Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Oct 21, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars

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Half-Life 2: Episode One Is Better Than Star Wars Episode One

The Good

After the ending of Half-Life 2, players knew it was not over. What they did not know however was that the expansions for HL2, would be released in episodes, there are reportedly going to be 4 total. Which makes me wonder why did Valve just not finish the all the episodes and release it as one game.

In Half-Life 2: Episode One, Gordon Freeman has just defeated Dr. Breen, and triggered an explosion of the citadel. At the end of HL2 the mysterious G-Man has rescued Freeman, from the explosion. Oddly, HL2:E1, does not pick up here. Instead, the Vortagons, help Gordon and Alyx. The G-Man is seen only once in this game, as are many others, such as Drs. Kliner, and Vance.

In this episode Gordon and Alyx must escape City 17, and help the now free humans flee as well. Along the way they will battle Combine troops, Zombies, including the new and very fierce Combine Zombies, as well as Head Crabs, etc. And solve some “puzzles”.

In the very beginning, HL2:E1, is much more solve the puzzle, than action oriented. The latter half of the expansion is more action based.

Valve made the right decision here by having the player once more assume the role of Gordon Freeman, the mute savior of the human race. Unlike the expansions for the original game which had the player being others. All the weapons return in this expansion, but many seem to take awhile to obtain. And the gameplay is similar with some new twists.

Aside from the new monsters. Episode One is also different than most FPS, in that instead of being alone, Alyx is with Gordon 98% of the game. And serves as a fellow combatant, as well as another first for FPS games, a love interest for Gordon. It is interesting to hear her flirt with the still non-speaking Freeman. Although it is more of we don’t hear what Gordon says, than he does not speak. And do not worry about keeping Alyx alive, as she cannot be killed, and is quite capable when it comes to combat.

The Graphics as in the original are amazing. Even set on their lowest setting. Realistic looking characters and environments abound. As well as most excellent lighting effects. Rag doll physics courtesy of the Havok engine.

Sound Effects and Music are up to par also, as we have come to expect. The voice acting is as good as it was the first time, as is the music and effects. And the game also has new music, almost all of it is new in fact.

There is another first here, in the form of commentary. Yes, Episode 1 has a commentary track. Activate the icons, and a member of Valve will talk about the level, or monsters, etc. An interesting, if strange addition.

The Bad

This game is way too short. Clocking in at about 3-5 hours, this game can be finished, in one day. And yet it is still $20, although I got it for five bucks cheaper. This game should retail at 10-15 dollars, not 20.

I would have rather had one big expansion, than, four smaller ones.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Episode One, is just as enjoyable as HL2, so needless to say, HL2 fans will have to play this game.