Half-Life 2: Episode One
I wasn’t really going to write about Episode One, but I got nothing else to write about so what the hell. But a warning, this post will contain spoilers to the game. You can skip down to the next red section to avoid any big spoilers. Otherwise read away!
Episode One (E1) takes place right after the end of Half-Life 2. For those of us that played Half-Life 2 we all know the dramatic and cliff hanger ending it had. Well E1 picks up right there. The whole intro of E1 is very cinematic. Actually the whole game is cinematic, with lots of character interaction, story progression, and amazing scenery.
Unfortunately though, any major questions the Half-Life series brought up were not answered. Who is the G-man? Who are the Combine? Why Freeman? None of those are answered. Actually the only question answered was if and how Alyx Vance survived the explosion at the end of Half-Life 2. Obviously Alyx does survive with help from the Vortigaunts. Vortigaunts? Yeah, you know – those weird Xen aliens with the green lasers. They somehow save Alyx. But not only that. The Vortigaunts also somehow help you (Freeman) escape from the G-man’s grasp.
That’s right, the G-man is in beginning of E1, but only for a short bit, and only has one, eairy line. As the Vortigaunts take you away from the G-man he only has one thing to say to you, “Well, we’ll see about that.” The next thing you know, you are pulled out of the rubble by Alyx and Dog. This whole beginning scenario just brings up more questions. Why the Vortigaunts? How? What the hell is going on!? You actually do get up close to a real life Combine Advisor (the green slug thing) and witness first hand its painful mind-shock attack. Cool!
But anyways, your main goal of E1 is to get out of City 17. The Citadel is on the fast track to destruction and it’s taking out the entire city with it. You and Alyx must work together to help the citizens of City 17 as well as yourselves escape. Speaking of Alyx, she’s by your side 90 percent of the time, which is actually quite nice. There were plenty of scary and tense moments in E1 that would of taken me forever to creep through. But with Alyx by your side, you feel a bit more safe and secure. Alyx kicks ass in this game and Valve did a great job making you enjoy her company. She fires a mean automatic pistol, shotgun, and even takes mans stationary/mounted guns.
As the game move on you eventually meet up with Barney. You, Alyx, and Barney then have to help citizens of City 17 escape by getting on trains heading directly out of the city. In the end you and Alyx eventually get out of the city by train in what ends to be another great cliff hanger. You and Alyx ride the back of a train out of the city and watch as the Citadel finally explodes. But were you guys far enough away to avoid the blast? That’s where the game ends.
End of spoilers. Overall Episode One was great. It did help continue the amazing Half-Life 2 story. There weren’t any new weapons to use. There were two new enemies in the game, including the Stalker and the new Zombine (the Zombines will kick your ass). There is also new music that helps to set the mood in certain parts of the game. The game was short though. It took me a little over three and a half hours to complete. But if you’re a fan of Half-Life then it’s definitely worth the 20 bucks. Plus Valve included their now famous ‘commentary’ mode, which allows you to play the game and listen to commentary from the developer about certain aspects. Good stuff.
This game gets an A+ in my book. I’ve already played through it three times (once on easy, once on hard, and once with commentary).