Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP14: Slow Teleporter Operator

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Dec 14, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 131 comments

Today’s post is almost nine hours late thanks to YouTube being uncharacteristically stupid and broken. It normally takes YT about an hour or so to process the video after Josh uploads it. Today it sat there for six hours, doing nothing. Then Josh uploaded it again. Then it took me an hour to watch the twenty-minute episode because I had to keep stopping to let it buffer. It was like watching a video in 2002.

Link (YouTube)

Remarkable! Google seems to have invented a “slow internet”. This suggests an entirely new line of investigation!


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131 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP14: Slow Teleporter Operator

  1. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

    Oh, silly Google. AOL is way ahead of you in the ‘slow internet’ market!

  2. So that’s what they mean by “reload Doctor Freeman!” They’re desperately hoping you’ll keep them all alive or rewind time to before their comrades died.

    I’ve done several runs where I absolutely refuse to let any of them die and they’re generally really good in terms of navigation, and the place people remember in this game as being frustrating (that one building with the zombie in the kitchen) is pretty much optional – they stay out of the way pretty well otherwise. Also Valve bots make me hate bots in other games – they navigate so well you wonder what the hell Bethesda pays their AI scripters for. Actually you wonder that anyway, along with why Bethesda can’t make bots climb ladders, or step around pressure plates they’ve already triggered a dozen times.

    1. Destrustor says:

      Regarding the followers: the fact that they can block your path for even a second makes me want to slaughter them all, even if they back out almost immediately. Besides, this is Gordon Freeman, the most badass one-physicist-army in the world! He don't need no troops!
      My brother always systematically wipes them out himself (it's hilarious to just hold an enemy turret in their faces and let them die in front of an enemy they can't shoot or knock down.)
      As for trying to keep them all alive, there's no point: they infinitely respawn all the time.
      We both have very low tolerance to npc followers, so we care less about their lives than about the bullets we'd spend to kill them ourselves, even if it is completely futile to do so.
      yeah, we're not very good people. But really, that part of the game is one of the ones I enjoy the least, specificaly because of those dudes.

      1. Nic says:

        When I replay HL2 nowadays, I add a key binding that deletes whatever physics object I am aimed at. I do this for the sole purpose of un-exist-ifying all bots that join my party. Seeing them vanish without fanfare from the game world is now one of the most satisfying parts of the game.

      2. Nyctef says:

        SPRINT AT YOUR COMPANIONS! They’ll move out of the way!


        1. Destrustor says:

          My solution is more… cathartic…

    2. Even says:

      NPCs standing in doorways is one thing. Trying to sheepherd these full-retard suicide candidates is the worst goddamn thing in this whole game. They always take the worst possible routes to follow you, never stay put when you tell them to and have absolutely no concept of using cover.

      And it goes on for so long and it just keeps getting worse.

      Honestly, these sections of the game are probably the most least well-aged part of the game. I can remember back in the day enjoying them somewhat and trying my hardest to keep the rebels alive. Skip to 7 years later to my most recent playthrough and I find myself increasingly frustrated wanting to just get to the Citadel asap. I stopped trying to keep them alive only after a few minutes the first I met them and towards the end I only really tried to keep the medics alive in the parts where they became the only reliable source of health.

      Seriously, nothing’s more annoying in games than being a shepherd to these kind of lemmings when it comes to companion NPCs.

    3. Grag says:

      Confession time – When I played through this sequence I didn’t figure out that the gravity gun could be used to handle mines. Feels dumb in retrospect, but I dealt with them by triggering and jumping away. I survived this, but a fair number of my followers did not.

    4. Alex says:

      It’s hard for me to think of Valve bots as anything less than suicidal morons after Left 4 Dead. At least Bethesda’s AI companions are endearing in their stupidity.

      The linearity of Half-Life 2 probably just makes the AI seem less idiotic, when compared to a more procedurally-generated or open-world kind of experience. Less work for them to do, I guess.

  3. Eddie says:

    Stealing shit? I’m pretty sure that’s called Cuftbertism.

    1. ACman says:


        1. Eddie says:

          I’m not sure there’s enough people that survive contact with Cuftbert to set up an ocracy or archy.

  4. Gale says:

    I’ll be honest: after reading about Youtube’s bad behaviour in trying to get this video uploaded, I was very slightly disappointed when I clicked on it and it worked fine. I was almost hoping that it’d be set to private, just as the icing on the cake. Oh well.

    1. StranaMente says:

      You’re telling me that there’s people in the world that doesn’t need a good 10 mins of buffering before watching a video on youtube these days?

      1. James says:

        i didn’t have any issues either but i have the good fortune to have a 30mb internet connection with on average 3mbs download speed, the only time i have to buffer a few minuets before hand is with 1080p videos.

        jelly much?

        1. StranaMente says:

          Well I bet you can’t rub two sticks faster than me to light a fire!
          Because, we still use sticks, don’t we?

          1. CTrees says:

            My average download speed hovers around 20-25mbps, and I’m an eagle scout. I will so take you down in the stick rubbing/fire starting competition.

            Though my normal method of firestarting in the field was cotton balls covered in vaseline (plus natural tinder) combined with steel wool and a nine volt battery. *shrug*

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont mind this being late,since it gave me a chance to listen more of the stream.I hate you for pimping them because now I have to always choose when to go to sleep and when to watch something else because I dont want to miss the good stuff(like the brolita thing,or kobolds eating everything).

  6. WILL says:

    Pleeeease let the next game be Deus Ex. The first one or Human Revolutions, either one would be awesome.

    1. webrunner says:

      If it is deus ex, it’s going to be so painful not actually being on the show because I HAVE STORIES, MAN. STORIES.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        You could just, you know, post them in the comments? I mean, then people at least have the option.
        Actually, I think Ruts should post all his puns in the comments instead of saying them out loud; To give people the option.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          And then he could end his comments with “Why are you punning yourself?Why are you punning yourself?”

  7. WILL says:

    Also they’re not followers.

    They’re annoying door blockers.

  8. Aulayan says:

    With the 360’s YouTube app, I don’t care *What* the next game is. (Sorry I’m all giddy over being able to watching Spoiler Warning with a proper sound system and screen)

  9. x15360 says:

    Begin minor quibble:
    Mines that jump into the air are actually a real thing Germany developed, and were in widespread use during WWII. The idea was that they jumped up to actually kill someone, rather than simply blow your leg off. The fact that they jumped to approximately the height of ones genitals made them understandably unpopular.
    End minor quibble

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,but these mines explode when they hit the ground again,which simply defeats the purpose.

      1. tengokujin says:

        Well, Valve probably realized people got frustrated by landmines blowing up their legs as soon as they got close and invented hoppers to give them a “tell”. Probably.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Do you need more of a tell than that blinking light,and that chirping sound?Its way more than what you get for headcrabs.

        2. ehlijen says:

          I think the ‘explode on landing again’ thing was supposed to be a subtle hint as to how the player can use these things, ie by throwing them at the enemy.

          Let’s not forget that these are playing pieces for a gravity gun equipped player, not actual mines in an actual world.

          1. Ringwraith says:

            They also jump after you, the idea being if you try to trigger one and back off it’s no good. Although Gordon can sprint fast enough to get out of their maximum range most of the time.

  10. rrgg says:

    You didn’t teleport, you fast-traveled!

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Fun thing about mossman is that she is actually a triple spy.So just as breen,she is not a simple villain,but has deeper motives for everything she does.

    15:30 Well if they wanted people to see that shit,they shouldve made it into a cutscene.Thats how real professionals do it.

    As for keeping the companions alive,yeah thats probably not possible,seeing how they die in droves.

    As for hopper mines,whats stupid about them is that they explode when they hit the ground again.The point of actual hopper mines hopping into air is to cover a wider area with shrapnel,which is why they explode midair.

    1. Hitch says:

      Yes. Yank the camera out of your control. Force you to watch the coll animation. And offer no explanation at all why the 5 combine right behind you stop shooting for however long that sequence takes. THAT’S how professionals design games.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Yup. Bring on ME3.

  12. Minty says:

    I wonder why the turrets that Gordon activates don’t identify Alex as a target in this game. Is it ever explained, or merely swept under the rug?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its never addressed in game,but my reasoning is that regular turrets receive signals from metrocops to identify them as friendlies and shoot at everything else.Reversing this would make them shoot only metrocops,and consider everything else friendly(an explanation that involves reversing polarity that actually makes sense,genius).

      This,however,doesnt explain how the turrets in episode 2 attack the antlions and not the rebels and vortigaunts.But,seeing how they had those for a long time,they probably messed the targeting system to watch for everything with 4 legs or something like that.

      1. Rax says:

        Josh used one in the last episode to shoot at zombies and headcrabs, both probably aren’t carrying metrocop iffs.

        1. Someone says:

          Well, Combine soldiers fight zombies and headcrabs all the time, so the turrets are probably hard-coded to shoot them.

          1. SyrusRayne says:

            The combine do encounter Antlions, though. Nova Prospekt is surrounded by the thumpers to keep them out. It would make sense to have them programmed as a target in case they go down.

    2. ehlijen says:

      I’d assume the reprogram involves simply changing:

      If not combine-IFF then shoot
      If combine-IFF then shoot

      Ie, as far as the turrets go, Alyx and Gordan would be the same person, not matter what their programmed response to that person is.

      1. Minty says:

        Even if it is a gaming contrivance, I reckon it would have cast a bit of a somber pall over the game if Alex was mown down by a poorly placed turret, so probably for the best!

    3. guy says:

      Alyx is the one who actually reprogrammed said turrets, and I’m pretty sure she’d have counted getting shot by her own captured turrets as a serious design flaw.

  13. RTBones says:

    Bouncing Betties (German S-mines) were very effective in WW2. They would hop just under 3 feet in the air and blow up. Allied soldiers feared them because they had a tendency to seriously maim and not outright kill. The German army liked to put them near anti-tank or anti-vehicle mines. Why? Your truck/tank/vehicle gets damaged by a mine, and you are stuck inside because of the Bouncing Betties outside. You had to wait for a rescue.

    Now, our mines in HL2 are a little silly because they dont detonate until they hit the ground again.

    1. N/A says:

      Also, airburst explosives in general. They’re designed to spread the shrapnel and explosion more evenly, making them more likely to score personnel casualties. Very useful against a primarily-infantry force, like the rebels here.

  14. Rampant Pedantry says:

    Fun things about Hoppers: The mine actually makes a spirited attempt to fling itself /at/ a given target and is impact, rather than time, detonated. This is the fashion in which it actually differs from the ‘Bouncing Betty’…it’s an attempt at a precision aimed landmine, and why it generally fails to go off until it hits dirt (since very few targets are going to hold still long enough to be jumped on by a chirpy bomb).

    This may not make it terribly less haphazard as a device, but landmines are historically kind of a mix of haphazard and terrifying with a nonlinear relationship to their actual performance as a weapon.

    1. SolkaTruesilver says:

      I think the fact that you can stand 3m away from it and not suffer any significant damage is also a factor. The B-Betty is still pretty lethal at that range, isn’t it?

  15. RTBones says:

    Completely and totally unrelated, but since I know that lots of folks that follow SW also like Firefly, I thought I’d share.


    1. JPH says:

      Bouncing Bettie! I remember that as a grenade mod in Borderlands. Though it makes more sense as a mine because the mine is rooted into the ground, while the grenade is already bouncing…

  16. Irridium says:

    “Then it took me an hour to watch the twenty-minute episode because I had to keep stopping to let it buffer. It was like watching a video in 2002.”

    Hey, that’s what I have to do every single time for everything! Well, I don’t watch while it loads. Hell no, that would never work. Instead, I have to start it, then pause, and wait for about an hour until it’s done. Then I watch.

    1. Dude says:

      I just download the flv and watch it later. This also helps me decide whether I want to keep it.

  17. BeamSplashX says:

    Josh got past the last turret section by marrying some of the Combine and forming trade alliances with others. He also researched rifles so much that he got a shotgun.

    1. Chris says:

      When you pick up the turrets, you’re not reconfiguring them – you’re making them your vassal.

  18. HeroOfHyla says:

    FYI, sprinting into a companion will generally knock them out of your way. No need to waste a FUS.

    1. Josh says:

      But it’s so much more cathartic to constantly ragdoll Lydia out of your way!

      1. Destrustor says:

        Or Foosh hapless goats down the sheer cliffs of high hrothgar.
        Or frost trolls. or bears. or foxes…

        1. James says:

          Hey leave foxes alone, Foxy the Fox deserves better, everything else is far game, and why do they always without fail stand anywhere in the room your looting that is NARROW you in this dead end huge ass room picking up anything that’s not nailed down and they sit in the doorway waiting to piss you off. (you can also move them by selecting the i want to do something option and telling them to go the fuck over there)

          1. ateius says:

            Or just use the “move over there” command to make them get out of the way. >.>

            1. Ateius says:

              Tsk. Look at me, posting about the companions command system right after someone else.

              I used to have good reading comprehension, I swear, but then I took an arrow in the knee…

  19. swenson says:

    Oh, you know, I think I’ve seen that bug before at the last turret battle, where not very many Combine will show up. Some other Let’s Play ran into it. Still weird, though.

    1. SyrusRayne says:

      I’ve never encountered it myself. I thought it might have something to do with how Josh blocked Alyx from moving with the turrets, though. That’s what it looked like, anyway.

      1. ACman says:

        I had bugger all combine turning up to that battle as well.

        A few initially and then none until we were about to teleport out.

        Did you play it this year? I did. Maybe it’s a recent update problem.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I did,but I had a big bunch showing up.Maybe its a difficulty thing.

  20. Eric says:

    Of all the things in Half-Life 2, I think the “slow teleport” explanation is probably the biggest contrivance. It’s clear that there was some cut content there that they just could not perfectly reconcile. I read that the old air exchange section of the game that was cut was going to be what triggered the uprising, and the Nova Prospekt thing on its own honestly doesn’t seem like enough of a victory to trigger so massive an effort. One second, rebels cowering in fear, the next, outright war in the streets. It’s a way of not actually having to show the consequences of Gordon’s actions and build up to anything, and it feels a little handwavey and cheap as a result.

    1. James Pony says:

      On the other hand, it’s a convenient timeskip as you don’t have to sit through a shitty cutscene. Showing the progress would also be unnecessary to the story.

      In a sandbox game, however, I would prefer to see the transition in “real” time.

    2. ehlijen says:

      Given the choice of medium, POV from Gordon with no interruption, I’m not sure how much more believable they could have made developments that should probably have taken a few days to pass without boring the player with quite a lot of filler material.

  21. Another_Scott says:

    When I read the “slow internet” joke I did a spit take… now I’m wiping orange juice off of my monitor.

    Still worth the laugh though! :P

  22. JPH says:

    The NPCs in Skyrim get out of your way if you sprint into them. They might scoff at you in the process, though.

    1. KremlinLaptop says:


      No more NPCs in your way in Skyrim. It MIGHT make them a tiny bit mad, though.

      …Or dead.

    2. CTrees says:

      The first time I got to Whiterun, I quickly met the kid whose primary dialog line is some variation of “I don’t like being pushed around.” I literally spent 2-3 minutes continuously sprinting into him. It was… far more fun than it ought to have been. Didn’t have Fus at that point, but if I did…

  23. ACman says:

    SOPA is scheduled for markup by the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

    This is a bill that could kill Spoiler Warning. US citizens contact your representative now or otherwise sign the petition.


  24. Ezio says:

    Where the fuck is mumbles?

    1. X2Eliah says:

      She doesn’t like HL2, so she’s not taking part in these series.

      1. ACman says:

        What the fuck is wrong with her?!!! Boooo!

        1. Ezio says:

          I’d say that would just make her commentary more interesting, but when aren’t good at articulating why they don’t like something, or sublimating their dislike into humor.

        2. Raygereio says:

          And thus the fanboys abandon her the moment she displays signs of good taste in videogames.


          1. JPH says:

            You don’t deserve people food.

          2. swimon1 says:

            huh, so apparently there are 3 people in the universe who don’t like hl 2. Way more than I thought.

            1. Raygereio says:

              Oh don’t worry, there are more of us sensible and intelligent folk. ;)

              1. Bret says:

                Yeah, you’re part of an elite club.

                There’s Britta from Community, Lucy Lane, Joe Stalin, Bizarro Batman…

      2. Destrustor says:

        Also maybe because the HL2 let’s play was started specially for when she couldn’t be there, so it wouldn’t be true to itself if she joined in.

        1. James says:

          Or maby just maby shes busy?

        2. ACman says:

          I’m sorry I’m being childish……….


          ………… ………


    2. Tuck says:

      There aren’t enough boobs in HL2.

      1. ACman says:


        1. Teldurn says:

          I see what you did there.

          And I approve :D

  25. Velkrin says:

    You missed one of the most hilarious bugs in the game. If you bring a turret (or five) with you to the end sequence and have it setup on the platform facing out it will shoot (and kill) Eli. This results in Alyx and Mossman standing around in shocked silence as the sequence is broken.

      1. Bodyless says:

        its odd that joshs turret didnt shoot dr. mossman, unlike that video. maybe they fixed that bug.

        1. Syal says:

          Or maybe Josh made it bug out so badly it DOUBLE-bugged and worked properly.

  26. Conlaen says:

    Josh’s incessant carrying the turret around with him kept reminding me of the achievement in… episode 2? With the garden gnome you find somewhere at the start, that you can then carry all the way to the end of the game with you and put him on the rocket! Sadly, it seems there was no achievements for getting a turret with you on the teleporter there.

  27. Ezio says:

    Hey Shamus, I want to talk to you about a dream I had with you in it privately. Do you actually check your email?

  28. Around the 6 min mark:

    “That entire sequence was motion capped…”

    Actually, I’m fairly certain that HL series was always hand animated or at least HEAVILY modified any motion capture. The way the characters move lack the subtle random movement of MC and its ‘floaty’ qualities and instead feature very clear posing and a general increase in characterization associated with a more traditional animation method. There are certain ‘tells’ I’ve noticed when playing the games that just scream ‘hand animated’ to me.

    Also Josh, the game was giving you a very clear message during that final turret section and that message was, “Fuck you man, I’m not giving you the satisfaction!”

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes, I shouldn’t have said “motion capped” but “animated”. Forgive my sloppy use of terms. I’m sure you’re right: That’s not the performance of a live actor.

      Which actually makes it more impressive to me. I’ve done keyframe animation, and it’s murder getting rid of that stiff, robotic feel. Making a long, complex sequence like this that emotes with body language like a stage actress is very impressive to me.

    2. Valve always uses inverse kinematics for things like foot placements so it might not have been that extensive – they just program in the points where each foot is supposed to be on the ground and the system handles it from there.

      There might be more, but mocap+IK would be my guess.

  29. Grudgeal says:

    I tried to evacuate the turrets too. When clearing Nova Prospekt, I stuck with one of the turrets from the first defence like you did, carrying it with me like a Companion Cube with a gun. Under the evacuation I kept that turret on the platform as my last line of defence and just barely managed to get it crammed into the teleporter with Gordon and Alex while under heavy fire, holding it with the gravity gun while the railing held it inside the pod with the humans.

    Then, halfway through the teleport sequence, an Overwatch shot an energy ball at the teleporter and the turret slipped from my grasp. My longtime companion fell to the floor below and flailed helplessly, left behind to share the fate of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as I was teleported to safety. In retrospect the whole scene — and my reaction — played out embarrassingly much like those “grab my hand!” climax scenes from cheesy Hollywood disaster flicks.

    Regardless, just needed to get that off my chest. I feel really bad for not being able to save that turret. I considered re-loading to see if I could successfully extract it, but decided it just wouldn’t be the same.

    And given the anticlimax of the turrets not being able to follow you anyway, it was probably for the best.

    1. SolkaTruesilver says:

      You left your turret behind?

      You monster

      1. Destrustor says:

        you fat, orphaned monster.

  30. rayen says:

    Next game just throwing it out there because i just finished it, Saint Row 2.

    1. ACman says:

      Nah. Totally should be Witcher 2. Solid narrative driven story with well written, acted and voiced characters to care about.

      Seriously. Shamus is wasting his time with Bioware and their obsession with morality meters. Real decisions are about conflicting goals (Opportunity loss in economics.) not binary choices between mawkish virtue/niceness and cartoonish villainy/dickishness .

      I know he hated Witcher 1 but he should really give its sequel’s story a chance.

      Not its sequels gameplay though. Holy crapsmackles is W2 broken in its difficulty curve department….. But the story/stories; Most compelling in any medium.

      I am so on hook for Witcher 3.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        He did start it,but he never did a follow up on the game,so we dont know if he gave up or just didnt rite about it anymore.

      2. Raygereio says:

        Oh Ao. While I don’t share the adulation most people have for Half Life 2, I at least understand it. Not so with The Witcher. I honestly don’t comprehend the appeal.

        Here’s my experience with game #1:
        Allright, where close to the end of Act 1. Everyone who told me about this game said act 1 would be terrible and they were right. If I see one more kill-moster-bring-random-bodypart-to-earn-reward-quest I’ll murder someone on the grounds that forcing me to use that Aoawful rhythm-click-fest they had the audacity to call a combat-system is tantamount to torture.
        *Get’s murdered by Act 1 boss repeatedly*
        *Has to find sollution on gamefaq*
        Gee, how nice of them to make a boss that impossible to beat without using alchemy. Yep, was sure swell not to inform me that I needed to make those potions. But act 2 is here! Alright, now the good bit with the whole shades-of-grey-choices and good writing should start.
        *Act 2 starts and I’m presented with a kill-moster-bring-random-bodypart-to-earn-reward-quest*
        Oh, screw this game!

        Here’s my experience with game #2:
        Ok, not sure what the hell that opening cutscene was all about, but I’m sure we’ll find out as the game progresses. Oh, I’m presented with a choice of what starting mission I want to do? Erm, well dragon sounds cool, I guess.
        *Game starts*
        Ah, let’s see. Oh, I need to set the mouse sensitivity higher and…
        *Is murdered by a dragon*
        Okay, there’s something to be said for throwing the player right into the action, I guess. Let’s try that again.
        *Runs under to cover to hide from dragon. Is murdered by random goons because the game refused to tell the player that he has spells and without using those spells you die. Period.*
        Oh, screw this game!

        I honestly don’t care what virtues the wither games may have. From my experience, those CD Projekt guys have no clue how to make a game. I’ll grant them that they’re very good at drawing and modelling boobies though.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          How can you not get what the appeal of the game is?In the very beginning of 1 you get to bone a sexy witch.Theres your appeal right there.

          Yahtzee said it best:This game is a single player mumorpuger.And if you enjoy multiplayer mumorpugers,you probably will enjoy this one.Since I didnt get sucked into world of warcraft,a game that I really liked the setting of already,its no surprise that I wasnt sucked into witcher either.

        2. X2Eliah says:

          You know. People like you who base their opinion of games on the first instances entirely, are one of the main reason for crap like MW/gears/BF. Just saying.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Please tell me youre trolling on purpose.Please,because that comment is just so infuriatingly bad.

            1. X2Eliah says:

              I’ll leave that up to you. To make it easier, I really think that the reason for extreme railroading and tunnel design is that too many people cannot handle any sort of openness or directionlessness, and decide to bin a game after, what, 15 minutes?

              I won’t even go into detail about inability to tell the main quest from sidequest in TW1.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Ooohkay then,let me begin:

                1)Modern warfare/battlefield/the rest of the shooter clones arent good even at their start.Sure,there are a few good things about those games,like you dying in the nuclear explosion(which they wont top now,no matter how hard and formulaic they try),and I guess multiplayer is good since so many people like it,but most of it is crap.And you dont have to play through whole of it to realize this,so that thing you said about basing your opinion just on the first few instances doesnt exclude these games.

                2)I know that some games are hard to get into,but can shine later.After all,I love fallout 1 and original x-com,despite it taking me loooooong time to get into these.But see,I like the gameplay of these almost from the start.Sure,it was hard for me to figure everything out,and there wasnt much of the story in the beginning to get me hooked,but I still wanted to see where it is going because I enjoyed that kind of gameplay.Not to mention that before fallout I was not into cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic settings at all.

                Witcher(and this can also be used on final fantasy series as well),on the other hand,doesnt have a compelling gameplay for me,so its story not hooking me from the beginning isnt the only minus.And unlike story,gameplay doesnt change much during the game.

                3)Railroading is not bad on itself.Half life series is linear as hell,but it is a great series of games.And it tells you numerous interesting stories.So you dont need to have an open world for a game to be good in either gameplay,story or atmosphere.Heck,having untied hands can be a serious hinderance,as can be seen is asscreed.

              2. Zukhramm says:

                Considering how many games there are, and the fact that I don’t have much time to play them, why shouldn’t I quit a game if it doesn’t manage to interest me early on?

          2. Raygereio says:

            You know. People like you who base their opinion of games on the first instances entirely, are one of the main reason for crap like MW/gears/BF.

            Did you actually read my post? Apparently not, judging from what you've writen. For starters; that is not the reason for games like MW/gears/BF, that's a completely different set of issues, that are in no way, shape or even form directly related to the topic at hand.
            No clue why you would feel the need to bring it up in the first place, unless you just didn't feel like actually making a reply to my post and instead decided to go for randomness and strawmans.

            Now, as for the first game: I played through the whole Act 1. If I recall right, that was about 10 hours worth of horribly bad gameplay. I felt that I was within my rights to make a judgment about a game after several hours of killing enemies with an utterly boring combat system and completing quests that were about as appealing as watching paint dry.

            Or as appealing as rubbing my hand into bird poo, whatever.

            As for the second game, I could tell from that short experience that they obvious hadn't learned and repeated the same mistakes concerning difficulty*. Now, I'll grant you that I didn't give Witcher 2 a proper chance. I've heard that they patched in a tutorial since the last time I've tried it, for instance. Maybe I'll revisit it someday.

            *What I mean with that is that there is a very fine line between challenging the player and frustrating the player. The Witcher 1 and 2 frustrated me because it didn't tell me things I needed to know to complete the game. For example that I was required to use the potions for the Act 1 boss in 1 or that I needed to use the magic system in 2 (or even that I had a magic).
            This is a failure in basic gamedesign. Sure, there's something to be said for not holding the player's hand as if he's a baby. I love it when a game allows me to figure stuff out on my own.
            However you can go too far in trying to avoid the handholding and just dump the player into the deep end of the pool after forcing him to put on cement shoes.
            A game that got the concept of being difficult without being frustrating right was Demon's Souls. Sure, you'll die constantly in that game. But at no point will you be clueless.

            To sum up:
            A game can have the best writing in the world, it could have the best art direction, best whatever. However, if that same game is really bad at being a game (meaning: it has bad gameplay), it's still a bad game despite it other virtues because gameplay is the very core of what a game is.

            Oh, one more thing.

            I won't even go into detail about inability to tell the main quest from sidequest in TW1.

            The kill-monster-bring-random-bodypart-to-earn-reward-quests were main quest in game 1. I don’t remember enough to say anything about Act 1 (but even if they were side quests in Act 1, I wouldn’t be suprised if you had to do them in order to avoid being underlevelled for that bossfight), but I do recall it was the very first quest you got in Act 2 in order to get out of prison.

          3. Amnestic says:

            While I don’t necessarily disagree that some games should be given the benefit of the doubt, if a game isn’t able to impress people within the first…hour or so, then I would argue that the game designers have failed to sell their product appropriately.

            When people said “Oh, Final Fantasy XIII gets good around the 20 hour mark”, they were scoffed at (and perhaps rightfully so), but that’s essentially what you’re saying here. A game has to earn your playtime, especially if it’s a new IP.

            What it comes down to is an arbitrary line: How long is this player willing to give a game to impress them before it drops it for something else? For some, that may be 25 hours. For others, it may only be 3. I would say that if a game fails to entice me within an hour of playtime though, it’s not looking good for it.

            1. Paul Spooner says:

              Well said. Excluding the tutorial is especially foolish. Sure, some people like Mao, and some people like Chess. That’s fine. Just, don’t force people to win at Mao before they are allowed to play Chess.

            2. silver Harloe says:

              “When people said “Oh, Final Fantasy XIII gets good around the 20 hour mark”, they were scoffed at (and perhaps rightfully so)”

              Agreed, except I would have left out the word “perhaps.”

              I’m reminded of a review of a flash game I saw where some guy said “it’s all so repetitive” and the author responded, “well, in the last 5 missions, you really have to make some decisions” – 5 out of 78 missions. So 93% of the game was time sink to the get the part where you got to play. That is not a defense of the game – that’s a clue that the game should have 93% of itself cut off the front.

              Changing the percentage from 93 to 25-33 does not make the excuse more viable.

              Aside from which, “I did not find the game play engaging, so I didn’t play,” is subjective. No one should follow that up with anything but, “well, I did, so I did, and had fun.” You can’t defend things against an opinion – there’s no attack to defend against. “Play more, it gets better” is both presumptuous (how do you know what the other person’s opinion of the later content will be?) and pointless (what do you care what someone else thought of the game?)

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                “(what do you care what someone else thought of the game?)”

                What do you mean?Of course I care when someone dares attack something I like.How dare they not like it?Its madness!

        3. discordance says:

          I got the Witcher 2 post-2.0 patch, with the tutorial, and found it incredible. There are some really frustrating bits (most of the boss fights) and yes, the dragon is terrible. But the combat system is actually fairly deep once you get the hang of it, and I found the sidequests to be pretty interesting – no Fed-Exing or gathering twelve thousand bear asses. And it has some of the biggest, weightiest choices I’ve ever encountered in a game – I’m on my second playthrough and it’s literally like an entirely new game in the second chapter.


          1. acronix says:


            That´s almost as important as playing it.

  31. Neil D says:

    I swear to God. Valve prides themselves on their extensive play-testing, but if they don’t hire Josh as lead tester on all their games from now on, they clearly aren’t serious about it at all.

    1. Book says:

      They already have. Why do you think EP3/HL3 is taking so long?

  32. guy says:

    I dealt with the companions by letting them follow me around and shoot at things while I was shooting at things. They’re plenty smart enough for that to work smoothly, and it did help with the massive open-field fights.

    Josh’s capacity to find every single bug in HL2 and make it look completely broken continues to astound me. I mean, wow.

  33. silver Harloe says:

    My guess is because of his weird turret setup – one that actually shot at one of the doors but from an improbable location – one of the guys behind that door saw his buddy mowed down and got into a permanent AI decision to “knock down the turret” but failed to figure out a path to it, so ended up hidden behind a wall, and that the next wave of dudes was waiting for the previous wave to be all dead. Just a guess, though. I have no clue what happened there. Except that Josh has the magic bug touch. He’s amazing at that.

  34. Dasick says:

    Obviously, it’s because Josh is the Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies… erm, Bugs. Jeelzebosh*?

    I can almost see it. 21 bugs, once the clock strikes the bi… erm, bewitching hour, draw an icosahedron-o-gram with a cursed stylus upon their Samsung monitors, and sprinckle cute nerd blood on their obscure ati cards. “Come”, they chant, “Come Josh, raise us to invade the light of gameplay, raise us to turn joy into frustration”. And he comes, and they have a bewitching good time too.

  35. McLokast says:

    On Barney wearing the Metrocop armor: It’s possible that the reason he keeps wearing the armor is because he’s based off of the security guard from Half-Life 1 and the Metrocop armor is blue like the security guard outfit

    Yeah it’s not a very strong arguement but it kinda makes sense

  36. RCN says:

    While I like Half-Life 2, I consider it a tad overrated.

    It has great animations, very well done physics and puzzles, superb setpieces, and both the Bolt Gun and the Gravity Gun.

    On the other hand Alyx is an unnerving Mary Sue (don’t believe me? She build DOG, the single most destructive and powerful thing you’ll find in the entire game UNINTENTIONALLY), most of the weapons are really lame (miles above the Modern Battlefield games, but still), especially the shotgun (I hate shotguns in games in general, so sue me), and there is that secondary shot from the second rifle that is awesome but impractical.

    But above all, I just consider that fighting the Combine over and over to be grating. They at least have their moments, but I got sick of their flatlining or radio interference or whatever it is that sound they do when they die about ten minutes into meeting them, and as smart as they end up, reacting to you, they’re just guys with guns. Half Life 1 had several interesting creatures from whatever dimension you connected with, where did they go in HF2? Well, at least in the episodes you end up meeting the Hunters and they’re pretty fun.

  37. dar7h j03 says:

    I feel like the title is some sort of pun/reference but I don’t get it, anybody know? Also loved this episode, was sad josh didn’t bring every turret with him to the final battle. Though it is a massive pain.

  38. Reality Warper says:

    you know i could think of some uses for a slow teleporter. if you need to be somewhere others can’t reach and it doesn’t matter where it would be really handy. say someone is looking for you like combine soldiers or your mother in law, you just activate it and now you’re safe until they’re gone, and anyone around you has deniability, “He used the teleporter he could be anywhere” or, if alone, you could leave a log saying you’re worried about teleporter accidents and you fear i ight kill you and bang no more search parties

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