Half Life was perfection personified; a benchmark for excellence in gaming. The sequel to Half Life was long awaited, six years to be precise; it lived up to everyone's expectations and beyond. The announcement for another Half Life sequel received some very positive response and raised expectations. Here is my take on the game.
A Splendid Short Life
Episode one is the perfect sequel, it cuts the chase and jumps right into action. The game carries itself to a very engaging scenario right from the start. The game starts with Dog and Alyx looking for you, Gordon Freeman. As they dig you out of the rubble, the story unfolds. Alyx and you have to enter the Citadel and take care of some business, what that is, you have to play the game to find out.
The game has a very Hollywoodish feel to it; it has the intensity of a hardcore action flick. There are explosions and gun fights that can put a Michael Bay film to shame. Everyone loved Half Life, and just when you conclude that it can't get any better, Episode one steals the show. You start without any weapons, just your trusted "Gravity Gun." You use the gravity gun for moving objects and clearing paths, as Alyx and you move towards your objective. A few minutes into the action and your gravity gun is supercharged, as it was in Dr Breen's portal. From then on, the charging combine are a piece of cake to handle. The combine attack you at regular intervals, in large numbers.
But the gravity gun treats them like toy soldiers; they don't pose much threat, if you know your gravity gun. The initial levels are a good mix. The game avoids any monotonous play, with a perfect balance of puzzles and combat. This isn't another bland FPS with mindless killings involved, this is an intelligent game. The initial puzzles are in the form of activating a few nodes, although there are quite a few nodes to activate, it never feels repetitive. One particular level is well planned. It starts with Alyx and you on a lift, as the lift descends, huge pile of rubble starts falling from above. The only way to survive it is using your gravity gun. It's then that you realize that Alyx makes a great partner. She assists you on spotting the rubble and avoiding a calamity. Alyx is very impressive; her intellect and resourcefulness are a driving force in the team.
The only major issue with Episode one is the fact that this is a 5-6 hour gameplay only. As most would know this is a part of Valve's "Episodic Content". Every few months there will be a new episode out, so that the gamer doesn't have to wait for years to play his favorite franchise. It was made clear from the start that the game will be short, but 5 hours seem too short.