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Half-Life2 Episode One - Released Today

By DonNagual
Jun 2, 2006
  1. For those of you who don't know, Valve has released Half-Life2 Episode One today. I had the chance to put in about 4 hours today and try it out and wanted to give my first impressions for those who care ;)

    First off, I like this new idea of releasing games in smaller episodes for a number of reasons.

    1. We get new content released more frequently. Instead of waiting a couple of years for an entire game to be finished, we wait a year (or so) for an "episode".

    2. This will also hopefully allow some other types of games come through the pipes. When a company has to release an entire game that takes years of programming, they are less likely to take any risks in the games the put out. If they are going to invest a couple years in a game, it HAS to be successful so they will go with what has worked in the past. With these "episodes" they do not have as much at stake. They may be willing to risk more.

    So, back to Half-Life2 Episode One. So far after my first 4 hours, I'd have to say it has my attention well enough that I will continue the game for a while yet. It is not any different from Half-Life2 as far as gameplay goes. I have encountered no new weapons, and the maps in general feel identical to the ones in HL2.

    The major difference so far is the eye candy. Most noticably is the lighting. Have a look at the light reflecting off the floor on these two screens:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Another technology they have really put to use is the dynamic lighting. When you go to an area that is really bright, it takes time for your eyes to adjust, as it would in the real world. Some of the scenes they have created are truly amazing.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So far they seem to be trying to get me excited about "old stuff". Like, meeting Barney again. Woo-hoo. Getting the crowbar again. Woo-hoo. In HL2, sure it was cool, as the graphics were so much better than the original, and hell - the crowbar is just plain cool. But so far it almost seems as if this again is the highlight of Episode One.... I certainly hope that is not the case.... I am waiting for some type of new weapon, or some type of amazing action sequence that hasn't been done before. So far no luck. It is the same thing I did in HL2, with some extra eye candy.

    Of course there are some good action parts where they give us some cool music and send a bunch of crab-heads at us. There is a new baddy in this one, but I won't spoil anything for you.

    I'll post more as I progress, of course avoiding any spoilers. Cheers!

    All screens taken on the following system:
    Athlon64 3700+
    Asus 7800GT 256mb
    1Gb PC3200 (2x512)

    All settings on high, AAx4.
     
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 3,566

    Wow.

    I just went back to play some more and....................

    finished the game. :eek:


    Just over 4 hours. $20.00

    Was it worth it? I'd have to say no. I expect a little longer than 4 hours for $20 bucks.

    That said, the game (as expected) is beautiful. The graphics are stunning, and the gameplay is as fun as ever. Valve knows how to make a great game and this is no exception. It just ended a little too quickly, and lacked any real "bite" to it as a $20 package.

    Here are a few more screens to see

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. benken2202001

    benken2202001 TS Enthusiast Posts: 155   +16

    i got the same deal with SiN: Emergence. $20 and not long enough at all. They should have let you pay $50 and get every episode when it gets released. (or half... or something more than 3 hours long).

    There might be SOME replay value to these with increased difficulty settings. What about online play? ehh.. still not worth the $ to me.
     
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    That said, kinda reminds one of Blue Shift doesn't it?
     
  5. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Posts: 378

    Am I the only person who actually liked Blue Shift?

    Looking back, I think it was one of the best expansion packs i'd ever played.
     
  6. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    I'm just being lazy and in the interest of prolonging this thread: What is the point of Episode 1? Is it a continuation of HL2 from the moment of the "gate thingy" explosion at the end? Does he just wake up in some new place because the guy who was talking to him "transported" him there?
    :D
    EDIT: Wow what a difference from my office PC and this one (home gaming rig). I can see the pics donN posted so much better. Those really do look good. So now that I can see them AND the link to actual pic works it explains my above question. Nice shots Don. Thanks.
     
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,457   +228

    I don't have Episode 1 yet but will be getting it soon. I liked SIN: Emergence but it was short. I don't mind short episodes but would prefer regular long games with the short episodes interspersed in between however impractical that might be.

    I liked Blue Shift too. That too was a little short though.
     
  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 3,566

    You know what?

    It is now the day after I finished the game, so I have had time to digest a bit, and I have to say that Episode One is an amazing little game and for me was worth the $20. It was like buying a decadent belgian chocolate. Very high quality. For the same price you could buy a huge box of chocolate, so it is hard to not compare and think of the value you are getting.

    Gourmet chocolate is not something you buy everyday, but instead it is something you pay a little extra for because you know it is high quality and delicious. It is not going to be THAT much different from every other chocolate you ate, as it is still chocolate, but still some damn fine chocolate.

    Episode One is one fine game. Pretty much every new scene I went in to, I was forced to slow down and just enjoy what Valve made for me. And the "commentary mode" is highly recommended (after you finish the game as it has spoilers in it). It really points out a lot of things that I would never have thought of. As a computer enthusiast, it is quite educational and actually fascinating to hear the programmers talk about what goes in to making a game like that.

    So I blew $20 on a game yesterday that lasted 8 hours (including replaying with commentary mode). It is a game that for me stands out as a ground-breaking game. They also had some great hints that Episode Two is going to have some new content (creatures at least). My hope is that in Episode Two they can create some new action sequences. Like in HL2 when I got in that swamp boat for the first time, or the car, or when I first got to use one of those stationary mounted machine guns. Those were great moments in gaming. I need something NEW. Something that hasn't been done before.

    Anyone remember in the original Half-life when you stepped outside into the open canyon for the first time? It was truly amazing. The scenery Valve made there, I had never imagined possible. My heart stopped.

    So as a first shot at releasing games in "episodes", I still like the idea a lot. I just hope that the programmers give themselves enough time to give the games some KABLAM. Something that makes your heart beat faster. Not just new eye candy, but also action sequences or weapons that are new and have never been done before.

    More random screenshots:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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