Half Life 2 Episode 1 EP2: How to Win at Physics

By Shamus Posted Thursday Feb 5, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 149 comments

Link (YouTube)

Just to be clear: All of my complaints in the episode were really trivial. Maybe it sounded like I hated this game. I don’t But this is what I would have said if the designers asked me for my analysis during development. The energy spheres are too random and unwieldy, and the explosion sound effect doesn’t really satisfy.

But for all my whining, this is making me really sad we haven’t gotten Half-Life 3 yet. They just don’t make games like this anymore, and they should. They really should.

For the curious, here is Ivan the Space Biker:



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149 thoughts on “Half Life 2 Episode 1 EP2: How to Win at Physics

  1. WILL says:

    One of the problems with HL2 and the episodes is the very lack luster sound design and gunplay. The main SMG sounds incredibly weak and the explosions are incredibly cheap (a single fire texture, some small smoke and possibly one of the least satisfying sound effects ever made for a AAA game). Until you get the revolver, most of your weapons feel weak.

    People say HL2 is a masterpiece but it has not aged well at all, so many other games have done everything it does better.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Half-Life 2 always struck me as this weird sort of thing that 2000s eara PC gamers rallied around as the idol of PC gaming, and it never really seemed like it deserved it to me.

      Sure, it had a lot of polish and the workmanship showed in the details, but it was all just built around an underwhelming set of mechanics and it never held up for me. It also seemed to be a game that assumed a certain level of enthusiasm for its world going in, and if you didn’t have that you were kind of left outside. Example: Gordon Freeman is a complete non-character that has a sort of memetic fondness for him built up by the fandom. If you aren’t part of that, the game’s worship of him gets pretty tedious.

      1. Felblood says:

        You know what’s weird about this?

        When HL2 first came out, all I heard from anyone was how it looked goreous, but the gameplay was really shallow. Easy puzzles, rote gunplay, simplistic driving sections. “It’s just a tech demo for the Source Engine and the Havok physics. You’ll see what this thing can really do after they license it out for a few years.”

        The first part was true. HL2 was a 20 hour commercial, directed at aspiring game developers. “Wouldn’t you love to make a game with an engine this powerful,” it would whisper, as you pushed a fuel barrel onto a slippery ranp, to explode some barnacles.”

        The second part never really happened. With the sole exception of Painkiller, nobody really made full use of the Havok physics.

        I think it was the following decade of gaming (and Doom 3, which just is not as good) that taught us what we had in HL2. It was solid, varied and had some of the best environmental stoytelling in the history of gaming.

        It isn’t perfect, but as our hopes for the future wore away, we came to see what it was worth as an example to aspire to.

      2. How Half-Life 2 managed to achieve ‘memetic status’ above other FPS’s of its era and continues to do so.

        Putting aside whether or not you actually like the game, there are several reasons why Half-Life sticks around in the internet zeitgeist:

        1: The story. Yes, there’s not much to it, but there’s just enough to spark the imagination in a lot of people. There’s also the brilliantly written dialog and its delivery in the form of Dr. Breen. It delivers just enough to pass the suspension of disbelief test (at least for a shooter) without descending into moustache-twirling or the hero doing a three-point landing while holding a katana.

        2: Valve keeps maintaining the game so it’s available for sale and runs on modern systems.

        3 – 9: Forget every other reason, because…

        10: The Source Engine and Gmod. By giving users and players these tools, Half-Life’s aesthetic lives on in everything from the webcomic “Concerned” to Full Life Consequences to the Gmod Idiot Box. I think there was another webcomic where Breen was a talk show host, but I forget the title.

        Anyway, this keeps the game and its many modded children out there running around, with more people (re)discovering the game every day. If Halo were similarly set up, perhaps it would be some kind of meme as well. As it stands, beyond “Red vs. Blue,” I don’t think it’s enjoyed the same kind of secondary production from either its devs or its community that Half-Life has.

    2. Chris Davies says:

      Wow, OK. Strongly disagree. I don’t think it’s possible to disagree more strongly.

      Not only don’t I believe that other games have done what HL2 did better, I don’t even believe other games understood what Half Life 2 did at all. Half Life 2’s big headline feature was environmental interaction. Granted it was in a fairly primitive mode, but the fact is you could grab a radiator from the wall or a TV from a shelf and fling it at an enemy. You can gather some rocks, put them in a crate and use them to cantilever yourself to that ammo stash (an example of which we’ll hopefully see in about 7 or 8 episodes time once they’re done with the zombies.

      Other than a half-hearted attempt by Dead Space, nobody else has even tried to put proper environmental interaction in their game, let alone improved on the initial implementation. I have this recurring dream where Dead Space was actually a proper horror game, and there’s a set piece where you have to run around in a panic gathering large bits of machinery to block a door while an indestructible necromorph pounds on it. As it stands, scenery is still just scenery in pretty much every first person game. There’s been no real attempts to bring environments to life since the first one.

      The original Half Life was the game that really introduced the concept of the environment cueing the player as to where they ought to be going. As was pointed out in this episode, Half Life 2 demonstrated mastery of using the environment to cue the player as to where they ought to be looking. Most other games are still struggling to master the first step 15 years on.

      Half Life 2 solved the limited health pool problem with its dynamic resupply system. You’ll never suffer a pyrrhic victory in Half Life 2 where technically you cleared a set piece, but ended with so little health that you can’t proceed. In the mean time, other games have hared off down the dead end of regenerating health, with its perverse incentive to spend 90% of the game cowering behind a crate. Half Life 2 retains the mobile, fluid combat encounters of old style FPS while solving the associated problems. Something hopefully we’ll see in the basement stand off a little later in this episode. That’s really wonderful design that makes you move around the space in search of flares while you wait for the lift, whereas in the usual sort of stand off set piece you’d be incentivised to stay still close to the goal.

      Similarly, HL2 has a dynamic autosave system to gives a reasonable guarantee that once you die the last autosave will be the closest possible to your point of death without being a death sentence. Compare and contrast with the checkpoint systems from the current crop of shooters, who apparently feel like it’s important that the save game files their 80GB blob of massive textures generates only be 12 bytes each. Hate how much progress you have to lose because of that sort of laziness? Yeah, me too.

      Of course texture quality, lighting and particle effects have all improved in the intervening years. However, it’s only this year with the new console generation that I’ve really got to the point where I finally grokked what ambient occlusion could do for a scene. HL2 EP2 was trying to tell me something like 8 years ago now.

      This is not to mention Valve’s usual stellar grasp of pacing, which almost goes without saying at this point. Honestly, every other first person shooter is so far from meeting the bar HL2 set it’s ridiculous.

      1. Ira says:

        I don’t know, I’d have to go with Bloodsquirrel on this one. I never understood Half-Life’s memetic status, or for that matter everything claimed about a third game. I actually failed to finish the game back in the day, as it had failed to maintain my interest.

        So I would really like to see some sort of explanation of why HL2 has the status it does, which doesn’t just hinge on it being the Best Shooter Ever Made. There’s going to be a market context to HL2. What did it mean in the context of early 2000s FPSes?

        1. bloodsquirrel says:

          For reference:

          Half-Life 2’s big contemporaries were Doom 3 and Halo 2.


          I’m not saying that I can’t understand why some people like the game here. I didn’t like it, but I can see what other people liked in it.

          But the notion that it objectively blows other shooters of the era, much less modern ones, out of the water on any kind of tech or mechanical level is just silly. Both of those games did a lot of stuff that HL2 didn’t. The underrated Doom 3’s lighting wasn’t just pretty, it was a core mechanic of the game. It’s amazing how well Doom 3 still holds up graphically.

          Really, that’s what bothers me about people fanboying about HL2. It’s not that they’re praising the game, it’s that they’re horribly underselling every other shooter that’s ever been made in order to do so.

          1. CrazyYarick says:

            I gotta say I think Doom 3 is rather underated as well. The consoles alone in that game were awesome and they added the right amount of “interactivity” to the experience. I think in the end it became a little too repetitive, but the early suspense was rather awesome.
            Technologically it was an id game back when that meant something. They were rather ahead of the times by using a unified lighting system. Shaders were new and computers were not just yet up to scratch.

            Here is the real question though. Which stood the test of time better HL2 or Doom3(unlike Halo 2 both of them came out on the same platform)? In my opinion Doom was just too straight forward and because of that it didn’t get the hype machine running in the same way that HL2 did. Also I think people were just pissed off that it wasn’t more of Doom 2/Quake.

            1. Doom 3’s biggest failing for me was (and still is) the highlighted memory limitations. It could support, what, three foes at once? And knowing that limit meant you’d never face hordes like you did in Doom 2.

              This was disappointing to me, especially given how much fun those rooms full of demons were, especially if you could get them angry at each other.

            2. “I gotta say I think Doom 3 is rather underated as well. The consoles alone in that game were awesome and they added the right amount of “interactivity” to the experience.”



              Why has no other FPS utilized this form of realtime design with its interfaces? I’ve NEVER understood why Doom3 interactive consoles didn’t take off like fucking gangbusters. Can you imagine how awesome Human Revolution would’ve been if you didn’t have the camera stolen from ya every time ya had to imput a password or look at a computer? Instead I’ve only ever seen this one fan-goddamned-TASTIC feature…stuck in a game with the least amount of reason to have it.


          2. WILL says:

            Half-life 2’s vehicle sections are inferior by far to even the first Halo, for some reason people are ok with a high speed boat section having massive roadblocks break the pacing every 2 minutes. “Silent time” is great, but high speed chases should not be interrupted by puzzles.

            I remember getting lost multiple times in HL2’s levels, Ravenholm especially, and AI constantly being in my way during the resistance chapter.

            I prefer Halo’s gunplay by far, but they are complete polar opposites – one is about solid mechanics and learning weapon combos and effectiveness against specific enemies while the other is more traditional FPS. Halo at least had a good melee option (every gun has a melee attack). HL’s awkward crowbar is just weird, especially when dealing with tiny little headcrabs.

            FEAR was made about the same time and the melee gameplay was miles ahead.

            All that said, I think I enjoyed HL1 a lot more.

            1. Shamus says:

              Halo. The appeal of THAT game mystifies me. I only played the first one, but it was about the worst slog I’ve ever been through. I’d rather do Crysis 2 again. Boring, one-dimensional, endlessly repetitive, dull-looking. And that’s BEFORE you get to the library, which is a crime against fun itself.

              I just don’t get it.

              1. Shamus says:

                To be clear, I’m not demanding anyone defend Halo. (I’ve been to that dance before.) I just think we’re looking for completely different things in a shooter, and I’ve never been able to drill down and figure out the root of those differences.

              2. bloodsquirrel says:

                Halo is anything but one-dimensional.

                -Halo gave you a bunch of different tools for combat and then actually made you use them. There’s no “weapon progression” in Halo- all of the weapons are situationally more or less powerful, and the games makes you switch between them by making you pick up drops from enemies instead of leaving ammo just sitting around. And control layout encourages using them all at once- you can walk into a room, shoot an enemy until one gun needs reloading, throw a grenade, switch weapons, and fire off the ammo in that one while you charge an enemy to finish them off with a melee. And it has to be a well-timed melee, because the enemies will melee back if you just try to hang out and whack on them.

                -Halo treats vehicles as just another weapon. They’re just part of a larger fight; you might drive into a battle, get knocked off your ride, shoot something with a rocket launcher, then hijack another vehicle.

                -The games are full of non-linear spaces to fight in and has AI that can actually do it. By the time of the later games fighting a particularly tough opponent could feel like fighting another player in death match.

                -The AI is damn good in general. Enemies have good awareness (they don’t always know where you are, but aren’t line-of-sight bound either). They move really well. They’re good at avoiding obvious patterns.

                -The game has mountains of variety in general. It has cramped spaces, wide open spaces, parts where the enemy is aggressive and you have to defend, parts where you have to attack defensible positions full of enemies, a wide range of enemies with a wide range of behaviors. And the game isn’t stingy with giving it to you one bit at a time- You get mixes of all of it in one stage. It’s a game that transitions smoothly from flying in a banshee to shooting enemies on foot.

                Halo 3 has one battle where they drop two Scarabs- giant robots that you have to board and shoot their reactors to blow up- into a valley with a bunch of ground vehicles, a few air vehicles, and other enemies and just lets you have at them. No other shooter I’ve seen has a set piece that matches that, and it isn’t even scripted. It’s all existing assets in a system that’s robust enough to handle it.

                Video of part of that battle:

                That’s just one way to handle it. You can also use a ghost or a tank in the fight.

                1. Shamus says:

                  My experience with Halo:

                  Huh. One of those alien machine gun things. And also a sniper rifle. I can only carry one or the other. I guess I’ll take the machine gun.

                  * long, long, LONG walk through boxy corridors with flat textures on the walls. *

                  * Come into a massive open space with some dudes far in the distance.*

                  Now I have to hike over there and let them pummel me while I close the distance, or backtrack all the way to the sniper rifle. Damn it.

                  Have I been in here before? Yes. Wait, no. This is a copy & paste of a room from earlier. So I hiked all the way over here to where the exit was before, but it’s slightly different this time. Where am I going again? Is it that far door over there? (Hikes over.) Nope. That’s where I came in.

                  (Finds the exit.)

                  Oh. A warthog. Shit. I guess it’s time for Jeeps On Ice.

                  1. AJax says:

                    Funnily enough, the warthog controls better than any vehicle in the Half-Life series including the badass chevy from HL2:EP2.

                    1. straymute says:

                      One nifty thing about the design of the warthog is that by learning how to drive it, it also taught you the basics of driving all the other vehicle in game as well, including the aircraft. Since dual analog or a combined look/steering on keyboard and mouse are basically necessary for air vehicles, but not for ground a lot of games trip up in the manner Battlefield does. In battlefield you have a sizeable portion of the playerbase that can’t transition between ground and air combat without crashing immediately since they require radically different control methods.

                      In Halo, on foot you look and you go where you look, in a warthog you look and you go where you look, in a banshee you look and you go where you look. So when you go online everyone is actually using all the vehicles instead of nosediving the helicopter every five seconds.

                  2. WILL says:

                    The two weapon limit is a great idea that may other shooters have failed to use correctly. The point of the limit in Halo was that you had to think about what you were bringing into the fight and what you’d be able to kill or what combo you’d be able to pull off – plasma pistol takes away the shield -> switch to human pistol and headshot. Stuck fighting flood? Better stock up on that shotgun and bring any weapon with large magazines for those popcorn enemies. Hunters required dodging their mortars from afar and dodging their melee attack patterns to hit the back. Fighting enemies turns into a little game of figuring out the pattern unlike HL where it’s the classic pump the enemies full of lead.

                    People rag on Halo as being bald space marine but it’s filled with neat lore and interesting tidbits – Human ship on the run from a massive lost battle against a religious space cult finds a massive ringworld that their enemy calls their holy grail but has an unknown purpose, and your mission is to protect the AI that CANNOT fall into enemy hands lest it leads them straight to Earth? This are big sci-fi ideas.

                    You get this massive diverse alien cast because the Covenant is essentially a multicultural religious cult. Grunts are small but only really dangerous to your shield which leaves you open to real threats, they’ll flee if you kill their leader but they’re also easy to sticky grenade and might flee into a group. Elites will dodge your vechicle swings (which is why the warthog is so slippery, it’s to turn it into a weapon) and grenades but if you ever stick them expect them to run straight at you. Jackals are smarter than grunts so they’ll charge their shots and completely drain your shield, on Legendary they turn into real adversaries. Killing them with the pistol is 2 shots in specific places but killing them with any other weapon requires entirely different tactics.

                    Hunters are mortar cannons and berserkers at the same time and require timing and learning their movements to quickly defeat. They even have some nice background – They’re actually large colonies of worms that hold together an armour and a weapon, the giant scarabs of Halo 3 are the same tech.

                    The long walks I can only think of the Library, but then fuck the Library. Closing the distance was never a problem for me, I’m actually fairly certain anything but vehicles would stop shooting if you were too far. Halo 1 had some problems like copy and paste, but these disappeared by Halo 2 (same time as HL2) and Halo 3 essentially perfected the gameplay. Let us not speak of 4.

                    It’s a long tirade for a game you’ll never play, I know, but Halo was a good, fresh game and the sequels were great. It gets undeserved hate from PC elitists because so many other games followed suit.

                    1. Abnaxis says:

                      Just throwing this out there, but did Halo really convey what sort of weapon you were going to need before you needed it? I mean, I *played* Halo but I remember sameyness stemming from picking a couple go-to favorite load-outs that worked for me everywhere. Since I never really knew what terrain or enemy was coming next, I stuck with dependable boring standbys.

                      I never finished, so I’m not even sure if I am remembering correctly. Do you have to have foreknowledge of what’s coming next to be able to observe all this depth you are alluding to? Was this knowledge apparent to you on your first playthrough, or did it take repeated failures/playthroughs/a wiki to know what weapons you wanted to bring?

                    2. WILL says:

                      There’s experimentation for sure, but you could realize a few things.

                      For one, jackals and grunts would rip through your shields with a single charged shot. That alone should tip you off that the gun is good for removing all shields off Elites, along with other plasma weapons. The rest was experimentation, really. You’d notice human weapons on shieldless targets were incredibly effective, especially headshots.

                      The pistol in the first one was incredibly overpowered, but attacking jackals you could tell there was a small part in their shield that would stagger them, and then you move for the headshot, eventually you get that pattern down.

                      Fighting the flood was purely crowd management and dodging.

                      The real “depth” started in Halo 2 and a lot in Halo 3 (plasma pistol would disable vehicles when charged), since the pistol in 1 was overpowered. These mechanics are really highlighted in Legendary difficulty (and with a specific skull). It’s not super deep but it’s better than HL2’s non-gravity related weapons.

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      It's not super deep but it's better than HL2's non-gravity related weapons.

                      How?How is having a 2 weapon loadout optimized for all the situations better than a 5+ weapon loadout optimized for all the situations?You have your magnum for high powered sniping,pulse rifle for high rate of fire sniping and medium range encounters,crossbow for really long range sniping,shotgun for medium and short distances,crowbar for slow moving target,grenades for crowd control,and smg as your all purpose low powered tool.Pistol is the only weapon without some practical use,since it uses the same ammo as smg,which is better,even though somewhat less precise.And since you are carrying all of those at once,you will never find yourself in a situation where a specialized tool(say a sniper rifle/crossbow)is required,but you left one way back because you could only carry just 2 weapons.Also,this is not taking into account the special weapons like the gravity gun(which is always useful),bug bait(which you have only in two places) and rpg(which is useful only once near an ammo crate).

                      All of those weapons Ive listed get to be used once you amp up the difficulty,and you get to practice and get good with all of them.You can limit yourself to just 2,and still beat the game,but you will have a tougher time than someone who has learned to use them all well,depending on what is needed at the moment.So how exactly is a game that forces you to use just 2 weapons better than a game that allows you to limit yourself to use just 2 weapons,yet always gives you the option to use them all?

                  3. bloodsquirrel says:

                    “* Come into a massive open space with some dudes far in the distance.*

                    Now I have to hike over there and let them pummel me while I close the distance, or backtrack all the way to the sniper rifle. Damn it.”

                    See, that’s one of the great things about how Halo is designed. You never need the sniper rifle. There are a few areas that you could be talking about, and you tackle all of them in a couple of different ways. If it’s the area I’m thinking about, you could have used
                    -The Warthog
                    -Killed one of the elites riding a ghost and taken that
                    -Taken out the wraith and turrets with a rocket launcher, at which point you can cover the distance on foot.

                    The game’s tendency not to say “Here, this weapon is for this segment of the game” is one of my favorite things about it.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      So halo is good because it gives you a bunch of weapons,none of which you will ever get to even try out,because you will just use the first 2 that appeal to you?What is the point of giving you the rest of the weapons then?

                      You can play half life,all of them,with just your favorite 1 or 2 weapons as well.The only places where you need a specific weapon are puzzles,strider and gunship combats.The rest,you can freely pick and choose your weapons as you like them.BUT,you always have the rest of the weapons if you want to try them out,and if you get good with all the weapons,you will quickly see how all can be used to make the game much easier,and ammo to be far less scarce than it appears to be(though in hl1,ammo is almost never scarce,even if you use just the smg).

                  4. Retsam says:

                    Honestly as a series in general, I think I prefer Halo to HL.

                    I don’t know if Halo 1 has aged that well. It definitely suffers the most from same-y level design, since it all takes place on the Halo. The later games in the series do a lot better on that regard; the plot moves around more and you get a lot more diverse level design as a result; you’ll have levels in human cities, in alien cities, on space ships, on Halos, etc.

                    But in general the two weapons thing makes for interesting choices; how you work through a level is very different depending on which weapons you carry around.

                    I find the plot more interesting. It’s somewhat cheesy space opera at points, but hey, we don’t have a ton of that in video games. Sure the storytelling of HL is interesting; the way it communicates more through setting than through actual spoken plot; but then I don’t find the story itself all that interesting

                    And, of course the multiplayer is a huge aspect for me. HL multiplayer is basically non-existent.

                    1. Tsi says:

                      I’m sad they didn’t release the late halos on PC, I enjoyed the first one and would replay it anytime, even on LAN although, I don’t understand why people compare HALO to HL2. They have NOTHING in common except for being first person shooters with aliens and driving (except that the importance of vehicles is not the same).

                      I think Shamus would probably like it as well if he just… let go, drops any expectations and simply consider Halo as a minimalist shooter. Because let’s face it. It only has depth over it’s shooting and vehicle parts and is pretty good at making you want to play it fast and effectively.
                      It’s multi-player is even tailored towards fast pacing shooting with maps big enough to allow vehicles but small enough so that you don’t waste time getting into the action. Every match has interesting and fun confrontations and this is probably where HL and HL2 vanilla death-match fails. They’re too generic BUUUT although people played them a lot during the first couple of years which you can compare to any other game, the vanilla pvp quickly got replaced by the phenomenal amount of mods and their variety of gameplay. You can argue about it not being the original multiplayer but denying what mods have brought us, even today as we comment, is just madness. You can’t beat that and i’m sure Halo would have had the same success and fanbase if only modding was possible. Heck, just look at the Elder Scrolls saga …

                      Anyway, as others will point out, HL and especially HL2 basically have depth and variety and this is why you can’t compare it to Halo. Every “chapters” in the HL games have their own look and feel, their own mood and theme, their own goals and ways to get to them. Every segment of the world feels alive and unique, almost every prop can be interacted with and every prop does indeed look like it has a purpose (unlike the Shadow Warrior reboot that is getting on my nerves with all these invisible walls and piles of stuff that forbid passage, OMG…). There is a little exploration and scavenging, there are hidden messages and events, the world seems to be talking to you and letting you exchange with it. It leaves you time to breath, time to walk around and do whatever you want and basically has a nice pacing where you’re not constantly shooting. the next Spoiler Warning will show you more of this as it’s focussed on cooperation with Alyx. I didn’t play many games where you’re stripped of your weapons and put into situations where you have to help yourself by actually helping someone else. it is original although not the best part of the series as it mostly shines when you’re on your own. Yet, it has it’s charm.
                      Oh and the scripted characters can walk and talk at the same time with nice facial and expressive animations and even lipsync and head/eye tracking at the same time ?! It’s not motion capture but damn I still haven’t seen a game on par with this yet.

                      Oh my, I can go like this for hours and I’d still feel there are tons of things to say like why I think a mute character is the best thing the gaming industry can do for such immersive games.

                      As Shamus states at some point, the HL series does a good job at never stealing control of the camera from the player but still hinting at interesting or important things. This is an example of game design that a lot of designers fail at these days. They often prefer to go to a more “cinematic” approach by directing a game like they would direct a movie but in the end, it just adds to the frustration. This is very weird to me because Half Life 2 (as well as Portal 2 and L4D) is still studied in game dev/design schools in Paris for everything that it introduced towards world building, level and narrative design. It’s does so many things well and you can have a glimpse at these by simply turning on the dev commentary in-game (or watching as our hosts comment on some aspects during Joshs play).

                      Oh, did I say I enjoy playing Halo 1 ? That I like it for what it is and offers and wish I could play the others as well ? I think I did and I stand by it but damn, it’s just not the same stuff at it’s roots as HL.

                      I still remember playing the HL uplink demo when i was a kid. At that time, I got fuc*** scared when entering an underground room with a zombie carrying 2 corpses.
                      We had a few nice games afterwards and then, in 2003 this just blew everybody’s mind : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxYviVfwAHA
                      Everything in this video was available in the leaked beta and even more. Some things were in a broken state but you get the point. It’s also funny because the video shows you glimpses of the full game in the same order as you play it.
                      Also, i didn’t even know there was a port of HL2 on the first Xbox.. Pretty impressive !

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      It's multi-player is even tailored towards fast pacing shooting with maps big enough to allow vehicles but small enough so that you don't waste time getting into the action. Every match has interesting and fun confrontations and this is probably where HL and HL2 vanilla death-match fails.

                      And this is the crucial difference in the two:Half life is a single player game,halo is a multi player game.You will never see me say that halo is not a fun multi player game.But if you try to argue that it is superior in single player to any game that isnt primarily multi player(titanfall or battlefield),you are just out of your mind.All of the problems halo has in single player(the limited loadout,samey enemies,samey environments)actually are its strength in multi player.So why cant people be happy with that,but have to draw out these contrived arguments how all of those are actually good in single player,when they objectively are not?

              3. SmileyFace says:

                Great music, sci-fi themed shooter. I suspect it lives or dies by whether you like shooters, have experience with other shooters, and how much you appreciate the story/music/art.

                For me, I was 12/13 and had never played anything like it. I could shoot aliens and that was awesome. I could shoot my friends and that was awesome. It was a sci-fi adventure in a video game and that was awesome. It sounded magnificent. Over the years, I’ve moved on, and its more recent sequels are either just plain bad or don’t appeal to me anymore, but that’s why I liked it.

              4. AJax says:

                Speaking as someone who loves HL2 and considers it a personal favorite, Halo (and any of its sequels) easily curb-stomps HL2 when it comes to combat design and enemy AI. Where combine soldiers are more than happy to stand around and pump you full of lead like idiots, Elites can effectively flank and pressure you, jackals will keep their distance and grunts who’s cowardice and clumsiness can be used to the player’s advantage.

                A lot of people, rightfully so, harp on the first game’s repetitiveness especially the library section but the later games have more than rectified that and Bungie crafted one of the most varied encounters and tight levels in shooters. Halo 3, ODST and Reach are easily a highlight that offer far, far more satisfying combat than HL2 ever did.

                Of course, HL2 core strength wasn’t solely its combat but he incredible amount of variety of situations the game presents the player supported by very tight pacing.

        2. Thomas Adamson says:



          The use of “quiet time”. (Thank you SBH)

          A story that isn’t “over done”. It would be better if it didn’t venerate Gordan Freeman (and thus the player) so much – but the story is enough to make you care.

          It makes you care without overused tropes (Your (not?)girlfriend is dead/kidnapped) Without resorting to nationality (setting is Eastern Europe but all citizens are obviously transported).

          It effectively uses body horror. The drones are a terrifying fate.

          It’s grandious set-pieces don’t feel forced. As Shamoose says: they draw your attention to them by subtle means, by the enemie placement and environment. Not by screen-jacking your FOV.

          Aside from that shooting, movement, level-design and damage are calibrated to being tense but not undoable. You might fuck up an encounter and die, or want to do it better, but you’ll never repeat an encounter more that a few times.

      2. bloodsquirrel says:

        “Other than a half-hearted attempt by Dead Space, nobody else has even tried to put proper environmental interaction in their game, let alone improved on the initial implementation. I have this recurring dream where Dead Space was actually a proper horror game, and there's a set piece where you have to run around in a panic gathering large bits of machinery to block a door while an indestructible necromorph pounds on it. As it stands, scenery is still just scenery in pretty much every first person game. There's been no real attempts to bring environments to life since the first one.”

        HL2 has a lot of clutter laying around that you can throw with the gravity gun and the occasional physics puzzle. Not only have plenty of other games put physics-enabled objects lying around, they’ve done much better than that. We’ve had destructible environments from Battlefield games. We’ve had Far Cry 3 & 4 where you can climb on buildings, grab people from behind walls, etc. Halo and Far Cry both have zero separation between vehicle and ground combat.

        For reference: A game that released the same month as HL2.

        “Half Life 2 solved the limited health pool problem with its dynamic resupply system. You'll never suffer a pyrrhic victory in Half Life 2 where technically you cleared a set piece, but ended with so little health that you can't proceed. In the mean time, other games have hared off down the dead end of regenerating health, with its perverse incentive to spend 90% of the game cowering behind a crate.”

        Regenerating health has been adopted as widely as it has for good reason: it allows far more experimentation and risk taking without having to reload when small mistakes are made. It allows an individual enemy to be dangerous while still having a fight with five of them. Having to retreat occasionally adds an ebb and flow to the combat.

        “Similarly, HL2 has a dynamic autosave system to gives a reasonable guarantee that once you die the last autosave will be the closest possible to your point of death without being a death sentence. Compare and contrast with the checkpoint systems from the current crop of shooters, who apparently feel like it's important that the save game files their 80GB blob of massive textures generates only be 12 bytes each. Hate how much progress you have to lose because of that sort of laziness? Yeah, me too.”

        I can’t think of any shooters that match that description. Most of them are pretty good and putting checkpoints between fights, and in “stable” places.

        “This is not to mention Valve's usual stellar grasp of pacing, which almost goes without saying at this point. Honestly, every other first person shooter is so far from meeting the bar HL2 set it's ridiculous.”

        HL2’s pacing isn’t something to be writing ballads about. Lots of things (like repetitive physics puzzles) overstay their welcome, their not-cutscenes-but-that-just-means-that-they’re-unskippable drag on for too long, and some segments (like riding through large, empty areas with the airboat) are just plain filler.

        It’s especially a problem because erring on the side of slow is a lot harder for a frustrated player to ameliorate than erring on the side of fast. You can always just slow down and mess around a bit while playing even the most hyper of shooters.

        1. Shamus says:

          I really must defend the HL2 pacing. Those stretches of airboat or car driving aren’t “filler”. They’re never more than a minute long. They’re a change of context and a breather between fights. Leaving them out would be like cutting out establishing shots in a movie to make the running time 3 minutes shorter.

          HL2 is this: Fight. Quiet. Fight. Puzzle. Fight. Explore. Fight. Quiet.

          Most games are this: Fight. Fight. Cutscene. Fight. Fight. Fight. Cutscene. Fight.

          Yes, you can skip the cutscenes, but that just throws you back into the fight.

          My favorite example is Crysis 2 which was trying SO HARD to be Half-Life 2 and failing SO hard: The pacing was always redlining. HURRY! NOW! SAVE THE WORLD! There was never a chance to just relax, explore, and take in the sights. It was a constant roar of gunfire and destruction. There’s no texture because there’s no contrast.

          My ages-old post on Crysis 2, if you want the super-long version: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=11097

          Now, if you don’t want moments of quiet time then it’s not for you.

          1. bloodsquirrel says:

            Moments of quiet time are nice, but HL2 just has too much of it. A minute is a really, really long time to burn doing something completely uninteresting. It’s longer than actual fights last. It’s good to have quiet time to catch your breath, but I was never out of breath in the first place in HL2.

            One of the cornerstones of good pacing in a video game is having some flexibility to it. This discussion has had me watch some Doom 3 videos, and for my money that game does it much better. You’ve got audio logs, emails, locked containers to open, etc. to break up combat. You’ve got some high-intensity fights and some areas with just a few zombies and a lot of dark space that you just need to creep through. They’ve got ammo/armor/health to explore the level looking for. The levels themselves are very interesting visually and there were a lot of times I’d stop just to look at the station. There’s plenty of opportunity for quiet time, but when you just want to get on with things you can.

            1. mixmastermind says:

              That’s an area where I disagree. Games are in such a hurry to go and do something, and HL2 is very much defined by its slower pacing. I feel like you can get away with that when your visual design is so nice as in HL2.

              I agree with Doom 3, and I liked that its pacing was decided more by the player than anything else.

            2. Wide And Nerdy says:

              Sorry but the Gravity Gun trumps all of this.

              I understand that people like shooters and like to play shooters. Its just so hard to believe that gunplay makes up such an incredible amount of modern gaming, especially when you have to shoot a guy in the face 5 to 10 times (depending on difficulty settings) to drop him.

              And its not enough that shooters dominate. It bleeds over into other genres like fantasy where magic powers are essentially weapons to be spammed. “No they’re not, its different, guns have a rapid fire rate and magic powers have cooldown and area effects.” If this is what constitutes “variety” in modern gaming, I’m disappointed.

              The gravity gun and portal gun are two of the most fun and interesting powers modern games have to offer.

              Don’t get me wrong, a normal gun is cool to have alongside them but our idea of gunplay and weapon variety is a gun that has X fire rate with Y clip, Z spread, and Q accuracy, or something. And you can play with ALL those variables. WOW, what incredible powers of imagination modern game devs have.

              Give me a hookshot, a jump boosting jetpack, a wand of firestorms, a gravity gun, Batman’s ice grenade or his gun jammer. Give me stealth. Let me talk past some guys.

              So yeah, games that have that sort of thing going for them will always be superior in my eyes to games who’s main selling point is featuring every variety of real life firearm.

              1. bloodsquirrel says:

                “Sorry but the Gravity Gun trumps all of this.”

                Just… no. It doesn’t. It really, really doesn’t. The idea that Far Cry 3/4, games that combine a stealth system as fully developed as any full stealth game, a fully open world, completely robust shooting mechanics, vehicles, AI that with sophisticated levels of awareness, and a skill tree that manages not to dilute the skill-based nature of the game should be embarrassed because of one gimmicky weapon in HL2 is pure myopia.

                This attitude isn’t healthy. There are a mountain of games that have done a mountain of things that Half-Life 2 didn’t even attempt. This fiat rejection of all of them because HL2 did one small thing that they didn’t is just digging yourself into a hole and yelling at anyone who comes near about how when you were a kid you walked ten miles to school every day through the snow.

                What should be embarrassing is that we can’t even have a conversation about this game without people acting like it’s holy scripture, where no part of its superiority can be doubted because the entire thing will collapse if they do. That Half-Life 2 can only be defended by claiming that it’s the absolutely best shooter ever because it can’t possibly still be a good game even if other games surpass it in a lot of areas, right?

                1. Shamus says:

                  You’re all over the place here. Yes, Far Cry has open world mechanics. Because it’s an open world game. Now, you can say you like open world games better and that’s fine. But it’s a completely different experience with different needs and design choices. Faulting HL for not having open world mechanics in like saying Civilization is better because Half-Life doesn’t have turn-based combat.

                  Stuff I think falls into the Half-Life shooter genre: Metro, Wolfenstein, Bulletstorm, Crysis. First-person, linear, gunplay-based combat. Maybe some light puzzles and vehicle sections. If you throw in multiplayer, or an open world, or third person, then you’re talking about a fundamentally different kind of game.

                  Also, have you watched the show? Because we don’t treat it like holy scripture. We bitch about it and point out its flaws constantly. But we also give it credit where it’s due and where it sidesteps mistakes that other games keep making.

                  1. bloodsquirrel says:

                    I’m not talking about you, specifically, but a lot of people here definitely are.

                    “Yes, Far Cry has open world mechanics. Because it's an open world game.”

                    It’s more than that. It’s an open world game that smoothly transitions into being a fully-featured FPS. It’s not like, say, GTA where the open world mechanics come with the cost of mediocre gunplay. That’s a huge deal, and it’s not something that should be dismissed so lightly because “lol, gravity gun”.

                    “Faulting HL for not having open world mechanics in like saying Civilization is better because Half-Life doesn't have turn-based combat.”

                    I’m not saying that at all. That’s actually much closer to the logic being used here to defend HL2, where Civ is garbage because it doesn’t have the gravity gun. I’m fully willing to let Half-Life 2 stand on the grounds it was designed on, but I’m not willing to entertain the idea that those are the one true grounds for FPS and that shooters are automatically lesser for exploring different grounds.

                    1. Shamus says:

                      “but I'm not willing to entertain the idea that those are the one true grounds for FPS and that shooters are automatically lesser for exploring different grounds.”

                      Strongly agree.

                    2. Shamus says:

                      Now that I’m thinking about it more, I’ll bet the… enthusiastic praise HL gets is due more to its scarcity than to the game itself. If it were on a normal release schedule, then we’d be anticipating Half-Life SEVEN this year. We’d be intimately familiar with all the quirks and tics of the series.

                      The game would be so familiar that the average player would be able to say, “We’re about three hours in. I’ve fought through corridors. I fought in open spaces. I’ve done seven or eight seesaw puzzles. I’m betting there will be a vehicle around the… yup. There it is.”

                      The mystery elements like the G-Man would need to either be revealed (which would make them less interesting, and require the introduction of more mystery elements) or they would eventually get annoying, like the meta-plot of Assassins Creed that never goes anywhere.

                      Still, if we could get just one more game out of this franchise before I drop dead, that’d be great.

                    3. Wide And Nerdy says:

                      I’m not saying the gravity gun makes it a better FPS. Clearly any number of other games are better at fussing over conventional guns as if they were the holy grail of gameplay.

                      I’m saying that something different like the gravity gun is just plain better.

                      Our obsession with gunplay is like if most restaurants served nothing but bread. If you complained about variety, they’d say “What are you talking about? We have rye, wheat, white bread. We have croissants and biscuits and we’ve long acknowledged the need for some variety by introducing butter and jam for when you need a savory or sweet flavor. They’re even working on a rye biscuit with butter flavored jelly. What more could you want from food? Toast? We have toast. ”

                      “What about steak?”

                      “Steak? Why would you want that? You have to cook it and cut it up before eating and its so chewy which makes the eating experience really drag out.”

                      Now bread is great. I love bread. But if bread were as prevalent in our meals as gunplay is in games, I’d be a little tired of it.

                      (EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I have a nagging suspicion I’ve encountered and/or used the “gun is the bread of gameplay” metaphor before. It fits too well for me to be the first.)

                      EDIT: Oh I forgot to mention. I’m not some hardcore Half Life 2 fanboy. I’ve only been PC gaming for a few years now and though I recently bought all the Half Life games, I haven’t played any of them yet. I’ve played Portal and I’ve seen Spoiler Warning’s playthrough of HL2 which I feel is all I need to know to declare the gravity gun a more fun and interesting mechanic than basic gunplay. Before that I hadn’t played games in well over a decade but was a Nintendo fan as a kid. THAT is probably influencing my opinions more than anything. The gravity gun looks like Nintendo level of fun with enough science to justify its inclusion in a more adult and grounded setting. And to me that is the sweet spot of gameplay.

                    4. bloodsquirrel says:

                      “I'm saying that something different like the gravity gun is just plain better.”

                      Except that every game we’ve brought up has plenty of “something different”. One of the most fun things to do in Far Cry 3/4 is to take an entire outpost without firing a single gunshot. Bioshock gave us all sorts of powers and other systems (although the execution wasn’t as good as it could have been).

                      I can think of… Call of Duty? That actually fits this “hyper focused only on guns” you’re accusing other shooters of.

                    5. Wide And Nerdy says:

                      HEY! You can’t claim Bioshock! I want it.

                      Yeah it fumbles on some things but it has an interesting setting and the plasmids are really cool.

                      If you want to defend Far Cry, I have no direct criticism of it. Its another game series I haven’t played but in that case its because what little I’ve seen just didn’t look interesting. Too rooted in reality and modern day stuff for my taste. If I feel like guns are the bland and overused bread of gaming, I feel worse about modern day real world settings that lack fantastic elements. Which as far as I know, Far Cry is all modern day real world except for maybe Blood Dragon.

                      I’ll add that your notes about other mechanics are why I included the butter and jelly in my bread metaphor. Yes you can occasionally do some other things sometimes in these games but it still all comes back to the guns.

                    6. Thomas Adamson says:

                      Apples and oranges. HL2 is a corridor shooter, FC is open world.

                      Would HL2 be better if it had open environments? No.

                      Maybe a few FC style outposts within HL’s corridor would work, (expand some of the stops on HL2’s highway and that is what you have) but HL works because it is so directed. Small environmental/combat puzzles that occur sequentially carefully crafted to stimulate a response to its tension-climax-release.

            3. Thomas Adamson says:

              “Moments of quiet time are nice, but HL2 just has too much of it. A minute is a really, really long time to burn doing something completely uninteresting.”

              Totally disagree. I needed the time off to deal with many of the moments of adrenaline. Or from the buildups of adrenaline.

          2. WILL says:

            Quite time is great.

            Half-Life 2 gets you on a high-speed boat down a linear corridor and occasionally throws a puzzle in your face that brings the game to a complete halt while you search for a button. Or a seasaw puzzle.

            1. “At least I had things to kill in other games. More corpses is more content! See all those chest-high walls? That’s gameplay!”

          3. MelTorefas says:

            I just want to drop in to say, I played Half Life 1 and 2 for the first time in 2011 and 2012, and I loved them. On the other hand, I also loved the Halo games. Other than Left 4 Dead, those are the only FPS games I have ever enjoyed. I think they both do a lot of things very right, certainly better than any other FPS I have seen.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Not only have plenty of other games put physics-enabled objects lying around, they've done much better than that.

          No,we havent.Parkour and destructible environments are not the same as interractable debris.Yes,its nice that you can jump up that waist high wall,but it would be even nicer if you could drag that box from over there and use it to go even higher.Weve replaced one nice thing with another nice thing,instead of having both nice things together.

          Regenerating health has been adopted as widely as it has for good reason

          And that reason is laziness.Properly placed health packs,like in half lifes are superior to regenerating health by far.Health regen makes the fights inconsequential and your resources meaningless.The only reason it works in modern fps is because you have limited ammo,so you have to conserve it.So health preservation was replaced with ammo preservation,and its not nearly as good.

          Most of them are pretty good and putting checkpoints between fights, and in “stable” places.

          Bwahahahahahaha!No.Only the few that allow you to manually save are able to circumvent the problem,the rest are just plain awful.

          You can always just slow down and mess around a bit while playing even the most hyper of shooters.

          Nope.Because if you even attempt,youll be pestered by the constant “Come here!Hurry up!” from dozens of npcs.Only open world games,like far cry 3/4 are different(even though in missions you will still get an annoying npc chatter your ear off half the time).Quiet times in half life are exactly whats needed,and sourly missing from fps.

          And then,the thing forgotten by the rest,there is the ai.Aside from fear,the ai in shooters is brain dead.They wont try to flank you(unless they spawn there),they wont retreat and regroup,they will even rarely attempt to flush you out from your cover(where you will constantly find yourself,because of your stupid health regen).

          1. bloodsquirrel says:

            “No,we havent.Parkour and destructible environments are not the same as interractable debris.”

            No, they’re considerably more advanced. And other games haven’t given up debris. I’ve post two videos of games that have movable junk. It wasn’t even that big of a deal when the game was released, let alone now.

            “And that reason is laziness.”

            Could we not do that? Health packs are not in any way harder than regenerating health to implement. Insulting developers as lazy (and by extension fans of the system) for going with what has turned out to be a very robust solution to the limitations of the health bar is unnecessary flame bait.

            I’ve already given good reasons to like regenerating health. It puts far more back-and-forth into combat than the health bar does. And ammo preservation is does a lot more than health preservation- it means that they player has to try different things offensively, rather than just sticking to the dominant health-preserving strategy.

            “Bwahahahahahaha!No.Only the few that allow you to manually save are able to circumvent the problem,the rest are just plain awful.”

            Do you have any examples of shooter segments with bad checkpointing? Unless you’re hell-bent on save scumming your way through a game and just resent having to do any full encounter savepoints are usually pretty generous.

            “Nope.Because if you even attempt,youll be pestered by the constant “Come here!Hurry up!” from dozens of npcs.Only open world games,like far cry 3/4 are different(even though in missions you will still get an annoying npc chatter your ear off half the time).”

            The chatter in Far Cry 3/4 is pretty sparse during the missions, and only comes when a new objective needs to be communicated. The only example of a shooter I can think of where you get pestered for not hurry up is… actually Half-Life 2. Halo, Doom 3, Wolfenstein: The New Order, GeoW; none of them ever bother you when you decide to screw around.

            “And then,the thing forgotten by the rest,there is the ai.Aside from fear,the ai in shooters is brain dead.”

            HL2 is hardly the peak of shooter AI. Halo, GeoW, and Far Cry’s are better, to the point where Far Cry 3/4’s AI is designed to go after the player if they start sniping a base, searching in the direction where they shot from, but only getting close if the player shoots twice from the same area without moving. They’ve also got four distinct states of awareness- Completely unaware, on alert, aware of the player but don’t know where they are, and aware of the player’s location.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              No, they're considerably more advanced. And other games haven't given up debris. I've post two videos of games that have movable junk. It wasn't even that big of a deal when the game was released, let alone now.

              They arent more advanced.You can use parkour to jump to higher places and thats it.You can blow up walls to open a new entrance and thats it.But can you use the debris around you as a weight?How about as a buoyant for a makeshift raft?

              Health packs are not in any way harder than regenerating health to implement.

              Properly,yes they are.To properly balance health regen you just have to make every encounter do the same damage.As long as you dont go over that threshold(which you can make go up or down),you can do whatever you want with your enemies.It doesnt matter how many waves there are,it doesnt matter how much mooks there are in a wave.You can literally take down a fortress full of mooks,and three waves of just the same number of mooks,without a thought,which is what I did in far cry 4,because I could heal myself whenever.That is easy to balance,no question about it.You dont have to take into account anything that comes previously.

              Without regen,something like that would be a nightmare to balance properly,taking into account not just the encounter about to come,but all the encounters that come before.And mind,Im not talking about simple throwing of a huge bunch of health packs in between,because that would just make the game almost exactly like one with health regen.Im talking about a game were health packs come rarely,were fights are spaced in such a way that you are in top shape only some of the time(after every 4th or 5th encounter,for example).Thats not easy to balance.

              And ammo preservation is does a lot more than health preservation- it means that they player has to try different things offensively, rather than just sticking to the dominant health-preserving strategy.

              Thats demonstrably not true.Come and watch me play far cry 4,where I use my main gun 70% of the time,my sniper rifle 25% of the time,my grenade launcher only when assaulting fortresses,and my pistol only when Im bored.And thats the exact same thing I did in halo 1,only more extremely since I only had 2 weapons instead of 4,and thats the same exact thing I did in all the modern warfares.Meanwhile,in half life Ive learned to use my magnum quite often for long ranges,my shotgun and rifle interchangeably for close ranges,the alien weapon and the beam gun for corners and barricades,and crowbar for headcrabs and zombies.This weapon diversity was even more pronounced in half life 2 were ammo was even scarcer.All of those games Ive played on their hardest difficulty,where enemies are the most bullet spungiest and ammo the most scarce.

              Do you have any examples of shooter segments with bad checkpointing?

              Well since weve mentioned it a lot,and since its the most recent Ive played,far cry 4.Not as bad as gta4(probably no game is),but still pretty bad checkpoints.

              Halo, Doom 3, Wolfenstein: The New Order, GeoW; none of them ever bother you when you decide to screw around.

              Um,that video of halo 2 youve linked did exactly that.When npcs were around you they are pestering you quite a lot.Wolfenstein isnt that bad,admittedly,but modern warfares and crysiss(cryses?)are.Also,wolfenstein can hardly be considered a modern shooter,since it doesnt have 2 weapon limit and health regen works only for your first 20%(and then to the nearest full decate %).

              but only getting close if the player shoots twice from the same area without moving.

              Maybe thats how it works on lower difficulties,but on hard,if a single dude spots you,all of them will shoot directly at where you are that same instant.And yes,its commendable that they have different states for stealthing,but once they hunt you,or fight you,they all follow pretty predictable patterns so rigidly that you can literally walk around a building and stab them all in their backs.The only time they will try to flank you is if you are behind a cover and the have to walk around it,or if they spawn on the side of you.The combat ai in far cry 3/4 is brain dead*.Dont remember that much about the enemies in halo,except their blandness.And I havent played gears of war.But I can comment on the ai of modern warfare and crysis,which is just as dumb* as far cry 3/4.

              *Ok,its unfair to call this ai dumb,because I know the huge increase in detail in these games compared to half life 2,and how difficult just their pathfinding is.BUT,and this is especially true for linear shooters,not so much for open world ones,the programes could still have made a few places in the levels where the enemies would follow specific patterns in order to appear smarter then they are.This is what makes ai in half life 2 seem so smart,this scripting of certain encounters and a bunch of preprogramed tactics that the ai is using.This is also why F.E.A.R. is still miles ahead of any shooter in how its ai appears.

        3. straymute says:

          That’s another thing. Half-life 2 wasn’t even the first to the punch on environmental physics and using objects in the environment as weapons. Psi-Ops came out early the same year and the Psi power implementation actually allowed a lot more freedom, control, and variety than the gravity gun did.

          1. Tsi says:

            That’s a joke right ? That game has an interesting gameplay mechanic but why would you even atempt to compare ? Because you have a means to move items and enemies with telekinesis ?

            You don’t even need the G-gun to grab and move things around in HL and HL2. That gun is mostly used to attract or throw away distant objects including weapons, ammo as well as any prop and use them as a projectile. It can also be used to stun some types of enemies and knock off turrets out of reach, disarm certain mines, solve some physics puzzles, push heavy objects out of the way or flip your vehicle and more (catch a grenade to throw it back which was a feature with a prompt in “some” games but is very rare nowadays ).

            You will see in the following SW that you will be able to grab items (with or without the g-gun) such as flares and throw them to light up some areas.

            There is really too much stuff you can do with a well done physics powered game in which a lot of thought and love was put into and thus gives players just as much creativity and possibilities.

            There are some games that feature moving objects and small interactivity like, lets say, in the Deus Ex series (even though it’s not on the same registry) where you can find rare occasions in which moving a crate or piling two of them can give you gameplay opportunities. I’m sure there are more games that have such features but I can’t think of any from the top of my head. :S

            Anyway, you get the idea. The g-gun is not just a small feature. It’s there as a reminder that this game is not what you might think it is from the outside.

    3. straymute says:

      I was always pretty disappointed Valve never managed to get the AI anywhere near what they showed off in the E3 demo. I can never really consider Half-life 2 a masterpiece because it just seems so cut down and kinda dull compared to that E3 demo. It was same deal with Halo 2 where the E3 demo showed a level ambition that they never really seemed to reach for again.

  2. Ledel says:

    I think the biggest problem with this section of the game is that using the dark orbs to power areas is the ONLY puzzle they present. If they changed it up a bit more to where you had to crawl through areas to hit switches to open up doors rather than just everything being solved by throwing an energy ball at the hole, it would have been better.

    As it is, it just feels like you are playing “Gordon Freeman: Basketball Simulator” from all the trick shots you have to make.

    1. MrGuy says:

      When Valve gives you a gravity gun, every problem seems like a ball throwing puzzle.

  3. Neko says:

    This reminds me of something I thought about with the previous episode’s discussion about the Citadel design: I actually really like it, because it feels suitably alien.

    Now, you could argue that Valve wanted big open spaces and to get those they went with a low poly count interior which then led to all these large polygonal platforms without railings, and a “videogamey” platforming space with areas for mooks to come out of etc. – but the design aesthetic is more than that. The Combine have designed this citadel as a … world-munching reactor spike thing … first and a living space for human-sized bipeds in a gravity environment ninth or tenth. It would have been way too humanising to build a Citadel with bathrooms and office cubicles and an atrium with potted plants and a fountain. This is a space that barely tolerates some of the organisms that run some of its systems.

    1. guy says:

      There’s also an explanation for why it has so much open space: it’s so they can fly gunships around inside like they were doing.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        So basically the Citadel is an immobile prototype Indefenistrable? :D

        1. A failed one. Don’t forget you CAN throw things out of Dr. Breen’s window.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Ah,but you cant throw the citadel itself out the window.

            1. Ah, but you can throw PARTS of it out, showing that the name doesn’t apply as an absolute! The Combine has standards, you know.

    2. Gilfareth says:

      Now I wish I’d seen this earlier so I could’ve beat you to the punch, but I completely agree with you on this. Even my first time through the game I was impressed with how they made the citadel feel simultaneously alien and hostile to you, specifically. You already had the fields that only combine could go through, but they fit this area more than any other as an actual part of the location rather than a ‘thou shalt not leave before the dudes are shooted’ barrier (it still serves that purpose here, though).

      I’d never say it seems real or even sensible, but I always bought the citadel as being the working base for a foreign, barely understood invading power with a home environment entirely different from ours and thus architectural preferences that are similarly alien.

  4. Exasperation says:

    I’m a little disappointed that with the discussion about episodic content, subscriptions, etc. there were no “Gordon Freemium” jokes. ;)

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I’m surprised there have been no Freeman’s Mind references.

      1. Dragomok says:

        But… but… they talked about Freeman’s Mind? I watched the episodes back to back, so my memory might be deceiving me, but I’m pretty sure Rutskarn talked about it in this one.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I might have missed it. I wasn’t paying close attention.

          1. He did. He talked about how it recently wrapped on HL1 and showcased some of the more amusing comments about the series left in Accursed Farms’ YouTube channel.

            1. Disc says:

              Speaking of which, if there ever was a guest I’d love to hear some day in Spoiler Warning (or even Diecast), it’s Ross Scott. Having watched his Game Dungeon series and all the deconstruction in Freeman’s Mind, I think it could be really interesting to see and hear. I don’t know if there’s any other show out there you could even remotely call competition to Spoiler Warning in terms of analysis and entertainment.

  5. Mailbox says:

    One of the neat things I like about the Half-Life series is the level design. When playing through the game there came a point several times when I thought, “am I going the right way?” Exploration and level progression felt like another puzzle. I thought about this when Josh temporarily got lost. There were no on screen indicators for where the correct path was. Josh traveled down a hallway and ended up at what appeared to be a dead end. The railing that separates the room from the chasm on the other side plays a trick on the player making them second guess there choices in navigation. I also enjoy the moments of platform jumping where it’s the only correct way to go, but it feels like you shouldn’t be there. Like the spinning contraption right on top of the core you use to cross from one railed balcony to another.

    On a completely different note I have a quick guess as to the summary of this mini season: Oh joy we play through Half-Life and praise it for things it does that modern day games do or don’t do.
    Is that about right? ^_^

    1. Enjolras says:

      So getting lost in Half-Life is a feature but getting lost in Halo is a bug?

      You can’t have it both ways.

    2. Trix2000 says:

      This only works to a point – honestly, I hate getting in a situation where I don’t know where to go, and the longer it takes for me to find the path the more frustrating things seem.

      I mean, if the path isn’t obvious and makes me feel clever for finding it, great… but that usually works best as an illusion that isn’t actually that difficult or time-consuming to locate. Otherwise, feeling lost isn’t really all that fun – often, it just feels like (literally sometimes) hitting a wall.

      If you really want hidden paths for observant players to find, keep it for finding optional stuff. That way the player doesn’t feel like they get stuck, but they’re still rewarded and feel good when they stumble upon a cleverly-hidden path.

  6. Tizzy says:

    I never got the point of the super gravity gun. You reduce the player’s interaction with the game to a single all-purpose tool. I don’t find it liberating at all.

    1. Ambitious Sloth says:

      The Super gravity gun in Episode 1 is mostly just a left over of the previous game. In HL2 you had the climax of the game coming up and in typical video game fashion they wanted to give a super gun to fight the boss/last level with. From that point there’s a few logical steps that lead to what they did:

      1. You could find a super gun in the citadel, something combine that’s powerful enough to kill almost anything in one hit. But then why don’t the combine use it themselves? You are literally the biggest problem they have. They should use the super gun they’ve had this whole time to kill you. Or at the very least the combine in the citadel should use it against you.

      2. So it can’t a be combine thing. Maybe the rebels? Then there could be an excuse for just one to exist. But the only person for who it would make sense to have such a thing would be Kleiner or Barney. Both of whom you meet way before the climax even starts.

      3. So you need to get it when you approach/enter the citadel. It can’t be something new. Maybe a weapon modification? That works. Which weapon though? Everything in the citadel is pseudo-sciency, most of what you have is very mechanical and obvious. Really there’s just the gravity gun and the pulse rifle that are pseudo-sciencey, and the latter is already a combine weapon. Which would bring us back to step 1.

      4. Unless we go for upgrading the gravity gun. A decidedly nonlethal thing on it’s own but you could fix that. It really doesn’t have any great traits though. Two “fire” modes that have requirements to even start doing something. It’s just not a good weapon. Oh well. At least it doesn’t need ammo.

      1. They also probably didn’t want you to get the regular array of weapons because it’s too early to get them at this point. They’d have to take them away later, which would tick the player off.

        As I theorized last episode, making the gravity gun lethal for this point gives you unlimited ammo rather than having to scatter ammo/gun drops all over the place, making sure you never had an impossible-to-win scenario because you shot all your bullets or threw away all your physics objects into a chasm.

        1. Tizzy says:

          These are all very good points, but I still don’t care for the way it changes the game. It made the end of HL2 feel like filler, because there wasn’t any challenge with all of these one shot kills. For me, it was a sharp contrast with the sequence that had immediately preceded it in the city, a sequence that I’d found challenging the first time around.

          1. guy says:

            Personally, I loved getting a section where I got to go on a ridiculous and unstoppable rampage while tossing Combine soldiers around like rag dolls. I’d get bored of the lack of challenge eventually, but it’s really pretty short.

          2. silver Harloe says:

            It’s almost like the strider fighting in the city was the climax, and the citadel was the denouement.

          3. Trix2000 says:

            I think it was nice for a bit of catharsis – here was your chance to KILL THEM ALL without too much worry about running out of resources (the increased suit energy lends to this as well, I think).

            …But I also think that section in HL2 overstayed its welcome. After a point it just starts feeling samey and overplayed to me.

        2. Peter H. Coffin says:

          After all, why WOULD there be ammunition piles around these areas of the Citadel anyway?

  7. John the Savage says:

    What is the deal with Rutskarn’s audio? It overlaps itself at 5:42. It did that once last episode, too.

    1. The original RU-T5KRn prototype failed to age properly, so one of the backup models was put in the required nutrient bath and its growth accelerated to match that of the original upon deployment. While the insertion procedure went as planned, the built-in termination sequence failed to trigger in the prototype, so it’s hard to keep them both away from the microphone at the same time without extensive use of strategic Del Taco resources. The difficulty is getting only one to leave the computer, since they both have the genetic desire for “authentic” Mexican food as well as to snark and pun. It’s kind of a toss-up at the moment, but we’ve got people working on a solution.

      1. SharpeRifle says:

        Well so long as they remembered to make them non-breedable I’m sure that will work out fine.

        Strange what’s this card….”Cue Mr. Goldblum”?

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Do we ever find out how much time the vorts had us in the space between spaces?Was it hours,days,how long?I mean citadel takes its time to explode,so it very well couldve been a day or two between us taking out breen and alyx contacting the scientists.

    1. Gilfareth says:

      It makes sense to me that it had been at the very least a number of hours, since it would take time for Breen and company to understand the situation and begin evacuating citizens. They also assume that by now you’re out of the danger zone, which would mean a couple of hours at the least.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont think bouncing is the problem as much as the timer.You have to carefully aim these balls,but you also have to do it fast before they explode.So you end up brute forcing it instead of doing a single precision bounce.

  10. Andy_Panthro says:

    The lift/falling debris puzzle does stick out as a poor part of hl2ep1, but at least it doesn’t last too long. I might be in the minority, but I felt the same way about the long vehicle sections and physics puzzles in HL2 and those sections are far longer. I was always very glad to get out of the boat/car and back to the more interesting gameplay.

    I have yet to play hl2ep2 though, which has been on my backlog for years now…

  11. Justin says:

    That’s not a recording, it’s a thing that’s happening right now because you went back in time.

  12. MrGuy says:

    We demand bouncing, followed by rolling, followed by rolling of the third type!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Get the hell off my planet.

      1. MrGuy says:

        As you all know, the key to victory is the element of surprise.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Hit that bulls eye,and the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards.Checkmate.SUPRISE!

  13. Michael says:

    Granted, I haven’t played Episode 1 in at least eight years, but I could have sworn that Gordon and Alyx were missing for a couple days between the end of HL2 and the beginning of Ep1.

    1. kaypy says:

      At least enough time for Eli to get from the top of the tower to a safe location as shown in the video chat at the start of HL2E1. Its probably not too great a stretch to give Mossman a bit of extra time to go do Aperture stuff.

  14. “‘Cause I have a PhD in science-ness!”

    Send your science questions to Ask Doctor Science! He has a Master’s Degree IN SCIENCE!”

    1. MrGuy says:

      We’re going to have fun! With Science!

  15. Bropocalypse says:

    I miss the goofy credits sequences.

    Has a PhD in Scienceness

    Space biker

    Rebel against viewpoint-tyrants

    Scents of urgency

    1. Dragomok says:

      I do too.

  16. silver Harloe says:

    The ball-throwing-powering-with-tricky shots bit is only like 6 minutes of this video, with only three shots that aren’t just aim at target and fire?

    There are more energy balls in the next section, but it’s mostly a soldier fight while you activate the containment beams with non-tricky shots. Even if you count both chapters (despite the fact that they have a literal chapter break after you’re done with the tricky-shots bit) as the ball-section, it’s only 15 minutes.

    But the commentary makes it sound like it goes on for hours. Especially amusing is when Shamus says “it would be alright if it was only a few minutes”…

    1. The hitbox for those trigger-locks are so MUCH more generous than the ones for Portal are…

      1. Joe Informatico says:

        Eh, it’s the difference between a shooter with puzzle sections, and a puzzle game with shooter mechanics.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Dont compare what Josh is doing to someones actual first experience with this game.Josh is practically speedrunning it.He doesnt even use the door for cover in those tubes.

      1. eaglewingz says:

        I’m usually not comfortable comparing what Josh is doing with any experience of a game.

  17. krellen says:

    Episode 1 is my favourite Half-Life. I definitely prefer it to Episode 2’s Magnusson-Device stupid Stalker bullshit fight. Screw that fight. It’s horrible.

    1. I appreciate what they did with the fight, though it does seem to ramp up the difficulty curve quite a lot. I think a Strider Battle was kind of promised to the fans, and they did deliver on that. I do agree the method they used was a mistake.

      In retrospect, I think a combination Magnussun device and car-mounted Tau cannon might have worked better, with the M-devices made as contact explosives instead of short-lived mines you had to shoot with your gun.

      They could also have made the battle not entirely about killing Striders. If you had other goals to accomplish while the NPCs handled the Strider combat for the most part, that could’ve worked as well.

      1. ehlijen says:

        The main problem was that you had to run to a supply house and get a new mine every time one of the stalkers intercepted one.

        The grab, slap onto car, drive, kill stalkers, grab again, shoot, shoot procedure was too hectic. I never felt like I could enjoy the battle (sounds weird, but in a game that’s what I want), but was instead kept busy with running back and forth too much.

        1. Isaac says:

          But that was what was fun! Gordon has to defend the missile silo at all costs and the way the level design makes you scramble around for Magnussons makes the player feel truly desperate and panicked. If you weren’t fast enough then you’d eventually run of out safehouses for the striders to destroy and you’d be forced to use the Magnusson machines that were just outside the entrance of the silo and thats when things got really hectic! One of my favorite memories of Episode 2 was haphazardly flinging Magnussons onto the heads of Striders, driving frantically from safehouse to safehouse and dodging the fired flechettes of the Hunters. All this while the silo alarm was blaring.

          The Strider fight was awesome, man!

          1. krellen says:

            The biggest problem is “frantic” is not HL2’s usual style. It’s completely out of place in the series – it’s like a fight lifted from one of the other shooter franchises (the ones I don’t like). And it lasts forever – there’s like a dozen Striders in total. Far too long of a fight for the Half-Life series.

            1. Isaac says:

              I’d say that that frantic style of gameplay is usual for HL2. For example, there is the part where you have to fight two striders at the same time while getting shot at by infinitely spawning Combine dudes.

              Vids of said fight:



              1. ehlijen says:

                There is such a thing as too frantic, and that was it. With a set piece for the fight that big and detailed, it was really a crime to urge the player on so fiercely that they wouldn’t have time to actually explore at least most of the area.

                The pace was too fast and the combat mechanics too fiddly. It could have worked a lot better if the player’d had a chance to explore a bit more before the fight and if the car had multiple slots for the devices and they exploded on impact, even if it then took 2 shots per strider.

                1. Richard says:

                  Yes, I really didn’t like the final Magnusson-Device Strider battle.

                  There were too many skills required that weren’t needed at any previous point in the game.

                  For me, there were three problems with that battle:
                  a) It’s easy to get lost during the battle.
                  There are several named locations and multiple routes. It takes multiple playthroughs/attempts to learn these.
                  Everywhere else is a corridor.

                  2) It takes a while to get out of the car and grab the Device, and while you have a Device you can only attack a Strider.

                  Δ) It takes a long time to acquire a new Device after losing or using the previous one. You have to visit an undestroyed building (see a), use the gravity gun to get hold of it and put it in the car.

                  To be fair, once you have learned the map, realised that the best weapon against Hunters is the car you’re driving, and become skilled at grabbing and launching the Devices at moving targets, it’s no longer a very difficult fight.

                  But that’s three new skills at once, under fire.

              2. krellen says:

                I’ve never felt frantic during that Strider fight. Having a crate of rockets means you can take your time and “waste” rockets on Combine if needs be.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Except you first have to reach that crate.

                  1. krellen says:

                    And doing that often requires staying in cover until a Strider passes, which is the opposite of frantic.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Staying in cover too long only triggers more combine to spawn and rush you.Not a good idea,since ammo gets scarce fast that way.So yes,still frantic.

                    2. Isaac says:

                      there are two striders you have to fight and they both patrol to parts of the map that flank that crate

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I actually found it easier(and therefore more satisfying) than the previous strider fights you got into in the main game.On hard,that is,where you need a bunch of rockets to down a single strider.

      1. In those, you were sometimes the only target.

        On the other hand, you didn’t have friggin’ hunters after you, too.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          You had half a combine platoon.Id rather have one or two hunters that I can run over with a car than a bunch of combine with ar3s all around you.Especially when Im trying to run between the ammo box and a strider,trying to pump 7 rockets into it.

          Seriously,play half life on the hardest difficulty,its the best way to hate even the most common enemy forever.

      2. krellen says:

        I really enjoy fighting Striders with rockets. Especially the cat-and-mouse fight in the train yard at the end of Episode 1. That one is so fun.

        1. I replayed that recently, and it was more fun once I figured out which bits were scripted/may as well be scripted. By that, I mean the balcony where the burning barrels WILL roll towards you if you don’t punt them away or shoot them early. Then there are the jumping mines you have to deal with while getting pasted by the Strider, then the Strider ALWAYS pushes the giant metal crate against the wall after you run-jump behind it for cover, etc.

          It was still fun, just frustrating to re-learn.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ugh,that one…I really did not like it.I didnt hate it as mush as the ruined building run with the endless stream of combine,but I still did not like it.

          So I guess in the end these two were built for people with different tastes,one prefer to use 7 rockets,one prefer the single bomb.

    3. Isaac says:

      That strider fight is the best part of EP2, imo. Its intense, fast and (unlike the rest of the HL2 games) actually difficult. Fighting the striders at the end of EP2 has to be the hardest part of the entire HL2 series especially on Hard mode!

      1. MikhailBorg says:

        Some players thrive on frustration.

        Other players come to question the subjective fun of playing the same fight for the third hour in a row, activate the cheats, and get on with it.

        1. Isaac says:

          and some players just need 2 git gud ;)


          1. MikhailBorg says:

            Oh, it’s cool, I will cheerfully admit that in Team Fortress or Counterstrike you would almost certainly own me in mere seconds. I love shooters and have been playing them for decades, but that doesn’t mean I’m especially leet.

            Nevertheless, on my chosen difficulty level, I played all the way through HL2, HL2e1, and HL2e2 without ever feeling especially frustrated and angry… until that stalker fight. It was as though the game had changed from “Easy” to “HARDCORE TWITCH” quietly in the background.

            It would be one thing if the game had been that hard all along, but I must seriously wonder if Valve playtested that fight across a wide range of ability.

            1. Isaac says:

              The fight actually used to be harder. Originally the white Combine troops were also involved so you’d have to deal with the striders, hunters and Combine troops!

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              And on my chosen difficulty,that fight with the striders was waaay easier for me than the fights with striders in the main game.So its not the fact that this specific part is objectively more difficult,nor that some people are just too leet.

              But I think I may know whats behind it.How good are you with grenades?Because in all the half lives Ive been using grenades quite a lot.I was almost always without them because I was tossing them left and right,and I am good with grenades and can do a bunch of tricky throws with ease.I suspect thats why the strider fight was easy for me.

              1. MikhailBorg says:

                You may have something there. I’m awful with thrown grenades, and only somewhat better with grenade launchers. Rockets are easier, and while the other stalker fights took me a while, I felt pretty comfortable with them.

                Which is the other thing: you’ve really got all the time you need to fight the stalkers in the courtyard, for example. That last fight, there’s time pressure – take too long with one of them, and the hunters will get you or the other stalkers will overrun the base. Every time I missed a shot in that last stalker fight, it cost a lot of time, and I always ran out.

                1. guy says:

                  Huh, I don’t remember the shots being very hard to make in and of themselves. Mostly I remember the Hunters shooting them out of the air.

                  Maybe I just tended to drive up really close before trying to make the shot.

  18. ehlijen says:

    How did the lady get from the citadel to the aperture science ship in the arctic in just a few hours?

    Duh, portals! :p

    1. From the Half-Life TV Tropes “Headscratchers” page:

      “Word of Laidlaw says it’s a few days between Half-Life 2 and Episode 1, although he admits they conveyed that poorly.”

      There’s also some theorizing that since she didn’t get the job at Black Mesa, she might have worked for or with Aperture.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        So will the final connecting game be half life 3 or portal 3?Or will they call it halftal 3?

        1. PortaLife 1, Episode 2 and a Half Freeman.

          1. MrGuy says:

            Portal 33 1/3?

            1. Cave Johnson’s Corporate Competition Simulator, the First in a Two-Part Trilogy.

    2. Conversely, what if she just hit Kleiner’s “Slow Teleport” with an Engineering Wrench and made it a teleport that had you arrive somewhere before you left your point of origin?

      Eh? EHHHH?!

  19. boz says:

    HL2 is a magic trick. The game sucks if you noticed the secret behind it first time. If you don’t you get an immersive experience.

    1. bloodsquirrel says:

      That’s bad news for me, because I have a tendency to actively look for the boundaries of a game.

      Which is how I wind up spending hours doing things like trying to fly a ghost onto a scarab.

    2. guy says:

      I’m going to have to disagree, as I actually noticed the illusion of choice on my very first playthrough and yet still loved the game. You can’t deviate much from the path, but the path is nevertheless fun to follow.

      Personally, the biggest issue I had wasn’t being upset by realizing there was only the one true path, it was having everything come to a crashing halt because I couldn’t find the one true path until I looked it up in a walkthrough. Valve is generally pretty good at guiding the player subtly, but sometimes they slip up.

      One solution I like for that problem is getting an objective hint by actively pressing a button, so you’re not being led by the hand but can avoid getting stuck.

  20. Abnaxis says:

    I have to say, I really, REALLY don’t understand why people say Valve is so good at subtly guiding the player.

    I’ll admit I haven’t played any Half-Life, but I got lost as SHIT in L4D while I was learning the maps. Both of them. Every single map.

    I have hundreds and hundreds of hours in both games now, and I still get kicked sometimes for inadvertently getting turned around. Maybe Valve’s tricks have some sort of opposite effect on me?

    ((Insert disclaimer of “not meaning this as an insult to fans I just observe a disconnect” similar to Shamus’s above here))

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I have to say, I really, REALLY don't understand why people say Valve is so good at subtly guiding the player.”

      Because a bunch of other people were influenced by it.Obviously it doesnt work 100% of the time,but if it works something like 75%,its still good.Heck,even if it works only on 51% of people,it would still be above average.

    2. I can’t speak for L4D, but in the HL games, apart from “the horse,” nearly every goal, objective, or “correct direction to go in” is somehow different from the rest of the area in a way that seems obvious in retrospect. It can be anything from a simple flickering light to an area that explodes or intermittently emits electricity, etc. It’s just something that draws the eye almost unconsciously and suggests “this way to proceed.”

    3. straymute says:

      Well in L4D specifically I agree. You have to backtrack for all kinds of things, the Director is throwing out ambushes from all directions, most of the special zombies mess with your camera or move you around, etc, etc. The failure rate of the subtle cues goes through the roof when the player could be looking a billion different places at any time and dealing with so much there’s no time to take anything in.

      The only real saving grace is that with 4 people it is unlikely all of you will become lost at the same time.

      Half-Life has a slower pace and is less noisy over all so the cues work a lot better, though there are still times where you look away at the wrong time or can get caught in in the sameyness of some environments.

  21. Half Life 2: Episode 1 – Episode 2

    Manchester United 5

    Okay, I’m done.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Liverpool 6.

      Sorry,I failed my will save.

  22. batti says:

    Are you not going to do episode 3 of HLEP1 out of respect of that meme?

  23. Hand raised those who didn’t know you could deflect the falling debri with just the gun, cause I spent fffffffuck’n DAYS on that goddamned section trying to shoot that shit away with the energy balls…

    1. Richard says:

      Well, I didn’t realise you could use the “Punt” on them without catching them first until this video.

      Punting looks like it would have been much, much easier.

  24. Friend of Dragons says:

    On the ‘playing games as they were first released’: on Skyrim’s release day, I noticed that if you ran Skyrim.exe instead of its launcher, it would cheerfully just run the game without talking to steam or anything (I believe this was changed after a week or two), so I decided to preserve a copy with all the original bugs and quirks.

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