Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Alyx Vance to the Rescue

Posted by deckard47 on April 27, 2009

As I post this at an unpleasantly late hour (for those of us waking up early later this Monday), I’m happy to say that another article is done. I’m also happy to say that it’s all thanks to Alyx Vance and that awful(ly) silent Gordon Freeman. I was having a slightly more difficult time writing than normal (which is saying something), and playing Half Life 2 somehow made it much easier. I’ve been wanting to play Episodes 1 & 2 over again, just so they’re fresh in my mind when #3 comes out (although I might need to do it again, if they take their time), and to listen to the developer commentary. So, I determined that it was only right to play Half Life 2 over again as well, to make it a complete set. Of course, this meant that I got sucked back into it, as always happens.

I think I’ll save most of this for another, later post, but I just want to reiterate (assuming I’ve said this before) how this game never gets old for me. At first, I was a little leery of it. The initial G-man sighting and train ride weren’t as cool as they once were. And then Alyx shows up, saves my ass, and sends me packing with my crowbar (along with help from Mr. Calhoun). From there, I honestly couldn’t stop. This game is like what all of those summer blockbuster movies are supposed to do, according to Ain’t it Cool (No it’s not!) News or whoever. It is almost impossible to stop, once you’ve started it. More later, when I’ve slept, I guess.

Oh, and I’ve been playing a good deal of X3: The Threat, which pretty much rocks, in a complicated, painful way. More on that later too, it would seem. Adios.

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4 Responses to “Alyx Vance to the Rescue”

  1. Alan Jack said

    What stuns me – especially given that I actually agree with you – is that I’ve yet to see anyone (including the game’s own developers) put their finger on just why the game has that “IT” factor, because it defies all knowledge we currently have about what makes games good. The plot and characters don’t really stand up to much scrutiny. The game is repetitive and takes too long over most areas. It doesn’t allow for any player experimentation, is painfully restrictive and linear …

    … yet I love it.

    I suppose the same thing could be said for Transporter 3. It was, if anything, worse than the previous two (what the hell is that 3rd quarter love interest all about? We don’t watch these movies to see Jason Statham fall in love!) and yet I’ve seen it 3 times.

    Maybe the key is that, while it doesn’t do anything to 100%, Half Life 2 does everything at 65%, and that’s enough? Or is it some particular thing that the game does?

  2. Eric said

    I read an article– I forget which site– about the best opening levels in video games. Half Life 2 was on the list. The writer made the point that it was a whole level in a first-person shooter in which you couldn’t even shoot. But it’s incredibly gripping and thrilling and all that, just being on the run from the CP, and not letting up until you reach Black Mesa East. And then– Ravenholm. Oh shit..

    HL2 may not score 100% in characters or plot, but it scores 120% in putting you into one “oh shit” situation after the next. I think that’s its magic.

  3. Eric said

    Google is my friend:

    http://www.nerve.com/CS/blogs/61fps/archive/2008/06/12/the-ten-greatest-opening-levels-in-gaming-history-part-3.aspx

    “Wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up, and smell the ashes.” As Gordon Freeman, your journey through the bleak streets of City 17 begins a mere sixty seconds after the game’s title has faded to black. The mundane environment tells you everything you need to know about how life works in a world where civilization has crumbled; tired and scared citizens mutter in the corners of a train terminal, Combine soldiers threaten and abuse, and rare familiar faces urge you to escape immediately. Half-Life’s greatest success has always been keeping the player in constant control of the action while still herding them along a set path. Half-Life 2’s opening level, Freeman’s arrival in City 17 and his flight from the Combine across the city’s rooftops, engages and informs in equal measure while providing an immediate thrill through play. It’s remarkable that a first-person shooter’s most memorable level is its first, a level where not a single shot is fired. — JC

  4. deckard47 said

    Yeah, I remember reading that somewhere. Having tried it recently, I can say that it’s absolutely right. Although, having just played through Ravenholm, I think I can safely say that that’s also quite amazing. As is Roue Kanal… And Water Hazard… I think I just like all of it. Except that Highway 17 shit with the antlions. The car makes the hovercraft seem like a maneuverable vehicle. Wow, and I love the hovercraft. Gotta play some more tonight.

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