Episode 2, Round 2
Posted by deckard47 on August 16, 2009
So this is the second time I’ve finished Half Life 2: Episode 2, although this time I did it on a computer that did the game justice. It is (as it was the first time) quite a pretty game, and while some things don’t hold up and show their age a bit. Still, overall it’s an amazing game, every single bit of it. Playing it again, I was strongly struck by the things that affected me the first time round (whether I talked about it or not).
The first time you see the Hunters, they’re frightening, and they punctuate their sneaky, abrupt appearances by almost killing Alyx. When you fight them for the first time, they are fast, vicious, and aided by Valves catchy, propulsive techno soundtrack. Fighting them is exhilarating in a way most video game enemies can’t catch up to. Likewise, the final defensive battle is a tense, just-long-enough battle of attrition (and yes, I got “Neighborhood Watch” this time through!) that ill prepares you for the game’s final moments. About those [SPOILER. Stop now, this is your last fucking warning, go play the game already]. It’s still well-written, it’s still moving, and the game’s forced perspective and the restraints the advisors place on you are still incredibly effective devices. They telegraph this last move a good deal, what with Eli and Gordon’s “conversations,” but I don’t think I expected it quite as much the first time round. So, good job Valve, as I think I said the first time. This game makes me incredibly envious, thinking about the kind of awesome people and environment that made this game. This all deserves another post, a special, HL2: Ep. 2 post, but for now, let me say that this is the best thing I’ve played since I played it last.
Also, I think it’s nice that this is one of the first games that I’m writing about now that I wrote about then (when the blog first went up). It feels properly cyclical, as if I’ve finally been around long enough to have my own history. Lucky I spend so much time thinking about myself, right?
So here’s to Ep. 2. Until the next one, I doubt there will be a game I play that impresses its own extreme quality and competency upon me in the same way. Excellent.