View Full Version : Game Review: Orange Box Part 2: HL2 Episode 2

28th January 2008, 09:39 PM
Well what can I say? This is one hell of a sequel. This is the first of the episodic game series that uses HDR in its gameplay. Much like the Lost Coast mod, it displays what the HL2 engine can really do. Now that most video cards out there can deal with HDR it should be no problem for gamers to enjoy its benefits now. I think Valve really planned this one out when they decided to go the episodic gaming route. The scenery looks great, the water effects are amazing, and it really adds to the atmosphere of the game. The game not only includes HDR, but takes you through scenic levels just to show it off. Unlike FPS games like Farcry which looked great, but was filled with far too much action to enjoy it with, Episode 2 actually incorporates the scenery into the gameplay. At various times in the game characters will refer you to particular visuals in the game. I thought this incorporated its great graphics, without making it seem too cheap.

Graphics aside, what really got me into the game was the music. The musical score for this episode was great because it coincided with the action in this episode. This episode consists of a lot of action sequences. Some of which were repetitive with the series already, but it’s not like they were bad to begin with. They also introduced a whole new element into the action, which I can only refer to as an FPS version of Tower Defense. You’re basically suppose to stop the enemies from entering a given area, and you have some room to take them out with. At one point you could set up the turrets and mines to delay their advance. With scenerios like these you get a lot of action, some strategy, and even story elements. I think this is probably the most engaging episode out of the two, but it didn’t feel short in my mind.

They’ve also improved on the AI with less crowding, and oh I don’t know, competence? In this episode you can actually rely on them to hold off an advance while you heal up, grab more ammo, or take care of your own front. You’re also introduce to having Vortigaunts as character that aid you throughout the battles. You’re introduced to a lot of their abilities, and personality. My only gripe is that they seemed incapable of doing the things they do in half life 1, nor have the ability to be speak, and I don’t know…FRIENDLY? I just remember them as the annoying mofos that would zap you with perfect accuracy if you didn’t jump behind cover. Which makes it all the better that they’re apparently on your side now.

On the whole I don’t know what else to say about the game. Again, it is short, but this one left me wanting no only more, but also placing the series onto some progressing plot. Episode 1 lacked any real overall theme, but in episode 2 you’re introduced to new enemies, plots, and various twists throughout the game. You come to realize that everything is somehow connected with Portal even which got me wanting to see more. If you were ever skeptical of the episodic games for half life, I’d high suggest you play through til episode 2.