jp's Half-Life 2 (PC)
| [December 26, 2007 03:53:15 PM]
| ..and so, I reached the end. It was interesting but confusing, and I don't mean the story! The end of the game takes place inside the Citadel, a pretty cool location if I ever saw one, and is definitely exciting and awesome (in the awe-inspiring sense!). However, what confused me is that for the ending you are stripped of all weapons and are made more powerful (the suit goes up to "200" instead of "100"). Instead of the usual weapons you get to use a gravity gun that has somehow been affected so that it is more powerful. It's a lot more fun to use (you can drag soldiers around tear monitors off walls and that kind of stuff). However, it's all you have! You can't pick up any other weapons along the way (they all disappear) and there is generally very little in the way of furniture to fling around). So, the entire end of the game is basically a one-trick pony show. Use the super gravity gun to fling soldiers into each other and not much else. For quite some time I might add.
Isn't that strange?
The climax of the game is a climax in terms of story and setting, but it's a bit of a letdown in terms of gameplay. Yes, the new gravity gun is fun, but after the 3rd encounter it kind of grows old (remember, there isn't a lot of furniture lying around) and you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again.
Curiously, and I guess this is sort of a capstone on my generally buggy experience playing this game, when I finished the game (destroyed this last thingie) I got a message onscreen that said something like "Subject Terminated: Failed to Destroy blabla in Time". I guess I must have destroyed the final thingie too close to the deadline because I saw the "you failed" message even though I didn't, and the end cutscenes all played through just fine.
Now I am also really confused as to what the heck is going on. Who does Freeman work for anyways?
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| [December 20, 2007 02:56:23 PM]
| Despite the technical issues, I've really been having a blast playing this game. It's been a while since I've literally jumped out of my seat in excitement. As I was expecting, the gravity gun has been a joy to play with, though I'm not really enamoured of the "physics puzzles": they seem to obvious or belaboured. I can't say that I dig the "make your own bridge to walk across the beach without touching the ground" puzzle. After a short while that got kind of tiring (and it wasn't fun either when the same idea was applied, but with radioactive waste instead of sand). Anyways...here are some of the things I've enjoyed most so far:
I hate fighting the Antlions, though I felt they were used sparingly enough and in just the right ways as to have to appropriate effect. (if you've seen Starship Troopers you can see what I mean). They fly, keep on coming out of the ground and are a huuuge annoyance. However, soon the tables are turned and the antlions became my greatest allies! All those things I hated about them became things I loved. Brilliant. In many ways, the Antlions are similar to the reversal in Pac-Man. Eating that power pill and chasing down the ghosts is quite similar to what Half-Life 2 does with the antlions, albeit on a wholly different scale. (in Half-Life 2, as far as I know, once you control the antlions, there is no going back)
Half-Life had some incredibly thrilling scripted events and HL2 is no different. I've been thinking about what makes these scripted events exciting to participate in as a player and I think I've realized that the ones I seem to enjoy the most are those were, as a "viewer" I want to watch to see what happens (perhaps move around a bit to get a better view) while as a "player" I'm desperately trying to get to safety. In this sense, trying to be cinematic doesn't work that well because you end up with an experience similar to watching something in a movie. Sure, the protagonist might be running away from that huge explosion but as a spectator you get to see it. In the case of the game you are torn between wanting to see whatever it is that is happening and realizing (as the protagonist) that you have to get out of there as soon as possible. You don't have the time to watch something unfold, and deliberating how much you can wait and watch before it's too late makes the experience really fit together (for me). I've died quite a few times in HL2 simply because I wanted to see something happen...on other ocassions my instincts of virtual-self-preservation have kicked in and I've had to console myself to the fact that at least I got to hear some crazy stuff happening but that I made it out in time.
In terms of progress I've recently started the chapter called "Anticitizen One"
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| [December 5, 2007 04:37:36 PM]
| I'm still having technical problems though I have yet to see if upgrading my video card drivers will help. Fingers crossed.
In terms of progress in the game, I've finally obtained the all-famous gravity gun. I can see why everyone was so excited about it and I couldn't agree more. Essentially, the gravity gun forces you, as a player, to begin to consider the environment (and the items in it) as a weapon. Instead of wondering if you have enough ammunition you begin to look at crates, bricks, steel drums, etc. with new eyes planning where you need to be in order to use them if monsters suddenly appear. If you're too far, you'll be out of range of the gun. If you're on the wrong side, you might not be able to launch the objects. Needless to say, this opens up a wealth of tactical and strategic options. I'm also sure I'll start to see a lot of new physics-based puzzles...
Disappointments so far:
1. Shooting at friendlies (ie, NPC characters that talk to you) is not only ineffective but also isn't even acknowledged by the characters. They'll act as if you never fired your weapon.
2. Physics puzzles. They just seem to break the tension and flow of the game. Dragging 10 bricks on to a seesaw so that I can reach a location that's too high gets old after I've placed the 2nd brick or so.
3. Loading times are horrible. It takes forever just to get to the main menu, and then you have to load a saved game. Sigh.
1. I'm sure that one of the books in the lab in Black Mesa East has "LOST Rocks" on its cover. (which I believe is another easter egg to the TV show LOST
2. Launching a can of paint at a Zombie (using the gravity gun) results in them being splattered in white/gray paint!
3. I thought I could get away from some super zombies by closing the door between them and me. They broke in through the roof!
This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Dec 6th, 2007 at 10:23:22.
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| [December 2, 2007 08:09:07 PM]
| Sweet and sour only begins to describe my experience with Half-Life 2 so far. The sweet has to do with how engrossing and fun it is to play this game. I guess most people already know that... The sour has to do with how incredibly frustrating it is to have the game crash and stutter. So that you get an idea, I've played it three times for about an hour each time. Every single time I've played, it has crashed at least twice. Most of the time it crashed to the desktop, but on one occasion I actually got a blue-screen of death (I haven't seen one of those in years!) and a severe warning when I rebooted! Additionally, the game will, two or three times per session get momentarily stuck (with the audio stuttering) before it snaps out of it and continues. So, technical problems abound! I've lowered the graphical quality on the configuration but still don't seem to have found a solution. I'll have to try device drivers next, I guess.
Also, the loading times are pretty bad. I remember when Half-Life first came out that everyone was so impressed by how seamless it all was and all that. Yes, I remember loading times, but they weren't that long. The one's I've experienced so far are pretty pathetic in my opinion, especially since there's no streaming from a disc or anything like that.
Oh well. :-(
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jp's Half-Life 2 (PC)
Current Status: Finished playing
GameLog started on: Monday 26 November, 2007
GameLog closed on: Wednesday 26 December, 2007