Lots of people pointed out that I neglected to comment on the advisor attack in the previous chapter. I dunno how I overlooked that. It was one of the most important moments in the game. You’d think after all my whining on the lack of revelations in the series that I’d spend some time on the moments when they do reveal something.
It was well executed, although I was a little unclear on how the advisor got there. Why wasn’t he with the other advisors? It looks like he crashed here, but then we see all of this life support equipment in the barn, which suggests that this place had been prepared for him before he arrived.
Let’s see, he can paralyze targets, fling stuff around with telekenisis, and suck a person’s brains out without them being able to defend themselves. Yes, I really do wonder how we’re going to fight them in subsequent encounters. They seem a little on the invulnerable side. Anyway, onto the next chapter…
At the start of the chapter you have to take out a fierce autogun that can lock on and blast something in a split second. It has three independent guns, it does fantastic damage, and in the right location would be an almost insurmountable defense. Why didn’t the Combine employ these closer to their central base instead of using it to gun down zombies in a worthless junkyard here in the boonies? (Yes, I know why: It’s more fun this way.)
I love watching Alyx during these fights. She doesn’t just stand and shoot, but does a lot of ducking, peeking around corners, finding cover, firing around corners, and generally looking awesome and authentic. It doesn’t make any difference where in the inn you decide to make your stand, she has something interesting to do no matter where you take her.
There are so many ways this battle can play out. After going through it a few times I do see some strategies are better than others. Either of the two staircases seem to be a bad place to stay. I thought the high vantage point would be advantageous, but there are so many routes into the room and so many open windows that I seemed to always end up caught in some crossfire. The basement seems like a good idea but I feel trapped down there. It would be easy for them to hold the top of the steps and roll grenades down on us. (They don’t actually do this, but the place still feels like a deathtrap.) I usually end up in one of the rooms overlooking the open area. I take a lot of fire through the windows, but I have enough mobility that I won’t get sandwiched by hunters.
In any case, your only real choices in this fight are in how you would like to be pummeled. They really do execute a tremendous assault and there is no one “good” strategy that I’ve found. This fight is fun and offers such variety that you can play it ten times and get a unique experience each time.
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