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Half Life 2 - Episode 2
(hx) 01:36 PM EDT - Oct,28 2007

Half-Life 2: Episode Two is the second installment in the Half-Life 2 episodic trilogy. Continuing the plot of Half-Life 2 and Episode One, Episode Two consists of seven chapters telling the story of Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance's journey to a large Resistance base called White Forest. After the destruction of the Citadel, the Combine are working to open a massive superportal to call for reinforcements. An integral part of the plot is the transmission packet which the Combine sacrificed the Citadel to send, and which Alyx and Gordon stole a copy of before making their escape. It contains information relating to the location of the Combine homeworld and allows the creation of the superportal to be controlled from the 'other side'. This information has to be delivered to White Forest so that the Resistance can use it to shut down the superportal and prevent another Combine invasion.

The opening segments are arguably the weakest, where you're running around underground caves fighting Antlions and other disgusting bugs. After you finally meet up with some freedom fighters, which gives way to a defense sequence involving turrets and then you're accompanied by one of the friendly alien Vortigaunts for more bug killing and traditional Half-Life puzzle-solving. From here, you'll start to really get into the good stuff that made Valve's classic first-person shooter franchise so great. With a good mix of gunplay, puzzles, and new but somewhat familiar cinematic moments, you'll feel right at home with Episode Two!


Two new forms of Antlion are present. The first is the glow-in-the-dark antlion grub, which is immobile, unable to attack, and is functionally a minor health pickup. The second is the Worker Antlion whose body carries strong acids; in addition to a ranged spit attack, this property makes them deadly to be near when their bodies explode on death. You will also encounter Hunters - a bioengineered Combine shock troop. Like Striders, Hunters can absorb massive amounts of damage, which makes them difficult to take down. Meanwhile, they're armed with explosive plasma darts that can knock down your health and armor in a hurry. Hold up in a house and Hunters will smash through the windows. Try and take them up close and they'll simply charge your arse down. After the relatively disappointing gun fights of the last episode, the Hunters are a very welcome addition to the Half-Life universe.

There are no new weapons (except The Magnusson bombs) with this release, but it doesn't even matter... the weapons that are there work, and are fun to use. You'll start off with your signature weapon, the Gravity Gun, a device that lets you grab, move, and throw objects at high speeds. Before you get too far, though, you'll quickly be reunited with the many great weapons of Half-Life 2. The Magnusson bombs a.k.a. Strider Buster (named after their annoying creator) are one of the most effective anti-strider weapons in the human arsenal. After you have taken aim, you must fire the device at the Strider. The Magnusson Bomb will then stick to the strider. You must then take out a ranged weapon of your choice (such as the Pistol) and shoot the Magnusson Bomb, which is attached to the Strider. Once the Magnusson Device is hit by the projectile of a ranged weapon, the device will explode, completely destroying the Strider. Using a Strider Buster is fairly simple, but the effects are particularly brilliant to watch., with Strider guts flying everywhere and whiffs of yellow smoke pouring out.

What keeps Episode Two interesting is what happens between the action. Aside from the intro sequences, there are plenty of scripted events scattered throughout, some expanding on the strange Combine psychic creatures from Episode One (called 'advisors'), others introducing old friends. Also, your questions are finally getting answered, and Freeman continues to grow closer towards Alyx. That in effect means you will grow closer with her, and when a game can invoke any emotions at all, it's a damn good game.

Overall, Episode Two was not amongst the longest FPS of last year, but it was without doubt one of the best shooters I had the pleasure of playing. It's impossible not to recommend this game!

It is also worth noting that Episode 2 isn't a stand-alone release, but instead comes bundled with Half Life 2, Episode 1 and two new titles - Team Fortress 2 and Portal.

related links: homepage, cheats, unlocker, developer mode unlocker, get DVD.

System Requirements:
Minimum: 1.7 GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, DirectX 8 level Graphics Card, Windows Vista/XP/2000, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection
Recommended: Pentium 4 CPU (3.0GHz, or better), 1GB RAM, DirectX 9 level Graphics Card, Windows Vista/XP/2000, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection


snd: 5/5 - largely remain the same as HL2 + new cool ambient sounds, great voice work from the cast and some exciting music when it gets going
gfx: 5/5 - excellent, amazing level design, improved physics engine makes everything seem even more real, great lighting
playability: 5/5 - amazing addition to the series in all ways, fairly short (6-7 hours to finish the game), but comes bundled with Half Life 2, Episode 1 and two new titles - Team Fortress 2 and Portal
genre: sci-fi first-person shooter
platform: PC (also available on PS3/Xbox 360)
release: October 2007
developer: Valve
publisher: Steam / EA
Excellent
Overall: 91%


last 10 comments:

psolord(01:57 PM EDT - Oct,28 2007 )
You guys gave bioshock 100% and only 91% to episode two? We are being unfair now aren't we?

darknothing(02:38 PM EDT - Oct,28 2007 )
i agree, i would have given bioshock a 91 and halflife 2 ep 2 at lease a 96

the game was so fun and they improved the games look also max settings the game looks great, awesome story line great fighting

(03:25 PM EDT - Oct,28 2007 )
Take it easy guys, both games are excellent! :brave: :D

BIOSHOCK is more crazy/pervert game than HL2. That's why I gave BIOSHOCK a bit higher score :wink: :tongue8:

devilhood(04:32 PM EDT - Oct,28 2007 )
heretic, I completely understand.

therefore you must give Crysis 200% :D

Nosferatu(04:57 PM EDT - Oct,29 2007 )
Maybe it's because I love the Half-life universe so much I drool every time I hear "Doc..tor Freeeeeeman", but 91 is too low for episode 2. I'm not blaming you anyway, HX, but this one was an absolutely unbelievable experience for me, way better than hl2 or ep1. Every second was packed with content and none of it was other than awesome.
And the story... oh, the storyline and acting! I think Half-life has become more of a movie than a game =)
No other game ever was so emotional. This was something new. And people say Valve are no longer innovative.

th4t1guy(08:11 PM EDT - Oct,29 2007 )
This game was such a pile of crap.
The problem with every source engine game I've played is their physics engine is just horribly implemented. Every little bucket and bottle prevents you from moving, so whenever you get into a battle it feels like you're fighting in some maze of invisible walls.
The levels seem to be designed around their physics "puzzles" (although I wouldn't realy call them puzzles) which really only succeed in taming down the action. The vehicle driving in the game is a joke (did they not learn from the first HL2?) and all the NPCs ride your ass so whenever you get into a fight in an enclosed area, you can't move anywhere but forward.
It would also be nice if you could skip the cutscenes instead being forced to twiddle your thumbs while watching some lame attempt at a story move forward.

Stumpus(10:34 AM EDT - Oct,30 2007 )
Well when i played HL2 it completely blew me away! The ending was excellent and i couldn't wait for the full blown expansion or new game to continue the story.
Alas VALVE blew it and decided to milk the butt out of gamers by releasing dribs & drabs of game content and making you pay for it for a mere few minutes of, so-called, episodic gameplay.
Sorry, i don't have 'gullable' tattooed on my forehead VALVE and i no longer will have my PC tied to the net so that i have to 'check-in' with them *before* i can play a single player game everytime on bloody STEAM!
Besides VALVE certainly mounted the Bill Gates throne lately and chucked their weight about, re the 'outwith territory' purchases of the orange box.

Behaviour like that obviously works in America, and they accept it, but not in Europe.

psolord(06:49 PM EDT - Oct,30 2007 )
th4t1guy> This game was such a pile of crap.
The problem with every source engine game I've played is their physics engine is just horribly implemented. Every little bucket and bottle prevents you from moving, so whenever you get into a battle it feels like you're fighting in some maze of invisible walls.
The levels seem to be designed around their physics "puzzles" (although I wouldn't realy call them puzzles) which really only succeed in taming down the action. The vehicle driving in the game is a joke (did they not learn from the first HL2?) and all the NPCs ride your ass so whenever you get into a fight in an enclosed area, you can't move anywhere but forward.
It would also be nice if you could skip the cutscenes instead being forced to twiddle your thumbs while watching some lame attempt at a story move forward.


th4t1guy you have absolutely no idea about good games. go play with your playstation moron.

th4t1guy(07:47 PM EDT - Oct,30 2007 )
psolord>
th4t1guy you have absolutely no idea about good games. go play with your playstation moron.


Did you read that in PC gamer? cause thats where you seem to get your opinions from...

TOOL

psolord(12:53 PM EDT - Oct,31 2007 )
th4t1guy> psolord>
th4t1guy you have absolutely no idea about good games. go play with your playstation moron.


Did you read that in PC gamer? cause thats where you seem to get your opinions from...

TOOL


I don't give a shit about PC Gamer or your opinion. I play games for two decades now and i know a good game when i see one. The human brain has an ability called perception which, you ape, are obviously lacking.

darknothing(04:55 PM EDT - Nov,03 2007 )
there isn't a game that comes close to hl2 so far, im sorry i didnt enjoy bioshock.. i couldn't finish it..just didnt feel like it, but thats me. im not a halflife 2 fanboy, ep 1 sucked so bad i never thought ep 2 was going to be as good as it was. its a great story and i have played it again, very fun.

th4t1guy whats the best SP shooter so far for you? just curious... btw pc gamer can burn. make ur mind up by urself.. not with a mag.

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