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I’m just gonna say it immediately
This game really does function as an overglorified tech demo. The stories alright with me but the core gameplay is uh interesting

Not necessarily is the gameplay bad but it’s just not fun is what I would say. The controls feel really janky because way to much inertia is attached to the players movement meaning you can feel your character moving in the wrong direction when sprinting while changing directions but the weapons are alright and function just fine, the level design is pretty cramped as in linear being there’s only one way to get from a to b in most levels, mounted guns control really weirdly at least to me. In terms of attention to detail and overall aesthetic this game exells and holds up well even to today, the character animations feel lively, the ai isn’t brain dead, the levels at times feel cinematic, the performance is great, the physics in general work pretty well aside from small hard to see clipping issues. My only real complaint with the graphics is that it feels way to fucking colourful considering the situation occurring in the story compared to the overall world design which is why the beta feels more genuine and true to the lore



The ending to Half Life 2 Episode 1 is still the best encounter in the whole saga. And I like that it is colorful. I hate the trend of brown games or green games that happened in the 2000s.


I disagree. I usually don't enjoy first person shooters and I didn't really love HL1 that much but HL2 was just so fun. The levels were interesting and immersive and I actually think the graphics are good and stand up to this day. The guns are cool and there is lots of gameplay and level variety from Ravenholm to the tower. I think the physics engine also holds up even if to be fair the physics puzzles are usually quite boring. It was also just awsome fighing against the Combine in city 17. Even to this day it stands up for me.


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The first Half-Life was more of a transitional game between the traditional boomer shooter and early story-driven modern FPS games like Red Faction and Halo that sought to set new standards for the genre with its heavy use of skeletal animation, world-building and realistic architecture but also sticked to the typical Quake-like running and gunning, where as Half-Life 2 was being produced in that era and set out to expand on that new type of games even further by making physics and interactivity of the surrounding world the crux of its gameplay, something that formerly was mostly relegated to RPGs like Arx Fatalis and puzzle games rather than first person shooters. That is not to mention that post-HL1 Valve had much more staff and experience that could realize their ambitions than they did in the 1996-1998 period during which they started out, including such now famous art director Viktor Antonov, who managed to bring a very polished game even in the face of the 2003 leak basically leading to the soft reset of its development. So while I like the first game more personally, I can say that the second one is much more developed and game-changing than the first one was.


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Is the arrival of the combine a metaphor for the collapse of the USSR and socialism in europe?


I mean, it's obviously nazis, but it could also be seen that way. I want to ask though, are a lot of valve developers eastern european? Given the setting of half life 2 and specially cs:go, I would imagine so. And I mean now, not when half life 2 was developed.


Pretty sure they're all American, but weren't hacks and set their game somewhere other than America unlike 99% of devs


I get the feeling HL2 was set in eastern Europe because of the aesthetics associated with post-collapse USSR were in line with the story of human society collapsing and being looted by an inhuman force. Not necessarily allegorical or anything, but having certain thematic parallels.


Valve are actual kings at level design and run their levels through so many non-gamer playtesters that everything is retard proof and progresses with an unnaturally high satisfaction

its a really fucking good game, if not a bit boring because all of the tropes it defined have been repeated endlessly


It is set in Eastern Europe

The entire design of city 17 was based off the post Soviet Baltic cities


Oh of course, I was just saying why I think they did it.


Why leave? I hate this shitty game and everything it has done to the FPS genre. Half-Life 2 is one of the most cancerous games of all time and pioneered the worst cinematic garbage plaguing the genre today.


You mean the unkillable NPCs, linear story telling, and scripted events?

Yeah if you wanna avoid that in a shooter just play a fallout game


Or stalker


And the linear railroad levels, the garbage weapon variety, the lack of replayability.


Oh and let's not forget the unskippable cutscenes hidden behind a veneer of false player control.


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the main art director of city 17 is bulgarian and drew a lot of inspiration from Northern/ Eastern European cityscapes


It's a pretty apposite theme


>Linear railroad levels
It just a different genre. not every shooter has to be an immersive sim.
>lack of replayability
Why is that important? And also, linear games can have replayability. I've replayed Portal and Portal 2 dozens of times.


You're right in the sense that replayability in itself isn't a direct measure of game quality because it is a condensation of many other qualities. Games with features like unskippable exposition, shallow mechanics, railroad levels, physics "puzzles" with a single solution that just serve to waste your time, etc. generally have poor replayability. There are many completely linear arcade action games that have fantastic replayability because their mechanics are full of depth.

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