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Shiroko

The Half Life 2 Thread

Was it worth the wait?   29 members have voted

  1. 1. Was it worth the wait?

    • Yes
      13
    • No
      3
    • Umm... we mainly talk about RTS in here? What's HL2 got to do with it?
      13

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21 posts in this topic

So who here got HL2?

And in the same subject, nicks in Steam for people would be nice as well.

-Shiroko

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i am enjoying it.

physics are excellent... graphics are good... i just wish for ONCE they would spend time on the little stuff.

What do i mean? Well for instance, i hate seeing beautiful character models.... and then looking down at the floor and seeing a Clorox bottle that looks like it came out of a pixelated Atari game.

Can they not spend the extra 5 minutes to make a high resolution Clorox bottle?  Am i asking for too much?

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The watermelon looks good enough so I'm happy.

But that's defintely a very original way to complain on a game.

-Shiroko

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yes

I agree; asking for way too much.  Couldn't have waited another day.

The game isn't perfect but it may as well be, since Clorox bottles are the imperfection.  That and bloody Steam.

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I played the demo (speaking of which...Steam = utter crap.  That's the longest download I've ever experienced, and I'm including my days with dial-up!), and I agree with Gunwounds.  Some of the props look...well, bad.  There's no excuse for that.

And wtf is up with the auto-detecter?  Shadows "High", but texture resolution "low"?  Uh, sure...

Also, why can you not turn character shadows off?  They can be turned down in quality, but not off.  The difference in performance is quite significant, trust me.  Like 5-10 fps significant.

And come on...the supposedly "short" ingame loading "pauses" take upwards of a minute, sometimes nearly two!  I realize an AMD 1800 XP w/512 MB of RAM may not be an ideal setup, but two minutes?  DooM3 can load an entire level in 30-45 seconds!

Speaking of which, the overall graphics still cannot compare to DOOM3.  I have yet to find a FPS that compares w/DOOM3, even on my current setup.  (UT2004 and Painkiller both come close, esp. since they can be run at near-full graphics, but no banana.)

OK, enough harping, the game is still fairly good, and the graphics are adequate.  But considering I get worse perfomance out of HL2 (and this is a post-release demo) than out of DooM3, Painkiller, or UT2004, I'd expect the graphics to be better.  Simply put, they aren't.  (I put most of the blame on the character shadows, though.)  The gameplay, well, there's not a whole lot of that in the demo, but it seems pretty good.  Certainly, I'll get it eventually - first on my list if I get my new rig, but if I don't...meh - but it'll be down the road.

Speaking of Painkiller - awesome game.  Though don't go by the performance in the latest (1.35) demo, that's whacked for some reason.  The full version (even with 1.35 patch) runs very smoothly on my machine, even with near-max graphics.

Edit: Wow, that made this post long.  I split off the HL1 stuff into another post.

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Shadows are built in to the engine in a way similiar to Doom 3 style, they cannot be turned off.

Seemingly all gaming crads will get high.

As for textures, recommended quality is related to RAM. Though I thought until it recommend low for 256, med for 512 (Like in my comp) and probably 1024 is needed for high.

The game looks excellent, Maybe the shadows in Doom 3 look better, but the art direction in Doom 3 was horrible. Dark small rooms with repeating textures. And barely two-three actually rememberable rooms. While HL2 is filled in them. Gameplay wise it is way more brilliant.

The small props look fine to me again.

And Steam well, I have no problem with that. It's not envasive. It lets md download updates at a maximum speed of my connection. And works fine for updating CS. Though people might be annoyed of having it in the demo. In the full game, which also comes with CS:S and HL2DM it feels reasonable.

I'm also surprised this thread spawn almost no replies, there's also no HL2 thread in the gaming forum going. This game is wildly popular and very polished.

And yes, Painkiller is excellent, defintely like some people said: Painkiller is what Doom 3 should have been.

-Shiroko

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OK, I finally got the original Half-life yesterday (you can't rightfully play a sequel of this depth without playing the original!) and it's time for a little comparison.

To begin, steam, once mortal enemy, is now blessed friend.  I bought only the GOTY edition of Half_life (which is only Half-Life itself and Team Fortress Classic), but when I loaded everything into Steam and registered it...it gave me the full Patinum Pack!  (Which, at least at Wal-Mart, is worth twice as much!)  This includes not only Half-Life and Team Fortress, but Counterstrike, Day of Defeat, Op-For, Ricochet, and DM Classic.  Plus Half-Life no longer requires a CD in the drive to run.  Not too shabby.

Although I noticed the load pauses in HL got a little longer after loading it through steam, for whatever reason, but they still go by in 3-4 seconds.

Now, the other great thing is that the menus resolution now also goes up to 1024x768 (it was previously locked at 640x480, while only the ingame resolution went up - which caused a few problems, seeing as WinXP is not 640x480 native.)  Also, the Steam version allows you to increase the color depth, although wihtout much end effect on the graphics quality.

The graphics are not, even considering the time frame, superb; Blood II, which came out approximately at the same time, has far superior graphics on both the environments and the characters; and on a good 3D card, the original Jedi Knight, predating Half-Life by a year, has far sharper textures.  However, the graphics are still fairly good, and the physics effects are surprisingly realistc for a game of the time-frame.  Also, some of the models are fairly high-polycount; the primary shortcoming is in the texture quality.

The storyline is fascinating, even if it is the typical "aliens/monsters invade earth due to experiment gone awry" theme used in DooM and several of it's successors.  The subtle nuances that unfold through the game, such as the mysterious ever-present "unkown man in blue suit," and the goverment death-squads that were sent not just to dispatch of the aliens, but cover them up - by silencing you and your collegues.  The ability to use teamates to good effect was a first for the time.  The gameplay carries plenty of variety (although there are a few too many jumping puzzles for my tastes), largely due to the diversity of the enemies you'll be fighting.

The Black Mesa facility is designed quite realistically as well, often with multiple ways to get from one place to another.  (Unlike in, say, DooM, where you get the feeling the whole base is connected by essentially one very long corridor with keys hidden off of it.)

Now to compare to what I've played of HL2.  Whooo, uh, there's no compare.  HL2 has better graphics, sure, but HL1 has a better - storyline (although it's a hard one to top), gameplay (although there may be non-combine enemies outside of the HL2 demo levels, in fact I'm sure there are, so I'm hardly qualified to make a comparison here), and overall immersion.  And as for multiplayer, well, CS:Source is nice and all (if toturously laggy - probably due in part to Steam, but also to my comparatively low-end machine, I'm sure.  Damn mandatory character shadows), but some other MP modes, like those in HL1, would be nice, too.

In the end, HL>HL2.  Although I'd obviously need more than a demo to make a full comparison.

And Shiroko: Eh?  You can most certainly turn character shadows all the way off in DooM3; I'd never be able to run it if you couldn't!

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Well its all the same storyline.. you cant say HL story is better when its just the begining of the story.

Also you must play the final 5 levels of HL2 and beat it and see the final sequence before you can judge the story.

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Truth be told, the ending in HL1 sucks. I didn't hate Xen, but still, fighting this giant baby with opening head won't be a good memory.

In gameplay, HL2 is brilliant. Some level concepts I like more some less. "Water Hazard" is the best level, anti-citizen one and follow freeman are excellent as well and so is Highway 17 and Nova prospect. Entanglement is least favorable. The ending levels aren't that good, they have great art and concept but the idea gets old very fast. Although I'd point out these levels are very short because of that so you don't feel it until the 2nd time you play them.

The story is excellent, you'll only know it if you look it up, elsewhere you'd get to breen (That might be a spoiler to naive people) and wonder "Who is this guy? And why I don't like him? And what is with those combine? What are they combined with?" but if you notice everything you will understand what is happening. And you can check the web a little to understand what you missed (Some fan sites are detailing it).

BTW, HL has only one path for you to go in every part of it. But it doesn't feel like it.  Same goes fo HL2, only it is being felt more because in the mean time Far Cry came out.

-Shiroko

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**SPOILER****

[hide]

well the ending level i think is pretty nice... its *short* but having a super gravity gun and ripping out plasma balls and being able to fire them and being able to manipulate actual enemy bodies is awesome.

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Try taking Dog's ball with you to Ravenholm, seems like a bigger challenge. And it works very good as a weapon.

-Shiroko

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one thing i had fun with doing was the crossbow :D:D.. i you shoot someone in the head, arm or leg

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Dude, just paint the zombies so they're much more easier to see! 8)

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if u paint the zombie how r u gonna find the blade again??

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To begin, steam, once mortal enemy, is now blessed friend.  I bought only the GOTY edition of Half_life (which is only Half-Life itself and Team Fortress Classic), but when I loaded everything into Steam and registered it...it gave me the full Patinum Pack!  (Which, at least at Wal-Mart, is worth twice as much!)  This includes not only Half-Life and Team Fortress, but Counterstrike, Day of Defeat, Op-For, Ricochet, and DM Classic.  Plus Half-Life no longer requires a CD in the drive to run.  Not too shabby.

Hate to disapoint you duke but Counter Strike, Day of Defeat, Ricochet and DM classic were all free with a basic copy of half-life before steam came out.....

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Yes, Half-Life (1) was quite fascinating. I'm not a very hardcore graphics-fan, I mostly just "follow the flow". Being educated for media and movies, the story, the levels and characters are a bigger matter to me.

The first Half-Life is, now that I think of it, like the movie Cube (the first movie, not the prequel or the sequel). You are inside, something threatens your life, and you have to do something. In Cube, they "figured" that they had to get out of there, in HL1 Gordon has to get out of the base and get help.

But, it is not that simple. In Cube, they couldn't really get out, and in Half-Life you can't really get out either (I figured that even if Gordon got out, he would still be hunted by assassins and agents all over the world). So, he has to face the problem without help.

The story is like Cube - you don't know who the G-Man (the man with the blue suit) is, hell, you don't even really know if it is aliens you are fighting (after all, does Xen look like a planet?). The interesting part is that the player tends to "make up" the "outside" of the game, just as the viewer kind of answered all the questions himself after seeing Cube.

I also think that HL1 has a relatively serious story. I think that the expansion, Opposing Force (while it did add a lot of stuff) somewhat had too much of new aliens, weapons, millions of different characters and so on.

In the end, both Half-Life and Cube are open-ended, they neither end the story, nor do they begin something new. It makes the viewer/player look for answers inside the game/movie that are not there. I think this made the game very simple but great at the same time.

Now, over to Half-Life 2.

Yes, Half-Life 2 is pretty. I liked HL2 for being a very long game, but some parts was really plain boring and unnessesary.

Firstly, Steam. I'm a singleplayer, I don't need Steam. Imagine if other companies made the same systems. Very lame, and it took lots of time.

Besides this, I think the boat levels and the dune buggy levels were TOOOOO long. Now, I'm not "always" a singlepleyer, I really enjoy games like Battlefield X (insert year or name) where veichles are really fun to use. Besides this, I think that many games already had these veichles used already, so HL2 wasn't really the first game with this idea. It's been used, we want something else or something new.

I also kind of disliked the changing of themes throughout the game. If it is supposed to be Eastern Europe directly after the fall of the Soviet Union, then it is supposed to be that. So, while Ravenholm was nicely built and created, it kind of changed theme "from HL to Resident Evil" so to speak.

I also got a little disappointed when there was no explanation for why the then Xen aliens now are friendly, and how they can talk (and why they talk with a Chinese-dialect). Sure, there can be expansion packs and such, but sequels should keep on the story, while expansion packs should only expand the existing game.

Also, it was REALLY frustrating when you couldn't order Alyx or Barney to stand still in one place while you did the rest, as they did in the first game. Alyx has what, some light clothes, a girly-gun, while you, Gordon, has the whole armory of the whole world in you hand - but NOOOO, she HAS to get some action, shoot like an idiot, and get killed. On the positive point: she does look good though.

So: bottom line - HL2 is a good game, I did enjoy it, though it isn't very special, many things have been done before HL2 (shadows, veichles, physics etc), there is no "mystery" that you "have" to find out (like in the first game), and there are some frustrations on many locations. The weapons are both old and new - I liked the new machine gun, it was kind of wicked in a way, not the usual conventional ammo-thing. Also, the game is kind of repeatable, though, how many games aren't?

As for Doom 3: well, that game I really enjoyed. Yes, it is linear, yes, some stuff has also been made before, but I think ID Software added some substance into Doom 3, gave it a good underlying story that really got me questioning the origins of the creatures (outer space or hell?), and some real and deep insight of how they wanted the Doom universe to really look like. At least it is the best game of ID Software games (in singleplayer at least :D ).

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After discussing a long thread somewhere... I must admit that almost all the answers are given in game and can be figured out. You just need to notice when you're given them. The Xen aliens are friendly because in HL1 they were controlled by the combine, now that they're free they are allied with the humans against there common enemy. Their mindless rubbish can be understood, they talk about the Nihilanth, the Gman and some more. I really like the small touches in HL2 that when you look at something, an NPC will notice it and talk about the subject. (Look on the newspaper clips at Eli's lab, and Eli will mention the 7 hours war and breen's surrender in the name of earth).

All in all, HL1 has better storyline, but rarely can the storyline of a sequel for things like cube/hl/matrix can be as good as the original.

-Shiroko

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I must admit that almost all the answers are given in game and can be figured out. You just need to notice when you're given them.

Yes, sure - but the first Half-Life was "friendly" to anyone who played that game, so to speak. Fans or newbie, the game had the same answers to both of them, I believe.

Of course, Half-Life 1 didn't really have that kind of continous story that you had to play to find out more about. I don't expect every game to do this, and of course, they don't, but I think that if you want to have a game that can "seduce" the player to play it, you also have to have something that the player can catch on, and hang on until it is solved and something new gets the player's attention.

Try to imagine a movie with the simple plan: the evil wants to conquer the world, the good has to defeat him. That's it. Nothing more. To improve the story, we can implement simple things like a bomb, or hostage that prevents the "good" to directly face the "evil" - he (or she) has to rescue them before he can take on the "evil".

Twists would be good. Ex: the hostage did this to get money, and it turns out that the hostage is on the "evil"'s side, and so on.

It is exactly this that is somewhat missing in HL2 - nothing to go on. Get there, do that, it was kind of a repeated procedure. Though, I am pleased that they had something at least.

The Xen aliens are friendly because in HL1 they were controlled by the combine, now that they're free they are allied with the humans against there common enemy.

Yes - but how? Why? When? How did it look like? Did humans "kidnap" the aliens and communicated with them (like the final episode in Animatrix), or did they wage a war and defeated the aliens, who then got captured and brainwashed? How was the Combine established? Why "Eastern Europe"? Why is the city named "City 17"? Are there more cities?

All these questions, I've heard recently, are going to be answered in the expansion pack where you play as (guess, duh) Alyx. But an expansion pack is supposed to expand the game, not explain. The game should have all these answers - then, if the developers want to twist something, say, that Alyx was an alien before this (or something), then - do it in the expansion.

In other words: it should be enough for me to play HL1, 2 and 3 to completely understand the main plot of Half-Life. If I'm interested in who the marines are in HL1, what Alyx really is, who the father of the G-Man was, then I should play the expansion packs.

A parallell example is The Matrix. By watching all the Matrix movies, I "know" what the Matrix is all about. The Animatrix, Enter the Matrix and Matrix Online is additions if I'm interested in exploring the Matrix universe more.

That is my take on it.

...but rarely can the storyline of a sequel for things like cube/hl/matrix can be as good as the original.

That's true.

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The Xen aliens were mind controlled, killing the Nihilanth saved them from that (Tlak to them)

The Xen aliens kept portaling into earth (Paper clip in lab about protal storm)

The Combine just invaded, that's what they do.

City 17, is one of the last remaining urban centers (Breen says it on a monitor in the beginning). The name was ditched to make the city more generic and disconnect it from human history. some guys talk about city 14. Proving that in fact there are still more cities.

As ofr eastern  Europe, designer choice. Valve wanted a background where old (Antique buildings) collides the modern and went on an eastern europian city. The result is obviously stunning as the plaza and some areas are the most beautifully art done in a FPS since American McGee's Alice.

-Shiroko

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