Half-Life 2 Episodes One and Two

Games: Half-Life 2 Episodes One (2006) and Two (2007)

Genre: First Person Shooter

Developer: Valve

Publisher: Valve

Country of Origin: United States of America

Background: This is one of my better late than never reviews. I recently played the base game of these two companion volumes. I liked Half-Life 2 considerably! It was an excellent science-fiction story which had perfect first person shooter mechanics. It is very much a great example of a second generation first person shooter. The levels early had Gordon running like a fugitive, and the later levels were more so frontal assault-like battlefields. I like this game considerably. Perhaps, I’ll give the original Half-Life a second chance. For now though I want to sing the praises of the companion episodes.

Episodes One and Two felt more complete. Freeman is oftentimes partnered with Alyx Vance fighting the Combine, Zombies, or Antlions. Occasionally he’ll partner up with Vortigaunts. The levels are maze-like, harder, and feel more rewarding to accomplish. I really got a kick out of playing these games over the main Half-Life 2 game. It was through the teamwork aspect mainly.

Teamwork Style of Play: In various fights, Alyx will instruct you to knock over the antlions with the gravity gun so she can dispatch them with her fully automatic handgun. She provides not only a romantic interest for Gordon, but also a good extra hand to make like work as the Combine and wildlife are engaged. This is a nice touch as most of Half-Life 2 is a solitary affair.  This to me is a welcome respite from the original game. Both Episode One and Episode Two seem more developed. However, the game appears to be a demo almost.

Features Introduced Gradually, A Criticism: In later parts in Episode Two, the player is given radar. This is a helpful feature, however in such a short game it really doesn’t matter. This really should have been in the base game. Otherwise this trilogy feels unfinished by modern standards.

Final analysis: I can recommend these games however you’ll be hungry for a Half-Life 3, but Valve shows no signs of any such development.


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