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. →  Readout 3: Takedown

Review – Portal

Portal is a fantastic little game that really compliments Valve’s Orange Box compilation. If it were just a Half-Life collection with Team Fortress thrown in (as it pretty much always was with the PC versions of the franchise) then the Orange Box would still be a steal at $60, but Portal adds some great new game play and some interesting story elements to the Half-Life universe. The only problem I have with the game is that it’s too short, which isn’t the worst problem you could have.

Starting with a tech demo called Narbacular Drop, the student developers at DigiPen caught the attention of the Valve team and it’s easy to see why. I haven’t played an FPS or adventure game in a long time that had me scratching my head like some of the puzzles Portal throws at you. →  I'll get a job later, for now I'm going to read this