Spoiler Warning: Half-Life 2: Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need… Wheels

  By Shamus   Jul 22, 2011   216 comments

We quote a bit of Die Hard in this episode. Trivia: Mumbles saw Die Hard for the first time ever last week. Welcome to the party, pal.


Link (YouTube)

We’ve been raving about the game, but some people are still foggy on the details of why we like Half-Life 2 so much. So here is Rutkarn’s answer, taken directly from the episode. (As nearly as I could, given the combat sounds and the other two idiots talking over him.) THIS is Half-Life 2, as made by ANY OTHER FPS STUDIO:

Here is a run down of what would have happened if any other studio had made this:

Cutscene intro: NEW YORK – You see citizens being mowed down in the streets. A narration plays over, “It is the future. Aliens have invaded the planet and begun oppressing the masses. Humankind can make no defense against it. But now, GORDON FREEMAN is being released by the G-man…”

Gordon wakes up: What? What’s going on? You’d better start giving me some answers, G-man!

GMAN: Well, Freeman… you are my pawn in this matter. I’m sending you to this place for my own reasons. Go kill some dudes.

You arrive there, and your sexilicious bikini babe companion will immediately start accompanying you, spouting wise-cracking one-lines and getting hung up on the environment while you go through the vert narrow New York streets, firing uninspiring guns and hiding behind cover.

And your enemies would be called, like… the Necro-forms. And they would all be these horrible half-human creatures that would howl and shriek.

And then the final boss would be the G-man.

Valve, thank you for not making that game.

Next week we’ll be back in the Mojave Desert. See you there.

A Hundred!A Hundred!16216 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?


  1. Dante says:

    Its been so hot this week, it almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter

  2. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Thanks Shamus, now I’ll have nightmares of Hl2 made by EA..

    *shudder*

  3. Irridium says:

    You know, after watching Civil Protection I can’t take the combine seriously anymore. Well, there’s also all the other video’s and whatnot, but Civil Protection is what did it for me.

    And if you haven’t seen Civil Protection, you should. It’s great.

  4. neon_goggles says:

    i got lost in there too josh. you dont need to be embarrassed. i never finished this game because Father Grigori kept buging out so i played episode 1 and 2 instead.

    also i think city 17 is in Bulgaria ware the art director lives. because most of the writing is in Bulgarian using the Cyrillic alphabet.

  5. Kelly says:

    Next week on Spoiler Warning: Old World Blues?

    • TraderRager says:

      Old world blues would take them at least a couple weeks to beat without fast forwarding.

      So I’m all for it!

    • neon_goggles says:

      do it then you can get the Saturnite D-25A super-heated or a power fist that sets people on fire.

    • Irridium says:

      It’d give Shamus and Rutskarn some explanations for the things they saw in Dead Money. Most notably the Ghost People.

      Though Josh would have to read terminals for that, and it’s not so fun to watch him read terminals…

      • Kelly says:

        No, it’s great to watch him read terminals because it forces the cast to admit that terminals and the information on them exist.

        But really I just want to see how they react to the Think Tank, Spike, and THE MIGHTY ROBOSCORPIONS, WHO STING IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS MOBIUS.

        • Shamus says:

          ” because it forces the cast to admit that terminals and the information on them exist.”

          This makes no sense. WE CAN’T READ THE TERMINALS. The Livestream broadcast reduces them to blobs of over-compressed pixels. Can you imagine how stupid the show would be if EVERYTHING came screeching to a halt while we squinted our way through one paragraph after another?

          JOSH: Hey guys? You don’t reading? Can I move on to the next page?

          RUTSKARN: Almost done.

          SHAMUS: Gah. It’s unreadabel for me. Let me restart the stream on my end.

          MUMBLES: Does that say, “Imprisoned plea?” That makes no sense!

          JOSH: It’s actually “Impassioned plea.”

          MUMBLES: Oh. Ok.

          JOSH: Okay, next page.

          SHAMUS: Wait! I finally got the stream going and I could read it. What was it saying about the Legion’s betrayal?

          We’d be reading instead of commenting, absorbing instead of observing, waiting instead of moving. That would be torture to watch. Any situation that requires us to sit around and read to ourselves as a group is RIGHT OUT.

          • Jabrwock says:

            I wouldn’t bother with the terminals anyway. You can’t punch them, nor stick grenades in their pants.

            Boring conversation anyway…

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Indeed.Absorbing knowledge is fun,but watching someone else absorb knowledge is boring as hell.

              • Syal says:

                Unless presented in montage form. Then it becomes awesome. Then it gets stupid when you realize they don’t actually use most of it. So it ends up stupid-awesome, which is a win I think.

                In any case, it’s not boring.

          • Kelly says:

            Or Josh could, ya know, skim and summarize more often than he does. Although actually, the scenario you describe actually sounds hilarious. I was mostly just messing with you anyway, you’ve complained about the terrible stream quality enough to make the result of actually trying to read notes and terminals clear.

            Seriously though, buy Old World Blues.

          • Raygereio says:

            Just have one person – other then Josh – play the DLC in advance. This person – who is not Josh and thus isn’t distracted by thoughts of whose pants he’ll now explode – can summerize and explain what’s going on and enable the others to complain on topic.

            Or just don’t play games that don’t support Spoiler Warning’s specific style of LP’ing.

            • Shamus says:

              “Or just don’t play games that don’t support Spoiler Warning’s specific style of LP’ing.”

              We certainly strive to do this. Given the hostility that we ran into with Dead Money, I’m confused to see anyone suggest we go down that road again.

              I shouldn’t say too much about OWB, since I haven’t discussed it with the rest of the cast, but it does feel a bit soon to do that one. (I also don’t if any of us are planning on getting it. I burned out my last playthrough and I’m too busy to play through the whole game again.)

              • Kelly says:

                It wouldn’t really be the same. Josh in Dead Money was the only one that knew what was going on, so he just skipped everything and sort of half-informed the rest of you what happened after it was gone. If Josh doesn’t already know what’s going on, he might be more easily tempted into actually listening to dialogue and such by the cast member that does.

                As for Old World Blues itself, it doesn’t actually require all that much gameplay time to get to. Honest Hearts is on the very top of the map and Dead Money is hidden past hordes and hordes of Cazadors, but the entrance to OWB is literally JUST south of Nipton, the most dangerous thing in that area being bark scorpions and maybe a mole rat.

                Alternatively, if it’s an issue of time of release, then Honest Hearts has surely had enough time, and storywise it keeps things relatively straightforward, with the only terminal stuff being a series of journal entries hidden inside caves (these also being some of the most depressing/amazing things in Fallout history but they’re just backstory for the main plot).

                On the other hand, while I think most of the rest of you would be fine with it, Mumbles will almost certainly spend all of any Honest Hearts run screaming “FETCH QUESTS” at the top of her lungs, over and over, unceasingly, for each episode that doesn’t involve a lot of Joshua Graham speaking calmly but firmly about ethnic purging.

                • uberfail says:

                  I think dead money proved that Spoiler Warning doesn’t really work as a blind LP. I wouldn’t want them to do Old World Blues or whatnot untill at elast most of them have run through it. (most: I’m not sure we can expect mumbles to re-install New Vegas)

                  • Raygereio says:

                    That depends on the game, I guess. A game that requires you to do a lot of exploring and figuring things out to get the story won’t work in a blind run. Especially if the better part of your commentary is about the story.

                    But a game like for instance Half Life 2 could work pretty well in a blind run.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                I liked your playthrough of dead money.True,it wouldve been more fun if the rest of you were familiar with it as well,but it was fun to watch even like this.

              • MrWhales says:

                I still say that Dead Money was 30x better than the last half of the Bioshock season. In Dead Money it was, this is stupid and here is a joke about it’s own stupidness. In later-Bioshock, it felt more like, this is just stupid and annoying

          • Veloxyll says:

            Next up on Spoiler Warning: Reader Rabbit edition!
            (interesting typo – you don’t reading!)

            I just like to think that Reginald can’t actually read.

            I have to say though, I’ve noticed a lot of really sturdy technology in NV, which is kinda odd seeming that it’s supposed to be 200+ years in the future.
            (I haven’t watched the last few eps yet)

    • X2-Eliah says:

      I’d prefer if you guys didn’t do OWB (or HH for that matter), for what it’s worth. THey both are really fairly new, and I don’t want to spoil stuff for myself (waiting until all 4 are out to play a ‘final’ new vegas run, or goty), but I also don’t want to sit out two or three weeks worth of spoiler warning just because of the dlc-focus..

      Besides, the faster you’re done with new vegas, the faster you can start doing Dragon Age 2 ;)

  6. Rasha says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP5Dmk9nnMI

    So relevant.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp5Q9jS2D-Q

    Also this. I want you to think about how long it must’ve taken to gather all that wool and put it in place then I want you to start crying.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZVeGQspILs&feature=relmfu

    As a parting phrase batman was nothing but an annoying Mary Sue and with the exception of superman he was the worst hero dc ever made. Quite an accomplishment really.

  7. Tohron says:

    You know, “Manhacks are the new Headcrabs” seems to overrate them a bit – yes, they’re a threat in the beginning, but as soon as you get the Gravity Gun, they’re a joke (you do know the regular GravGun can pick up and throw them, right?)

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    9:45 Youre wrong Josh.You guys have given me the urge to replay the half life completely,and Ive just passed surface tension where headcrabs are burrowing.Which is annoying,but awesome as well.

    Also,man is that game long.I mean I remember roughly how all the sequences go,and I know its long,but I was amazed when after 4 hours I was barely at the mid point.True,I didnt speed run it,but I didnt snail through it either.I still prefer it over the sequel though,and I think it is because of the constant three sided battle between you,the aliens and the soldiers,which is sadly missing for the most part of the sequel.

  9. Eärlindor says:

    Augh! NO! Moar Half-Life 2! MOAR! Sad face.

    Sorry about that; I’m okay now.

    I need to get a new copy of this game, because there is a scratch on the disc or something and it freezes every time a get to a particular section of the last level. I previously had it for 360, and I don’t think my computer would be able to effectively run it. :(

    • RejjeN says:

      I could almost run it on a PC with 512 MB RAM and an integrated graphics card (it ran at like 10FPS or less, forgot exactly), so if you have anything decent from five years ago or so it can proooobably handle it pretty well.

      • Eärlindor says:

        My RAM is 8 gigs, so I’m pretty good there. My GHZ is higher than the minimum but lower than the recommended. Not sure where to look up my graphics card.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          You probably can run it.Valve usually cast a wide net with its games hardware wise.I had no problem running it with my old computer when it came out,and I just barely went over the minimum requirements.I didnt play it on the highest setting,of course,but it ran without problems.

          • Eärlindor says:

            I went and bought HL2 on Steam. It actually runs beautifully, and still looks pretty good.
            Rather silly of me, but sometimes a carry a real defeatist attitude before I attempt something, a problem I’m still working to take care of.
            So I guess what I’m saying is thank you, and RejjeN, for the encouragement.

    • Noble Bear says:

      Yeah, I was really enjoying this.

  10. Jakale says:

    I haven’t played a non Half Life FPS since roughly Perfect Dark for N64, so what would be the likelihood of that parallel universe Half Life having non cut-scene airship/helicopter destruction?

  11. Scott says:

    I hope you guys can come back to this game at some point in the future. It’s odd to hear you guys praises a game.

    • Hitch says:

      They need a week of Half Life 2 every couple months. “Okay, you’ve been listening to non-stop complaints, so we’re going to show you more of this to remind you what games are capable of and why we complain about everything else.”

  12. Pfft! Pfft! Excuse me! Sorry about that, bumped into your strawman there. Whew, he’s a big one in’t he!

    • Shamus says:

      Go play Crysis 2, and then come back and call that a strawman.

      I WISH it was a strawman.

      • poiumty says:

        Um, let’s see. In Crysis 2, the protagonist is mute, the one who woke you up doesn’t turn into the end boss, there is no sexilicious bikini babe anywhere, and i’m pretty sure the aliens are called “ceph” short for cephalopods, which is not a composite word. Furthermore, your character goes through events that clearly show he’s in fact quite vulnerable (as opposed to an ass-kicking badass) until the deus ex machina kicks in. And it’s thoroughly explained that if you didn’t have the suit maguffin you’d be dead like 30 times over by now. Just like in some other game you currently happen to have a video of which is posted on a blog in which I’m posting a comment.

        I mean, I saw what you did there, and I took it with a grain of salt. But acting like it was actually serious and everything that was said was meant exactly as it is? Can’t accept that.

        Half-Life 2 is a shining example of good storytelling, with that I agree fully. But stop making it seem like storytelling == gameplay. Because Crysis 2’s core gameplay happens to be just as good, if not better, than HL2’s. And as weird as it sounds, that is just what some people want in a game.

        • JPH says:

          Crysis 2 has regenerating health.

          Your argument is invalid.

        • Shamus says:

          My point was: Rutskarn rattled off a bunch of tropes. Of course, none of them fit any game EXACTLY, but that didn’t make it a “strawman”. They fit a lot of games quite well, and did a good job of highlighting why we’ve been praising HL2 this week.

          “But stop making it seem like storytelling == gameplay. ”

          I didn’t say anything about gameplay?

          • poiumty says:

            It does make it a strawman if you take it as if he really meant what he said then cite Crysis 2 as an example. Crysis 2 happens to be a good game which doesn’t deserve your comparing to the average run-of-the-mill corridorfest that is, among others, Homefront. I assume those were the types of games you were talking about when you paraphrased Rutskarn.
            Sure it can be improved. But “go play crysis 2 and you’ll see my point” is a bit of a stretch.

            You didn’t have to SAY anything about gameplay. Note that I said “making it seem”, as in it seems to me that you’re making the case that games are *bad* because they don’t achieve HL2’s level of storytelling. While that may be true for some people, it’s not objective in any way. In the end, gameplay as a core component of the experience is what makes the game good or bad regardless of story.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              But where did he say he was taking Rutskarns description literally?He merely said “Go play Crysis 2, and then come back and call that a strawman.”That statement says nothing about how literal he takes Rutskarns description.

              • poiumty says:

                He doesn’t have to say it. If he wasn’t being serious then just say that from the start and voila, argument over. I don’t think Shamus is quite fond of trolling, either.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But the point of parody is that it doesnt have to be literal for it to make a good argument.

                  • poiumty says:

                    But I’m not discussing the parody. I’m discussing the use of Crysis 2 as a real-life example for it.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      And why is it not an example?Just because it doesnt fit the parody point for point?It has problems in its narrative structure,so it is a perfect example.

                    • poiumty says:

                      It’s not a valid example because it’s BARELY an example. Not all games need perfect storytelling to be good, is what I’m trying to say.

                      There’s a word for this and it’s called exaggerating.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Exaggerating for the sake of making fun of something?Unthinkable!

                      But look,if we say jokingly “All politicians are corrupted liars”,does that mean we arent making fun of some politician X because he is not a liar but a thief?And hey,he may be a thief,but he still introduced lots of policies that were beneficial for the community,so he would not be a valid example of our exaggerated parody with a grain of truth.

        • Joe says:

          Sorry to nit-pick but:

          “cephalopods, which is not a composite word”

          Greek plural Κεφαλόποδα (kephalópoda); “head-feet”

        • Kdansky says:

          The Crysis 2 comparison makes perfect sense: Crysis 2 and HL2 are incredibly similar:

          1. Super power suit (HEV vs Nano)
          2. Silent protagonist
          3. Aliens taking over
          4. Vehicles
          5. Shooter
          6. Urbane

          But every time they differ in implementation of these features, HL2 makes a point of getting it right, while Crysis 2 demonstrates how to get it wrong. For example:

          1. Suit. The Nano suit frequently gets EMP’d during “boss” fights, making you question why you have the damn thing to begin with. You don’t need it versus standard enemies, and it doesn’t work when the enemy is tough. That’s bad game design. The nano suit also doesn’t allow you to switch from cloak to armor because you run out of energy, and cloaking and walking past every enemy works great (but it’s boring).

          2. Silent protagonist. All dialog is HL2 is written in a way (with great care!) so it does not showcase how you are unable to speak. In Crysis, you want to frequently shout stuff at the screen, but you cannot. It puts the spotlight on a technological and design flaw.

          3. In HL2 it is implied how the aliens have already taken over. There is a great atmosphere of sadness and giving up. In Crysis 2, it’s all shouting and shouting and shouting. There is no sense of urgency, because you cannot be rushing for 6 hours straight. The aliens in HL2 are mysterious, rarely shown and they push strange rules (birth control) unto humanity, which makes them creepy and they feel intelligent. The aliens in C2 have no discernible motivation. They just conquer, with no implied reasoning whatsoever. They have no personality (but they come in different sizes and colours instead. That’s a classic game trope, but it breaks immersion due to how gamy and unrealistic it is).

          4. Vehicles in HL2 are fun, you get to drive long distances, which is a change of pace. Vehicles in C2 (tanks) are like walking around on foot (you’re still a tank), except you cannot see your life bar. The areas are so ridiculously small that there is no point to it anyway.

          5. HL2 has very standard, but solidly executed guns. Crysis 2 forces you to choose only two guns at a time, which means you never get to see the sniper gun or rocket launcher much, as those would be wasting a slot. And when you get to that scene where a sniper gun would be awesome, you surely won’t be carrying it. There is also a lot of respawning of enemies involved, so ammo has little importance.

          6. Environment. HL2 switches it up. Crysis 2 does not. It’s the same street corner over and over again. Insanely repetitive. Both are rail roads, but HL2 has a ton of smokes and mirrors to hide that fact. Crysis 2 puts waypoints everywhere.

          And don’t get me started on story or characters. Crysis 2 has clichées spouting one-liners, HL2 shows emotions.

          Wow, this got long. But Crysis 2 really irked me for failing so badly.

          Heaven or Hell.

          • poiumty says:

            I could start decomposing some of your points but you’re missing the point. Read what I wrote above about exaggerating. Crysis 2 is a good game.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              So?Alpha protocol was a good game,but that doesnt mean its not plagued with problems as well.Problems which other games solved in much better ways.

            • Kdansky says:

              Sure, you could nitpick my points to death, and get hung up over minor syntactic differences. I wouldn’t use Crysis 2 as an example if I didn’t think it was an impressive game. One cannot point out quality by comparing something to utter crap.

              Crysis 2 is such a great example because it is solidly executed in all ways, has very high production values and only falls short right before the point of “will be remembered for decades”.

              How bad of an intro compared to HL2 can you make with infinite money? This bad!
              http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/unskippable/3641-Crysis-2-Part-1

      • The Hokey Pokey says:

        I think the real problem with this argument is where you said “Go play Crysis 2.”

        • Shamus says:

          Crysis 2 is a great example of a game that would have been mind-blowing with a bit of Valve love. The incessant hand-holding, the stale, unfocused story, the silent protagonist who NEEDED to speak up and couldn’t, the scripted cutscenes, the uneven difficulty that wavered between “piss easy” and “what the hell am I doing wrong?”, the bland characters, the I-saw-this-coming-four-hours-ago betrayal, the uninteresting aliens.

          It had all of the ingredients to be a really stellar game, but all of them were just a bit off, or poorly executed, or in need of just a little more tweaking.

      • Never played Crysis 2 (or 1 for that matter) cause I saw both games featured a big ol dude in a space suit lifted directly from a 90’s Image comic book. See, I was able to judge that book by the cover and realize it was a dumb as a balls game I’d have no interest in playing, so when somebody gets snarky pointing out that it’s a dumb as balls game, they look like an idiot to me, but I’m harsh like that.

        But it’s still a strawman regardless, cause your comparison ignores the fact that HL2 was made in ’04, and that particular elephant in the room…

        “…makessss aaaaalll the differencccce…iiiin the wooorld…”

        • Shamus says:

          Quite aside from saying I sound like an idiot, I really have no idea what you’re saying. We can’t use Crysis as an example of a dumb game, because it’s OBVIOUSLY a dumb game? It’s not fair to compare a game from 04 to a game from ’10 because… ? Why? Is there some law dictating that games MUST get dumber?

          It’s not a strawman, it’s an illustration.

          “Man, if they made Star Wars today it would be some brain-deal Michael bay explosion fest.”

          “That’s a strawman because Michael Bay doesn’t really make space opera movies.”

          WHA?!?!?!

          • I will admit wholeheartedly I have never looked up the definition of the strawman term, so there’s no doubt I could be misrepresenting it. If so, by all means, inform me what quicker shorthand is available for bullshit one-sided argument and I will use that instead.

            Incorrect word-use aside, my point is that these arguments show an ignorance of the world around you. To wit:

            “Why? Is there some law dictating that games MUST get dumber?”

            Yes. Yes Mr. Young, that is EXACTLY true. Not a law written in a law book, but written in our current videogame culture. This culture that is defined by Gears of War and Modern Warfare. It shouldn’t be true, and I don’t like that it’s true, but I’m not gonna pretend that it isn’t…because then I’D look like an idiot. If you want to be more than just the old man on the porch muttering about ‘back in MY day…’, you need to understand the shifts that occur in our culture and acknowledge WHY things are the way they are.

            The thing that gets me riled is that I know you ARE smart enough to understand that. You, Ruts…all y’all, so when I see nonsense like that swathed in ignorance, it means to me that you chose to BE ignorant. I understand why, don’t get me wrong. This is mucky, nasty unpleasant stuph and it’s easier to play dumb and make with the snark. But it still frustrates cause I’m harsh like that. *shrug*

            • JPH says:

              More accessible ≠ “dumber.”

              • Joe says:

                Very true. There’s a lot that’s being sacrificed in the name of accessibility in modern games, it’s true. But how does telling a shallower story, and telling it more poorly make your game more accessible? Your argument is invalid. We aren’t criticizing crysis 2 for having poor gameplay (although a lot of the genre evolution has been extremely divisive), as much as for a decline in storytelling. And sacrificing that doesn’t help anything. In fact it makes gaming in general less accessible, by turning people off from one of it’s potential strongpoints: The ability to engage people in a story like no other medium.

            • Naota says:

              I’m not seeing how “games today are not very smart” is a viable excuse for them not being very smart, particularly when compared to older games. It’s like claiming that no food should ever be taken to task for tasting bland because the restaurant is out of seasoning, or that it’s wrong to complain about bland, hideous modern architecture because “that’s how they build them now”. The whole point of complaining is that you are not satisfied with the current state of affairs to begun with, isn’t it? Would you prefer that Shamus be a defeatist and give these things a free pass simply because they’re commonplace at the moment of writing?

              Games don’t have to get dumber, and it’s not ignorance to complain when they are.

              • Veloxyll says:

                ^ I was going to comment, but this pretty much covers it.
                +1

              • “The whole point of complaining is that you are not satisfied with the current state of affairs to begun with, isn’t it?”

                Yeah, but ignoring the context of over a half decade passing weakens the complaint to the point of uselessness. Or, let me spin it this way and see how it rolls:

                “Valve, thank you for not making that game.”

                Yes Valve, we truly are in your debt for not making a game using videogame storytelling sensibilities that didn’t even exist when you were making it. Seriously, how is that NOT pointless, to say nothing of silly?

                • Naota says:

                  In what manner did the videogame writing sensibility of being terrible and shallow not exist in 2004? Half-Life 2 released alongside Doom 3, UT 2004, Halo 2, and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. I’m not seeing how any of those are any different in terms of writing quality or even storytelling tropes than Crysis 2 is (though to its credit, UT was never a story-focused game to begin with).

                  The generic action-movie-alike-with-a-dumb-plot-it-takes-very-seriously is a narrative misstep just about as as old as video gaming. As far as I’m aware, bad writing is not some modern trend – larger numbers of players who care about the storytelling in video games is.

                  I suppose the implication is that Half-Life 2, if it was made today, would be much more similar to Crysis 2? But that’s just not true. Judging by Portal 2, Valve is still making and writing games the same way that they were in 2004, only they’re now even better at it.

                  • Indy says:

                    I agree with this. If Half-Life 2 were made today, it would have better textures, maybe a more advanced AI and a slightly better physics engine. The gameplay would be equivalent and the storytelling wouldn’t have changed.

                    Keep up the good work, Valve. Get Episode 3 right, as opposed to finished.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              So wait,your problem is Rutskarn using a broad brush to paint how games of today fail because you think that its a law for games of today to fail?

        • Raygereio says:

          It’s somewhat funny that you call someone else an idiot concidering you:
          -apparently have no clue what a straw man is: a straw man is misrepresenting an debate oponent’s argument, which Shamus (or more specifically: Rutskarn) has not done.
          -apparently think the last 6 years have made any difference in a gamedeveloper’s ability tell a story, create a decent narrative, etc? There have been no technological advances in the last 6 years that have significantly affected this area of game development whatsoever.

          Edit: did not mean to dogpile on you together with Shamus there.

      • JPH says:

        I don’t know about Crysis 2, but I think Mass Effect 2 is a perfect example of what you were talking about.

        Think about it. The commander being the bad guy (Illusive Man), the sexilicious bikini babe companion (Miranda), the Tough Guy protagonist, the betrayal… It’s got everything. Even the thing you said about the aliens having to be big and scary and have tons of teeth, that fits the Shadow Broker like a glove.

        And the most bitter part: Mass Effect 2 is a Bioware game.

        • Rasha says:

          I agree with every statement other than the quite frankly offensive notion captain chin mc’plot armor is a babe. Obnoxious, railroading, ill temped, and generally stupid excuse for a sidekick. Really?

          • JPH says:

            Whether or not she is a babe, you can very clearly tell that Bioware wanted her to be a babe.

          • acronix says:

            That begs a question: What makes the babe effectively be a babe? The treatment she gets from those that see her (the players), or from the treatment she gets from camera angles?

            • Raygereio says:

              It’s how she’s presented to you – the player.
              With Miranda, BioWare gave us a bland and completely forgettable character (she has one almost halfway decent character moment in her loyalty mission and that’s it) of which we are told (by Miranda herself no less) that’s she’s perfect in every way.
              She wears a ridiculous outfit that serves no purpose beyond showing of her big tits and arse and well over two thirds of all the cutscenes that focus on her specifically (and not incidentally because she’s in your squad at the time) have camera angles that serve no purpose beyond showing of her big tits and arse.

              Yeah, BioWare pretty obviously intended her to be the sexy spacebabe, with Jacob being her male counterpart.

        • Eärlindor says:

          AAAUUGH!!! I see it now….

          That makes it even worse.

          *Sobs*

        • Grudgeal says:

          It doesn’t have ‘evil villain twist’ they describe, though. You need to play the older Throne of Bhaal to see that one.

  13. The Hokey Pokey says:

    Regarding the guy getting eaten by a head crab at 9:52, the first time I got to that point I saw the head crab jump on to him and thought “I can do better than that.” I reloaded the nearest save, rushed to that point and after a few tries was able to shoot the head crab before it touched him. He still screamed, thrashed around and died, even though nothing was attacking him. I was so disappointed. No matter what the game says, in my mind I saved that guy.

    • Jarenth says:

      He died of a panic-induced heart attack.

      Rest in peace, Anonymous Headcrab Guy.

    • ehlijen says:

      The sudden sound of gunfire made him die from fright?

      • Ander the Halfling Rogue says:

        *Sigh* That may make sense, but this post makes me sad. That is exactly the type of reasoning I use to get through game bugs and teeth-yankingly painful parts of a good story. It goes like this: if it happens in game, there’s an in-game explanation if you think about it long enough. It’s like hacking a computer: all it takes is time (fresh-baked cookies to whoever can say what that’s from. I think I quoted it relatively correctly).
        It’s like a personal achievement for me when I play a game and work out a bug with an in-universe explanation. In this case, I’ll buy the heart-attack explanation. Even so, the game loses some standing in my mind. (If it couldn’t be done at all, the integrity of the game, in my mind, could drop like a rock.)
        Valve gets a little leeway, though, as Portal and such stuff they do (storytelling-wise) is the embodiment of quality. Of course, the price of cinematic awesomeness is what happens when you slip off the rails. So, Valve again proves they are not literally perfect. Makes me sad in this case, but such is life.

    • acronix says:

      Maybe he read he`d die from a headcrab while a stranger tried to save him, and once you destroyed that prophecy, he decided to do hara kiri before Fate could come with an even more horrible death for him.

      You know, like that one movie.

  14. LB says:

    How dare you, Rutskarn. You can insult Mumbles, you can insult Mass Effect 2, and you can insult the worst band in history, but you do not insult Batman. Batman is a national treasure!

    • RejjeN says:

      Batman is NOT a national treasure! He is GOD!

    • LB says:

      Thank you for not appreciating the reference. . But anyway, no, you are wrong. Everyone knows Darkseid is god, Batman is Christ, and The Joker is Satan.

      • LB says:

        Everyone is ignoring my counter towards Rutskarn’s insult at Batman. I’m hurt.

      • RejjeN says:

        But… Batman (sorta) killed Darkseid… (Oh, right. Spoilers!)

        And wouldn’t Joker be more like Loki than Satan? He’s more of a trickster than a devil (though he can fit that some days of the week as well I guess).

        Also not entirely sure what reference you were referring too… If it’s comic book related I’m not surprised I missed it since I’ve only really read Batman R.I.P., No Man’s Land, the story where he “kills” Darkseid (I know he doesn’t actually “kill” him, but I assume he wounded him enough for the Flash duo to do their part), and The Return of Bruce Wayne (And currently the Batman Inc. story). So either it’s something completely unrelated to that or I’m just forgetful, either of which is likely.

        • LB says:

          It was from Ugly Americans, actually. You know, that show on comedy central. . It’s Futurama, but with horror/fantasy instead of sci-fi, and it’s slightly less funnier than Futurama. Never mind. And I don’t read those newer comics, I’m more of a nineteen eighties, The Killing Joke, Serious House on Serious Earth, and so on Batman fan. I don’t really know what Darkseid is like as a character, but I know he’s “the god of chaos,” or something like that. I couldn’t think of any other characters in Batman that are god like. But my claims about Joker and Batman were spot on.

          • LB says:

            *god-like, not god like.

            • LB says:

              I would like to apologize for any other stupid mistakes in these comments. . It’s nice that at least some people responded. That’s probably as close to a friendly greeting as I’m going to get from the patrons of Spoiler Warning. .

              • Ander the Halfling Rogue says:

                Hi, LB. From what you said, I’m guessing you’re new, but I really don’t know. Sorry that you don’t like us so far (well, regular SW watchers, one of whom I am not).
                In any case, greetings in a friendly way!
                And Batman is the best superhero ever.

  15. Alexander The 1st says:

    You know, now that you mention it, the “Commander character betrays you and becomes the end boss” storyline is really starting to get annoying (As of…well, like Older Than Dirt, really), so I’ll agree that I’m glad HL2 tries to go around it (I’m presuming from what Rutskarn said, G-man is a boss? If not, further kudos to Valve) by not forcing you to do stuff because he said so.

    Re: Bugs:

    Honestly, this is one area console games seem to be significantly better (More specifically, Japanese console games, but it applies to a lot of western titles as well) – very low bug count, and none that will cause the game to freeze up.

    Well, there was one, but it’s a DRM-trick used in Earthbound, where it lets you get to the final boss fight, and if it’s cracked/missing the on-board chip, froze the game, and upon restart, all your save files are gone. But that was not a bug, it was a feature. :p

  16. krellen says:

    I still haven’t seen Die Hard. I’ve seen many (all?) the sequels, but not the original.

  17. Factoid says:

    Mumbles likes Nickleback? She must, because her favorite band is the worst band in the world.

  18. RTBones says:

    “De game design-ahs aahr smahtah dan youu” – I know Shamus said it, but I had visions of Hans and Franz saying it when he did so. All he needed to add was “girlie maaan!” It made me LOL.

    I have enjoyed this interlude. If there is a requirement at some point in the future for another one, perhaps you can come back to it and show off some other areas of the game.

  19. Vipermagi says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one that presses mouse buttons at random.
    It’s also… fun… to do that while sneaking up on someone.

  20. Eärlindor says:

    Y’know, Josh, when I was your age (okay I’m pretty sure you’re older than me, but… details) we didn’t look up walkthroughs when we were stuck. We figured it out! (Because it didn’t occur to us to look at walkthroughs… crap I am not doing myself any favors here…. I guess that’s my fail; in the same way certain puzzles didn’t click in Shamus’ head, it never occurred to me to look at a walkthrough…)

  21. Joe Cool says:

    I like Josh’s creative ways of, um, “parking” the air boat.

    When I played through it, I always very carefully and purposefully pulled it up alongside a platform, and backed and filled until it was flush with the edge.

    • guy says:

      I, meanwhile, did more like Josh. It’s incredibly fun.

    • Ander the Halfling Rogue says:

      Some people roleplay; others don’t. I noticed in that blind LP of HL2 they talked about earlier, the player is a roleplayer, at least in the part I watched. She nods Freeman’s head, chucks the can at the metro-cop for in-character reasons,and cowers around corners like a real person might actually do. Some people like to be roleplayers.
      Josh… doesn’t, in so many ways. If he does, I have seen little-to-no evidence of it.

  22. Rutskarn hit it RIGHT on the money about the L4D mechanics seeping over into other games. Gets to the point where I have manage the games I play depending on their control scheme. Oddly enough it’s in L4D where I get in the most trouble cause I forget that crouching over a ledge doesn’t prevent me from falling over it. Damn you Minecraft!

  23. poiumty says:

    Oh, that buoyancy puzzle reminds me of Concerned so much. I feel I should link it, like, right now. So here I go.

    http://www.hlcomic.com/index.php?date=2005-10-17

  24. Tse says:

    By the way, the Eastern European city is Sofia, the hometown of the art director, Viktor Antonov. Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and it doesn’t look much better in real life than in Half-Life 2.

  25. HeroOfHyla says:

    There’s still a puzzle in Half Life 2 that I don’t think I solved correctly. I came to some little village that was deserted save for combine soldiers, and had a big barricade over the far exit. After clearing out the soldiers, I spent about half an hour looking for a lever to open the barricade, because it very much seemed to be moveable.

    I never found a way to open the gate. Instead, I used my gravity gun on the car repeatedly until it got launched over the barricade, and then I slipped through a man-sized opening off to the side.

    Was that the proper solution?

  26. Pat says:

    So in Rutskarn’s hypothetical alternate version of Half-Life, the G-Man is played by Maximillian Pegasus?

  27. Sozac says:

    Play through Portal next time someone’s gone. It’ll probably take you like 2 weeks.

  28. guy says:

    THAT ROOM. THAT ONE ROOM WITH THE PIPES!

    I hated trying to make that jump so incredibly much down onto the thin pipes. Still, it’s not as bad as Sandtraps. Of the three vehicles in the series to date, I hate only the Dune Buggy, but I hate that one more than the Mako.

    Incidental note: for complex technical reasons beyond my comprehension, it’s actually impossible to turn an NPC into a headcrab zombie. Something about the AI going screwy when Valve tried.

    I know the airboat handles poorly, but that’s part of the charm to me. I absolutely love driving off the water and a good distance up a sidewalk.

    • decius says:

      If your airboat has traction, you are doing something very, very wrong. Clearly the radioactive sludge has rendered the bottom of the boat very gravitic, resulting a a very low center of gravity, and nearly frictionless, allowing the airboat to run on concrete, grass, and other fun things.

      Radioactive sludge: Not just for giving animate things superpowers anymore.

    • You know that when you get to the top of the ladder in that room you can press E to step off onto the pipe, right? You don’t have to jump at all.

  29. Derp says:

    I am vaguely ashamed now. Not once in my entire playthrough did I see the G-Man outside of the beginning and end. I should probably also play HL1 one of these days.

  30. McNutcase says:

    I am officially blaming you guys. I had quit using my Steam account in 2005, and now I’ve gone through the legal stuff line by line in search of why I ragequit. Not finding it, I’ve reactivated the account and am as I type downloading the copy of HL2 I bought on release day so I can play it again.

    How dare you force me to play excellent games?

  31. Dried-On says:

    Wow. I’m pretty sure Rutskarn got hold of Insomniac’s Resistance 3 notes for his diatribe there. Monstrous aliens? Check. Murderous oppression? Check. Set in New York? Check.

    • acronix says:

      For once, I`d like to see a game where the aliens are cute and fluffy, and where their forced political system bring nothing but peace, and harmony. And flowers.

      Of course, in this setting the resistance would be a bunch of lunatics whose only purpose is to force the cute empire to blow them to pieces so they can justify the resistance`s existance in the first place.

    • Chuck says:

      To be fair to the Resistance series-because as a fan I feel obligated to- the game does not start in New York, nor do we know yet how much time will be spent in the city, and considering the reasons for going, coupled with such a major city near the ocean likely being a long-held part of gray territory (Chimera controlled land) the reasoning for going there is solid.

      I will say I preferred Fall of Man to R2.

  32. Sekundaari says:

    Did you just fire a pistol and destroy planks 10 meters underwater? Whuh?

    • MichaelG says:

      Yeah, and the Metrocops can fire at you when you are swimming underwater. Haven’t the game makers ever watched that episode of Mythbusters?!

      • Tse says:

        And you can hide underwater from explosions. Something, which in real life would turn you into minced meat. Like shooting fish in a barrel or fishing with dynamite.

      • Klay F. says:

        Trivia: Ammunition design to fire rounds slower than the speed of sound are actually reasonably effective at hitting targets underwater (assuming you can correct for refraction).

        • decius says:

          Yeah, but very few firearms can -fire- underwater. Something about wet primer and all the mechanical movements calibrated for air resistance and not water viscosity.

          Hiding underwater protects very well from shrapnel and the radiant heat effects of explosives. Somewhat less against the concussive force. Given the physics effects of the barrels on combine soldiers, they’d have to be concussive; given their survivability to Gordon, the HEV suit would have to somehow damp a whole lot of force in air. Perhaps the HEV suit can protect better while underwater?

          Or maybe we’re talking about video game physics, where a single bullet in the leg is unlikely to sever an artery or nerve.

      • Slothful says:

        I remember actually finding where the CP were based on the trajectory of the bullets they were shooting into the water. So cool.

        But yeah, last I checked I thought that the game didn’t let you shoot your gun underwater.

  33. Tse says:

    Do you know how I passed the first seesaw puzzle? Bunny-hopping. Jumping off the high end of the beam before it’s lowered by my weight shouldn’t be possible, but it is.

    • Adam says:

      Shamus said something a while back about solutions to game logic conundrums just moving the absurdity elsewhere? I think this is an example of that, given that the only reason you have to do that puzzle in the first place is that Dr Freeman is only intermittently in possession of a pair of working hands and is thus unable to perform simple actions like chin ups.

  34. Rutskarn, loved your bad game example, your the star of this series.
    Josh, awesome stuntman work.
    Mumbles, your mic volume wasn’t too loud for once.
    Shamus, you didn’t suck, much at least…

    :P

    BTW! more seriously, you guys mentioned how cool and open the swampboat was. HL2 came out in 2004.
    But somebody did do something similar a few years earlier.
    Monolith’s: No One Lives Forever 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolf2
    There is awesome snowmobile sequence quite open cool jumps etc.
    A very underrated game and quickly missed by many.
    Heck NOLF2 actually have at one point a ingame character steal a glance at the “camera” during a cutscene (intentionally scripted like that as if it was a bad actor).
    And some funny henchman talk can be overheard if you sneak around etc.
    I’m kinda guessing Rutskarn has played it if not shame on you, and I’m hopeing some of the others here has played it as well.

    Monolith are the guys behind the Lithtech game engine, they did among other games Aliens vs Predator 2 which had 3 interwoven storylines (Marine/Predator/Alien) and some nice humor (overhearing npc chatter) the Alien and Predator playthrough has no player character voice so the environment and NPC dialogs/chatter convey the story.
    There is also an expansion that acts as a prequel and ties perfectly into the main game (3 interwoven paths again there).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliens_versus_Predator_2

    So NOLF2 and Aliens vs Predator 2 by Monolith are games you just must play at least once, true classics IMO, highly recommended.

    Besides, Ninja Tornado Battle nuff said :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODeEuPokFRk

    And a funny cutscene from AvP2 (your Predator playthrough is indirectly responsible for this FYI) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDY9YC50Noo

    • Grag says:

      I found monolith originally because of Blood (found because as an adolescent I thought it was cool to type “blood.com” in the browser bar)

      I loved how in that game you started with a pitchfork and worked your way up to a gun, rather than starting with some unlimited space gun and working your way up to a BFG-9000.

      those were the days. I played that game without freelook, looking up and down using page-up/page-down.

  35. McLokast says:

    Wow, that “What? What’s going on? You’d better start giving me some answers, G-man!” line, crushed my soul.

  36. The Naked Emperor says:

    Due to all the talk of Half-Life, I have to link this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHxyZaZlaOs&feature=related

    Half-Life, FULL-LIFE CONSEQUENCES!

  37. Chuck says:

    This is probably the wrong place to ask, but does anyone else not see the category’s listed to the right of the page anymore?

  38. rrgg says:

    Don’t City 17 soldiers call headcrabs ‘necrotics’ at some point?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      They call headcrab zombies that.And its exactly what they discuss in the show:Soldiers call them necrotics,but regular folk still call them zombies.

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