly disappear as time goes on.  For someone like me, every time I play it I'll be able to appreciate how awesome it was the first time I tried it out.  But, unfortunately for those that were late to the party, they'll never get to experience that.  However, I recommend you at least play for a couple more chapters.  The physics engine, which was a large part of the innovation that made the game so crisp, isn't fully utilized until you have the gravity gun.  I hope you're able to enjoy the game and see it through to the end, because it is a fantastic game.
 
Edit: 
@ The various posters the feel there is not a storyline: The storyline requires the player to be observant to the state of their environment to realize what's going on.  Examples of this would be the portions of the game where you find docks sitting out over what appears to be desert, with an occasional abandoned boat laying in said desert.  At some point I think the developers expected you to realize, "Hey, this isn't a desert.  This is what used to be the ocean floor.  Those Combine s'umbitches are takin' our water!" 
 
There is no formal exposition.  This is true.  However, by throwing the player into a setting drastically different from the first game, the developers seem to have intended to spark the curiosity of newcomers and those that completed Half Life 1 alike.  However, while this was effective for the latter group, it backfired for newcomers, who erroneously assumed that this new setting was explained in HL1.

#23 Posted by Ventilaator (1502 posts) -

That's basically how the game goes on until the end.
 
I absolutely despised every part of it between the starting section (Up until the teleporter breaks) and the ending sequences.
As in, the only 2 parts of the game that have any kind of a story beyond "Get over there now because you're Gordon Freeman"
 
Half-Life 2 is far and away the most overrated game ever.
 
Here's the weird thing, I absolutely LOVED both the episodes. The pacing, the various unique battle sequences, and the actual reasons for moving from place to place were a huge improvement over Half-Life 2.
 
The good things people say about Half-Life 2 only apply to the episodes, as far as I'm concerned.

#24 Posted by Aetheldod (3788 posts) -
@Azteck:  IDK .... it infuriates me that some people says this game is old and what not ... I just love it too much I guess , what is funny is that some people claim that this game has been done better since , my question is where? Also I think this game hasn't aged one iota , also  ... you know I cant be  unbiased so I will stop , before I become a troll :( , I must learn that some people just dont like this game , just like I dont like other games .... sigh
#25 Posted by Subjugation (4754 posts) -

I really enjoyed it. I played it a good few years after it had been out as well and it still looked good to me. I also felt like Alyx Vance was one of the most believable human characters I had seen. Good facial detail and  animation can do amazing things. No one is going to force you to play something you don't want to play though. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to games and people can't always be faulted for not enjoying a specific game even if it is widely considered to be one of the best games up until this point in time. People have been hailing Civilization as a masterpiece for years and yet I've never been able to enjoy it. Life goes on.

#27 Posted by yogetoutdaway (126 posts) -

I found myself in the same situation as you last year, except I just forced myself to finish the game because I already paid for it. I didn't feel there was really any pay-off at the end, since it sort of just ends. As far as story goes, I feel like the lack of exposition about what's happening is really off putting. From what I understand, Half Life 1 had almost nothing to do with the situation Earth is in at the beginning of HL2 and wouldn't really help you understand it. And the reason why Earth is conquered by aliens is very vaguely and poorly explained in HL2 through some newspaper clippings that can be easily missed. It would be like if the Terminator skipped the bits of exposition that describe the situation in the future, at which point it becomes some random robot chasing a lady for no apparent reason.
 
That said, you should at least play through Ravenholm, the zombie-infested town, because it's the first area (I think) where you get the gravity gun and shotgun. I would say the gunplay is at its peak during the Ravenholm mission. After that, it becomes a huge pain because you have to take down those crazy tripods and air ships and those parts are NOT fun.

#28 Edited by Noodles (539 posts) -

And I thought I was the only one who didn't like Half Life 2. I beat it but didn't enjoy it apart from the characters.

#29 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

You all so craaaaaaaaazy.
 
Except for @glorious_leader, he knows what's going on.

#30 Edited by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Half Life isn't so much about the "story"as the "storytelling." The way that the world and characters are realized, the way they manage to indicate where you need to go and what you need to do without smacking you on the head. I think that if you had played it at the time, you would see that nobody else was doing the things that Valve was. It has since influenced many other games, so it doesn't seem quite as revolutionary by today's standards.
 
EDTI: now that I think about it, you might enjoy HL1 more because you are less likely to compare it to modern day games. I would try it out if I were you, if only up until the resonance cascade (because its all famous and stuff).

#31 Posted by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

I hated the game the first time I played it. I just played a bit at a time and it took me almost a year to finish it. Then later on at later playthoughts, which is alot, I think it's brilliant. I think you might think well what's so great about it, the second playthough you'll be like, this game is brilliant and fun. Of course the pacing could be better. When you get the gravity gun, things will be more fun.

#32 Posted by s7evn (1072 posts) -

why should we convince you to finish a game? If you don't want to finish, then don't. I'll just say the cliff-hanger at the end of episode 2 made a lot of the game-play (though I did enjoy the game) worth it.

#33 Posted by Monte (229 posts) -

No. If you don't like it fine...

#34 Posted by Vinchenzo (6192 posts) -

Because HL2 is awesome and the best shooter. Yup.

#35 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5826 posts) -

There are better FPS games.
 
play those instead.

#36 Posted by laserbolts (5385 posts) -
@Jothel said:
" Finish it, it's seen as one of the best games ever for a reason, discover that reason yourself. "
If a game is considered the best game ever you shouldn't have to find a reason.  The game should provide many reasons within the first couple hours of playing it.  I played through half life 2 and found the story to be basically uninteresting if existent at all.  I am not bashing half life though since it was a pretty fun shooter.  Although my favorite part of the game was blowing up my A.I. teammates.  I wouldn't even think about mentioning it in discussions of best games ever and find that it may be a little overrated.
#37 Posted by ColinWright (742 posts) -

I absolutely loved Half-Life 2 and it's Episodes. There's obviously a reason people are clamoring for any bit of news of Episode 3. 

#38 Posted by leebmx (2236 posts) -

Basically If you did not find the opening to the game when you arrive at City17(I think?) engrossing then maybe it isn't for you.  For me what makes HL is the storytelling and characters. The story might be aliens invade earth cliche but it is told with style and all the people you interact with along the way have real personality. In Alyx Vance you will find one of the great video game characters although if you don't find her endeering then again you should probably turn the game off. 

#39 Posted by emem (1975 posts) -
@TooWalrus: Hm well, HL2 is not a console game, maybe that's the reason why the controls don't feel good. For the PC the controls were and still are perfect and the combat feels great, too. 
 
When it comes to the story and the atmosphere of the game, which I really like, it's a matter of taste.. if you don't like it, you don't have play it. The atmosphere is unique, it has been that way in the first HL as well and that's a big reason why so many people like(d) it.
#40 Posted by Surkov (990 posts) -

Anybody who doesn't like Half-Life 2 is somebody I don't want to know.  

#41 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -
@nintendoeats said:
" Half Life isn't so much about the "story"as the "storytelling." The way that the world and characters are realized, the way they manage to indicate where you need to go and what you need to do without smacking you on the head. I think that if you had played it at the time, you would see that nobody else was doing the things that Valve was. It has since influenced many other games, so it doesn't seem quite as revolutionary by today's standards. "
The problem, I think, is that they do go the other way from standard narratives and try for a naturalist storytelling method with one primary story arc or escape and rebellion and it doesn't quite fit. It's too loose and too empty for a majority of the game, particularly when you reach the end and you realise that Valve aren't that smart and that all you've done was totally irrelevant.
#42 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -
@HandsomeDead said:
" @nintendoeats said:
" Half Life isn't so much about the "story"as the "storytelling." The way that the world and characters are realized, the way they manage to indicate where you need to go and what you need to do without smacking you on the head. I think that if you had played it at the time, you would see that nobody else was doing the things that Valve was. It has since influenced many other games, so it doesn't seem quite as revolutionary by today's standards. "
The problem, I think, is that they do go the other way from standard narratives and try for a naturalist storytelling method with one primary story arc or escape and rebellion and it doesn't quite fit. It's too loose and too empty for a majority of the game, particularly when you reach the end and you realise that Valve aren't that smart and that all you've done was totally irrelevant. "
Well, they could certainly do a better job of impressing upon you the importance of what you did at Nova Prospekt. And then you destroy the Citadel at the end...
 
But you are right. I think that the massive dev cycle for HL2 is what caused this. Thats why the episodes did it better. But looking at that big story arc concept, they do a good job of keeping things exciting and new from moment to moment which should make up for the fact that the overall plot can be summarised in a paragraph. So if OP isn't enjoying that stuff, than I can totally see why he wouldn't like the game.
 
As much as I love it, if I worked at Valve goal one would be giving the HL series a more compelling storyline.
#43 Posted by CaptainTightPants (2834 posts) -

I was actually the same, I did complete the game but it started to become a chore after a few hours. I kept going thinking this game has to get better, people speak so highly about it. It didn't, it really did not get any better, I played through the whole game and Maybe I missed all the amazing parts somehow but that game was disappointing. It's a shame too because the first few hours are actually fun.
 
Honestly I found that it got worse as it went on, so no to that question about the beginning dragging on. 

#44 Edited by Spoonman671 (4836 posts) -

You really don't need to know much of anything about Half-Life to enjoy Half-Life 2.  Black Mesa was a US research facility and some bad shit happened there involving inter-dimensional aliens.  Gordon was a researcher there, Barnie (or Gary, if you insist) was a security guard, and pretty much everybody else was a scientist there.  The vortigaunts were bad guys, but really they were slaves and now they're good guys.  There isn't a whole lot to fill in the spaces between the games.  Oh, and you left somebody's lunch in the microwave too long and it exploded.  Consider yourself filled in.
 
As for Half-Life 2, it doesn't really get good until you get the gravity gun.  I think most people praise the game so much because their memories of it are colored by Episodes 1 and 2, which are both much better than the original game.  As for ladders, if your looking up and press forward then you will go up.  If you're looking down and press forward you will go down.

#45 Posted by agentboolen (1863 posts) -

I played through 2 and ep1, but got bored during ep2.  Anyone have a reason why I should finish ep2?  But yea part 2 has some great moments, and seems more fun then ep2.

#46 Posted by rosebud04 (360 posts) -

Ravenholm Dude Ravenholm! 

#47 Posted by DeF (5001 posts) -

I stopped TWICE after or during the boat section. It dragged too long.
 
Last year, I finally decided to finish HL2 + Ep1&2 and damn it was worth it!
 
I'll just say Ravenholm. And the powered up Gravity Gun at the end? Awesome!
 
Keep at it, you haven't seen anything yet.

#48 Posted by Spoonman671 (4836 posts) -
#49 Posted by Jimbo (10067 posts) -

It's over six years old, you haven't played the first game in the series, you're playing it on a platform it was never intended for and you're judging it by today's standards.  I can't even imagine why you might be disappointed.

#50 Posted by gamefreak9 (2508 posts) -
@TooWalrus:  
Its not a good game, they have like 2-3 interesting mechanics, the gravity gun and some other crap but otherwise its crap...
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