The Start of Something New

In PC on July 28, 2009 at 3:09 am


Half-Life 2: Episode 2- PC

Both of the episodic follow ups to Half Life 2 have been great, brilliant even, but the second was easily the better of the two. Episode One had the problem of being more of an epilogue to previous events, and the escape from City 17 before it went critical was more of an assortment of things we’d seen before. Episode Two was the start of something new.

There’s nothing wrong with the opening trek into the Ant Lion den, but Episode Two is, basically, a road trip, and you really want to be getting on with it. But then it’s a hop, skip, and a jump over a toxic river to the car, and then you’re burning up the highway to White Forest, and the brilliant set pieces along the way, as you are constantly pursued and ambushed; including attacks by the Hunters, which are devious bastards, and agile enough to dodge incoming objects- like, say, a speeding car (Although, this does  makes finally lining it up right and bouncing one off the bonnet even more of a joy)

The car itself- a much more rugged alternative to the buggy from Half Life 2 is a major part of the game, and having to spend much the journey on the road makes it feel as much a part of the team as Alyx. If Episode One was about focusing on Alyx as a sidekick, Episode Two was more about a vehicle being a four-wheeled ally (or weapon) throughout the game, rather than something limited to specific sections.

Then it all wraps up with a gut-punch of an ending, but perhaps the saddest thing is that, even playing it now (almost two years since its release), Episode 3 is still so far away.

(having to keep typing “episode whatever” makes me wish they’d just given the bloody thing subtitles)


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