HL2 Reviewtrospective is a go!
October 18, 2016

Well, it's longer than 1200 words, but they're all heartfelt words. HL2 was a breakthrough for me; I learned to love shooters again, and survived Ravenholm. That place can still freak me out if I let it. Sure the enemies are canned, and my reflexes are muscle memory at this point, but ... the atmosphere is still haunting.

An insightful conversation with Nightfire supplied some valuable introspective that was sorely needed prior to writing that review. He suggested a retrospective, so I approached it with my first experience in mind and memory.

Yes the dune buggy a lame, spazzy vehicle, but it's part of an epic moment that you enjoy on its own if you let it be. I was so excited at the time, and that's all that matters. HL2 succeeded in doing what games are supposed to do.

So thank you, Nightfire. Unlike HL3, I will complete reviews for Episodes One and Two. Soon.

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Nightfire Nightfire - October 18, 2016 (08:34 PM)
Your review had some interesting insights. Particularly, I liked your thoughts on why the smug combine soldiers seemed to be lacking reflexes and were easy to dispatch in the early game; I hadn't thought about it in a story-hook kind of way, but now that you mention it, there is probably a certain complacency associated with totalitarianism that makes sense in this respect. It could certainly be exploited by the "right man in the wrong place", at least for a while, to gain that initial element of surprise.

Also, your questions about who the devil this Dr. Breen character is, who are the Combine and where did they come from, why has the human race been brought to its knees and all fashion outlawed aside from the colour blue, well what's funny about that, is that HL1 answers absolutely none of those questions. You were just as confuddled as I was when I played HL2 the first time, and I played HL1 religiously. As far as I'm concerned, HL2 is a stand-alone game. Playing the first one is absolutely not required.

Even though Barney, Dr. Kleiner and Eli all introduce themselves to Gordon as though they knew him before, the truth is that all three of these characters were simply generic, disposable NPCs in the first game that didn't even have names. In essence, they just boiled down to "white scientist", "black scientist", and "security guard", and they would follow you around for a while before being horribly killed. Then, later on, you'd find another identical NPC with the same voice and face who would again follow you again before getting horribly killed for the second or third time.

As for Dr. Breen, I believe "the administrator" is mentioned in a single conversation at the beginning of HL1 and then forgotten about. He also didn't have a name. Barney eventually got his name in Half Life: Blue Shift, but other than that, I was just as confused as you were when these characters started introducing themselves to me in HL2. My first thought when I saw Dr. Kleiner was, "Heyyy... Weren't you that guy that got eaten by that tentacle monster?
hastypixels hastypixels - October 20, 2016 (03:27 AM)
I didn't come into the whole experience of HL1 until waaay later, so I didn't get to see that scene. It's ironic that Valve had a professional novelist work on HL1, because the NPCs didn't receive nearly as much attention as Gordon did. Most of what we understand as major story development took place much after the initial release.

I suspect about the time they realized they had a barn burner on their hands. I need to actually play Episode One a bit before I review it, and I'm not looking forward to it. Ep. One is my least favorite of the lot. It's that blasted underground elevator ambush, I hate it.

It will make a great lead up to Ep. Two, though, where everything is doing to make so much darn sense. Your input has been very valuable, Nightfire, thank you. :)

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