Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

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Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon May 31, 2010 8:49 am UTC

I think this is an interesting comparison because both have their merits. Half-Life 2 is still deliciously pretty, but Half-Life has a brilliance that is still hard to go past (the sequel certainly did not receive over fifty GOTY awards). For the purposes of this thread, we will consider Opposing Force and Blue Shift as belonging to Half-Life, and the Episodes to be part of Half-Life 2. Portal, Counter-Strike, and Gary's Mod will not be regarded as belonging to either side - I will not take calls on this matter.

For my vote? Half-Life wins. The linearity works perfectly with the scripting: after that famous introduction, where everything goes to hell, you find you have to fight yourself out of a malfunctioning, high-security compound in the midst of an alien invasion. The game then does a decent job of throwing new challenges in your way, like the Marines bearing down on you (why the fuck aren't they helping?!), and the crazy-fast CIA agents (why the fuck aren't they helping?!), and the bleeding head crabs (what the fuck is that and what is it doing to that scientist?!). And the claustrophobic brilliance is constantly reinforced in the level design: you round a dozen turns to find yourself on the other side of a door you couldn't budge the first time, which makes you go, "No shit. I just killed thirty fucking aliens, crowbarred seven turrents, pistol'd three Marines, and I've come *exactly* two metres from where I was an hour ago. How long did it take that train to get me here in the first place? It went through a million security points. Fuck."

The scripted scenes didn't hold you up too much, and when they did hold you up it was to witness a rocket launch, or some awesome lightning effects. You get to see scientist die on obstacles you're trying to get through. You get to kill scientists it turns out you actually needed to open a door (oops). It was just fucking brilliant linear gameplay because it allowed you to make choices, and it let you direct yourself through the maze. And at least the maze made sense, because it was a facility designed to contain you.

Half-Life 2 borrows much of its style from the original, but it does not always fit. When you're strolling around on the surface, the linearity makes the settings feel contrived. I'm in a giant city, but I can only ever go in one direction? What the hell? I mean, the gameplay is fine and the guns are fun. The sights and sounds and stuff are brilliant. But I never got sucked into the game as much, and I always felt there was that room for improvement.

But, that's enough from me: out to you guys. Thoughts? Opinions? Insights?
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby big boss » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:04 am UTC

I like the first game way better, not saying the 2nd one is bad though. The first game just has a certain ominous feel to it that I can't explain.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby cerbie » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:23 am UTC

I don't think there's too much on the other side of this. Half-life was an iconic game.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:23 am UTC

I'm going to go against the flow here and say the sequel was better.

Sound and graphics: obviously

Story: both have their merits, but I think HL2 comes out ahead here. You wake up on a train and find yourself in a city straight out of Gearge Orwell's worst nightmares. You flee for your life, battling police, the military, and unknowable eldritch horrors, go rescue your new friend's/possible love interest's dad from high security prison, lead a small squad of rebels against the Combine, and destroy the combine's towering fortress of doom. By comparison, the original HL story didn't hold much interest for me. You get involved in a lab disaster, you fight your way out of Black Mesa, you go to some alien dimension thingy then get put in stasis by the G Man. Meh.

Atmosphere: HL2 clearly ahead in this area, although it does have the benefit of better sound and graphics so maybe that doesn't count.

Characters: again, HL2 is clearly ahead. In the original, all you see are armies of identical Barnies and Kleiners. In the sequel, we actually have named characters to interact with, and care about what happens to them.

I played the sequel before the original, so this may have coloured my view somewhat.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Felstaff » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:36 am UTC

Half Life's merit was the dystopian industrial atmosphere. It was cloying, claustrophobic and ominous. This is most apparent with the constant vent-traversing, but also with Questionable Ethics, On a Rail and Power Up. It dealt up 'derelict factory' charm in liberal scoops, and interspliced this with open-air moments, like Surface Tension and "Forget About Freeman". The only weak point was Xen, which looked a bit polygonal, even back in 1998. High-resolution creeping ivy textures couldn't salvage the feeling you were standing on a floating octagon.

Half Life 2 has buckets of style, particularly with the Soviet Bloc-style architecture and, again, unending sense of dilapidation. It's far less claustrophobic which, I think, actually takes away from the game. I guess Ravenholme makes up for the 'creeping darkness' feel of crawling through narrow ducts, but it's too open and schlock-gore infused. Half Life (the entire series)'s most prominent feature is the constant, gnawing feeling that 'bad shit's about to go down', whereas Ravenholme was too in-your-face mutilated corpse-with-a-rusty-chainsaw gorefest. It wasn't subtle, and that might explain why so many people hate that section of the game.

Overall, I'd say Half-Life vs. Half-Life 2 is more akin to Alien vs. Aliens. A bigger budget, bigger action, bigger maps, bigger aliens, and bigger weapons don't usually make something better, so I'm glad they kept up the massively-involving storyline. I'd stick with HL1, because, like Ridley Scott's Alien, there's a level of class there that James Cameron money simply can't buy. No matter how much you think game over man, game over and get away from her, you bitch! are crowning moments of awesome, there's an artistic merit to the original that makes it scarier, more exhilarating and just much better than the sequel.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:56 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:Overall, I'd say Half-Life vs. Half-Life 2 is more akin to Alien vs. Aliens. A bigger budget, bigger action, bigger maps, bigger aliens, and bigger weapons don't usually make something better, so I'm glad they kept up the massively-involving storyline. I'd stick with HL1, because, like Ridley Scott's Alien, there's a level of class there that James Cameron money simply can't buy. No matter how much you think game over man, game over and get away from her, you bitch! are crowning moments of awesome, there's an artistic merit to the original that makes it scarier, more exhilarating and just much better than the sequel.
I had that exact same comparison. Where Alien was spooky in its originality, and had that whole low-tech 'escape from a claustrophobic environment', Aliens was all Custer's Last Stand with awesome weapons and bitching Space Marines. In the former you're being hunted inside a closet, where in the latter you're fighting your way out of a city. Spatially, they're very unique films, like the Half-Life games are.

And, like the films, it's harder to see the sequels and then go back and do the original. Alien blew my mind when I first saw it, but I can understand how it comes across as a slow-paced, lacklustre film for those who're already familiar with the xenomorphs. The predator is known, and therefore loses its capacity for horror.

One thing my friend said about HL:2, which I thought was valid, was that it seemed as if seperate development teams went out and made awesome levels, but the levels don't quite fit together as a whole. Anyway, thought this was relevant regarding Xen.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:05 am UTC

Call me a philistine, but I didn't notice this "artistic merit". For me, it was inferior to the sequel in appearance, story, atmosphere and characterisation. Gameplay pretty much identical except enemies are harder to kill in the original, and fewer vent-crawling sections. Why would the more open feel of the sequel detract from the game? I don't understand that at all. It's a different game, one went for closed-off-claustraphobic, the other went for dear-lord-look-at-all-this-devastation. As for Ravenholme being too unsubtle, well it's not that bad. You don't get immediately attacked by zombies, you're given the chance to wander around and get a good look at what is likely to happen to you if you're not careful. And for me, the first time I heard a fast zombie howling was a terrifying brown pants moment. And the sobbing noise a poison zombie makes when you finally kill it is heart breaking the first time you hear it.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Felstaff » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:48 am UTC

It's more to do with the era you played the first in, I suppose. Back in 1998, it was extraordinarily ground-breaking, visually. I remember having a night-long discussion with some friends when it came out, and one of them said "well, when you look at the sky, it's about as realistic as possible. I mean photo-realistic" and, even though I remember thinking 'I'll look back at this conversation and laugh', it was hard not to disagree at the time. Also there was the fact that it was deceptive in its linearity. Aside from On A Rail, there were few points in the game where you felt like you were being forced into going in a single direction, like with all other Doom-clones. The level design was superb in this respect

If there's one thing seasoned HL1 players automatically do, it's memorise (unconsciously) the locations of every duct headcrab. Because those were the key jump moments. First time around, where you break an innocent looking grate, and then Rrwachhh! a headcrab leaps at your face before you can even react: all the sprinting-headcrab-zombies-climbing-up-drainpipes in the world couldn't match with that experience. Also the first time you get hooked on a barnacle, and the 'panting dog' sound effect confused and terrified you. I have no idea what that was like for people who played the sequel first, but instantly recognising and avoiding them in HL:2 must have taken something away from the shock value of being dragged upwards and munched.

SlyReaper wrote:Why would the more open feel of the sequel detract from the game?

I know Jerry Holkins is a proponent of this as well, but open-world games can be to their detriment. When faced with literally endless choice of where to go, one quickly develops fatigue. I like games to direct me, but oh-so-subtly, so I'm never aware of an invisible hand pushing me towards the next scripted scene. Half Life does this. HL:2 occasionally slips up (the vehicular levels make it painfully obvious there is only 1 route you can take, despite being so 'open')

Open games can leave you with the feeling that you're missing so damn much. I feel this way with Elder Scrollout 3, when I stumble across a skirmish and I've found I've missed most of the action, and ideally I should have been in the middle of all that, because it looked damned fun. If you take an open-world game like FarCrysis; it's amazing and brilliant but it will never garner the iconic status of Half Life, despite being technically superior (graphically, at least). I felt like I was missing too much when I'd skip past endless village huts filled with soldiers, and when I played through attacking all and sundry on the coastline, I felt like I was missing too much by steering clear of the jungle. I want to experience games in their completeness; to be told a story the way the storytellers want it to be told. Open games, whilst adding with such interactivity, occasionally makes you feel that the story is being diluted as the subtleties all but disappear when your traversing an open world, rather than a nuanced street.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:09 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:If there's one thing seasoned HL1 players automatically do, it's memorise (unconsciously) the locations of every duct headcrab. Because those were the key jump moments. First time around, where you break an innocent looking grate, and then Rrwachhh! a headcrab leaps at your face before you can even react: all the sprinting-headcrab-zombies-climbing-up-drainpipes in the world couldn't match with that experience. Also the first time you get hooked on a barnacle, and the 'panting dog' sound effect confused and terrified you. I have no idea what that was like for people who played the sequel first, but instantly recognising and avoiding them in HL:2 must have taken something away from the shock value of being dragged upwards and munched.
I said before in FT, the latest time I played through Half-Life, I only forgot a single headcrab, and when it leapt at me my heart jumped into my throat. It was the same as the first time I got hit by one unexpectedly. And the barnacles? So cool. I still enjoy them, because they're fun to pop, but I remember how freaked out I was by the first one. As another poster said already, Half-Life is an institution: it wasn't a Doom clone, and for a while after it everything was a Half-Life clone.

Still, the characterization was cool on a 'don't tell: show' level. Minimal dialogue, where the context does the rest of the talking. I mean, imagine you rock up to work one day, late, and then the whole world goes to shit. That's cool story-telling. Rocking upto the Ministry of Personal Liberties and being greeted like a hero? Cool, too, but certainly less relatable.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby BlazeOrangeDeer » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:52 am UTC

I think I should play half life again after hearing how much you guys like it, because the original didn't really impress me as much as the second one. (i played them chronologically when i bought the orange box) They are both very long games, but the original didn't really seem to give you any sense of what you were working towards story-wise, whereas the second was very clear with its storytelling. Also, Gravity Gun ftw!

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby 0rm » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:31 am UTC

I remember borrowing an online friends steam accound back when I played Halo on the PC (probably 15-16 then, I'm 20 now, i'm late to the party) and I remember Half Life basically freaking me out. After having oplayed through Halo I forget how many times, there was something about HalfLife I could not describe. It had that feeling that you were helpl;ess, trapped. Not empowered like so many other games. You had no idea what the hell was goin on.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby F-13 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:51 am UTC

I think sequels are naturally disadvantaged. We build upon our expectations and are always just a tiny bit disappointed something didn't turn out the way we wanted. I personally played HL2 first, and I like it better than the original. My view, perhaps, is skewed the opposite way. But to me, the sequel had more of an urban feel to it, and I always enjoy that in games, not to mention that it had more characters with their own quirkiness and I liked that in the game. I think the original had an austere and cold feel to it, which, for some reason, I never enjoyed in older games.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:44 am UTC

I'm more of a fan of the sequel. I technically played the original shortly after it came out at a friend's house, but I wasn't compelled by it then or when I revisited it after beating HL2.

I never felt claustrophobic in HL, I felt like I was inside. There wasn't any real sense of mystery for me. I didn't wonder why the aliens were there or what they were doing. I was able to accept the explanation that it was a lab accident gone wrong. G-Man's appearances were a "huh?" more than anything, but at no point did I really wonder about the backstory. The only really memorable part for me was when the marines showed up, both because I expected them to be on my side and because I had to run like crazy to escape them.

HL2 was a lot more atmospheric for me. Not just the enviroments, but the events. Running across rooftops and trying to escape the Combine before you get the crowbar; the first time a headcrab shell crashes in front of you; one of those walking tanks charging and firing its primary laser the first time; all of these make the game seem believable and compelling. The plot gave me a reason to care and obviously having more than two unique characters adds a lot.

Everyone seems to be making a big deal about the lack of apparent linearity in the first one, but it seemed very linear to me. Whenever I was lost I thought, "Where does the game want me to go?" HL2's linearity only stood out to me when there were unopenable doors. The criticism of the coastal level seems a bit absurd to me, since you're going on a highway between hills and a beach. Where else did you expect to go besides along the road?

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Plankton » Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:45 am UTC

I think Half-Life 1 had a much better and more original atmosphere than Half-Life 2. In HL1 Gordon Freeman was just some guy, trying to stay alive in an extremely hostile situation, but he returned in HL2 as some sort of prophetic chosen one (the one free man) here to kill all the evil combines, et cetera. This pretty much made him just another generic Master Chief/Duke Nukem/Doom Guy type of protagonist. Still a cool game, just didn't quite have what HL1 had.

Spoiler:
Also the abrupt ending and lack of proper boss fight against that giant maggot in a gas mask thing pissed me off. The final dialogue between Breen and the Combine advisor hinted that there was a whole other dimension you were gonna have to chase him though, but then Mr Briefcase appears, and that's it. Roll credits.


Do I even need to spoiler tag that? Half-Life 2 is about 5 or 6 years old now.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby mister k » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:15 pm UTC

Half Life 2 for me is just absurdly good. Half life was amazing for its time, but its a bit dated. Many of the sequences are a little bit clunky now, and just lack the absurdly polished design one sees in HL2 (and is even more apparent in the episodes). Half Life is epic, certainly, but most people who claim it to be better played them in that order (for the record, so did I), rather than in reverse.

The story telling method of Half Life was revolutionary for its time, but only works because there ISN'T really a story. In contrast the characters introduced in 2, especially the wonderful Alyx Vance are rich and fufilling, and actually make you care about npcs, which generally speaking is pretty hard to do.

Striders, ravenholm, the bridge battle, nova prospect, the freaking gravity gun. HL2 is just an astonishingly good game, a natural development of the imagination that went into creating half life, but with the technology to support sequences that simply weren't possible in the original.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Thesh » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:06 am UTC

I liked half life 2 and the episodes, but I think it's unfair to say half life had little or no story. Granted, I didn't give a damn about the NPCs, and I killed security guards with my crowbar as soon as I was done using him so that I could take their ammo.

For the record, Half-Life 1 I replayed about 10 times and could walk through the entire game in my head back in the day. Half-Life 2 I played once. While Half-Life 2 may be better than Half-Life 1 by today's standards, comparing to other games of their time I would say that Half-Life 1 takes the prize.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:42 am UTC

Well I'd say that's a silly measure for the quality of a game. Maybe HL1 was the best that could be made at the time. But time has passed and we are capable of making even better games now, and I believe HL2 to be one of them. I think the main quality HL1 has that HL2 lacks is nostalgia. People play it because they have fond memories of playing it for the first time. But people like myself, who played them in reverse order, we've been spoiled by the better modern games, so we don't enjoy HL1 as much. From today's point of view, HL1 is a pretty substandard game.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby traveltheory » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:14 am UTC

Half life 2 failed to surpass the original in literally every way.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby traveltheory » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:14 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Well I'd say that's a silly measure for the quality of a game. Maybe HL1 was the best that could be made at the time. But time has passed and we are capable of making even better games now, and I believe HL2 to be one of them. I think the main quality HL1 has that HL2 lacks is nostalgia. People play it because they have fond memories of playing it for the first time. But people like myself, who played them in reverse order, we've been spoiled by the better modern games, so we don't enjoy HL1 as much. From today's point of view, HL1 is a pretty substandard game.


I find this funny since ten years later its still the standard which games fail to meet.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby mister k » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:51 pm UTC

traveltheory wrote:Half life 2 failed to surpass the original in literally every way.


would you like to list these? [Also, double posting=bad. Its called the edit button]

It clearly surpassed it graphically, and arguably in story telling and plot, and easily in terms of characterisation. So not literally then. Unless you really want to argue that half life is prettier than its sequel.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby traveltheory » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:07 am UTC

mister k wrote:
traveltheory wrote:Half life 2 failed to surpass the original in literally every way.


would you like to list these? [Also, double posting=bad. Its called the edit button]

It clearly surpassed it graphically, and arguably in story telling and plot, and easily in terms of characterisation. So not literally then. Unless you really want to argue that half life is prettier than its sequel.


1. AI. The AI in half life 2 was one of the worst Ive ever seen. Where the first game pioneered enemies that used group tactics, flanking, grenades and covering fire the combine soldiers mostly stood out in the open and helplessly waited for death. Imagine my disappointment when I was ready for some white knuckle fire fights only to be able to stand out in the open and pluck the soldiers with my pistol for over half the game. Sure they hit harder later but its never challenging. This is probably its most glaring failure because it was one of the things the first game was most famous for. This alone can constitute it as a failure. The AI was litterally dumber then the standard horrible AI that was available at the time. They keep making games prettier, and they make the enemies shoot sharper and hit harder but they dont even bother trying to make them smarter even to this day.

2. Level Design. I get what they were going for really but they dropped the ball yet again here. With half the levels sparsely populated and poor excuses to simply show off the steam engine. While most first person shooters drop you on rails the environments felt so fake and manufactured it was extremely hard to become immersed in the game. Compare it to a game that came out around the Same time if not earlier, FEAR and there is a striking difference in the atmosphere .and Fear is one game that was horribly repetitive, but at least the levels looked believable. Now compare it to the original game, while not as pretty they went to great lengths to make an extremely coherent adventure, everywhere you go is part of a single complex all with their own purposes and can be obviously seen as such. As you wonder around black mesa you are actually wondering around black mesa instead of navigating a videogame. Id also take the environmental puzzles in the original game over the half baked physics puzzles that were more about showing off the engine then challenging the player. Even the games climax left you wondering around a sparse alien complex of questionable use and design. Id seen pretty games on the playstation 1 at this point. Graphics arent just smooth edges. I can design a really smooth room if it were mostly empty too. We should have moved past this years ago. The areas in half life had desks filled with clutter, freezers with meet and cases of food. While I wont say they were better entirely they were hardly worse in terms of design.

3.Story. I might catch some extra flack here so Ill say this one is a bit more subjective then the others. Essentially half life 2 failed to improve on the story telling of a ten year old game with almost no story. The original game at least did a good job of pulling you into the moment, telling the story of the accident through your own actions as you attempt to survive. But for the most part that was it, point a to point b. In this case less was probably more though. Glimpses of G-man doing his thing or hearing radio chatter or conversations of the commandos about sanitizing the the complex helped move you along. While half life 2 featured a ton more dialogue it was almost entirely pointless. You were just trucking along, helping the resistance out this time but without the benefit of the strong introduction that even half life 1 managed. You were left even more lost having no real idea what happened in the intervening time besides some conversations. I remember first coming across the friendly vortegunnt. After a brief explanation that in no way did justice to the situation you are left to think "huh, they are helping us now" and move right along, never really touching the subject again. The game basically does this with every plot point. Glossing over events, introducing points or sights but never really explaining them. You hardly even got an explanation as to how earth was conquered. You finally beat the game and are only given cryptic answers and more questions. If you actually believed valve had a plan that might be acceptable but it should be obvious at this point years later that they just had no clue what they were doing. Half life 3 is still probably 10 years off. IF they had some grand story telling plan why wait? Why waste time and lower interest in the franchise even more? They can roll out left 4 dead 2 in 9 months but cant make half life 3 in over 5 years? It honestly seems like they are doing everything possible to avoid making another half life. That doesn't say to me that they had some grand plan in mind.


'They treated their flagship game as a graphics demo.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:44 pm UTC

traveltheory wrote:
mister k wrote:
traveltheory wrote:Half life 2 failed to surpass the original in literally every way.


would you like to list these? [Also, double posting=bad. Its called the edit button]

It clearly surpassed it graphically, and arguably in story telling and plot, and easily in terms of characterisation. So not literally then. Unless you really want to argue that half life is prettier than its sequel.


1. AI.

2. Level Design.

3.Story.


'They treated their flagship game as a graphics demo.


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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby distractedSofty » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:00 am UTC

traveltheory wrote:3.Story. I might catch some extra flack here so Ill say this one is a bit more subjective then the others. Essentially half life 2 failed to improve on the story telling of a ten year old game with almost no story. The original game at least did a good job of pulling you into the moment, telling the story of the accident through your own actions as you attempt to survive. But for the most part that was it, point a to point b. In this case less was probably more though. Glimpses of G-man doing his thing or hearing radio chatter or conversations of the commandos about sanitizing the the complex helped move you along. While half life 2 featured a ton more dialogue it was almost entirely pointless. You were just trucking along, helping the resistance out this time but without the benefit of the strong introduction that even half life 1 managed. You were left even more lost having no real idea what happened in the intervening time besides some conversations. I remember first coming across the friendly vortegunnt. After a brief explanation that in no way did justice to the situation you are left to think "huh, they are helping us now" and move right along, never really touching the subject again. The game basically does this with every plot point. Glossing over events, introducing points or sights but never really explaining them. You hardly even got an explanation as to how earth was conquered. You finally beat the game and are only given cryptic answers and more questions. If you actually believed valve had a plan that might be acceptable but it should be obvious at this point years later that they just had no clue what they were doing. Half life 3 is still probably 10 years off. IF they had some grand story telling plan why wait? Why waste time and lower interest in the franchise even more? They can roll out left 4 dead 2 in 9 months but cant make half life 3 in over 5 years? It honestly seems like they are doing everything possible to avoid making another half life. That doesn't say to me that they had some grand plan in mind.


I would actually argue that the lack of detail shows how good the story telling is. Consider: Gordon Freeman (and by extension, you, the player) has been in some kind of stasis for between 10 and 20 years, and suddenly wakes up one day on a train. He is soon pursued by the local law enforcement, for some reason he's not really aware of, and meets up with some people who he knows, but now they are part of some kind of resistance? Against what? What happened while I was away? Why are you guys so old now? You get little snippets here and there, but everyone has come to accept what's gone down: you need to do so while also being on the run from an interdimensional army that wants to kill you. You kind of stumble into hero status in this resistance, mainly because you are trying to stay alive: many people are probably resigned to the fact that the combine sometimes kills people.

Everyone else in the game knows much more than Gordon, but they have no time to get him up to speed, because there's a war going on.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby traveltheory » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:27 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:I would actually argue that the lack of detail shows how good the story telling is. Consider: Gordon Freeman (and by extension, you, the player) has been in some kind of stasis for between 10 and 20 years, and suddenly wakes up one day on a train. He is soon pursued by the local law enforcement, for some reason he's not really aware of, and meets up with some people who he knows, but now they are part of some kind of resistance? Against what? What happened while I was away? Why are you guys so old now? You get little snippets here and there, but everyone has come to accept what's gone down: you need to do so while also being on the run from an interdimensional army that wants to kill you. You kind of stumble into hero status in this resistance, mainly because you are trying to stay alive: many people are probably resigned to the fact that the combine sometimes kills people.

Everyone else in the game knows much more than Gordon, but they have no time to get him up to speed, because there's a war going on.



This always bothered me as well. They hinted Gordon was special but he was originally just a scientist trying to survive. Sure he showed a talent for killing everything that moved but why would the resistance 20 years later assume gordon is this bad ass commando who could save them? None of them should have even known ANYTHING about what he did in black mesa, he rarely encountered other people and was taken away directly after he escaped.

Basically they should have said HOLY CRAP gordon is alive? What the hell where have you been? Can you help me push this into the test chamber? Are you an alien spy? I mean if showing up in a gordon suit , a guy whos been missing for years, is all it takes to infiltrate the resistance they have bigger problems.

The big problem here is you get the bread crumbs assuming more story is coming at the end of the game. You know like in Halo when they finally EXPLAIN the halo.

They never explain anything in this game, at least not fully.
Story telling was never a strength of valve. In fact their most popular games are multiplayer only with zero story.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Thesh » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:35 am UTC

I know what you mean about finishing the story. Half-Life 2 finished without really explaining what was going on, which I expected to come in the episodic content. If anyone doesn't know, the idea of episodic content is instead of waiting 3-5 years for a full length sequel, you only wait like 6 months to a year for a smaller episode; it's a really cool idea... When they can fucking execute it properly!

What's that, valve? Still no release date for episode 3?
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:34 am UTC

I've heard that Ep. 3 consists of a two and a half hour non-skippable cutscene that can be seen on the silver screen six months before it is released for home use
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Retne » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:20 am UTC

I have to say I prefer HL1. Partly due to nostalgia and many other factors which I will numerate:

1.) Story - As others have mentioned the HL story was much more believable. You aren't some beefy super-dude you're just a scientist who values his life. HL2 on the other hand turns you into some sort of super hero which I just didn't really get behind. The role changes led to 2 different feeling games. One felt more survival horror and stitching stuff together in a realistic situation(as realistic as zomg aliens can be that is). The other felt like another "I'm a bad MFer! You can't touch me." kind of games. I enjoy them both but I much preferred the HL way of doing things.

2.) Phsyics - Now I know I'm going to get shouted down on this one but I liked HL physics more. Source felt more floaty and slippery... OK I'm doing a bad job of describing myself here but lets just say that I felt the HL physics felt much more concrete and solid to me. The only part that I liked about the HL2 engine is that they didn't get rid of bunnyhopping which was part of the fun of the first one for me. In fact I liked that HL had more climby type puzzles where HL2 tried to keep you from climbing the walls.

3.) Atmosphere - This has been said to death but where I felt like I actually was Freeman in HL I did not feel like the character in HL2. HL had me twitching and made my heart race while in HL2 it felt like a game. That's not to say I didn't enjoy my playthrough of HL2 but HL enveloped me into it's world and had me feeling a part of it. This may be due to the order I played the series in. It also may have to do with how much older I was when I played HL2(hint hint valve).

4.) The Cloud - I'm not a fan of forced cloud use. While I understand it's use it also frustrates the hell out of me. Especially when the cloud patches away something that I actually liked and wont let you play the game untill you downgrade it. HL was stand alone and was better for it. HL2 forced you to use this stupid cloud whether or not you wanted to and it suffered for it. It's a fucking single player game I should not need an internet connection to play it. To this day every time I think about buying a steam game I ask myself if I will want to play it on an offline computer or not. In fact the only steam games I've bought in a while was the orange box. While the games were great it gives me a great urge to just pirate the damn game so I dont have to connect to the net to access it. I don't like that at all. I would much prefer to give money to people for awesome games. It's my way of saying "Good job. Do that some more please." I'm probably alone in this boat but it doesn't stop me from feeling this way.

5.) The Mods - Yes I know we aren't supposed to count this section but HL had one hell of a big modding community. I got so much use out of that copy of HL. I still boot up CS for some kz every now and again. With HL2 I can't remember a single mod sticking out to me(Portal doesn't count as that was a stand alone game develpoed by Valve). I played a little Gary's Mod but I just didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else. Granted this is where I fear my Nostalgia Goggles(tm) kick in the hardest so I will refrain from going too deep into this and I will also concede that I might have missed some good mods. I just enjoyed the HL mods I played more.

I also would appreciate some ep3 news. Ep2 ended on a cliff-hanger and I want to know what happens! *Shakes fist at valve* I also still want to be in my 20s when I play ep3. Hopefully that isn't too much to ask?

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby nowfocus » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

Retne wrote:4.) The Cloud - I'm not a fan of forced cloud use. While I understand it's use it also frustrates the hell out of me. Especially when the cloud patches away something that I actually liked and wont let you play the game untill you downgrade it. HL was stand alone and was better for it. HL2 forced you to use this stupid cloud whether or not you wanted to and it suffered for it. It's a fucking single player game I should not need an internet connection to play it. To this day every time I think about buying a steam game I ask myself if I will want to play it on an offline computer or not. In fact the only steam games I've bought in a while was the orange box. While the games were great it gives me a great urge to just pirate the damn game so I dont have to connect to the net to access it. I don't like that at all. I would much prefer to give money to people for awesome games. It's my way of saying "Good job. Do that some more please." I'm probably alone in this boat but it doesn't stop me from feeling this way.

Steam has an offline mode - you can play your games when you aren't connected to the internet. On your login there should be a "start steam in offline mode" option.
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby rapturemachine » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:02 am UTC

I'm more of a fan of HL2 than HL1. Part of the reason for that is that I played both of them in 2008-2009, since that's when I started gaming (and I'm 19 - kinda late to the party, I know, but better late than never :) ). People had higher standards for videogame graphics then, and I was no exception to this even though I was so new to gaming. (I've turned into a complete graphics whore since then.) I was also not able to experience how amazing HL1 was in 1998 since I didn't play it until ten years later. It wasn't as iconic to me as it could have been because of this. HL1 felt clunky and outdated to me; HL2 was fresher, newer, better-looking, had more interesting characters, and felt more polished than HL1.

That's not to say that I disliked HL1, though - there are some things I liked about it. It's been a while since I've played either, so any comparisons I draw might be a little off, but I do remember how much the atmosphere in HL1 affected me. One of the first scenes, where a scientist is bending over something bloody on a stretcher, just sent chills up my spine. I don't remember if there was anything like that in HL2 - I'm sure there was, but I think that the fact that I remember what creeped me out in HL1 and not in HL2 says something. However, I still think HL2 had more going for it.

I honestly can't complain about how the levels in HL2 allow you to only go one way. I kinda like that. In expansive games, especially RPGs, I sometimes get overwhelmed by all the possibilities. If I take the left fork in the road, what if it takes me on some crazy sidetrack and I forget that the right fork even exists because I'm so caught up in what's happening? How will I know what I'm missing out on then? I have a compulsive need to do absolutely everything in a game, and the inability to go the wrong way is almost welcome sometimes.

I also like the fact that in HL2, Gordon is regarded as a hero. I would much rather play a game where I am a designated super-awesome beefy dude than just some guy. I really disliked the idea that a random physicist could just pick up a gun and start kicking ass. That's too unrealistic, and it feels like it's just trying too hard to appeal to a general audience. I'd rather feel like a seasoned fighter who's been through this already and whom the people depend on.

But honestly, the selling point for me is not even either of the games, it's Episode 2. EP2 is definitely my favorite installment of the entire Half-Life series, and maybe even my favorite game ever. I loved how personal the conflict with the Hunters felt after what happened to Alyx. And the Hunters themselves... they were terrifying, but they were magnificent. Their mechanical screams made me panic. I was legitimately scared of them for most of the game.

Conversely, Opposing Force killed HL1 for me. I can't even remember what I hated about it so much, but I remember thinking it was awful, boring, and the last boss fight was laughable at best.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Felstaff » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:49 pm UTC

I'm a staunch Half-Life 1 fan, but when it comes to Paper Half-Life, I'm clearly in the 2 camp.

Paper Half-Life

Paper Half-Life 2

Oh goodness, Gordon's eyebrow at 1.19 is just the dickens!
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Retne » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:22 am UTC

nowfocus wrote:Steam has an offline mode - you can play your games when you aren't connected to the internet. On your login there should be a "start steam in offline mode" option.


Last time I bothered trying to use steam without net access you had to get your system on the net and log in. Then you had to pull the plug to force steam into offline mode and then turn it off. Then steam only worked for ~1 month then you had to repeat the process. No idea if it works better now. All I know is that put me off buying steam things quite a bit.

Granted I'm so addicted to valve's games I will still probably buy portal 2 and the last HL episode. After that I'm sure there will be some other valve software that even my hatred of steam wont prevent me from buying. Heck steam might even be working better seeing as it has been many years since I was actively using it(yeah.... sure). OK enough of the cloud talk.

As for paper HL I don't think I have a favorite. I do wish he had used the gman voice samples, though I guess the only time he used voice samples was for the scientist in PHL 1. Still I think the gman samples are just as iconic as the other sounds he used. All in all pretty darn amusing. :mrgreen:

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby 13livesify » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:47 am UTC

I played the Half-Life series in order, playing the first in early 2010 (I caught on late) and I thought it was absolutely amazing. It was one of my first F.P.S.s and (obviously) rubbed off on me. Then I played Half-Life 2 and it was just as amazing. These days when I play Half-Life, it just doesn't hold the same magic at the first time. So, I'll have to say: The Half-Life series is the best game series EVER and it doesn't matter which one is better because they both are great. Half-Life hasn't aged well unfortunately in my opinion (although it held out for at least ten years) but it doesn't matter because now we have BLACK MESA!!!!!

P.S. If one day Half-Life 3 comes out, do you:
1. Think VALVe should make another Half-Life game?
2. In the inevitable box-set (which I will totally buy) do you think it should include Half-Life and expansions, or Black Mesa, Operation: Black Mesa, Guard Duty and Hazard Team - the remakes.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Thesh » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:02 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:What's that, valve? Still no release date for episode 3?


Still there, valve?
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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:53 pm UTC

Forget Episode 3. Just declare the episodes to be the mistakes that they were and make the original HL2 ending canon.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Derek » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:00 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Forget Episode 3. Just declare the episodes to be the mistakes that they were and make the original HL2 ending canon.

Ok, I can maybe see this argument for Episode 1. But are you really calling Episode 2 bad?

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:37 am UTC

Not from a gameplay perspective, in fact, it was just as fun as Half Life 2. But for the purposes of telling a story or advancing the existing story, both Episodes were total failures. Mostly, you just go from point A to point B while fighting stuff. I guess you stop the Combine from opening another portal for reinforcements, but what does that add? The defeated enemy wasn't really defeated so we must not really defeat them again and when we do, we'll be in the same situation as before. There was almost nowhere for the story to go from there in Episode 3, except for the allusions to the mysterious ship in the frozen north. But it seems pretty clear that they had no idea where they were going with that and realized they had wrote themselves into a corner.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby EvanED » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:23 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:Forget Episode 3. Just declare the episodes to be the mistakes that they were and make the original HL2 ending canon.

Ok, I can maybe see this argument for Episode 1. But are you really calling Episode 2 bad?

Actually I'd flip those... I liked Ep1 more both from a gameplay (though this is close) and story perspective.

But "mistakes"? Really? I wish I could cough up a "mistake" that's better than 99% of games out there.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby Derek » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:05 am UTC

EvanED wrote:Actually I'd flip those... I liked Ep1 more both from a gameplay (though this is close) and story perspective.

I think you're the first person I've met who's said that.

I've always rated the games: HL > Ep 2 > HL 2 > Ep 1

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby EvanED » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:08 am UTC

Derek wrote:
EvanED wrote:Actually I'd flip those... I liked Ep1 more both from a gameplay (though this is close) and story perspective.

I think you're the first person I've met who's said that.

I've always rated the games: HL > Ep 2 > HL 2 > Ep 1

I know a lot of people liked the ending strider battle in Ep2, and while I enjoyed it, I'm not as big of a fan as most people seem to be -- I don't really consider it among the best moments in the series (or even the most fun part of Ep2, though it was a really good climax) and I think I liked the train station escort part of Ep1 more. I wasn't a huge fan of the spitting antlions, I disliked Dr Magnusson1, and I didn't like the way Dr M was introduced2. I also missed taking down airships and striders with the rocket launcher; I don't remember any time you do that in Ep2. I am however very much looking forward to any explanations of The G Man's scenes; I think those make a good "cliffhanger" even though they didn't come at the end and are the most compelling part of Ep2's story for me.

1 I know he was meant to be obnoxious, but "meant to be obnoxious" is still obnoxious, especially if he doesn't react if you shoot him in the face (or maybe "can't"? I don't remember).
2 Yahtzee: "A new character is brought in without warning and everyone acts like we've always known him; it's actually quite perplexing. Valve have done a great job of making us empathize with all the major NPCs so far, so being introduced to a new one at this late stage is like coming home from school to find a walrus sitting at the family dinner table and you're the only one who seems to notice." I don't necessarily object to bringing him in, but I don't like the "you remember Dr M, right?" attitude. It'd have been better to say "here's someone who joined the resistance movement" "nice to meet you".

Both Ep1 and Ep2 have some really great moments, and judging only by those I find it hard to pick one -- but Ep2 had more things I disliked, and on that ground Ep1 wins out. Ep1 also had the better "full commitment" achievement: "the one free bullet" was fun pretty much throughout, while "little rocket man" was in some ways both less interesting and really annoying, particularly the helicopter chase. (I couldn't even do my idea of "go kill the helicopter then go back for the gnome" because Valve blocked the exit from the rebel base with an invisible wall. Not even "oh the helicopter crashed here and blocked the path, or shot down this container crate" or something, it's an invisible wall in a series that is generally pretty darn permissive about going back.)

My rating would be HL2 > Ep1 > Ep2. [Edit: of course, all of those >s are close calls.] I can't really put in HL1; for a couple reasons, I only played about halfway.

Anyway, probably not my only unconventional view about video games... for instance, have you played the Mass Effect trilogy? For me, ME1 is the clear winner in the series for both gameplay and plot, though ME3 rivals the story. Also, I think the ME3 ending is way better than the human reaper fight at the end of ME2. I pretty much hated that sequence; I felt like I was suddenly warped from the ME universe into some shitty B movie. My impression is both of those views are.. atypical.

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Re: Half-Life vs. Half Life 2

Postby GenericAnimeBoy » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:18 am UTC

Why choose between them? Black Mesa is out! :D
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