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Tristan




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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:51 pm Post subject: Half-Life 2: Episode Two Review Reply with quote

Half-Life 2: Episode Two Review by Tristan
PC Review: Sublime storytelling and engaging action.
[View Article]

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:11 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Am I going to be utterly confused by picking this up? I want to get the Orange Box or whatever it's called. I half-finished HL, never saw HL2 or Ep 1.

I really don't want to go back and play them, so do you think I should read a 'summary' of sorts to understand the storyline, or just get the game and play it?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:22 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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My only real complaint is that wasn't the whole point of episodic content to bring more frequent release at a cheper price (not that I'm complainig about the orane box...its a bargain for those coming in fresh).........
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:31 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Mitchacho wrote:
Am I going to be utterly confused by picking this up? I want to get the Orange Box or whatever it's called. I half-finished HL, never saw HL2 or Ep 1.

I really don't want to go back and play them, so do you think I should read a 'summary' of sorts to understand the storyline, or just get the game and play it?


The Orange Box contains HL2 and EP1, as well as Ep2/Portal/TF2, so as far as recent events are concerned, you shouldn't be too confused.

I'd probably suggest reading a synopsis of HL1 or finishing it (I know you didn't like it Mitch icon_wink.gif ) in order to get the full experience, but tbh it isn't necessary.

emech wrote:
My only real complaint is that wasn't the whole point of episodic content to bring more frequent release at a cheper price (not that I'm complainig about the orane box...its a bargain for those coming in fresh).........


As the article says, you don't need to buy the Orange Box, you can buy it standalone for US$29.95 on Steam.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:38 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Oh my sweet Jesus. I just finished HL2 Ep2 and I am in complete awe. All that was laid out in this review is absolutely spot on.

If you want the proper experience I'd suggest playing through all of them again (Even HL1). I did that, and it was WELL worth it. I played HL1 (Source), HL2, Ep1 right up to (This last) Tuesday and got stuck into Ep2 on Wednesday arvo right when it was unlocked on Steam.

Also I'd suggest playing through Portal (if you get the OB) before EP2, mainly because its a lot shorter and kinda connects a little also.

I am so totally psyched for Ep3 now I think I just wet myself...
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:01 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Haha I'm looking forward to Orange Box of course I really should finished Half-Life on my PC first. I've only owned it for about 2 years.

On a side not, Do Opposing Force and Blue Shift contribute much to the overall storyline?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:22 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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^ You don't really need to play Opposing Force or Blue Shift to understand the majority of the story of HL2 because the games took place at the same time as Half Life 1. The only difference is you get to play two different characters. So I wouldn't really bother.

Luckily I just found my old copy of HL1 so I might get it finished before HL2 copes out. Your review has me very hyped for Episode 2!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:14 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Mitchacho wrote:
Am I going to be utterly confused by picking this up? I want to get the Orange Box or whatever it's called. I half-finished HL, never saw HL2 or Ep 1.

I really don't want to go back and play them, so do you think I should read a 'summary' of sorts to understand the storyline, or just get the game and play it?


Why do you want to play Ep2 but not Ep1 or HL2? I'm bewildered.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:46 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Good point. I was going to pick up Orange Box because Portal piqued my eye. This obviously comes with it. It looks awesome and I want to play Ep1 & 2 but my question was regarding if the storyline is too confusing rah rah rah.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:40 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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A13x wrote:


As the article says, you don't need to buy the Orange Box, you can buy it standalone for US$29.95 on Steam.


That doesnt explain a 15 month break for the same engine and 10 hours content (with my completly un-researched observation that complete sequals with new engines are released about every 2 years and SAM and MAX "episodes" being delivered with a quicker timetable - as according to the episodic content promise)

And yes im discount portal and team fortress in this 10 hours "value" discussion.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:57 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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IF you were a developer for such a project I'm sure it would be clearer, as games don't write themselves.

Every model that is added takes lengthy work to design, build, unwrap, texture, animate, add to the engine with correct properties etc. Not to mention all the facial animation for dialogue, the level design, scripting and so on.

Having an engine and assets is of course a booster, but when you recall that Valve were working on Portal and TF2, and all the respective console versions at the same time, it becomes more understandable.

Sam and Max episodes are probably not the best comparison, as they reuse environments and dialogue in each episode, and do not have to worry about material properties, physics and the like. The players are restricted in their movement a lot more than in an FPS, which takes out a lot of the work that is involved in a project like HL2.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:01 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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All I am saying its that 2 years or so is pretty standard for stand alobne sequals with new engines. The episodic argument was to have smaller games delivered more often. We are getting the smaller games, but the speed factor hasn't necessarilly followed through.....

I would have preferred to see portal release say 6 months (or so) after episode one, epiode 2 6 or so months after that and team fortress around now with the promise of epside 3 around April next year. Smaller, chaper games released more frequently..... the episodic promise.......

EDITED TO ADD SOME FURTHER READING http://steamreview.org/posts/episodicexperiment/ and a comment from "Tazers Hurt" on that page that may also have some relevence

"I think that a main reason that this is going so slow for Valve is that they are trying to get the simultaneous Ps3/360/PC launch. Get it out on the PC first, and let the console people want it even more! Then release for massive profit."
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:12 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Well this is Valve we are talking about, and I'm happy they put quality above quantity, unlike the Battlefield games which come out after a year and a half between each and lack all the features that fixed the earlier ones, requiring a year or two of patching to make them the same quality as they should have originally been.

When you look back at a lot of the best regarded titles, you will see lengthy development times across the board, of course, you do get the bigger developers pushing titles out every year, but they do not necessarily match the quality of HL2.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:49 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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emech wrote:
All I am saying its that 2 years or so is pretty standard for stand alobne sequals with new engines.


Care to name some titles like that because I can't think of many if any. Most use an engine from an earlier title in the series, often heavily modified but still the same engine.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:15 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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emech, which would you prefer? A release every 6 months, or a game of this quality? I'm pretty sure Valve aren't "slacking off". The truth is that games of this quality take time. Half-life 2 was 5 years in development.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:16 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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I did say "(with my completly un-researched observation "

Perhaps Valvle would have been better off calling them expansions rather then episodes.....

For one example oblivion was able to offer an new "episode" 12 months and one week after intial release (Shivering Isles: according to wiki) with a smaller "episdoic" updates (knights of the nine) 8 months after release.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:21 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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the Half life 2 ENGINE and game was 5 years in development. They have the engine (and by now are experts at it).

Epospdic content was planned, so we can assume the plot/script was largley already developed as well.

So we are talking art work /modelling in the main.

I would have prefered to have value FOCUS on the episodes and deliver on THEIR promise and worry less about the mods (which is what TF2 & portal basically are --- quality to be sure, but mods none the less)
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:24 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Remember though, an expansion require the original game to play it, the Half life episodes work fine without a copy of Half Life 2.

Oblivion's expansions required you to own Oblivion, and the content they added was merely adding things to the existing environment, aside from Shivering Isles which I believe added a new area.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:37 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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The story and gameplay are much more involved in a single episode of Half Life 2 compared to 'expansions' too. It's closer to Warrior Within coming after Sands of Time than it is to say an expansion to the Civilization game.

Valve have also said or at least insinuated (I can't remember which) that they wish they hadn't gone with the term 'episode'. Too late to turn back time now though. And anyway, do you take umbrage at the fact that the Star Wars movies are labelled episodes and came out years apart?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:39 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Ok some research is done:
Quality games with full story / char / environments updates using similar engines

Star Wars KotOR 1 & 2 (16 months gap)

Neverwinter nights (episode 2 "shadows" 12 months, episode 3 "hordes" 6 months later) Four offical "episodes" (kingmaker expansion modules + pirates) releaed in the following 18 months and NWN 2 just over 3 years later.

Tomb raider legend to tomb raider anniversary (same developer / similar engine) 13 months

EDIT : To be clear (and warap this up?) my rant isn't about Valve, and we all want quality over quantity. I'm simply saying that the concept of "epsisodic content" as promised hasn't been delivered. Instead we have seen a simialar "expansion pack" release method, just with open-ended conclusions (and weren't we all in a rage when bungie did this with halo 2)?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:46 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Unfortunately emech, your argument is flawed. Episode 2 is fantastic value when bundled in The Orange Box.

If you call Portal and Team Fortress 2 mods, then you're calling every game using a third party or previously used engine a mod. By your description, Quake 4, Prey and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars would be mods of Doom 3 (id tech 4). Splinter Cell, Pariah, Warpath and SWAT 4 would be mods of Unreal Tournament 2003/4 (UE2.0/2.5).

Hell, I could go further and say that Half-Life is just a heavily enhanced Quake mod icon_wink.gif

In many ways there is a fine line between a mod and a retail game, hence why they often sometimes overlap (Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Red Orchestra etc), but the definition is right there. Retail game or a mod.

Anyho, now that I've gotten that horribly unrelated rant out of the way, I'll point out that Episode 2 would be an expansion if it added content to an existing game. Episode 2 can function completely separately of Half-Life 2, meaning it is standalone, and therefore not an expansion.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:53 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Passa wrote:
Episode 2 can function completely separately of Half-Life 2, meaning it is standalone, and therefore not an expansion.


Only becasue Valve have shipped it with the source engine in-tact rather then insisting you have teh source engine installed on your dirve first
(dungeon seige did a simialr thing with its "stand alone" expansion, as did Dawn of War with its latest exapansion)

EDIT: and credit to valve for doing so, as most compaines opt not to do stand alones to force an additional sale of the original title. Anyway, I've stated my piece and got it off my chest. Ep 2 is here now and I'll enjoy it while its here, as I'm sure should we all...............
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 8:05 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Tristan wrote:
, do you take umbrage at the fact that the Star Wars movies are labelled episodes and came out years apart?


IF George Lucas said we would see half length (hour long) movies instead; more often (say every 6-8 months) at half the ticket price per screening, (which he didnt) Yes, you bet I would. And this was basically the episodic promise.

We ARE getting the half length title, at half price ticket but not the shorter screening dates (which is what my entire rant was all about)

As suggested in an earlier comment, this SEEMS more equilvant to the matrix/pirates sequal production (shoot at same time, but delayed in its screening mainly due to MARKETING, with some bonus time for editing the final films)
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 8:08 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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emech wrote:
We ARE getting the half length title, at half price ticket but not the shorter screening dates (which is what my entire rant was all about)


Thats the bit I'm trying to explain. If Valve was to instead release all the episodes as one game instead, then we could expect a 5 year development cycle before it is complete.

The idea of the episodes is working as planned as the episodes are letting players play the game in sections as they are developed, rather than having to wait 5 years for the entire project to be finished.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 8:17 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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838 La
Ah, I'm just an old grumble bum........perhaps if I typed a bit slower (for fewer typos - my posts are FULL of them) I would have a weekly rant article for you. I always seem to be able to find something to whinge about..........
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