Who here is hip to Half Life 2?

Just read some of the print previews of it, and I’m in shockticipation.

The weird thing about Half-life is that, while it was pretty special for it’s time, it shouldn’t stand out the way it does compared to a lot of other games that surpassed it. But it does. And not just because it’s still going stong in multiplayer-land. I played through some single-player bits, including the “They Hunger” mod recently, and it still impresses in both creepiness and having just the right amount of story compared to action/strategy puzzles. It isn’t a RPG, or a talkie. But it still managed to be far more than just “strafe and shoot.” The host of enemies and elements was very inventive, allowing the designers to combine them in different ways throughout the game, and give the sense of an entire alien ecology. And they built on things instead of just throwing more and more of them at you: first you learned how to deal with head-crabs, then tripewire mines. Then they put them together in a single situation, where if you alerted the crabs too early without killing them in time, the crabs would cross the wires and set off a deadly chain reaction.

Half-Life 2, however, looks like it’s going to be that and then some. Its engine sounds easily up to DOOM3 snuff, if not beyond.

Some things I’m jazzed about:
-Much deeper NPC interaction: facial expressions, eyeballs that move and shine independantly, much better AI.

-New Kinetics and physics engine on everything in the game world, characters and objects: meaning that enemies can navigate stairs and ramps just as easily as you can, legs bending to match the terrain, and physical objects will play a much larger role in the action than just “smash to see if health is inside!”

-That still great Half-life enemy squad AI applied to more, and more distinct, enemies, from grunts to swarms of creatures.

-Scripted sequences are no longer static: they can have mutliple directions (other than just being blown up prematurely) depending on your interactions, and characters in the game can perform many of them dynamically in response to various situations.

-The creepy alien “strider” creatures that are supposed to be like 40 feet tall.

The one thing I don’t like is that it appears as if the game takes place in a bunch of different locations. The great thing about Half-life SP was that you really felt like you were trying to find a way out of a huge installation: so huge that several other stories (the add-ons) could fit into the same time frame. Having a “missions” based game is far more like Deus-Ex than Half-life’s feel of “something’s gone terribly wrong and you need to get out before the creeping horrors catch up with you” vibe. It also takes place 15 years later, apparently, which seems to really downplay the events in the first chapter, making it seem less seamless.

Erg: double-posted. Use this one, kill the other one.

Oh, I am SO there. Wonder if I’ll need to buy a new PC?

Story from CNN.

this post has been Graped by the Grapist!

Oh, yes. I’ve been waiting for this…

Half-life 2…


Look forward to HL 2 over Doom 3, particularly in the area of enemy AI. The HL atmosphere was great, but the tactics of the enemy marines impressed me most.

That said, Deus Ex 2 is the first game I look for on the release lists. Black market bio-mods, I can’t wait to try those out.

Is it coming to PS2? I gave up on PC gaming recently because the technology curve just became too steep. But I love the original HL (which came out five freaking years ago). I hope they did the sequel justice with all the time they’ve spent on it.

Nope, no PS2 version is in thw works, but a Xbox version was confirmed, woo!

Yes, three great First Person Shooters are coming out soon!! Doom3, Deus Ex 2, and Half Life 2. Finally, I will have some games that really push my system.

Sign me up!! I have waited passively for years, but always had the knowledge that my old clunky system wouldn’t run it.

I finally got a new system, and the first day that I have it fired up I find out about HL2. Bring on the thinking enemy!!

I know: I really need to upgrade. HL2’s engine apparently scales down to 733mHZ and a TNT card at the lowest level: but that’d probably be like watching Apocalypse Now on a black and white handheld with 80x60 resolution. I don’t know the specs on DOOM3 or Deus Ex.

Deus Ex 2 will probably be a great post-Theif stealth novela: trying to elude guards fleshing out a big story with cutscenes. HL2 looks creepier and more action oriented, with no cut scenes and all the action right in the game. DOOM3 and HL2 are probably going to be competing for the same niche in that respect, and it will be interesting to see what they’ve got going this time around. Unfortunately, as big a deal as id is in the industry, they really haven’t designed a great SP experience since DOOM.

Even today, the first time you encounter soldiers in original HL amazes me. I remember playing that sequence over and over again, trying to figure out how to beat all three soldiers without getting too shot up, and every time they tried some new tactic: boxing me in with grenades while another snuck up around me, or all rushing at once down the middle and then splitting off to pin me down from every side. Incredible. Or that moment when you step out of the pipe, that Valve music starts playing, and you’re on the edge of a huge cliff? Shiver…

And that right there punctures most of my enthusiasm for it.

Engine improvements are all well and good, but what really set Half-Life apart was the illusory seamlessness of it. At the time, it was really ground-breaking. That very first time firing things up and riding the tram deep into the installation as credits came and went was astonishing–and then playing, and realizing that the intro was not a pre-rendered bit, that it actually played like that. No loading screens, a unified sense of progress (until Xen, that is).

Thrown away for levels. Feh.

Apos and Drastic you’ve just mentioned two of my fondest memories of HL. I was talking to a (non-gaming) friend years ago and mentioned HL. He sneered and said something about “shooting aliens”. I had just (finally) made it through the first soldier encounter. I loaded that up and let him have a go at it. After he died the first time he smugly aimed where the guards had gone the last time, only to get a grenade lobbed at him. After five tries with five different responses from the guards he asked me “So what’s the secret to this?” I said “Be smart - don’t get killed.” Classic.

When I finally got the GF to try it, I let her sit through the tram-ride intro. She was bored at first, but when she started the game and realized that the intro was actually an intro, and not some throwaway filler, she enjoyed it.

No disjointed levels for HL2 please!!

Well, it’s not quite “levels” per se. They say that there are going to be 12 chapters to the story, but the environments (one of them is city in Europe) are going to use the exact same “quick load” thing to keep the game world consistent without having to sit and wait for things to load. It’s supposedly even longer, in terms of playtime, than the original HL: which is pretty long.

But I’m with you: HL was all about the creepiness of Black Mesa as the huge, mysterious installation that you needed to escape, and then Xen (which, at least made sense in that you and the aliens were warping back and forth between the two worlds). HL also had a complete story in realtime: no sleep, no traveltime- so it felt like real events were happening all around you: first the accident, then the aliens all over the place, then seeing some signs of military help, then realizing that the military security could distinguish between the aliens and you, then realizing that the military was THERE to kill people like you, then engaging in a running hide-n-seek battle with them, then having to destroy a monster before it grew out of control, then realizing that the military was up against things it couldn’t always handle (the Garg) then more battles with them (in which they seemed to have learned your name and developed a hatred for you killing their buddies), then launching a rocket for unknown purposes, then seeing more and more of the alien life taking over Black Mesa, then being captured, then escaping… it went on and on, growing the mystery as it went. Admittedly, the mystery wasn’t really fleshed out at all, even at the end. But for some reason it felt like it was dragging you deeper and deeper into it anyway.

We’ll see if HL2 can maintain that focus over several entirely different locations, and how it all ties together (for all I know, there ARE no special travel scenes or downtime: it IS all one seamless stretch of time).

Did anyone here also play Opposing Force? That was as good, if not better, than the original Half Life - the alien world was much better integrated, the enemies were fiendishly difficult and insanely clever, and much more friendlies. If HL2 was just a clone of Opposing Force, or even HL original, I’d be happy as can be. But I have a feeling they’ll do better.

Yep it was great. Heck I had Blue Shift as well-- short but fun.

HL2- I am down with it, indeed.

I loved all of the half life series. When allied with the soldiers that was always cool too – and they never reacted the same either.
i never played the on line version because I don’t have a joy stick.

I liked Doom and want to play the latest, but Half Life was more than just a shoot em up.

I’ve never even heard of Deus Ex. Is it a first person shooter and should I find a copy?

A joystick? Not needed. The online stuff is the best: it’s still the top online FPS 5 years later, due to the popularity of CounterStrike, Team Fortress, and the other mods.

Deus Ex is an FPS, but a much deeper than usual one. It has a very involved storyline with lots and lots of NPCs. And while you can shott-em up if you want, it puts lots more emphasis on stealth and trickery. Very good game.

China Guy, you’ll “love” the part of Deus Ex that takes place in Hong Kong. “I don’t rike rittle boys!”