Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP16: Expose the Core

By Shamus Posted Saturday Dec 17, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 72 comments

Link (YouTube)

And so ends another week of Half-Lifery. This entry might actually be a couple of days late. Yes, I believe it is. In fairness, I think the lion’s share of the blame should fall to Google. Partly because they’re a multi-billion dollar company and can afford to shoulder a little blame now and again, but also because it’s all their fault. I don’t know what the problem was this week. YouTube was so slow and and unreliable that I was expecting them to license the fail whale from Twitter.

This fight at the end of the core-exposing sequence is kind of interesting. I’ve died many times at that point. That exact same point. It’s amazing to see that on multiple play-throughs, players seem to run out of health at exactly the same moment.

Looking back, I think my main problem was recklessness. The earlier waves of guys were trivial. I started off playing carefully, but pretty soon I’d get impatient and start running up to the shield so I could gun them down as soon as they appeared. I’d get further and further from the supplies and shelter of where Alyx is. Then that final wave hits. It’s just a couple of extra guys to fight, but they’re tougher and they’re coming in from both sides. It’s not a huge problem if you’re ready for them, but it’s fatal if you’re in the middle of performing a Leroy Jenkins.


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72 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning Half Life 2 Special EP16: Expose the Core

  1. Vipermagi says:

    6:25 is just… priceless. Clearly, it is Josh’s fault, not Google’s.
    Edit three minutes later: It is technically Sunday in the Netherlands, but I guess that’s not true for everyone else. Felt I should clarify.

  2. swenson says:

    I always die there too, for what it’s worth. For about the same reasons you mentioned.

  3. Drexer says:

    And today it’s even on decent times so that we GMT fellows can watch it before going to bed.

    Thank you Google, you spoil us.

    PS: I was originally going to thank you Shamus, but if it’s Google’s fault when it’s late then it’s Google’s credit when it’s on time. :P

  4. Alex says:

    I forget if I missed that part where Alyx climbs the side of the building the first time. There are few things that bum me out more than a non-cutscene story event in a game I’m supposed to be looking at, but miss. Usually because I’m still in “Attack Mode”, thinking there’s more bad guys to watch out for.

    “Oh God, no! Oh, that’s so awful, what’s happening over there! Hey, you saw that didn’t you? No? You were keeping an eye out for bad guys? Aww, that’s too bad, you missed a wicked thing there. And it’ll never happen again and it’s already quicksaved.

    Man, that was a compelling moment you’ll never see!”

    Maybe if the developer gave more of a hint to pay attention, like showing your weapon lowering during quieter moments? Some sort of hint that you don’t have to worry about being sniped because you were looking at Alyx’s butt or something.

    1. JPH says:

      I’ve played through the game at least three times, and I’ve never seen that bit before. I was really surprised when they showed that. Somehow I’d always missed it.

    2. X2Eliah says:

      Well, there’s that, but there’s the alternative end, where your camera control is wrestled away from you, forcing you to enjoy the cinematic effort the devs put it, just so you don’t miss a single detail.

      ME3 will feature that galore, if the released gameplay-vids and even trailers are anything to go by, we’ll see which one ends up being the more annoying, I guess.

    3. Klay F. says:

      I distinctly get the feeling the Valve learned craploads about getting the players attention in between Half-Life 2 and Episode 1. A large portion of the developer commentary in Ep. 1 is devoted to them trying to do just that.

      Meanwhile in Half-Life 2, people like to yell things in the middle of combat, so your guaranteed to miss whatever they have to say. The whole “Get to The Horse” battle comes to mind, discounting the fact that to this day I still have no idea what that phrase means.

      1. RejjeN says:

        There’s a giant horse statue that they are using as a landmark, nothing more to it than that really.

        1. Klay F. says:

          Now I feel really stupid. I have never noticed any horse in any of my playthroughs. I always just assumed it was some stupid codephrase I was never told the meaning to. :-/

          1. Raygereio says:

            I got incredibly annoyed at that part because I was looking around for a horse-anything: statue, picture, whatever.
            Never found it either, so don’t feel bad. I eventually found where I was supposed to go almost by accident.

            To preempt the comments of “how can you miss it?!”. I noticed Liberty Prime the moment I stepped into that room. The science of making sure players take notice of things in your leveldesign is weird one.

            1. guy says:

              I had trouble finding it myself. It’s slate-grey and blends into the background and anyway you can’t see it from a distance.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,I couldve been looking at alyx’s ass there.The thought didnt even occur to me,and Ive replayed this game recently.I just dont seem to care about that kind of fanservice in games and movies.Its a cool scene nevertheless.

    I died during that fight a few times last time I played.But I was playing on hard,so thats understandable.I didnt run around like an idiot though,I was trying to play smart and mine the place between waves.

    Awww,you didnt comment on the recurring couple.Its always funny seeing Josh focus on some interesting setpiece while the others dont even notice.

    Also why did you left Rutskarn finish his last sentence?

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So bros,should we vote on who is a better reginald,Rutskarn or Josh?Or maybe you liked mary suebert the best?

    1. JPH says:

      I think Shamus makes the best Reginald Cuftbert.

      I mean, come on. The dude dropped a train in the middle of a road.

  7. Guvnorium says:

    So I just got done playing Skyrim. Watching the followers in this politely step out of your way and apologize for standing in doorways makes me hate Bethesda a little.

    1. psivamp says:

      Done playing Skyrim, are you?

      Actually, I’m probably going to mop up the daedric artifact quests and call it quits for a while. Although I did just play through the game and then build a non-magic assassin and put forty or so hours into that character so…

      1. James says:

        basically i’ve done what you said i did the guilds which was fun, but reminded me that oblivion’s Dark Brotherhood and mages guild was better, reminded me i miss Luicien Lachance. and i really miss talking to Sheogorath for an extended length of time, like oblivion, the main quest, i ignored. yes Skyrim is better, but oblivion does have strengths and, dare i say it nostalgia (didnt play morrowind was too young so dont burn me please)

  8. el_b says:

    role playing as reginald would be coo…wait a second…THEY PLAYED FATAL ON FRIDAY! OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDD!!!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Theyve managed to recover from it though,so the rest of the day was fun.

      1. el_b says:

        i got to see 30 mins and jin break down and leave, and then i had to go and they deleted everything, i had been waiting the whole time just for that too.

        4 hours on character creation is insane, especially when most of it is hard maths on how wide your asshole is. i am never ever playing fatal myself, but i hope it gets more mention in SW.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          They stopped shortly after she left as well.The stupidness of all the tables and dumb details can be slogged through,but the horrible misogyny and racism are too much.Watching them do that reminded me so much of the episode of mythbusters about water torture,so yeah,deleting it was the right call,even though the beginning was fun.Their biggest mistake(well,biggest after deciding to actually do this)was to leave it for the end,when they were all sleep deprived.And the most frightening thing,they were using the published,so called “cleaner” version.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            I was listening to the stream at the time and when I heard they were giving up my first reaction was “oh come on”. The system seemed just laughably stupid and I knew ahead of time it was a disgusting little thing but I still thought they were pretty much taking the easy way out. So I tabbed to the actual stream (I was listening to it and playing minecraft at the time I think) and I noticed that people were showing actual sings of physical discomfort and the atmosphere was nowhere near the “haha this is so awful” I was expecting.

            And then things started to slowly occur to me. First of, I wasn’t there for the whole of it, probably only the final hour or so, which means they had at least another hour of chara creation before I started paying attention. I was only listening to it while doing other stuff which probably diluted the effect somewhat. I was not in the room with other people, which I imagine would make it much more uncomfortable. And finally, and I would like to believe most importantly, I was not the one making characters. Most RPers, especially experienced ones, start to “feel into” a character already during creation, even if it is random the person behind the numbers starts to take shape, the player starts to think in terms of motivations, lifestyle, reactions to situations so when FATAL drops its payload of vileness it is on something you’ve already connected to.

            To be brief: my previous “haha this is so awfully bad and the creator is so dumb haha” opinion has evolved into “FATAL is a vile, disgusting, puss filled little abomination that deserves to die and I think I found the first human being who honestly, literally creeps me out, and I haven’t even actually met them”. For what it’s worth I am extremely grateful to the Aunty Paladin’s team for making me realise that before I decided to actually try to run it for folk whom I told my previous opinion.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Two people were behind FATAL, from what I’ve understood. And they’ve tried defending the game before in a way that implies they’re dead serious about it too (just in case anyone is wondering).

              And yeah. Someone mentioned in the comments when Shamus pimped the livestream that FATAL seems like an Aristocrats joke, but the notable difference is that while the joke done right crosses the line twice, FATAL crosses the first line, quickly gets to the second line without getting over, before finally rushing past the second and third line in one fell swoop.

              FATAL is never a joke and it never gets so bad that it’s good. First it’s bad, then all of a sudden it gets so bad it’s horrible.

                1. Sumanai says:

                  403 Forbidden. I’m guessing they’re blocking due to SAN cost.

            2. krellen says:

              I stayed up to watch it. Watching it made me so sick, both physically and mentally, that I called in sick to work.

            3. X2Eliah says:

              Yeah, following the entirety of the 4+ hours of that was.. well, it really brought it home just how screwed up that thing is. To begin with, sure, it was somewhat amusing to see the emerging horribleness, but as it wore on, the realization set in that a)this was geuinely made as a serious thing, b)that this was not only homophbic, sexist, repulsive and screwed up, but also utterly and thoroughly degrading, and the worst part, c)when it reached the line of ‘Oh god.. No, wait, that’s enough, this is too much’, it didn’t stop, it just kept on piling more and more and more frankly DISGUSTING stuff, pages and pages of it. The entire idea around the character “stats” in this system is just so thoroughly messed up that.. well, it’s simply impossible to ignore it. Especially since the players are forced to roll for and write down all these numbers that represent utterly depraved, sickening stuff… FOR 4 HOURS (and that wasn’t even halfway through, to be frank). And to all that add that by unfortunate chance, there was only one girl-character out of the bunch, which made the utterly unfair, mentally depraved focusation on females as… victims just so much more apparent.

              It’s like.. if you follow it through, you can get to some level with a very thick skin and a joking attitude, but this abomination goes far, far beyond what any normal person can brush off. It simply gets to you, and when it sets in that Oh god, this is genuinely horrible messed up appalling sickening stuff, then it hits you hard. So far, all descriptions before of FATAL have been in the vein of ‘oh god, its soooo bad hahaha’.. like something you could laugh at. Well, that’s the actual thing, it is FAR too screwed up, a normal person just plain can’t brush it off, if you pay attention. There is no mysoginistyc subtext, it’s in bold full-faced letters all over the thing, and the … inexcusable attention to .. details .. is just the nail in the coffin; there is no enjoyment anybody could gain from this, because there are too many things that a sane person cannot bear to ignore. It is just too much.

              I still don’t feel comfortable even recalling it.. But it has to be said, the average reports of this system being bad/horrible/apalling always seem to be humorous/half-joking, like anything on the Internet.. Well, here’s the thing, it’s not humorous and it’s not funny, it is genuinely absolutely sickening. Running an instance of this game.. for any reason, even laughs, should not happen. Because it will upset and disturb any sane person; it just goes so far beyond any sense of decency that you just want to take a 2-hour long shower to get rid of the depraved disgusting awfulness.

              Thus to all people who didn’t see it and are sort of curious, thinking that it couldn’t be that bad and that we’re just sissies/soft-skinned folks.. Take this, if nothing else, as absolute non-joking truth – it’s not amusing. It’s not humorous. It is genuinely, mentally disturbing and sickening. I truly don’t wish anyone to ever experience going through that, so please don’t inquire further for the videos and so on.. Even remembering the stuff on the stream makes me feel bad.

              1. el_b says:

                its like 4chan just decided to rape the world and make a game of it.

          2. Raygereio says:

            I think there are three important things to know about FATAL and it’s creators.
            1. It’s not a joke, the creators were dead serious when they wrote it.
            2. There’s a picture of all the different races you can play. Naturally they’re all depicted naked and well endowed. The creepy bit is that the male human looks suspiciously a lot like the picture of the main writer in the back of the book.
            3. There are 10 pages worth of character sheet; the sexual characteristics block takes up postion before pretty much anything else.

            Anyway, I was sort of sad I missed the Anty Paladin Fatal segment, but then everyone in the livestream chat assured me it was really terrible, no one involved had fun and it wasn’t entertaining to watch.
            Then I stopped being sad I missed it.

            If you can avoid being creeped out by the misogynistic subtext that’s flowing freely through the setting and most of the rules, there’s actually room for enterainment in Fatal if the group as a whole creates a single character together and tries to make it through a single session.
            There’s urination skill for instance. You can literally fail at pissing in this game. Oh and the there’s a table for when you fail to cast a spell. One of the entries has you grow an eyeball on your private bits. This eyeball can determine if a statement made to you is true of false. That’s in the book. I’m not making that crap up.
            However, if you can’t force yourself to ignore the misogynistic content; then it’s not a pleasent experience.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Sure,its much easier to ignore everything when you just read it/read about it.I read that one famous review,and laughed about all those stuff.But once you actually see people roll all those stuff,and get to the part where they need to determine orifice sizes(and other nasty things)….Its completely different.I cant even imagine what it was like actually doing all the things,nor do I want to.

              If anyone is still curious at how it looked like,go watch serbian film,then imagine that anyone involved with it thought it was a documentary,and said so afterwards.That would be about accurate.

              1. Raygereio says:

                Allright, fair warning to everyone before they start googleing. Don’t look up A Serbian Movie.
                Different people will have different tolerance levels for potentially offensive material. For example, I’m able to dismiss Fatal as the creation of a pitifully man-child and something to be mocked and laughed at, instead of it making me feel uncomfortable or even ill.
                A serbian Movie on the other hand forced me to imagine all the various ways I could go about applying my engineering and chemical knowledge to murder everyone involved in its creation, just to keep myself sitting through the whole thing for a review I had to write for it. It is one of the vilest things I’ve laid my eyes on and made me ““ a person who has a pretty darn tough constitution ““ feel filthy for having seen it. Don't watch it unless you feel like forcing yourself down a depression.

                Anyway, so what’s up for next year’s Aunty Paladin? I mean they have to come up with something to replace Fatal with. How about Racial Holy Wars?

                No wait, hear me out. Yes that game is horribly racist, however it’s rules are – due to a combination of it being incomplete and being written by what I can only asume to be lobotomy victims, horribly broken to the point where one almost thinks the game is a parody intended to make racists look as pitiful and pathetic as they are in real life.
                The two times I ran the game, it evolved into a horror game where the white-power PCs ran in utter horror from the (insert minority here) toddlers. For extra hilarity points: have a white GM run it for a group of non-white people.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  See,you thought that about serbian movie,but keep in mind that it was not written and filmed as a serious things.The guy who made it honestly thinks that it is a good metaphor for how shitty things are in my country.Its not,but he thinks it is.Now,imagine if he made that movie thinking that it is not a metaphor,but an actual thing that is happening to some people here(and not just some,but majority of).Thats fatal.

                  As for with what to continue,I dont think they need another bad system.Yeah,it can be fun,but I honestly enjoyed mary sue,awesome!,paranoia and the rest far more than the laughable beginning of fatal.They should just stick with the good,and leave the bad out.They are good roleplayers,and thats something you dont want,nor need when playing a shitty system.

                  I think that next time they should have more paranoia and everyone is john.

                  1. Raygereio says:

                    Actually, the fact that A Serbian Movie has a message makes it far worse than Fatal in my opinion.
                    Fatal is a drunken guy doing indecent acts with a chicken corpse on a stage. Yeah, it's stupid and icky. But afterwards he stumbles off stage and falls asleep in a pile of his own vomit in a corner and that's that.
                    A Serbian Movie is that same guy doing what he does and afterwards looking at you expectantly waiting for you to understand the deep meaning and commentary on society of his art. It's that latter part, the fact that that movie's creators honestly thought that what they used was an effective means of communicating their socio-political statement that seriously disturbed me.
                    And further…. Wait, what the hell are we arguing about? Lucifer, what do you say if we call this one even? I don't think either one of will win if we continue on this particular course of nerd wanking.

                    As for with what to continue,I dont think they need another bad system.

                    Oh, I agree. I just brought HolyWars as an attempt at humor.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      I was merely putting things in perspective.If anyone wants to know how the thing with fatal went,they just need to watch that movie.Whether they find the intent behind to make the thing better or worse is irrelevant,since both things are depraved pieces of shit.

                      Oh,and dont blame the actors of the serbian movie.They are good actors,and have some really good movies behind them.It pains me that I saw them in this garbage,but I guess people need to eat.

  9. Jonathan says:

    That is a hard area for me to, and I do tend to stay in the walled area so that I have partial cover from gunfire… but it’s set up so no matter where you are your position is flanked.

    Grenades help, but you can’t carry enough.

  10. DirigibleHate says:

    I’ve never been so frustrated watching Spoiler Warning as I was watching Josh ignoring the core and continuing to shoot Combine, until he dies. For what seemed like about a minute.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What are you talking about?Didnt you hear what Shamus said?That never happened.

    2. Klay F. says:

      I don’t blame him for ignoring it. I did the same thing on my first two playthroughs. Alyx’s affinity for saying things in the middle of combat where you are least likely to hear her is most to blame.

  11. X2Eliah says:

    This ‘expose the core and grab the ball of energy with gravity gun’ is, again, a really good training mission, in a way. Later on – especially in the citadel – you are more or less forced to heavily rely on your gravity gun and those energy balls as your weaponry of choice; this scene/mission establishes that this is a thing you can do, and not just a fancy background setpiece.

    Which, imo, is interesting to note that even so near the end-game, Valve’s designers are still introducing somewhat new mechanics and easing the player into understanding them.

    COmpletely different note – yeah, the urban warfare part of the game is a bit sloggy, because the pace is so different. Previously, you had short moments of gunfight paired with larger moments of exploration and movement; here you effectively enter non-stop combat mode. I guess it is not too bad, as the game should pick up the pace to a crescendo, and you do get a very, very nice exploratory-peaceful sequence when actually getting on/in the Citadel, but it’s just that the whole Civil War plotline, taking place entirely in the city, is a bit too oversaturated with shooting. … Basically, it’s “modern fps shooter mode”, I guess.

    Third completely unrelated note: It’s a bit amazing how satisfying the weapons look and sound in a game so old. For instance, the combine rifle that Josh used here and there, even just by looking at the video, the punch and recoil of the gun paired with the shot-sound is just spot-on. Valve’s devs really nailed most of the weapons in this game.

    1. Klay F. says:

      On Valve’s tendency toward endgame sloggyness: Theres a trope for that. :)

      1. SolkaTruesilver says:

        They NAMED the trope for that!

  12. Hitch says:

    So both Alyx and the random Combine mook who captured her on the roof are each better Assassins than Josh playing Ezio? Good to know, and not that surprising. ;-)

    1. Klay F. says:

      At the part where Josh is jumping up against the wall, all I could imagine was Reginald Cuftburt drunkly running and smashing his face into a wall repeatedly in a vain attempt to climb. Got a good chuckle out of that.

      1. Jarenth says:

        And now I got a chuckle from you describing that. Kudos.

  13. guy says:

    Alyx at least avoids triggering the “I could totally do that” reaction because no, I couldn’t climb that building.

    I found the trick to the combine energy orb is to use it in a room full of combine and duck behind something solid. Usually kills a bunch of them.

    Yeah, the city feels like it got sectioned intentionally by the two sides, especially where the combine deployed their mobile walls. It’s also pretty trashed; I’m reasonably sure that a bunch of the headcrab zombies aren’t because the combine shelled the area but are simply boiling up out of the depths of the city as it falls to pieces. As you get closer to the Citadel, the combine basically say screw it and order Striders to flatten large chunks of the city.

    1. Someone says:

      Yeah, the Combine basically only maintain the parts of the city they’re actively using, everything else is pretty much crawling with zombies, headcrabs and other parasites and xenofauna.

      1. swenson says:

        Which comes back to bite the Resistance pretty hard in the second game once they start knocking out the Combine’s systems–now all the areas the Combine simply let go to pot are spilling over into the previously OK areas.

        The Combine really have no interest in sustainability at all, do they?

  14. psivamp says:

    So, you guys mention the use of breaching charges and then using a shotgun to just blow off the hinges of a door. When SWAT uses a shotgun to take the hinges off of a door, they don’t use regular buckshot or slugs, they use something called a Shock-Lock round. They penetrate one layer of something and then pretty much disintegrate so you can blow the hinges and not worry about seriously injuring hostages on the other side. For instance, if you put on into the side of a 50 gallon drum, you’ll put a nice hole in the near side but the far side will barely be scratched.

    It would be neat to have those available in a game.

    1. Hitch says:

      The point Shamus was trying to make, then fumbling over trying to describe what he was talking about, is you don’t normally see those sorts of rounds fired from a handgun like the only one we’ve seen Alyx use.

  15. dll says:

    It’s becoming annoying to see you constantly praise the atmosphere, the realistic feel of the environment but not criticising combat which since Nova Prospekt is nothing different from a dumb shooter.

    1. Kira says:

      The atmosphere is what makes Nova Prospekt different from a “dumb” shooter, and there’s nothing wrong with a “dumb” shooter that does things right.

      1. dll says:

        Having to battle the same 3 types of enemies(2 of the from HL1) in mostly small areas for around 1/4 of the game, even with a good atmosphere, is dumb and boring. Sure HL2 does some things better than most fps but this doesn’t make it the incredible game SW makes it sound like.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          2 types of metrocops(not counting shootgun guys as different enemies,even though they are),2 types of headcrabs and headcrab zombies,and manhacks.Thats 7.And its not 1/4 of the game.And I didnt even count the snipers and striders here,nor the poison headcrabs/zombies since they were somewhat rare.

          And you dont have to have incredible variety of enemies to have a fun game.Original call of duty was fun,despite you fighting only humans.

          1. dll says:

            The combine soldiers are the same enemy, only reskinned and sure you meet snipers, striders but too few times. Parts where you have to fight waves of combine soldiers(Nova Prospekt, the plaza, the museum etc.) where the main problem for me. I won’t continue this because it will go nowhere, just wanted to add that EP2 was a step in the right direction.

        2. Raygereio says:

          That’s because it’s not the incredible game SW makes it sound like. That is to say; it is a super-duper-awesome game if you’re a HL2-fanboy. If you’re not then it’s just a slightly above average game with a really tiresome fanbase.
          It’s all a matter of perspective.

          Seriously though; if you’re not a HL2 fan, then I’d avoid this particular SW series. We aren’t the target audience for it.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Ok,what is so terrible about the spoiler warning crew,me,and numerous rest valve fanboys here?The fact that we are praising a game we think is great?Well,Im sure you are doing the same about games you like.The fact that we joke about people not liking the game being without taste?You made the same joke about people who do like the game.So,why exactly are we such a tiresome fanbase?Sure,there are a few idiots who think that no one is allowed to hate the game,but you can find those in any fanbase.They arent that numerous,nor vocal,at least not on this blog.

            And dont get me wrong,joking aside,I dont mind when people criticize a game that Ive liked.I will point out the things that worked for me in the game,but I accept that those things dont mesh with everyone(assassins creed 2,for example).What I do mind is when someone attacks me,personally or with a broad brush,just because I (dis)like something.

            1. Raygereio says:

              So,why exactly are we such a tiresome fanbase?

              Really? We’re doing this? *Sigh*
              If you're a fanboy, then that makes you tiresome to anyone who isn't a fan. That’s a law of nature.
              Is there anything wrong with that? No. I reckon that if I were more vocal about such things, people would get tired of my perverse love for Obsidian just as fast. That's why I've never said and never will say anything negative in earnest about people that like HL2. If you think being called tiresome constitutes an insult then that is your prerogative.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                “If you're a fanboy, then that makes you tiresome to anyone who isn't a fan. That's a law of nature.”

                Except its not.I dont mind people gushing over oblivion,or mmos,or modern warfare,or even mass effect 2 and fallout 3.Sure,I may point the bad things to them,but if they can ignore those,more power to them.It only becomes tiresome to me when I point out the bad and they say “Well you need to ignore those because it gets better later”,or something like that.

                1. Bubble181 says:

                  That’s a personal opinion, though. If you can ignore them, nice for you, but I find some fanbases extremely tiring as well.
                  Eternal Halo-fans, for example, but the never-ending “Baldur’s Gate 2 is the greatest CRPG in the world” annoys me as well. Oh, and those people who, for some reason, can’t understand that not everyone likes reflex-based games.
                  I haven’t been following this SW, so I can’t comment, but judging by the comments (which I do read :-P), I can imagine getting tired of continuous praise for HL2 as well.

                  To be fair, I’ve played both HL1 and HL2 only partially: it’s a nice change from the standard FPS, but I’m still not a fan of the genre and the puzzles and platforming weren’t interesting enough for me. I absolutely don’t see why either of them is considered such a great game. Important games, genre-changing games, sure, but that isn’t the same.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    But what would you then use as a measure of a great game?If genre changing games arent great games,then there are no great games since therell always be some who dont like it,or even hate it.Is halo a great game?Yes.Does that mean I like it?Heck no.It was very important for console shooters and multiplayer,plus the mechanic of regenerating health,all of which I hate,but I cant deny that it had a great impact.The only other thing that you could use to objectively measure if a game was great is sales,and you shouldnt use that because it relies on numerous other factors such as marketing.

                    As for the halo fans,the most vocal ones are the ones Ive mentioned above as being grating(“u cant not liek halo fag!!!”).As for the fans of baldurs gate 2,are those really that vocal?Whenever Ive mentioned it anywhere on the web,it was followed by few people,very rarely above dozen.Mentioning half life usually gives far more responses than that.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Except its not.Dumb shooters when this was made had no ai,so flanking you and similar things were nowhere to be found.Furthermore,you are in a middle of a three-way fight,which was also not something you saw back then.Actually,when I think about it,dumb shooters of today still dont have those things.

      1. Raygereio says:

        Dumb shooters when this was made had no ai,so flanking you and similar things were nowhere to be found.

        Sure they had AI. Well, in the videogame sense of the term anyway.
        Videogame AIs try to create the illusion of intelligent enemies through the combination of path finding scripts, enemy placement and level design.
        Whether or not that illusion is effective is subjective. For me HL2’s attempt wasn’t; I thought Fear for example did it far better.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Oh for sure,fear still is the pinnacle of shooter ai.But half life takes the second place,for me.

          1. Shamus says:

            I’d agree with this.

            The odd thing is that I played FEAR 2, and the AI never did anything to impress or surprise me. Did they dump the AI-focused design? Or did they just fail to take advantage of it? Or was that dog simply out of new tricks? I couldn’t tell.

            1. Raygereio says:

              They flat out dumped it. Fear 2 is a standard current-console-era shooter.
              Fear 3’s AI actually manages to be slightly decent in a couple of rooms where the level design allowed the AI multiple paths towards the player.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is off topic,but its bugging me,and I have to know:

    Shamus,can you please explain how your comments filter works.Is it triggered by specific words that I should avoid,or should I just limit myself to number of comments per hour?

    1. Shamus says:

      There are keywords that set it off, but it’s also driven by mind-bending moon logic, and sometimes I have no idea why it will arrest a particular comment.

      1. DirigibleHate says:

        I think my comment above is the only one I’ve ever had which hasn’t been delayed for moderation. I just thought it did that to every comment, though I did think that seemed overly tiresome to work through.

        Oh hey, this one is awaiting moderation too!

        1. X2Eliah says:

          Vague suspicion, it might be triggered by your nick having “hate” in it.

  17. Cradok says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Valve had tweaked the difficulty of the Terminal Plaza fight, I’m sure that a lot of people gave up there.

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    Okay, here’s the most likely reason I can think of why you might do better in that section on later tries, based on my experience:

    When you kill Combine behind the force fields, you can’t get at their ammunition. When you kill them after they get past the fields, you can grab their ammunition. So you focus on using the shotgun and automatic weapons, after they get close enough (use cover, duh!), and use the other weapons sparingly. This is how you manage to have enough ammunition, or even surplus ammunition lying on the ground, by the end of the scenario.

    But yeah, I didn’t figure it out the first time I played, either.

    EDIT: Also, if you have the timing of grabbing their grenades and tossing them back, it’s like free ammunition.

  19. RCN says:

    Yeah, I’m too in the Half-Life is overrated crowd. Though I really don’t hate it like some people seem to, it is not a game that ever interested me enough for a second play through. Of course, you can take everything I say with a grain of salt since I like Strategy games (turn based and real time) high above with RPGs as a close second.

    Then again, I do think it is one of the best FPSs out there, but boy, the Stalkers (or hunters, or whatever they’re called) from Episode 2 were late-comers to the party. They were something that was desperately needed in the game. An enemy that is actually difficult to fight against. Even the Striders are just a game of peekaboo you have to time your rockets to when they’re looking the other way, but those fuckers actively hunted you down and killed you dead. I’ll freely admit I grossly under-estimated the first one until after a dozen deaths, then I conceded I actually had to use the big-guns for a change. And they’re even impossibly hard to hit as well.

    But yeah, the physics puzzles get repetitive and oh fuck the see-saw puzzles start to make me wanna shoot myself. But in general, what really bugs me about Half-Life, is the linearity (that I also hate of most FPSs). No, they couldn’t form the illusion for me. As I said, I only played once, and even then I noticed the rails every single room. It frustrated me to no end how it pretended the rails didn’t even exist, it only made then that much more pronounced to me. At least they use it to good level design… what other shooters have forgone since the rise of cutscenes and, *gulp*, quick-time-events…

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