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SummaryWell, that was not what I expected.
The GoodLost Coast is an expansion for the game Half-Life 2 which I got for free when I bought that game from Steam. I mention this at the start of the review because hey, why take any of my criticism serious when it's a free expansion to a critically acclaimed game. If you got Half-Life 2, then why not pick it up for free, you got nothing to lose.
This expansion takes place somewhere in the middle of Half-Life 2 (I picked up it was after the Highway level) and runs on an updated engine (I don't care for graphics, so once again "So I was told"), Whether or not this is a new engine or not, in terms of gameplay is still works the same as the one from Half-Life 2, which means that shooting and platforming around the battlefield still functions perfectly and is still very enjoyable. I sometimes noticed the lighting was a bit better though, which is a nice little upgrade.
Despite its length, Lost Coast is a nice and decently challenging title. You got a few tricky jumps, the difficulty curve goes up pretty fast and you don't start out with just a crowbar. The designers knew most people would play this expansion almost immediately after they finished the original game, so they didn't waste any of their and our time rebooting your inventory and the difficulty curve and I have a lot of respect for that. Take notes F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate!
The story is pretty easy to follow and since this is supposedly just a tech demo, you don't miss out on an integral part of the story if your decide to skip this game. As the game starts Gordon wakes up on a beach and finds a fisherman there who informs him that there are combine firing Headcrab pods into town. He opens the gate for you and your cannon-assassinating career starts off. What I like best about this, is that while it isn't a major part of the overall storyline, you do feel like you genuinely accomplished something after your finished and in doing so helped the rebellion out once again.
The BadI already mentioned that the game is very short, it is just one level and all you do is shoot your way up a mountain, do one puzzle and leg it again. Since it's free, it doesn't really matter that much, but the problem is that I settled down with cola and Pringles for this, only to find myself finishing things off before I even started eating.
If this really is supposed to be a tech demo to show off the graphical capabilities of the new engine, then I must say that they missed out on chances to really "show off". If we're on that mountain anyway, then why not let us snipe at something from a long distance, forcing us to scan around your beautifully designed environments for a while. Why not let us use that cannon to lob some pods into Combine settlements, so that we had to see your houses from a good perspective.
Ehm... yeah. That's it.
The Bottom LineIt's hard to make a good review when the game doesn't even last as long as a bag of crisps during a lan-party, but I'll be buggered before I leave a game un-reviewed. So yeah: Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast is a short snack that plays and looks pretty good. The story is a bit lighter than the full games, but I can take that. The only real problem is that it's legendarily short and people shouldn't go into it, expecting it will fill up their entire evening (like I did).
If you own Half-Life 2 and got it on Steam, then you likely have Lost Coast too and if you also played and preferably finished that game, then it might be worth playing the expansion as well. If you haven't really touched upon Half-Life 2, then you won't grasp what is going on, but you'll at least be able to play an amusing shooter/platformed for a while. If you don't care for the Half-Life games though, then this short adventure is most definitely not going to change that.