GBU Game Review for Half-Life 2: Episode Two (Xbox360, PC)
In a bit of bass ackwardsness, here’s my review to the 2nd expansion pack to Half-Life 2. One of my all time favorite first person shooters EVER. Why this one first? I just played through it for a 2nd time last week so it’s fresh in my mind. The first time was when it was released 2yrs. ago on the Xbox360, then last week on my fairly equipped PC. I’m gonna go ahead and give this one a 10, that’s right, I went there 🙂 Somewhere down the line I may review Half-Life 2 and the it’s first expansion Episode One, but this is where the game is tops, until Episode Three drops maybe. But only time will tell, especially since we’ve been waiting for it for 2yrs. now
The Good – Awesome continuation of the Half-Life 2 saga. You, playing as Gordon Freeman, are put to the task of trying to save the world from the Combine. An alien race that terrorizes the human race into a concentration camp like lifestyle. The first person combat continues as you battle Combine soldiers(humans converted to do their bidding), striders, a new combine enemy, the hunter and other nasties as well such as antlions, headcrab zombies and more. Everybody (or creature) has their own tactic to be taken down with, so you’re sure to have a different experience in every section of the game. The action is incredibly thrilling, never boring, sometimes scary, and thankfully never overbearing. Puzzle sections help to break up the action, which usually has you making use of the gravity gun, something that was revolutionary in 2004 when Half-Life 2 dropped. This “weapon” lets you pick up most objects and place them down, or for fun, shoot them anywhere. In some sections you can defeat enemies just with this and whatever is laying around, this makes for some cool creative fights and definitely something new and different in the shooter world, even 5yrs. later. The story, which is strong, is uniquely told entirely through the eyes of the hero, the camera NEVER leaves his perspective, and he NEVER speaks….this is interesting in a strange way, but it 100% works. The characters on your side are likeable, they just make you give a damn, which means the voice acting is there in top form as well. Sometimes you’re paired up with an NPC(usually Alyx), which can spell annoyance in some games, but they never get in your way, always help and are never annoying. One of the last things I love about this game, unlike most shooters today, every gun that you find throughout the game, as long as there’s ammo, is at your disposal. Sure, games like Halo and Call Of Duty started the trend where you can only carry two guns at a time, and while it sets forth an interesting strategy for those types of games, almost every shooter(1st and 3rd), has copied this. Sometimes I just wanna use it all, when I want to. And oh yeah, sorry PC junkies, but the PC version lets me use my 360 controller and the controls are fully configured exactly like the 360. Guess what I used 🙂
The Bad – Pffffft….hardly….but I’ll be a little nit-picky for review’s sake……A first person shooter with no dedicated melee button? Really? I know I can use the crowbar for this function, but I have to switch to it, inconvenient if I ever ‘need’ it. In old shooter fashion, you have to “find” health, yup, nearly every shooter today has regenerating health or shields, here you have to find it when you need it, like the old days. It makes for an interesting strategy for me, but some cats may not like that. The Source Engine graphics, while still great and pleasant to the eye, are starting to show their age….in the age of Gears of Wars, Call of Dutys, and your Uncharteds, it’s true.
The Ugly – The timing of these “Episodes”. Valve was supposed to start a new era by helping to introduce us to episodic gaming. We were promised 3 episodes to continue the Half-Life 2 storyline, it was basically supposed to be Half-Life 3. They were supposed to be 6 months apart. So Episode One drops a little over a year and a half after Half-Life 2, Episode Two drops nearly a year and a half after that…..and here we are almost 2yrs. later waiting for Episode Three with no announcement in sight 😦
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