Review – Half-Life Episode 2

Half Life 2 Episode 1 was much like the Opposing Force expansion to the original Half Life. Both games were largely similar, but each offered a distinct twist that helped it along. In Opposing Force, it was the concept of playing as a soldier hunting down Gordon Freeman, and the benefits of having a troop of specialized AI soldiers to help you along the way.

In Episode 1, it was the impressive AI of Alyx Vance, which helped you bond with her character as well as giving Valve a chance to create some interesting scenarios for her and Gordon to tackle. Both games also benefited from their incredible set pieces that improved upon most of the things we experienced in the original games. It says a lot when your two expansion packs contain some of the best single player content of the year. →  Read the rest

Review – Half-Life 2: Episode One

Right now in the world of console gaming, everyone’s favorite buzz term is “HD era”. In PC gaming, it’s all about “episodic content.” Everyone is talking about the concept of delivering smaller chunks of gaming more quickly and possibly with customized content based on user reactions. Unfortunately, the talk is mostly hot air. For one, very few developers have released anything episodic for us to judge, and those that are out there are either a little too indy (Bone) or not quite up to snuff (Sin). Fortunately, the biggest supporters of the idea, Valve Software, have finally given us Half Life 2: Episode 1, the first of many sequel stories to their smash hit. Maybe now we can finally see what this episodic content stuff is all about.

I can think of at least one issue with episodic content; even when we have something to review, how do we review it? →  Read the rest