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    Zinn's Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC)

    [January 11, 2007 09:52:44 PM]
    Well, I beat it. I think I must have clocked in a little less than five hours. The game really picked up for the last third, and there were some really awesome action sequences. I finally got used to the fact that this expansion was more of the same environments from the first game, and given some solid action sequences, actually found the game to end up being enjoyable, quite enjoyable.

    I had fun fighting through an evil hospital filled with soldiers and zombies. At the end of this part, you and Alyx are in the attic and a gunship is blasting the whole place to smithereens. Really, it seemed like the whole area was destructible, as the floor would fall out from beneath you when the gunship shot it. Combined with great sound effects, fantastic visuals, and some decent electronic music, this part really got my adrenaline going (finally).

    The game ended pretty abruptly and the story was (of course) inconclusive. Here's to wishing they hadn't delayed Episode 2 until this summer :(

    I think I'll play through this game again sometime when I'm in a consistently better mood.
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    [January 10, 2007 04:01:59 AM]
    So I got my new graphics card. It's totally amazing. The best thing since sliced bread. I can't believe it really. I read reviews before I bought the thing, but part of me just couldn't believe it. Anyway, great graphics alone can't save a poor game.

    With my second session, I went from frustrated to frustrated and bored. I'm really tired of fighting through the exact same environments I fought through in the original game. I expect more variety from an expansion pack. The game keeps reusing the same objectives over and over again as well.

    We come across a hole in the ground. OMG! The ant lions are coming out of this hole! Quick, block the hole by pushing a car onto it with the gravity gun. Whew. Three minutes later, the same thing, only now there are three holes and three cars. Three minutes later, the same thing, only now the cars are hidden. Considering that I can't shoot the ant lions while I'm scurrying around looking for cars, these sequences become annoying fast. They're pummeling me from every direction and Alyx is no help at all.

    After that part was over, there was an extended period of fighting in pitch blackness (darker than Doom3) with a flashlight that runs out of batteries after 30 seconds. I didn't really have much fun repeatedly waiting 10 seconds for the light to recharge while being surrounded and meleed by zombies. And Alyx could only see whatever I was pointing the light at, so if I didn't keep whatever she wanted to shoot illuminated, she would complain.

    Once we got out of the pitch blackness, there was an impressive looking outdoor area, which was where a technical issue with my new video card reared its head. Apparently a bug in the game makes everything foggy. This is where I gave up in disgust.

    So far I'm not seeing that this game was worth $20...
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    [January 9, 2007 01:05:34 PM]
    I just installed the game last night. I'll be upgrading my video card later today (whenever UPS arrives), and I wanted something new to play with. I just completed my first session with this game, and after about an hour, I gave up in frustration.

    I'm used to First Person Shooters having fairly basic and easy puzzles, so getting completely stumped (for twenty minutes) on one part of the second "chapter" of the game must mean either me or the game designers are stupid. I'll veer toward the latter, due to the nature of some of the earlier puzzles that I passed through brute force or dumb luck.

    The puzzles on the first and second level revolve around manipulating orbs of energy with the gravity gun. You can grab a distant orb, and then "punt" it toward a more distant target. The object is to get the orbs into the targets, and to uncover targets when they are unavailable. For the most part the objectives are fairly straightforward, but some of them revolve around punting large numbers of orbs around a corner and hoping they meet up with the target as they bounce around the hallway. I assume the puzzle I am stuck on is of this nature, although after just blasting away with hundreds of orbs I gave up.

    Another annoyance is how my current graphics card is struggling with this game. The visuals are quite beautiful, but the frame rate is constantly stuttering. After I install my upgrade later today, I'm going to go on GameFAQs for the solution to this puzzle and move forward with this game. Normally I don't consult GameFAQs the first time I play through a game as it can be limiting to my experience, but this is not the sort of frustration I have ever encountered from a supposed "first person shooter." I'm not going to be wasting any more time on this stupid puzzle.

    If this game were of a different genre such as a Zelda or Myst-series game, I'd expect to be stumped here and there (and would be disappointed otherwise), but with run-and-gun shooters, I expect to run and gun, enjoy the graphics, and be only mildly engaged by the puzzles.
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    Zinn's Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 9 January, 2007

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 11 January, 2007

    Zinn's opinion and rating for this game

    It's okay. You get to fight alongside Alyx Vance from the first game which is cool. She doesn't get in the way like tag-along characters usually do. The game itself isn't otherwise overly impressive. You're fighting through the same environments from the original game, with the same guns and the same enemies. The graphics are a little better with more pixel shading effects and HDR lighting, but the engine is still showing its age. Oh well.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See Zinn's page

    See info on Half-Life 2: Episode 1

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) by Benladen (rating: 4)
    2 : Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) by DonJohnson (rating: 5)
    3 : Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) by DonJohnson (rating: 5)
    4 : Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) by jp (rating: 5)
    5 : Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) by Tuna Fish RIot (rating: 4)
    6 : Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) by wolfmanbsam (rating: 5)


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