Watch as I speak ill of Half Life and Star Wars!


Half-Life 2

( Wait, didn't I just beat a first person shooter?) Why do I find myself typing about this game on the same exact day that I posted my last blog about Goldeneye? I should really space shit out a bit more. Anyway, I'd try to speak ironically about this game and pretend that I found something super obscure that nobody's heard of, but that's impossible for this game. Why? For some reason, people think it's a highly influential and awesome game. I just think it's pretty cool for the weapons and stuff.

Yes, the main appeal of this game is in the weapons. Why is that surprising? Well, the weird thing is that most of your inventory is really standard FPS stuff. You have a pistol, another pistol, a sub machine gun, another one of those (there's a lot of repetition, for some reason), a shotgun, and...wait, a crossbow? That's the next thing? That's why I love the weapons in this game: when it gets creative, it just lets all hell loose. First, we have a crowbar that summons techno music. Nice. Second, the crossbow, because what better way to fight the high tech Combine (what the hell are they, anyway? I don't remember hearing an explanation) than with medieval technology? Oddly enough, that sarcasm is pretty accurate, since the crossbow is a cool weapon. Anything that gets in its way will become your personal pin-up poster of victory, something modern guns sorely lack. You know what else they lack? The ability to snipe. The crossbow...OK, while it's a satisfactory method of picking off enemies from afar, it can't snipe, either. None of the weapons in this game let you kill things from another country. Why is this a problem? Because you end up fighting snipers several times throughout the game. Hell, there's an achievement for killing enough snipers. So the last FPS I blogged about had enemies throwing grenades you couldn't use, and this game has people sniping you and never gives you any method of sniping back. Will the next FPS I play be some weird Goldeneye mod where I have to karate chop all the enemies while they perforate my face?

No, it's not some weird texture glitch I found. Instead, it's the whitest ladder in the world.
Fortunately, the next weapon doesn't really have these flaws, mainly because it shoves them onto another gameplay mechanic. The weapon I speak of? Bugbait, AKA " Bremen's Mask Crossed with Starship Troopers." (Dear god, that joke has made me nostalgic for Majora's Mask.) As the name implies, it does two things: it summons a squad of antlions to march in step behind you, and it allows you to tag which enemy you wish death upon first. At that point, you just sit back and watch as the antlions rend the skin from Combine skeletons. What's that? They killed one of the antlions? How do you feel about infinite antlions? They never stop coming. Needless to say, the brief time you spend with them is also when the game becomes pretty damn easy, for reasons I've already described. Although I did notice something weird about the antlions: they made a better squad than the human squad you get later in the game. Yes, there are squad mechanics in this game, but they're not that good. You can only point to where you want them to go, and more often than not, they're going to die and expect you to do the heavy lifting. I'd blame myself, but given that part of the Sacred Rites of becoming a King require making me a good leader, I'm forced to say that the companion AI is stupid...even though the enemy AI has actually been mapped really well. The human enemies know how to organize and strategize, while the non-human things usually just rush at you like you have bacon stapled to your crotch, strategy be damned. Unfortunately, all your human allies seem to subscribe to the latter school of thought. Great.

You know what else is great in a sarcastic tone? This segue. But you know what's genuinely great? The gravity gun. It's the one thing that has made the game famous, and for good reason: it lets you turn anything into a weapon. If you see something in the environment, you can grab it and launch it into an enemy's stomach. Hell, later in the game, you can even launch enemies into each other. I haven't seen such great use of the Forced Orgy System since River City Ransom. Actually, now that I think about it, Half-Life 2's FOS is better than that of River City Ransom, since it lets you dick around with physics and everything. Do I honestly have to tell you why that's awesome? I think we've all wanted to tell Newton to go fuck himself for a long time, especially since the poor bastard never had sex in his miserable life. Of course, the gravity gun is the perfect way to tell Isaac Newton that he needs a good fucking. Wait, there's one flaw about it I forgot to mention: until the end of the game, the gravity gun can't do heavy lifting. Why is this a problem? Well, when you first get it, the mysteriously pan-racial Alyx Vance tells you that it's for heavy lifting. How could you ignore your own writing, Valve?

 Are you trying to piss off Bushwald Sexyface, Valve?
Actually, now that I think about it, the story is the least enjoyable part of Half-Life 2. I can hear your ears whistling with rage, so come back after having watched this video. Trust me, it'll calm you down. You done? OK, back to Half-Life 2's story. On that note, why's it called Half-Life 2? If it wanted to be accurate, it'd be called "Half Related to Half Life." Sure, the characters toss around a few references to Black Mesa and Combine and funny speaking aliens and stuff, and the G-Man (why does that sound like a pornographic superhero?) returns for some cryptic irrelevance, but as far as I can tell, this game's story is pretty far removed from the events of Half-Life 1. That game was about...something (look, I haven't played the original Half-Life), but this game is about freeing the citizens of City 17 from the evil grasp of Ed Bighead. Wait, why's he so evil? That part never seemed to make an impact. I heard him speaking about human progress and creation and science and blah blah blah, but he didn't exactly do it in a memorable way. Actually, now that I think about it, the villains in this game aren't very good. I've already talked about the mysterious G-Man and the bland Bighead, but who else is there? Judith, a scientist I didn't see a lot before her reveal as a traitor. In that time, her only characterization was "accomplished scientist whom Alyx hates for some reason", so given that Alyx is cast as your action girl sidekick, it comes off as extremely petty to shove Judith into the villain category. When I finally saw the two women meet each other after the big reveal, I felt like Dick Whiskey: Drunk Cop.

Wait, I just noticed something that I apparently completely ignored while playing the game proper: a lot of that shit I mentioned happens close to the end of the game. For most of the game, you're just running through large expanses of nothingness, shooting enemies and trying to catch up to the plot. Sure, they have some awesome moments, like the airboat or the buggy or the games you played when you were 12 (the floor is lava, crossing said lava with a limited number of carpet squares, etc.), but none of that contributes to the story. Instead, it's just semi-linear (not a fan of the semi part, at times) levels with loading hallways, because apparently Valve has never heard of Metroid Prime. And that's the main problem with the game. No, not that it's not Metroid Prime (although that certainly doesn't help), but the persistent world thing. In theory, it should work and make for an immersive atmosphere and a great experience. The reality is that the game isn't very immersive, making the whole "don't interrupt the game with cutscenes" aspect of the design a failed endeavor. The world gives off this very impersonal attitude, never reacting to anything you do to anybody. Fine, there's that "pick up the can" bit near the beginning, but that just means the game design lacks focus, since I spent the first thirty minutes or so re-enacting this, only without the part where I got the shit beaten out of me.

 Hidden achievements? I don't see any hidden achievements.
It doesn't get much better as the game moves on, either. Remember the gravity gun from, like, nine paragraphs ago? As soon as I could, I'd grab boxes and just launch them at people. The results? The boxes blasted through them, but the NPCs never reacted. This means one of three things: either everybody's bones are made of adamantium, everybody's Fortune (but with boxes), or Valve didn't think things through. It's not like there's no system in place, either; should Barney or Alyx die in the game, the screen will go black and scold you for causing the plot to grind to a halt. I'd be perfectly fine if that happened outside the shoot-outs, but I've never seen it happen. You know what I got instead? Five minutes of nothingness. There's one part near the end of the game where you just sit on your ass (I was too bored to experiment) for five minutes. What does this contribute to the game? I can't think of much, and trust me when I say that I had all the time in the world to think about anything that nothingness brings to the game. After all, a little bit after that, seven more minutes of nothingness. Granted, there's some story stuff in that second one, but couldn't Valve just abridge the non-story parts? It's not like when I got in the teleporter at Nova Prospekt, the game zapped me into a cardboard box and showed Gordon and Alyx being mailed to Kleiner's lab.

I can sense the rage burning within you, so let's end this on a positive note. No, I'm not going to post another video of a 90s cartoon. Instead, I'm going to talk about the achievements. This may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but these are the best achievements I've seen in any game ever. You have some OK story moment ones, but I'm not talking about those. What I really love are the ones that have nothing to do with the story. They'll have you doing things like get through an entire level with just the gravity gun (did it), launch toilets at enemies (did it), and snipe enemies at one point in the game (d...huh?). It's the perfect mix of creativity and challenge that will probably attract me to the game again in the far off future when I'm extremely bored and decide to S Rank a game. The only one that sucks is Lambda Locator. It requires you to seek out the game's logos hidden in each level, but with a huge twist: the achievement is broken as hell. You can look dead-on at a lambda and it won't register, only to pop up when you've walked about two miles away from the damn thing. Is there a patch to f-Hold on, I figured the whole thing out! The lack of hands interacting with objects being picked up; characters generally ignoring your actions; the ability to reload a gun while turning a wheel; it all makes sense now! Gordon Freeman is a ghost. You see, ghosts don't always know that they're dead, and nobody has the courage to tell Dr. Freeman that he's dead. They simply feed the illusion because they need the citizens to believe that Gordon Freeman is still alive. We should all be very scared.....What's that music? Oh god...is Gordon Freeman behind me!? *runs off screaming*

Review Synopsis

  • So many cool weapons and achievements. What's not to like?
  • Right: how the game tells its story. Not the best way to do that, Valve.
  • Also, some minor crap about squad tactics and physics and sniping and blah blah blah.




As much as SpongeBob sucks ass, this moment is pretty cool, for some reason.
  
  

Star Wars

( Some of you may be wondering why I went with such a provocative title when I ended up liking Half-Life 2.) You have JJWeatherman to thank for that. Turns out that people are more likely to post when they're seething with rage, even if they logically have no reason to be so angry. That's what this segment is for: to give people said rage. Unfortunately, I think it's only to give me said rage, because I'm the only person who's heard of this piece of shit with a crappy fan translation layer. The fact that nobody else has played this game angers me.

You know what else angers me, at least on a very personal level? The fan translation. Yes, this game was only released in Japan, and it's pretty easy to tell. No, it wasn't fan translated into Japanese again, but into English... mostly. Oh, but it doesn't end with a complete lack of proofreading; we also get shit like text overflow and romanization so incredibly lazy that I'm pretty sure the translation team got lucky with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Wait, this all sounds very familiar...Devil Survivor. It's the ancient ancestor to Devil Survivor. You know what that means, right? A completely insane, nonsensical story! Don't be fooled by the title, or the fact that it's actually based on Star Wars; after the title scroll and the dogfight-esque thing at the beginning and Luke discovering the message on R2, everything goes completely insane. The original movie was what happened when George Lucas decided to add more lasers to Roman history; the game is about Luke dying his hair black every level, traveling to planets that never appeared anywhere in anything, and beating up oddly named (again, fuck the translators) animals dressed as Darth Vader. I am not making any of that up. Actually, now that I think about it, I discovered a way for this to make perfect sense: just call it an Alex Kidd rip-off.

 When did Star Wars become I Wanna Be the Guy?
After all, it has all the same ingredients. You have a weird swimming level, a vehicle power-up, and some dungeon levels where you have to rescue your friends from the many Vaders. I know that this sounds like a tenuous claim, but just play the two and you'll fully expect Luke and Darth Vader to settle their differences with a game of rock/paper/scissors. However, there is one difference: everything that Alex Kidd did was much better. Remember how in that game, attacking was actually pretty easy? Not here. For most of the game, you're stuck using a light saber so small that poking your enemies to death would drastically improve your range. Sure, you can get a gun at some point, but that's a temporary power up that you can't carry into boss battles. This means that you have to walk directly up to an enemy, ask if it would be OK if you could remove a bit of their health, and then haul ass before you die. Did I mention that you die with one hit? So understandably, this game will kick your ass pretty hard, but not for the right reasons. I remember a perfect example in the rebel base level near the end of the game: I needed to make a pretty big jump, but I plunged into the gray stuff of death immediately in front of poor Luke. What does the game do? If it was like any other overly hard NES game, it would drop you at the beginning of the level. Instead, Star Wars drops you right back where you were. This may sound convenient, but keep in mind that I died because I couldn't make the jump. It's not like I can go back in the level (at all) and grab an incredibly fragile motorc-uh, landspeeder; I'm stuck with no options. Thanks, game.

Wait, there is one option: the Force. I'd say something like "Luke can't use the Force until he meets Yoda in the next movie", but I think accuracy died a lonely death when the Death Star became home to a million Boba Fetts. So like any good Star Wars game, you get a bunch of Force powers. You can stop time (useless), warp back one screen (useless), shoot things from your light saber...how many of these are actually useful? I'd say that the "run faster" Force power is, but it's so unwieldy that changing it to an instant death power would make it work faster. The only Force power I used with any consistency was the floating one. I probably shouldn't have, though, because it felt a helluva lot like I activated some type of moonjump code with a Game Genie. I'd tell you to play it and be the judge yourself, but I won't, for several reasons. First, everything I just said. Second, the things I have yet to say: there's a flight sim mode in this game, but it feels less like Wing Commander on the NES and more like a complete waste of time. So the platforming is unforgiving, and the flight sim parts shouldn't be. Is there anything good about this game? Eh, I guess the final level is decent. No, it's not a flight sim: it's a top down shooter at super fast speeds. Also, there are apparently many finish lines on the Death Star, but that's not the point. The point is that it recreates the final moments of the film beautifully: an intense, fast paced run on the Death Star, narrowly avoiding death...maybe. Sure, you'll crash and burn in this level, but unlike the rest of the game, you won't care. It's not like your X-Wing controls like shit, or things pop up rather quickly; it's a fair challenge that makes you feel really awesome for finishing it. And then you remember what game this is, and you suddenly feel far less awesome.

Review Synopsis

  • Did George Lucas ever write a part in the movie where...I can't finish this joke, because it's hard picking one insane moment in particular.
  • There's a simple formula to the whole game: go through level, fight Vader thing, rescue friend, go through some more level, go through a somewhat easy flight sim thing, repeat until you're confused.
  • Oh, and there are Force powers. Apparently, Jedi can use Force Lightning, too.
49 Comments
50 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Half-Life 2

( Wait, didn't I just beat a first person shooter?) Why do I find myself typing about this game on the same exact day that I posted my last blog about Goldeneye? I should really space shit out a bit more. Anyway, I'd try to speak ironically about this game and pretend that I found something super obscure that nobody's heard of, but that's impossible for this game. Why? For some reason, people think it's a highly influential and awesome game. I just think it's pretty cool for the weapons and stuff.

Yes, the main appeal of this game is in the weapons. Why is that surprising? Well, the weird thing is that most of your inventory is really standard FPS stuff. You have a pistol, another pistol, a sub machine gun, another one of those (there's a lot of repetition, for some reason), a shotgun, and...wait, a crossbow? That's the next thing? That's why I love the weapons in this game: when it gets creative, it just lets all hell loose. First, we have a crowbar that summons techno music. Nice. Second, the crossbow, because what better way to fight the high tech Combine (what the hell are they, anyway? I don't remember hearing an explanation) than with medieval technology? Oddly enough, that sarcasm is pretty accurate, since the crossbow is a cool weapon. Anything that gets in its way will become your personal pin-up poster of victory, something modern guns sorely lack. You know what else they lack? The ability to snipe. The crossbow...OK, while it's a satisfactory method of picking off enemies from afar, it can't snipe, either. None of the weapons in this game let you kill things from another country. Why is this a problem? Because you end up fighting snipers several times throughout the game. Hell, there's an achievement for killing enough snipers. So the last FPS I blogged about had enemies throwing grenades you couldn't use, and this game has people sniping you and never gives you any method of sniping back. Will the next FPS I play be some weird Goldeneye mod where I have to karate chop all the enemies while they perforate my face?

No, it's not some weird texture glitch I found. Instead, it's the whitest ladder in the world.
Fortunately, the next weapon doesn't really have these flaws, mainly because it shoves them onto another gameplay mechanic. The weapon I speak of? Bugbait, AKA " Bremen's Mask Crossed with Starship Troopers." (Dear god, that joke has made me nostalgic for Majora's Mask.) As the name implies, it does two things: it summons a squad of antlions to march in step behind you, and it allows you to tag which enemy you wish death upon first. At that point, you just sit back and watch as the antlions rend the skin from Combine skeletons. What's that? They killed one of the antlions? How do you feel about infinite antlions? They never stop coming. Needless to say, the brief time you spend with them is also when the game becomes pretty damn easy, for reasons I've already described. Although I did notice something weird about the antlions: they made a better squad than the human squad you get later in the game. Yes, there are squad mechanics in this game, but they're not that good. You can only point to where you want them to go, and more often than not, they're going to die and expect you to do the heavy lifting. I'd blame myself, but given that part of the Sacred Rites of becoming a King require making me a good leader, I'm forced to say that the companion AI is stupid...even though the enemy AI has actually been mapped really well. The human enemies know how to organize and strategize, while the non-human things usually just rush at you like you have bacon stapled to your crotch, strategy be damned. Unfortunately, all your human allies seem to subscribe to the latter school of thought. Great.

You know what else is great in a sarcastic tone? This segue. But you know what's genuinely great? The gravity gun. It's the one thing that has made the game famous, and for good reason: it lets you turn anything into a weapon. If you see something in the environment, you can grab it and launch it into an enemy's stomach. Hell, later in the game, you can even launch enemies into each other. I haven't seen such great use of the Forced Orgy System since River City Ransom. Actually, now that I think about it, Half-Life 2's FOS is better than that of River City Ransom, since it lets you dick around with physics and everything. Do I honestly have to tell you why that's awesome? I think we've all wanted to tell Newton to go fuck himself for a long time, especially since the poor bastard never had sex in his miserable life. Of course, the gravity gun is the perfect way to tell Isaac Newton that he needs a good fucking. Wait, there's one flaw about it I forgot to mention: until the end of the game, the gravity gun can't do heavy lifting. Why is this a problem? Well, when you first get it, the mysteriously pan-racial Alyx Vance tells you that it's for heavy lifting. How could you ignore your own writing, Valve?

 Are you trying to piss off Bushwald Sexyface, Valve?
Actually, now that I think about it, the story is the least enjoyable part of Half-Life 2. I can hear your ears whistling with rage, so come back after having watched this video. Trust me, it'll calm you down. You done? OK, back to Half-Life 2's story. On that note, why's it called Half-Life 2? If it wanted to be accurate, it'd be called "Half Related to Half Life." Sure, the characters toss around a few references to Black Mesa and Combine and funny speaking aliens and stuff, and the G-Man (why does that sound like a pornographic superhero?) returns for some cryptic irrelevance, but as far as I can tell, this game's story is pretty far removed from the events of Half-Life 1. That game was about...something (look, I haven't played the original Half-Life), but this game is about freeing the citizens of City 17 from the evil grasp of Ed Bighead. Wait, why's he so evil? That part never seemed to make an impact. I heard him speaking about human progress and creation and science and blah blah blah, but he didn't exactly do it in a memorable way. Actually, now that I think about it, the villains in this game aren't very good. I've already talked about the mysterious G-Man and the bland Bighead, but who else is there? Judith, a scientist I didn't see a lot before her reveal as a traitor. In that time, her only characterization was "accomplished scientist whom Alyx hates for some reason", so given that Alyx is cast as your action girl sidekick, it comes off as extremely petty to shove Judith into the villain category. When I finally saw the two women meet each other after the big reveal, I felt like Dick Whiskey: Drunk Cop.

Wait, I just noticed something that I apparently completely ignored while playing the game proper: a lot of that shit I mentioned happens close to the end of the game. For most of the game, you're just running through large expanses of nothingness, shooting enemies and trying to catch up to the plot. Sure, they have some awesome moments, like the airboat or the buggy or the games you played when you were 12 (the floor is lava, crossing said lava with a limited number of carpet squares, etc.), but none of that contributes to the story. Instead, it's just semi-linear (not a fan of the semi part, at times) levels with loading hallways, because apparently Valve has never heard of Metroid Prime. And that's the main problem with the game. No, not that it's not Metroid Prime (although that certainly doesn't help), but the persistent world thing. In theory, it should work and make for an immersive atmosphere and a great experience. The reality is that the game isn't very immersive, making the whole "don't interrupt the game with cutscenes" aspect of the design a failed endeavor. The world gives off this very impersonal attitude, never reacting to anything you do to anybody. Fine, there's that "pick up the can" bit near the beginning, but that just means the game design lacks focus, since I spent the first thirty minutes or so re-enacting this, only without the part where I got the shit beaten out of me.

 Hidden achievements? I don't see any hidden achievements.
It doesn't get much better as the game moves on, either. Remember the gravity gun from, like, nine paragraphs ago? As soon as I could, I'd grab boxes and just launch them at people. The results? The boxes blasted through them, but the NPCs never reacted. This means one of three things: either everybody's bones are made of adamantium, everybody's Fortune (but with boxes), or Valve didn't think things through. It's not like there's no system in place, either; should Barney or Alyx die in the game, the screen will go black and scold you for causing the plot to grind to a halt. I'd be perfectly fine if that happened outside the shoot-outs, but I've never seen it happen. You know what I got instead? Five minutes of nothingness. There's one part near the end of the game where you just sit on your ass (I was too bored to experiment) for five minutes. What does this contribute to the game? I can't think of much, and trust me when I say that I had all the time in the world to think about anything that nothingness brings to the game. After all, a little bit after that, seven more minutes of nothingness. Granted, there's some story stuff in that second one, but couldn't Valve just abridge the non-story parts? It's not like when I got in the teleporter at Nova Prospekt, the game zapped me into a cardboard box and showed Gordon and Alyx being mailed to Kleiner's lab.

I can sense the rage burning within you, so let's end this on a positive note. No, I'm not going to post another video of a 90s cartoon. Instead, I'm going to talk about the achievements. This may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but these are the best achievements I've seen in any game ever. You have some OK story moment ones, but I'm not talking about those. What I really love are the ones that have nothing to do with the story. They'll have you doing things like get through an entire level with just the gravity gun (did it), launch toilets at enemies (did it), and snipe enemies at one point in the game (d...huh?). It's the perfect mix of creativity and challenge that will probably attract me to the game again in the far off future when I'm extremely bored and decide to S Rank a game. The only one that sucks is Lambda Locator. It requires you to seek out the game's logos hidden in each level, but with a huge twist: the achievement is broken as hell. You can look dead-on at a lambda and it won't register, only to pop up when you've walked about two miles away from the damn thing. Is there a patch to f-Hold on, I figured the whole thing out! The lack of hands interacting with objects being picked up; characters generally ignoring your actions; the ability to reload a gun while turning a wheel; it all makes sense now! Gordon Freeman is a ghost. You see, ghosts don't always know that they're dead, and nobody has the courage to tell Dr. Freeman that he's dead. They simply feed the illusion because they need the citizens to believe that Gordon Freeman is still alive. We should all be very scared.....What's that music? Oh god...is Gordon Freeman behind me!? *runs off screaming*

Review Synopsis

  • So many cool weapons and achievements. What's not to like?
  • Right: how the game tells its story. Not the best way to do that, Valve.
  • Also, some minor crap about squad tactics and physics and sniping and blah blah blah.




As much as SpongeBob sucks ass, this moment is pretty cool, for some reason.
  
  

Star Wars

( Some of you may be wondering why I went with such a provocative title when I ended up liking Half-Life 2.) You have JJWeatherman to thank for that. Turns out that people are more likely to post when they're seething with rage, even if they logically have no reason to be so angry. That's what this segment is for: to give people said rage. Unfortunately, I think it's only to give me said rage, because I'm the only person who's heard of this piece of shit with a crappy fan translation layer. The fact that nobody else has played this game angers me.

You know what else angers me, at least on a very personal level? The fan translation. Yes, this game was only released in Japan, and it's pretty easy to tell. No, it wasn't fan translated into Japanese again, but into English... mostly. Oh, but it doesn't end with a complete lack of proofreading; we also get shit like text overflow and romanization so incredibly lazy that I'm pretty sure the translation team got lucky with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Wait, this all sounds very familiar...Devil Survivor. It's the ancient ancestor to Devil Survivor. You know what that means, right? A completely insane, nonsensical story! Don't be fooled by the title, or the fact that it's actually based on Star Wars; after the title scroll and the dogfight-esque thing at the beginning and Luke discovering the message on R2, everything goes completely insane. The original movie was what happened when George Lucas decided to add more lasers to Roman history; the game is about Luke dying his hair black every level, traveling to planets that never appeared anywhere in anything, and beating up oddly named (again, fuck the translators) animals dressed as Darth Vader. I am not making any of that up. Actually, now that I think about it, I discovered a way for this to make perfect sense: just call it an Alex Kidd rip-off.

 When did Star Wars become I Wanna Be the Guy?
After all, it has all the same ingredients. You have a weird swimming level, a vehicle power-up, and some dungeon levels where you have to rescue your friends from the many Vaders. I know that this sounds like a tenuous claim, but just play the two and you'll fully expect Luke and Darth Vader to settle their differences with a game of rock/paper/scissors. However, there is one difference: everything that Alex Kidd did was much better. Remember how in that game, attacking was actually pretty easy? Not here. For most of the game, you're stuck using a light saber so small that poking your enemies to death would drastically improve your range. Sure, you can get a gun at some point, but that's a temporary power up that you can't carry into boss battles. This means that you have to walk directly up to an enemy, ask if it would be OK if you could remove a bit of their health, and then haul ass before you die. Did I mention that you die with one hit? So understandably, this game will kick your ass pretty hard, but not for the right reasons. I remember a perfect example in the rebel base level near the end of the game: I needed to make a pretty big jump, but I plunged into the gray stuff of death immediately in front of poor Luke. What does the game do? If it was like any other overly hard NES game, it would drop you at the beginning of the level. Instead, Star Wars drops you right back where you were. This may sound convenient, but keep in mind that I died because I couldn't make the jump. It's not like I can go back in the level (at all) and grab an incredibly fragile motorc-uh, landspeeder; I'm stuck with no options. Thanks, game.

Wait, there is one option: the Force. I'd say something like "Luke can't use the Force until he meets Yoda in the next movie", but I think accuracy died a lonely death when the Death Star became home to a million Boba Fetts. So like any good Star Wars game, you get a bunch of Force powers. You can stop time (useless), warp back one screen (useless), shoot things from your light saber...how many of these are actually useful? I'd say that the "run faster" Force power is, but it's so unwieldy that changing it to an instant death power would make it work faster. The only Force power I used with any consistency was the floating one. I probably shouldn't have, though, because it felt a helluva lot like I activated some type of moonjump code with a Game Genie. I'd tell you to play it and be the judge yourself, but I won't, for several reasons. First, everything I just said. Second, the things I have yet to say: there's a flight sim mode in this game, but it feels less like Wing Commander on the NES and more like a complete waste of time. So the platforming is unforgiving, and the flight sim parts shouldn't be. Is there anything good about this game? Eh, I guess the final level is decent. No, it's not a flight sim: it's a top down shooter at super fast speeds. Also, there are apparently many finish lines on the Death Star, but that's not the point. The point is that it recreates the final moments of the film beautifully: an intense, fast paced run on the Death Star, narrowly avoiding death...maybe. Sure, you'll crash and burn in this level, but unlike the rest of the game, you won't care. It's not like your X-Wing controls like shit, or things pop up rather quickly; it's a fair challenge that makes you feel really awesome for finishing it. And then you remember what game this is, and you suddenly feel far less awesome.

Review Synopsis

  • Did George Lucas ever write a part in the movie where...I can't finish this joke, because it's hard picking one insane moment in particular.
  • There's a simple formula to the whole game: go through level, fight Vader thing, rescue friend, go through some more level, go through a somewhat easy flight sim thing, repeat until you're confused.
  • Oh, and there are Force powers. Apparently, Jedi can use Force Lightning, too.
Edited by ArbitraryWater

I remember the AVGN episode where he plays that Star Wars game. That one was... interesting to be sure.

Half Life 2 is a very well made game, but you're pretty much right in regards to the story. For all the goodwill that the game creates with the first section in terms of premise and atmosphere, the rest of the game is "Yo Gordon! Go here! Do this thing!" Then the pacing is kind of weird with two overly long vehicle sequences and this game still has jumping puzzles, being on the tail end of when it was still ok to have jumping puzzles in a First Person Shooter.

Your comments about the weapons however, have reminded me of how awesome the weapons in HL2 really were. Even the weak pistol and the SMG have an appropriate amount of destructive punch, and every weapon has an alternate fire that might actually be useful (see: Pulse Rifle's alt. Crazy bouncing energy balls!)

Posted by Video_Game_King
@ArbitraryWater:

I actually find the first parts of the game to set a bit of a schizophrenic tone in terms of atmosphere. Wait, so this guy will get pissed at me for not picking up a can, but other guards are totally fine if I bounce shit off their faces?

You're insulting the SMG? That's the weapon you always use in Half-Life 2, though. I can't imagine getting into firefights without it....which is why half of them ended with me running up to guys and blowing their brains out Dirty Harry style.
Edited by GetEveryone
@Video_Game_King: I thought the only reason that the Combine invasion in HL2 was possible because of the Black Mesa incident, so it would seem intrinsically tied to the first game. There's also the freeing of the Vortigaunts, which you single-handedly dealt with (though, I've read differing reports on this).

I can see your criticisms; the story is essentially bare-bones, but I think, as Hemingway put it, they were telling the gaps in the tale.

The mythology is really great, and the characters draw you into the fiction. It's pretty standard fare at this point, but 7 (seven, really?) years-ago, its set-piece structure was mind-blowing.

...saying all that, a lot of the game doesn't hold up that well. Like @ArbitraryWater: said, the vehicular segments are awful and really drawn out.
Posted by MideonNViscera

I didn't read all that but I think Half-Life sucks.

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Video_Game_King: Yeah, it kind of is the weapon you use throughout the game because the ammo is the most prevalent, at least until you get the pulse rifle. At that point enemies are bullet sponges and the most useful thing about that gun is the grenade launcher alt fire. Oh yeah, I must mention how this game probably also has one of the best shotguns in a video game. It's almost a pity I never finished Episode 1. Then I remember how most of Ep1 is going through environments you've already seen (in spirit at least) and killing the same kind of guys you've already killed, and now Alyx is next to you being really annoying. Yeah. Half Life.
Edited by nintendoeats

I think you are taking HL2 out of context somewhat. By which I mean completely.

EDIT: I should probably qualify that. I'm talking about the story here. The HL2 "Story" is pretty sparse, but it is the "storytelling" that is awesome. They pioneered all kinds of stuff that we take for granted now.

Posted by kingzetta

I never got the whole hype around anything Half-life related. I didn't even think portal was very good.
The only thing valve ever made that was any good was TF2, and that took them 10 fucking years.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

But the storytelling isn't that good, either. The way the game does it, it needs an immersive world to work, and it's hard to jump into that world when I don't seem to have any influence on it (where were my hands in the airboat sequence?).

@kingzetta said:
  that took them 10 fucking years.
You say that as though it's uncommon of Valve :P.

@ArbitraryWater

It almost sounds like you don't want me playing Episode 1...again.

@GetEveryone

I think I should probably tell you that I've never played the original Half-Life. I don't know what happened at Black Mesa, or who the hell the G-Man is.

I have no idea what you mean by "telling the gaps in the tale." Were there a shitload of plot holes in the original game that they just had to address? I never got that vibe from the game.

It was? People were freaking out about "pick up that can" back in 2004? I just have trouble seeing how people didn't see what I'm seeing back then. Then again, I have that problem with a lot of games (how could people not find Cyborg Justice to be a piece of shit back in 1993?).
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: This is what I mean about context. 6 years ago we would not have expected that, and it would have been an incredible challenge to do. Keep in mind that you can run this game playably on a NETBOOK.

Complaining about those types of details is like bitching that the guy who cured your cancer didn't also give you braces.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

Expected what? The "don't interrupt the game for cutscenes" thing?

Why should I keep it in mind? I ran the game on a piece of shit laptop, so I'm living what you said. On that note, it did run as best it could; it slowed down when there was too much shit on screen, and loading screens would make it kinda crash, but other than that, it ran pretty well.

I don't get that last part. It just seems like if you're going to create an atmosphere like this, then you should make things a bit more personal. I put that ghost part in for a reason.
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: I'm talking about the details that you mentioned, such as the hands thing. I would love it if Gordon's hands actually showed up on screen, and if they don't do that in whatever the next Half Life thing is I will smack somebody...but taken in the context of the time that isn't reasonable to expect. Valve came along and created a bunch o new techniques, then some people with more powerful hardware came along and improved on those techniques with details like you are talking about. You can't judge HL2 by the standards of those things that came after.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

But I'm not, though. I've never heard of any technical limitations that prevented Valve from showing Gordon interacting with the things in front of him. The animations for every other character in the game are pretty detailed and realistic, so it comes off as somewhat hypocritical not to expect the same from the protagonist.
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: I don't know how difficult it would have been from a technical standpopint (I'm assuming that it is a somewhat different process), but I'm talking more about the effort of innovation here. When they were making HL2, they were looking at HL1 and saying "how can we significantly improve this." In hindsight those animations seem like an obvious way to improve HL2, but that's because we have ALREADY PLAYED HL2. We are able to look at it objectively and say "This is how I would significantly improve HL2."

Valve couldn't do that because they, you know, were busy improving on HL1.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

But again, I don't see why people couldn't have said that back when the game actually launched. Also again, I haven't played Half-Life 1, so I'm pretty sure that this argument will end up going absolutely nowhere.
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: Well ANY game could be improved upon...if we added every good idea games would never get released. It would have been nice to have a grenade button, but where do these changes stop?

It's unlikely that anybody would have thought about including first-person-animations (dude, new term!) until fairly late in development, because it's something that I don't think had ever been done successfully at that point. Implementing a new feature like that would have just caused more delays. At some point you just have to ship the stupid game.
Posted by Xolare

You played it with mat_fullbright on. That's why Half Life 2 looks really bright FYI.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@Xolare:

Is that something in the developer console? I never really fucked around in there.

@nintendoeats

But still, this isn't a minor feature I'm talking about, and I feel like I'm getting off point. The point? The world is pretty damn impersonal and disconnected from the player. I'm not sure that that was something that happened until 2007. Besides, there are first person animations, to an extent (I can see the doctor's hands while he's swinging his crowbar).

@nintendoeats said:
Implementing a new feature like that would have just caused more delays. At some point you just have to ship the stupid game.
You think Valve would have surprised anybody by delaying Half-Life 2 again :P?
Posted by kingzetta
@Video_Game_King: I'm just saying they are kind of a joke of a company. If any other company and I mean any other company, were to make TF2 it would take them 1 year and it would have 100 times more stuff in it.
Posted by dbz1995

Would anyone care for a bon bon?

Posted by Video_Game_King
@kingzetta:

Alternatively, if any other company pulled the stuff they pull, they'd get a bunch of shit for it * cough cough*.
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: By the standards of the day, the immersion level was fantastic. There was no need to delay the game again, because it would have been to implement a feature that wouldn't matter until 4 years later.

FPAs to do with weapons are a different deal, because they aren't dependent on your location in the world. In order to have Gordon actually turn a valve or open a door they would have had to take control of the camera to do it, which sounds simple enough but does have an overall impact on the game experience.
Edited by kingzetta
@nintendoeats said:

@Video_Game_King: By the standards of the day, the immersion level was fantastic. There was no need to delay the game again, because it would have been to implement a feature that wouldn't matter until 4 years later.FPAs to do with weapons are a different deal, because they aren't dependent on your location in the world. In order to have Gordon actually turn a valve or open a door they would have had to take control of the camera to do it, which sounds simple enough but does have an overall impact on the game experience.

Being a grown-up is admitting that Half-life, The Doors and Star Wars weren't actually that good.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

I don't care about "the standards of the day"; when I look at a game, I have some timeless standards of it.

I don't think they'd have to take control of the camera to show Gordon turning a valve or operating a vehicle. You could still have the same camera angle, but just show him doing that thing. Besides, you could just put something in that says "IF open door THEN run door animation." Granted, I'm simplifying it, but I think that conveys the general idea I'm going for.
Edited by Clenchmask

I like Half Life 2. Deal with it. Star Wars...  well I'll give you that one.


Edit: I like the story of Half Life 2, just to clarify. But I have been accused of having an overly-active imagination.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Clenchmask said:
I like Half Life 2. Deal with it. Star Wars...  well I'll give you that one.
I do, as well. Read about it.
Posted by JeanLuc

Was that Bon Bon guy in that video voiced by the same dude that did Zaeed in Mass Effect 2?

Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: If a door is on a flat wall, then you could approach it from 180 degrees in both horizontal and vertical space, and from some arbitrary distance. Whatever animation you use will look silly from all but one of those points in space. Not as simple as it sounds.

If you wish to hold HL2 to a modern standard, then what makes Goldeneye so special? I played that game like 10 years after it came out and thought it was a giant pile of garbage, but I don't run around bitching about it because I know that it was way better at the time.

@kingzetta
Was there anything that you hoped to accomplish with that statement other than starting a pointless argument? Because I'm not doing that.

The Doors are kinda crap though.
Posted by kingzetta
@nintendoeats: Well I'm talking to a guy with a half-life icon, so I didn't expect to get anywhere anyways.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

Fair enough on that point, but again, I expect some type of interaction with the world. Not something on the level of Fallout 3, but at least actually steering the buggy.

I find it odd that two blogs in a row are pressuring me into a Goldeneye blog. Didn't that Bremen's Mask joke teach you anything? Also, "run around bitching about it?" I just happened to finish a game somebody gifted me; it's not like I played this game just so I could pick on Half-Life 2. If you want shit like that, check out my last blog, where I did just that to SpongeBob.

@wasteguru

I wouldn't know, as I've never played Mass Effect anything.
Posted by probablytuna

Interesting points you've raised about Half-Life 2, though I don't necessarily agree. Good read.

Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: ...(fallout 3 has even worse interactions than HL2)...

It was a little creepy that the steering wheel moved with no hands. I WOULD like to know what their justification for that was. It might have been an issue with actually getting in and out of the buggy, or trying to animate steering and driving.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

...(The point I was going for was that I wasn't expecting a completely open-ended world you could heavily influence, à la Fallout 3 or Oblivion or anything in that vein.)...
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: Ah, well if we are going to get in to linear vs. non-linear...actually, that's a really interesting topic.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

Although it's not exactly relevant to Half-Life 2. You can still have a linear game that's emotionally gripping and stuff (Fire Emblem 4, Fragile Dreams, all the usual shit I talk about, etc.). The main complaint I have against Half-Life 2 is that its world doesn't really work in the way that it needs to work.
Posted by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: You get to light zombies on fire and saw them in half with the same gun.
Posted by Scooper

Why are the screenshots of the lowest quality possible with no shadows in like a 640 resolution. It looks terrible.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats:

That's a cool gameplay thing, not something that contributes a helluva lot to the world. Also, on the Headcrab guys, I didn't find them very scary. If anything, they were comical.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Scooper:

I didn't fuck around with the settings, and Half-Life 2 knows how bad my computer is. I was honestly surprised that I could run it.
Edited by nintendoeats
@Video_Game_King: It was a joke.

I found them pretty disturbing myself. I actually didn't really like lighting them on fire. Their screams still kind of haunt me. It's interesting the way that they contrast with the overwatch. Both the zombies and Combine forces are human, but the zombies are represented as being far moreso. Presumeably this is because the Overwatch willingly subjected themselves to whatever the Combine did to them, whereas the headcrabs simply forced themselves into whatever part of a person they needed. It seems pretty apparent that zombified people are still aware of what is going on, but powerless to stop it.

Really frigging creepy.
Posted by Scooper
@nintendoeats said:
@Video_Game_King: It was a joke.I found them pretty disturbing myself. I actually didn't really like lighting them on fire. Their screams still kind of haunt me. It's interesting the way that they contrast with the overwatch. Both the zombies and Combine forces are human, but the zombies are represented as being far moreso. Presumeably this is because the Overwatch willingly subjected themselves to whatever the Combine did to them, whereas the headcrab zombies simply forced themselves into whatever part of a person they needed. It seems pretty apparent that zombified people are still aware of what is going on, but powerless to stop it.Really frigging creepy.
I agree.

When they're on fire they start screaming. It's horrible.

I really think in the quality you played it in the game's story and atmosphere can't be effective. 
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Scooper said:
I really think in the quality you played it in the game's story and atmosphere can't be effective. 
That wasn't really the problem I had with it, even if that guy in the picture is ugly as hell. I play some old ass games, so I'm used to looking at crap like this.
Posted by nintendoeats
@Scooper: @Video_Game_King: Yeah, I first played it with intel graphics on a 1024*768 monitor. That game scales well.

Though the lighting IS way too bright in those pictures. I never had that issue.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@nintendoeats: @Scooper:

I think I should tell you guys that I'm not at all a PC gamer. I only have Steam because people gift games to me, very rarely.
Posted by Evilsbane

On HL2 I....disagree.

Posted by Xolare
@Video_Game_King said: 

@Xolare:

Is that something in the developer console? I never really fucked around in there.

Yes. Type in mat_fullbright 0 and the game will look 10 times less bright and overly unsaturated.
Posted by ClaritySam
@Video_Game_King:  You're just trolling now :-)  Haha, good read, as ever.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@ClaritySam:

In terms of titles, yes; in terms of actual opinions, I never do that.
Edited by Claude

I enjoyed Half Life 2, but I have to agree about the lack of story. You're thrown into this world and basically pushed out the door and you head in one direction or the direction that the developers wish you to go. Here's the story; you're Gordon Freeman, we are the resistance, now do this and that and head toward that big phallic symbol on the horizon.

Posted by Video_Game_King