Zero Punctuation: Half-Life 2 Update - Gravity Gun > Modern FPS

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Half-Life 2 Update - Gravity Gun > Modern FPS

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Half-Life 2 Update.

Watch Video

Half Life 3 Confirmed.

I used to hate Half-Life 2. I bought the Orange Box for Portal, but didn't enjoy HL2 at all. I found it dull and overly difficult. However, I recently went back to it, turned the look sensitivity up, and found myself having a lot of fun. I'm now very confused as to why modern FPS games aren't like this. It might just be the novelty of having more than two guns at a time, but the Half-Life way of doing FPS games seems a much better model than, say, Halo's (Even though I love Halo 3).

I only got around to playing the Half Life games a few years ago and man are they over-rated. Maybe it was a timing thing? Like, compared to Doom and Pokemon Blue/Red it must have seemed unique, maybe even fun.
But today? Half Life & 2 just look like any other terrible Steam Greenlight games.

Imagine if Half Life had never come out, and that an indie dev of today put it up on Early Access on Steam.
I can't imagine it wouldn't get an absolute shellacking for its un-intuitive gameplay, boring set-pieces and terribly written unskippable cut-scenes.

Yeah, a lot of Half-Life 2's problems could've been averted if it just gave you an action button to attach and detach from ladders, instead of having to move against and away from them like a fussy magnet.

Casual Shinji:
Yeah, a lot of Half-Life 2's problems could've been averted if it just gave you an action button to attach and detach from ladders, instead of having to move against and away from them like a fussy magnet.

Ladders are the true end-game bosses of old-school first-person games. They're one of the deadliest enemies in Deus Ex.

OT: I think I need to give Half-Life 2 another shot at some point. I've tried it twice and each time I've gotten shortly past Ravenholm and then all of my interest in continuing to play just fizzled out. There's nothing particularly wrong with the game (though those airboat sections are tiresome), but I've never found that style of shooter to be particularly interesting or fun. Well, okay, that's not true, as I did like playing Doom back in the day when I was too young and bad at games to get past the first level or two and I grew up on Star Wars Dark Forces II, but over the past decade I've come to realize that I severely dislike "medkit"-style health systems.

I don't know. Personally, I feel like Half Life 2 totally holds up. The trapped-room cutscenes can be a bit restrictive, but they usually come after long spells of gameplay, so in my own case, I never actually feel trapped by them. They feel more like a reward or a moment's respite from all the action.

The pacing is absolutely fantastic as well. Good mixture of troughs and peaks as well as a constant sense of agency. I can easily get immersed in that game because it never feels like I'm not Gordon Freeman. I also like how you can visit almost all of the areas you see in the distance a la Dark Souls when traversing either with the car or the hydroplane.

Sigmund Av Volsung:
I don't know. Personally, I feel like Half Life 2 totally holds up. The trapped-room cutscenes can be a bit restrictive, but they usually come after long spells of gameplay, so in my own case, I never actually feel trapped by them. They feel more like a reward or a moment's respite from all the action.

The pacing is absolutely fantastic as well. Good mixture of troughs and peaks as well as a constant sense of agency. I can easily get immersed in that game because it never feels like I'm not Gordon Freeman. I also like how you can visit almost all of the areas you see in the distance a la Dark Souls when traversing either with the car or the hydroplane.

I feel the same about both the cutscenes and the pacing: I actually liked how tedious the boat sections were, because at the end when they bolt a gun to it it becomes pure bliss to blow up everything.

I actually just started replaying the game (had to download it again for some shared resources with a source mod I wanted to try), and I've been thoroughly enjoying it. I'm right at the part where gordon gets the gravity gun, and I'm more than a little eager to start shooting radiators at combine.

The "scripted sequences" in the HL games always reminded me of animatronic rides in theme parks with puppets equally oblivious to your presence.

Oh ladders, truly the hardest obstacle to get through in older FPS game. And when I say hard I mean that if you weren't getting so intimate that you had bits of ladder on your groin, then you probably weren't close enough to said ladder and fell off and died before you reached the top.

I feel like BioShock managed to live up to the way Half-Life 2 told its story, which is very helpful given that HL2's story is weak as described.

As for the gameplay, Gravity Gun aside I never really got all that excited with, but at least the gameplay was probably a beta for the infinitely better Portal and Team Fortress 2 in The Orange Box so all is well.

09philj:
It might just be the novelty of having more than two guns at a time, but the Half-Life way of doing FPS games seems a much better model than, say, Halo's (Even though I love Halo 3).

I know this is a tired response but unlike many military shooters (of which Halo does not belong to, incidentally) that don't actually put the effort into balancing the levels and enemy distribution, Halo does. Half the fun of Halo is determining how many enemies you desire to kill, which weapons to swap out for each over and what play style you want. Most people like to complain about always having a general Assault Rifle or SMG with a special weapon but the games are easily playable without such tactics and pistols are reasonably effective.

I'm am sorry if this sounds a bit unfriendly and yes, I know that posting something like this might be kinda risky as the mods here can seem very ban-happy. However, I just can't put this any other way:

Revisit Demon's Souls already! Ya lazy cant!

...And now I need to binge-watch all of Freeman's Mind yet again...

Also, we need more "Gravity Gun"-based guns in more FPSs... especially when the game won't shut up about its "realistic physics" alma mater philosophy...

Coming from someone who has worked in Hammer on a very amateur level, re-visiting Half-Life 2 was stunning because you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the engine and how much work went into each map. Granted I am knee deep in the Source engine what with TF2 and everything, so maybe I'm just biased.

Now try doing pull ups while wearing a heavy HEV suit.

Casual Shinji:
Yeah, a lot of Half-Life 2's problems could've been averted if it just gave you an action button to attach and detach from ladders, instead of having to move against and away from them like a fussy magnet.

Funny because that's what they already do since the original release: Press the use-key when you're somewhere near a surface you can stand on and the game moves you there gently. Assuming you're not just walking right off of the ladder onto said surface because it's to either side of it.

Seriously, I never had ANY problem with the ladders in either Half-Life. In fact, I would consider HL2 the best way ladders work I've ever encountered.

Silentpony:
I only got around to playing the Half Life games a few years ago and man are they over-rated. Maybe it was a timing thing? Like, compared to Doom and Pokemon Blue/Red it must have seemed unique, maybe even fun.
But today? Half Life & 2 just look like any other terrible Steam Greenlight games.

Imagine if Half Life had never come out, and that an indie dev of today put it up on Early Access on Steam.
I can't imagine it wouldn't get an absolute shellacking for its un-intuitive gameplay, boring set-pieces and terribly written unskippable cut-scenes.

Or it's just a good game in both cases, which still holds up. I find the gameplay VERY intuitive, the set-pieces are not boring (mostly because there are barely any, just showing how unneeded those really are) and the writing is very subtle (as writing is not just what characters say but everything else regarding to what happens, too - but yes, the dialogue in the first game was rather strange. Bad in a good way)

Black Mesa tried to "update" the gameplay of Half-Life back when it was released (Black Mesa, not Half Life) and... it just didn't work. The guns felt broken (SMG with a forced burst-fire on single click? who thought THAT was a good idea? And where is my damn shotgun in Office Complex?), the ladders THERE didn't work (are they made of magnets? I wasn't able to get OFF of them even if I tried to because it forced me to use the use-key to get off - but drew me to it when I was as much as in the same zipcode as the ladder!) the enemies were too overpowered (literal reaction-time of 0.3 seconds when not aware of players existance, 0.1 when - combined with the cheapest and meanest aimbot), unneeded changes (let's NOT give the player the first weapon when he encounters the first enemy and instead for him to kill about 15 zombies by using a security guard...), cheap deaths (when you DO get your first weapon, the crowbar, you're forced to smash some boxes - and they decided to hide an explosive box among them. HOORAY FOR GARANTUEED DEATH! Followed by having to deal with mentioned guard again...), over-relyance of advanced mechanics while ignoring the basics (not ONCE you can use the normal jump anywhere in the game, 100% of the jumps require the duck-jump. THEN WHY IS THE NORMAL JUMP IN THE GAME TO BEGIN WITH?)
Needless to say, I never bothered to get further than three or so hours into the mod before I decided to quit, uninstall, install the original again and power through all three original Half-Life games in one go instead. It was a lot more fun.

Silentpony:
I only got around to playing the Half Life games a few years ago and man are they over-rated. Maybe it was a timing thing? Like, compared to Doom and Pokemon Blue/Red it must have seemed unique, maybe even fun.
But today? Half Life & 2 just look like any other terrible Steam Greenlight games.

Imagine if Half Life had never come out, and that an indie dev of today put it up on Early Access on Steam.
I can't imagine it wouldn't get an absolute shellacking for its un-intuitive gameplay, boring set-pieces and terribly written unskippable cut-scenes.

I used to think that way... but I've come to really like it. And the gameplay isn't unintuitive. It just doesn't funnel you along an entirely linear path like most hand-holding modern shooters. Also, Half-Life redefined shooters. Before Half Life, shooters were like DOOM and Quake. After, they weren't. Ergo, without Half-Life, the history of the shooter would be entirely different.

Bindal:

Casual Shinji:
Yeah, a lot of Half-Life 2's problems could've been averted if it just gave you an action button to attach and detach from ladders, instead of having to move against and away from them like a fussy magnet.

Funny because that's what they already do since the original release: Press the use-key when you're somewhere near a surface you can stand on and the game moves you there gently. Assuming you're not just walking right off of the ladder onto said surface because it's to either side of it.

Seriously, I never had ANY problem with the ladders in either Half-Life. In fact, I would consider HL2 the best way ladders work I've ever encountered.

Well, not gently... It snaps you onto it, like a magnet, and then bumps you off when you press it again. Sometimes knocking you right off the walkway you're trying to get to.

I actually forgot the game did asign the 'use' button for getting on and off ladders, but it was rigid as hell. It also didn't stop the analog stick from occasionally kicking you off if you nudged it to the side a tad too far, or snapping you onto it if you moved too close. Both the 'use' button and the analog stick functioned to get onto ladders, and it made for a sloppy affair. Just as mapping accelerate, reverse, and steering all to just one analog stick made vehicle control sloppy.

Ofcourse, I did play it on the 360.

Half life 2 is like half life 1 with all the interesting enemy and weapon variety thrown out the window to be replaced with boring physics puzzles.
Sorry, I prefer hornetguns, little alien puppies, deadly vacuum cleaner laser beams and a fisted barnacle over the amazing choice of assault rifle 1 or assault rifle 2.

When I played Half-Life 2 I realized an hour in, that my character was an lunatic copkiller with who liked to bash people's skulls in with a crowbar. A crowbar he is too insane to even know how wield, so he just bashes thing with it. like a maniac. All other characters just seems to ignore that he is just standing there droolling when they speak and give him stuff. For god's sake he doesn't even know how to operate a ladder! Stop encouraging him. The alien invation is probably just a figment of his deranged imagination.

loa:
Half life 2 is like half life 1 with all the interesting enemy and weapon variety thrown out the window to be replaced with boring physics puzzles.
Sorry, I prefer hornetguns, little alien puppies, deadly vacuum cleaner laser beams and a fisted barnacle over the amazing choice of assault rifle 1 or assault rifle 2.

Which is funny because there aren't two assault rifles in the game. Not saying hl1 didn't have interesting weapons, it sure did, but its not like hl2 is completely generic either with its pheromones, gravity gun (both regular one and the god-mode version), and the glowing bolt-crossbow-sniper which can be used for trick shots around corners. Even the one assault gun has a secondary which shoots a glowing bouncy ball of white death.

I fear, that if H3 really comes out and Gordon starts to talk, a vortex will open up and swallow the earth.

Meh, if you ask me, Half Life 2 isn't that good. Lots of stuff was left on the cutting room floor and what we got was made from scratch within a year.

Gordon being praised as a the almighty savior always kept bugging me, while in the first game (which I still love to play) he was just a scientist trying to leave the hellhole that's called Black Mesa.

FPLOON:
...And now I need to binge-watch all of Freeman's Mind yet again...

Also, we need more "Gravity Gun"-based guns in more FPSs... especially when the game won't shut up about its "realistic physics" alma mater philosophy...

Time to re-read Concerned: the Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman. Man, I love that comic...

Still, it's been a while since I played Half-Life 2, and I wasn't with the first wave who played it back when it was new. I only played it a few years later, and found it adequate but not much else. The guns work but aren't too interesting, the puzzles work but aren't very challenging, and the story works but isn't particulary gripping. On the other hand, I would like to see more games with a Gravity Gun, more games with the same scenery as Half-Life 2, and more games with seamless levels that transition into each other, rather than booting you back to a menu every 15 minutes.

Bleh. Half Life 2 was just kinda meh to me. Nothing really wrong with it (Except the vehicles didn't handle that well IMHO) just nothing that blew my mind. I take the Zukov very unpopular opinion that Alex Vance is not a revolutionary female character but rather a baseline in being just ok.

With the entire world apparently declaring that Pillars of Eternity is a sure bet for 2015 GOTY and the best game since the Great Golden Age, I'm glad to see somebody else had a hard time getting into it...I like a lot about it, and don't even mind the tons of reading to do (I LIKE reading), but the difficulty curve is about as graceful and intuitive as a rhino on a trampoline. I spent the first few hours of the game sleepwalking through encounters and then got steamrollered by a boss - in an area I'd gone through without camping or taking a break even once. I had to hike back to town, do a few levels of another dungeon and go to the inn to hire some random dude to fill the ranks before I could painfully win that encounter after several tries (fortunately the boss in question did not wonder why his basement was a pool of blood and guts, or why a crucial prisoner he wanted to execute was missing, or what happened to the two guards at the gate. He just sat on his throne going all emo about the people he'd massacred in the next room THREE DAYS PRIOR, by the time I got there. Slightly immersion breaking...)

I just wish the mod (minus the commentaries) had shipped as an actual official update to the game, since no one could really argue it's not objectively an improvement yet it's not revolutionary enough to mess with the system requirements. Is there any reason at all Valve decided not to do that? They can't even be assed to fix the bugs their last major update introduced into the game, including the whole thing going fullbright at one point if you were playing with HDR off.

09philj:

Silentpony:
I only got around to playing the Half Life games a few years ago and man are they over-rated. Maybe it was a timing thing? Like, compared to Doom and Pokemon Blue/Red it must have seemed unique, maybe even fun.
But today? Half Life & 2 just look like any other terrible Steam Greenlight games.

Imagine if Half Life had never come out, and that an indie dev of today put it up on Early Access on Steam.
I can't imagine it wouldn't get an absolute shellacking for its un-intuitive gameplay, boring set-pieces and terribly written unskippable cut-scenes.

I used to think that way... but I've come to really like it. And the gameplay isn't unintuitive. It just doesn't funnel you along an entirely linear path like most hand-holding modern shooters. Also, Half-Life redefined shooters. Before Half Life, shooters were like DOOM and Quake. After, they weren't. Ergo, without Half-Life, the history of the shooter would be entirely different.

AH, but in between the eras of Quake and Half-Life, there was GoldenEye on N64. Probably the first FPS with real OBJECTIVES to complete in missions. Although it was missing some things, like anyway to replenish health during a level, being able to carry weapons and ammo over to the next level IN THE SAME MISSION, and a GODDAMN JUMP BUTTON! Thank God Medal of Honor remembered those parts.

I was happy to have an excuse to play Half Life 2 again. For this playthrough, I decided to count how many Combine troops (as in Overwatch, Nova Prospekt, Soldiers, and Super Soldiers) I killed. Now, I might have missed a few during the antlion raid on Nova Prospekt, but my tally by the end of the game was 964.

I liked the idea of the commentary, but I would have really enjoyed hearing Gaben's regrets.

Ah... Half-Life 2, one of my favorite games ever. I played it first in 2012 or something, and I'd argue it still holds up very well. It has great pacing, always mixing hard action with more quiet moments for building up tension and giving you time to breathe in between, which again makes the set-pieces stand out even more. The arsenal progression was well though out as well, having you start out with only a crowbar to fight with, then getting better and better weapons until you could fight an army singlehandedly. My favorite part though, is how subtle it is with the story. They never tell you more than you need to be told, they always reveal just enough for you to care, while at the same time not spelling out how the world works, and their motivations, etc, like they often do in RPG conversations. I also like how it is a story that seems very simple on the surface. At face value, it's about starting an uprising among an oppressed people and becoming a savior. Or that's at least what someone wants you to believe. If you dig a little deeper, you'll come to understand that there is something much larger and intricate going on that you're being kept in the shadows of. I just love that. The downside is that it leads to the game asking more questions than it answers, questions that were supposed to be answered in later installments. Sadly, we haven't been so lucky, even with the two episodes that later came.

That whole conveyor belt thing you had a few episodes ago had me hoping for a review of both Resident Evil HD and Homeworld HD.

Honestly though, all the Gravity Gun is, in essence, is telekinesis. Something I've been banging on about for games to explore more since Psi-Ops. The Gravity Gun is a very solid weapon/gameplay mechanic indeed, but it wasn't revolutionary or anything like that.

I never understood the hype. I mean, Half-Life 2 was amazing when it first came out in 2004. There was nothing else like it. It broke new grounds yadda, yadda, yadda. But the people still cling on to it like it's some kind of special gem. It's not anymore. We have better shooters than Half-Life. And now when Yahtzee had something bad to say about it maybe people will come to their senses.

Yeah, I've become tired of the 'cinematics' in it. Wish I could skip them now. Never thought much of Alyx either. Still has amazing design and enjoyable game play though, well except the Follow Freeman chapter for me, since your allies like to block your cover. Never had a problem with the ladders in HL2 unlike the first. It's still the 2nd best FPS I've played, after the first of course.

Your tough but fair Yahtzee. Though I was disappointed with the ending because it didn't have an interesting boss.

Sigmund Av Volsung:
I don't know. Personally, I feel like Half Life 2 totally holds up. The trapped-room cutscenes can be a bit restrictive, but they usually come after long spells of gameplay, so in my own case, I never actually feel trapped by them. They feel more like a reward or a moment's respite from all the action.

The pacing is absolutely fantastic as well. Good mixture of troughs and peaks as well as a constant sense of agency. I can easily get immersed in that game because it never feels like I'm not Gordon Freeman. I also like how you can visit almost all of the areas you see in the distance a la Dark Souls when traversing either with the car or the hydroplane.

True this. All these years later, I still find HL2 to be the best paced game I think I've ever played.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.