Ships Ahoy - Half-Life 2: Episode One

Valve announces that Half-Life 2: Episode One is now available via Steam:
Valve Launches First of an Episodic Trilogy

Bellevue, WA, June 1, 2006 - Valve®, developer of the blockbuster series Half-Life® and Counter-Strike™, announced Half-Life® 2: Episode One is now available via Steamgames.com for just $19.95 and at retail outlets around the world.

The first in a trilogy of episodic games, Episode One reveals the aftermath of Half-Life 2 and launches a journey beyond City 17. Episode One does not require Half-Life 2 to play and also includes a first look at Episode Two, which will ship by year's end.

In addition to the new single player experience, two multiplayer games are included. And those who purchase Episode One will have free access via Steam (www.steamgames.com) to Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, the interactive technology demo that introduces High Dynamic Range lighting to the SourceTM Engine, Valve's award-winning game technology.
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Jun 2, 2006, 00:46
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Re: ... Jun 2, 2006, 00:46
Jun 2, 2006, 00:46
 
What a completely biased and absurdly unfair comparison... you skimmed over almost everything of HL2, yet your description of Ep1 is an essay in verbosity. Don't even pretend that that was a fair comparison. To say that Ep1 had more plot than HL2 is downright delusional.

My point wasn't to make a direct comparison between the lengths of my summaries. The point was that more shit happens in a shorter amount of time in Episode 1 than what happens in Half-Life 2. HL2 had very little story information with long stretches in between bits of story. Episode 1 in comparison has some fairly meaty (by Half-Life standards) plot points at much more frequent interval.

One of the main and most interesting plot points of the Half-Life series is the Gman and yet he only has a token role here.

And I imagine that token role will be expanded considerably by the end of the trilogy. We've only got a third of the story arc remember. Think of the movies you've seen where a plot hook is introduced at the beginning of the movie but it's not fully dealt with until the final act. I imagine that's what we'll see over the course of the episode releases.

he plot didn't progress, it just did more of the same... nothing was revealed, just more questions asked.

Nothing progressed? Nothing was revealed? No the secrets of the Half-Life universe weren't unveiled but we did find out the following:

1.All of the other Citadels have been disabled, stranding the Combine on Earth
2.There is a secret Combine message, that probably details the next step in their plans, i.e. how to respond to the rebellion
3.The slug creatures that Breen was seen talking to at the end of HL2 are actually on Earth and have some sort of powerful psionic attack
4.Said slugs have been spread around the countryside via the citadel escape pods, especially important given that Episode 2 apparently takes place in said countryside.
5.There is some sort of secret project that was undertaken by the Black Mesa crew at an arctic base, that may have some significant impact on the ability of humanity to resist further combine invasions.
6.While the Combine is temporarily isolated on Earth, a counterattack is expected and the resistance is trying to figure out how best to prepare for it.

The biggest issues I had were the lack of freedom and the gimmicky gameplay:

I understand the lack of freedom but I fail to see how the other stuff is "gimmicky". You mention some of the puzzles but puzzles are a gameplay challenge, not a gimmick. If you were to get rid of all "gimmicky" gameplay elements then the game would be all action without any of the trademark Half Life puzzle solving. Additionally, there needs to be some consistency between challenges or the player isn't going to be able to understand what needs to happen. Ideally you introduce a gameplay element then you put a few twists on it so the player has to take something they're familiar with and figure out a new application of it while under some sort of pressure. Therefore, the repetition of certain puzzle elements is necessary for challenge to ramp up reasonably.

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