236: Gordon Freeman, Private Eye

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A well-written and spot-on article that makes me want to share my own little HL2 "moment of epiphany".

Not long after you've traversed roughly fifteen skajillion miles of canals in your little speedboat and come upon the Resistance outpost that finally arms your vehicle so you can take on that pesky helicopter, there's a severe left turn in the canal accompanied by a small cul-de-sac where two Civil Protection officers are standing. It only takes a quick blast from your plasma cannon to bring them down, and it's easy to just ride on to the next part- but I took the road drainage ditch less traveled, and stopped the boat to have a look. After dealing with a headcrab/zombie ambush with a grenade, I took a look around.

The cul-de-sac was obviously used as a miniature outpost/rest stop by the Resistance. A makeshift watchtower held a mattress and canned goods in a milk crate, a windmill just above the lip probably supplied power to nearby equipment, and the bodies of two civilians lay sprawled about, testament to the Combine's ruthlessness. Unseen, above the walls, a wind chime clanked in the breeze.

It was there, in that secluded hideaway that in the end just hadn't been hidden enough, in the culvert of a canal that held shallow puddles of toxic waste instead of rushing waters, I listened to the lonely breeze and the melancholy tinkling of the wind chime. And it hit me with full force just how absolutely alien the world had become, how outmatched this silent theoretical physicist in a hopped-up spacesuit was by this situation, with hideously-transformed innocents lunging out of pools of radioactive waste to claw at him, and jack-booted lackeys of a cruel alien occupation whose grasp spanned entire dimensions hunting him down. I felt like a tiny little orange-suited speck.

It was a hell of a feeling.

DBlack:
What the hell??? The entire half life series has been slightly entertaining at best, and portal had shit for story line! I loved the game portal because it was fun NOT because it was full of depth. Its like saying Mario Bros. had a revolutionary storyline and amazing character development. No...it...fucking...didnt.

I will say, sir, that you are entirely welcome to your own opinion (which is what this is, truly). However you will very quickly learn that this opinion is the minority here.

DBlack:
What the hell??? The entire half life series has been slightly entertaining at best, and portal had shit for story line! I loved the game portal because it was fun NOT because it was full of depth. Its like saying Mario Bros. had a revolutionary storyline and amazing character development. No...it...fucking...didnt.

Im getting pritty sick about how Escapist Magazine has been promoting Valve like they were married. How old are these damn games anyways?? I've been hearing about how amazing half life 2 was for what seems like years. You really need to start writing about something a little more recent, unless your boss works for Valve. Then by all means continue deepthrouting your pride.

t(''t)

Try reading the article again, and maybe even a number of the comments here. It's all explained and justified.
Otherwise, thanks for soiling what was an enjoyable thread.

I have nothing to add to the discussion, other than looking forward to finally finishing HL2 even more.

Is it just me, or does Gordon in that edited picture look like Yahtzee???

Onyx Oblivion:
Wow. Just wow.

That said, when it comes to telling a story, nothing can beat Lost Odyssey's dream sequences.

To me, even Half-Life pales in comparison.

The music, the way words appear, it all blends to make me cry every fucking time I watch that.

Bless you for sharing this, I would never have come across this I think any other way.

In Portal, I can still remember exploring behind the walls, seeing the scrawl on the room, the empty water and food containers, and get shivers down my back as if that person who put all that there was still around, watching me, hoping I might succeed where others failed. With HL2 I more felt a sense of loneliness seeing the ruins, knowing that there was someone there, but they are most certainly dead. Still just as strong a feeling.

Well this was a good read // I like the bit on page one about the house off highway 17, I've never noticed it before but its something Im now goin back to check

-M

I enjoyed playing the Half-Life series and Portal, awesome story telling through and through. But for me, the most story I got from some non-story telling was every involvement G-Man was in, later talked near the end of Episode 2.

I mean, come on. A disturbingly symmetrical human-like being in a business suit who is involved the two worse times in humanity's near destruction. The first is that he gave the material to Black Mesa in the first Half-Life and then watched you as you went about, killing the alien invaders. I immediately got the feeling that he was Humanity's watcher, but had some sort of 'falling out' I guess would be the word to describe his machinations in the attacks.

The second part that really got me was when the Vortigaunts came at the beginning of Episode 1, barring G-man from taking Gordon. That is when I learned that the Vortigaunts obviously knew what G-man was, and when combined together the Vortigaunts were able to disrupt G-man's powers and machinations.

And the second part directly leads to this third part, Episode 2. That's when it all struck me hard that many of the characters are here 'because' of G-man's machinations in the current downfall of humanity. He made sure Alyx wasn't killed at Black Mesa. He made contact with Eli with Black Mesa and the confirmation of giving the GG-3883.

What makes me wonder what happens next is how G-man will be involved in Episode 3 when/if it comes out.

I dunno, man. I've been saying for internet ages* that storyline in games needs to shy away from the traditional book/movie/etc. linear progression, and focus on giving players experiences rather than just telling them what happens. This is exactly what I'm talking about. And yet... Half-Life? Meh. I had no enjoyable experiences playing it, the no cutscenes method they use is entertaining precisely once and utterly boring every time you want to replay it, and... those little tidbits are just part of the world. I wouldn't call that story, although by my own definition I should.

Perhaps it's because the HL series is so close to my primordial idea of what a game should be like that my mind immediately classifies it as 'average'. Or maybe when I finally got around to playing HL2 I was so surprised by how awful its game design was that I saw nothing more in blind rage. The episodes were better, though (or maybe I got used to the bad?) and Alyx deserves everything good that's said to her as a character, even if I can't remember how her name is spelled.

My most pertinent memory regarding this is when I was playing the game with the commentaries, and I went into that room where the larval advisor first appears. In it there was a commentary regarding all the things the developers had put to make absolutely sure players would look at the advisor during that sequence, I think there were about four redundant tools to make sure the scene would go as planned. I was like, "What the fuck is he talking about? What is there to see in this room?" Not only had I missed the advisor on my first playthrough, I missed it again on my calmer, commentary playthough, and didn't even know I had missed something. There's probably a point in there, and I think it is 'never underestimate players' ability to stare at a mildly interesting floor tile when something amazing happens elsewhere'.

DBlack:
What the hell??? The entire half life series has been slightly entertaining at best, and portal had shit for story line! I loved the game portal because it was fun NOT because it was full of depth. Its like saying Mario Bros. had a revolutionary storyline and amazing character development. No...it...fucking...didnt.

t(''t)

Yet,I kinda have to agree with this, especially the kirby flipping off, which is kind of awesome. Portal had interesting characters and what they said could keep you engaged, but that's only a small part of a good story. Perhaps this is already a matter of semantics.

(By the way, my favourite theory about the Rat Man is that Chell clones are massively produced and he is one that escaped midway through the test.)

*1 internet age = 2.5 weeks.

The Random One:
I dunno, man. I've been saying for internet ages* that storyline in games needs to shy away from the traditional book/movie/etc. linear progression, and focus on giving players experiences rather than just telling them what happens. This is exactly what I'm talking about. And yet... Half-Life? Meh. I had no enjoyable experiences playing it, the no cutscenes method they use is entertaining precisely once and utterly boring every time you want to replay it, and... those little tidbits are just part of the world. I wouldn't call that story, although by my own definition I should.

Perhaps it's because the HL series is so close to my primordial idea of what a game should be like that my mind immediately classifies it as 'average'. Or maybe when I finally got around to playing HL2 I was so surprised by how awful its game design was that I saw nothing more in blind rage. The episodes were better, though (or maybe I got used to the bad?) and Alyx deserves everything good that's said to her as a character, even if I can't remember how her name is spelled.

My most pertinent memory regarding this is when I was playing the game with the commentaries, and I went into that room where the larval advisor first appears. In it there was a commentary regarding all the things the developers had put to make absolutely sure players would look at the advisor during that sequence, I think there were about four redundant tools to make sure the scene would go as planned. I was like, "What the fuck is he talking about? What is there to see in this room?" Not only had I missed the advisor on my first playthrough, I missed it again on my calmer, commentary playthough, and didn't even know I had missed something. There's probably a point in there, and I think it is 'never underestimate players' ability to stare at a mildly interesting floor tile when something amazing happens elsewhere'.

DBlack:
What the hell??? The entire half life series has been slightly entertaining at best, and portal had shit for story line! I loved the game portal because it was fun NOT because it was full of depth. Its like saying Mario Bros. had a revolutionary storyline and amazing character development. No...it...fucking...didnt.

t(''t)

Yet,I kinda have to agree with this, especially the kirby flipping off, which is kind of awesome. Portal had interesting characters and what they said could keep you engaged, but that's only a small part of a good story. Perhaps this is already a matter of semantics.

(By the way, my favourite theory about the Rat Man is that Chell clones are massively produced and he is one that escaped midway through the test.)

*1 internet age = 2.5 weeks.

Interesting, you're the first person I know of that wants games to move away from the linear movie/novel method of telling stories but doesn't like Half-Life 2. Can you give examples of its "awful" game design? Cause even all these years later I still think most games would do well to take a page from the Valve design book.

Well, pretty much every single highbrow game review site has ALSO put HL2 at or near the top of their lists (Game Informer recently called it the #5 best game of ALL TIME, out of 200 to choose from.) So I really don't think you're going to run out of intellectual lovers of Half Life to criticize. You're bored because you're probably not looking hard enough. I assure you that any REAL LIFE detective, soldier, or policeman who's not a glorified desk jockey actually does train himself to look at the details of ANY place he has to fight or work in. Considering the background as 'just background' while you look only for moving objects is often a very good way to, say, destroy evidence you might have needed, walk right into explosive booby traps, or accidentally shoot into an area where innocents are. Hating Half-Life is a luxury indulged by those who think highly detailed, photorealistic scenery is the same as realistically PLACED scenery.

Actually, the biggest reason HL2 feels realistic is the realization that at least one member of the design team has actually:

1. Talked to real-life scientists.
2. Dealt with real-life management and bureaucracy, and know how they're motivated, and the silly mistakes they tend to make.
3. Screw it, dealt with adult HUMAN BEINGS in their lives.
4. Studied up on military tactics.
5. Known enough about biology to make a zombie outbreak and delivery model that isn't stupid to anyone with at least a high school biology education. (Not mentioning L4D here, haven't played it.) Notes that zombie apocalypses tend to last right up until they run into effective tactical gunfire. Also notes that zombies are less dangerous than motivated human beings.
6. Known how societies, and the people in them, actually tend to behave under stress.
7. Known that totalitarian governments are far more indicted by their apathy than their brutality.
8. Know what 'jury-rigged' looks like. Have probably actually jury-rigged their own tools or electricity in life.
9. Designed the coolest crossbow EVER. Seriously, I had to look at it twice to realize the thing was made entirely out of metal shop tools and a presumably Combine power source to superheat the piece of fired rebar. Add 'actually worked a real man job in construction or metal shop' to the list of accomplishments.
10. Actually have Christians and other people who read good literature on their team. Knew what to quote, and which quotes people in dark situations would find comfort from. Father Grigori isn't mad, he's AGGRESSIVELY sane.

HL2, in essence, is the most aggressively realistic science fiction game ever made because everyone who worked on it had done or studied reality enough to know how living and nonliving things actually work, what fears are realistic and what fears are silly or not worth talking about, what real-life situations are hopeless and which you can effectively Macguyver yourself out of, and realized that even in a bleak world, a God-surrogate can do wonders for morale.

(The G in G-man pretty much stands for God, as far as the player is concerned.)

(hand of applause)

The only problem with Half Life 2 for was that it is easy to miss its brilliance until you've played it through several times.

At the point when a player has the patience to do a little exploring instead of following the most linear paths, they notice that little stories have been implanted in the way maps have been designed. It is these Easter eggs that give the game much of its depth and excellence, and this is a good article to acknowledge that fact.

Hear that, designers? We want more Easter eggs in our games! They're always awesome. Always.

Great article, I haven`t realized this detective work bit before I read the article although I did it throughout HL and Portal.

I fear only one thing : that this way of story telling will die once the half-Life series is over.

x84jdh:

The Youth Counselor:

The medium of gaming is one of experience... The story is formed as you play it. There are people who foolhardily dismiss straightforward games like Super-Mario: Bros, Doom, or Half-Life as having no plot or no depth. They have been accustomed to prose and film, and expect the story to be told to them.

Anybody who has spent more than 15 minutes in a creative writing workshop knows full well that if you're "telling" a story instead of showing it, then you're doing it wrong. All good storytelling is immersive; a story, a show, a movie, a song, a play, a game, or whatever should immerse its audience in the world its attempting to build. If the books you read aren't doing this for you, you're reading crap books. The article dances around this topic without explicitly saying so, but boils down to how good Valve is at showing without telling, and I tend to agree.

Like a good book, every replay of HL2 (and to a lesser degree HL) reveals a world replete with subtle details (if you care to look for them) that simply make it more real, more immersive for the audience without having them shoved in your face.

That said, SMB and Doom (the original version; I haven't played the remake) are spectacularly bad examples if you want to talk about games with depth. I can't think of two more shallow games. The walls of the Mushroom Kingdom are not scrawled with graffiti about the ramifications of blue-collar plumbers climbing the social ladder. "It's-a me! Mario!" Does not make for a compelling story. Imps don't wander around complaining about the quality of cafeteria food in Hell.

I think the biggest difference in making inferences from games as opposed to other mediums:

In film, music, song and dance the spectator is bombarded with every detail. Everything would be visible upfront. Whether they miss something between the lines or don't come to a conclusion from allusion in the piece they were still presented it.

Whereas in games the player can easily speedrun through a scripted event, skip a cut-scene, or miss a certain path that holds clues.

Perhaps Super Mario Bros was not the best example. That was a remnant of the article I originally posted at, speaking of the stories we tell ourselves instead of the stories told to us. You cannot deny that we can relate to Mario. You cannot deny there is a story. However shallow or deep it is, is decided by the player.

A better example would be Shadow of the Colossus. There are gamers who claim it is absent and lacking in story or depth. It's true. You are a hero, working to save your love. You travel to place to place battling bosses.

But is there not a tale alone, within the fallen bridge stretching to the heavens supported by endless pillars? Is there not a story in the arch seemingly formed not by human hands? Is there nothing to be said about how each Colossi seemingly is one with his environment, or upon the shocking finale something to be said about who they once were?

Silva:
The only problem with Half Life 2 for was that it is easy to miss its brilliance until you've played it through several times.

At the point when a player has the patience to do a little exploring instead of following the most linear paths, they notice that little stories have been implanted in the way maps have been designed. It is these Easter eggs that give the game much of its depth and excellence, and this is a good article to acknowledge that fact.

Hear that, designers? We want more Easter eggs in our games! They're always awesome. Always.

I don't know about that; I think you get a sense of the depth playing through the first time, just without necessarily being sure why. You're more likely to notice specific details on later play-throughs, but the same is true of a good book or film.

I really enjoyed reading this article. I've disagreed before with people who were getting impatient to have all the plot explained away and tied up, but Craig Owens puts his case rather more succinctly than I ever managed to.

Excellent article. I agree wholly. For me, the Half-Life series has been far more enjoyable because I've put more time into exploring, even with the level linearity.

The experience that I recall the most was coming across an abandoned-house-turned-Combine-outpost on the highway in Half-Life 2. After taking out the two measly Overwatch soldiers, I looked through their mounted telescope. At first, I thought it was just a nifty view of a rebel base, but then I realized the G-Man having a conversation with an elderly fellow. That's when everything got cool.

Left 4 Dead is also well-written. Gotta love the saferoom graffiti.

soo you think what differeciates HL from the other "kill aliens" games is the presence of mystery? So would you rather get short on info in next mass effect? makes no sense to me.

This is an excellent narrative analysis, and a good explanation of why Valve's stories are so much more compelling than those of most other studios. It is for a similar reason that I enjoyed the beginning of the new Battlestar Galactica more than the end: so much was mysterious, and had to be pieced together in bits from subtle clues and hints dropped in, rather than being overly discussed in exposition (and I'm not sure if the commentary podcasts helped or hurt). Eventually, it became obvious that they had been making shit up as they went along, and so they had to spend a while explaining the convoluted story they were forced to make up that fit these contradictory clues (though that's just my opinion). In any case, you are absolutely right to bring up the rule of "show, don't tell" as it is the epitome of good story-telling, and yet it is so infrequently adhered to.

When first played, I didn't know why HL2 had such enriching gameplay experience - I simply went along with the flow. Reading this article makes me realize just how much work was put into this amazing game from Valve, and (as was stated in the article) I believe that what was so great in both Portal and Half Life was the details, both in the environment and in the creation of the characters.

Dhatz:
soo you think what differeciates HL from the other "kill aliens" games is the presence of mystery? So would you rather get short on info in next mass effect? makes no sense to me.

No, he's saying games should "show, not tell" more like Half Life 2 does.

Mass Effect definitely could've benefited from this a bit, as too many conversations were basically reduced to "exposition dump".

Dhatz:
soo you think what differeciates HL from the other "kill aliens" games is the presence of mystery? So would you rather get short on info in next mass effect? makes no sense to me.

Thing is, I don't think Half-Life holds back information to create its mystery, except for the most obvious plot threads (who is the G-Man? And so on..). What Half-Life does is sprinkle an absolutely massive amount information about its world, in a quite subtle manner.

I don't think all games should tells stories in the exact same manner. I enjoyed Mass Effect, and I like the richness of Bioware's worlds. I also completely appreciate that sometimes, when you're creating the reams of lore and history they do, that the odd chunk of text/expository dialogue is inevitable. Having said that, there are occasions when the game gets a little exposition heavy, and some of those planet descriptions left me wishing I could see them for myself, first hand.

Half-Life 2 tells a particular kind of story in a particular kind of way, and in doing so it elevates what might otherwise have been a fairly standard plot into something a thousand times more memorable. It also plays to the medium's strengths in quite interesting ways.

I'd like to see more developers try such an approach, but I don't want them all to. I hope that answers your question

Also, massive thank you to everyone who posted saying they liked the article. I'm glad you all enjoyed it.

I honestly hope this story gets to some game designers and gets through to them. The importance of good backdrops that tell a story is so important, and such an overlooked detail. Hell, I at least hope that fan modders will read this. I love FO3 to death because of this very issue, the areas tell you a lot if you're willing to pay attention and poke around. Something that almost ever modder for FO3 completely misses on. The only two I've ever come across that understand this importance are the mods (shameless plug time!) by Puce Moose and Ogre Samanosuke. The areas they created tell you things that the story doesn't directly, and in a game all about immersion, nothing compares to the power that provides. If any of you love FO3 the way I do, give them a shot and you'll see what I mean.

While I think Valve's stories themselves aren't as good as others I'd get flamed for calling better they do a very good job with setting the atmosphere at certain parts. One that really sticks out for me was the zombie infested sewer part from Ep 2. As far as sewer levels go it was really immersive compared to any other similar level I've played.

So while the article is right about how Valve can "show, not tell" I wouldn't call it's story even close to the level of an RPG or even some other shooters for that matter.

What!? Half-Life 2 had tons of fucking exposition!

Or have you people totally forgotten about those ten-minute stretches where all you do is listen (or not, because it's sooooo boring) to some random NPC that you've never met before. And they go on and on!? I can honestly not understand why anyone would praise this game for it's story (not anything else either, for that matter).

Also, the setting does get some bonus points for not taking place in America (doesn't look like it anyway), but it's still pretty dull...

Raithnor:
While we're casting Gordon Freeman as a private eye maybe we can have him investigate where Half-Life 2: Episode 3 went.

lol, not a bad idea XD

I liked the article, it actually got me thinking alot about how Valve does it stuff

Well whats not cool about a physicist armed with a crowbar beating down aliens and soldiers?

To be honest, it wasnt the story that kept my intrest in HL 1 or 2 , or even Portal.
I was more intrigued by the environments that these games played in, they were intresting and kept me looking for more equally intresting environments... each of the 3 I mention had a knack of changing the level/environment just as you got used to one.
The major trick they did right was to not just change it for its own sake, but to ensure the changes flowed and the player never got jarred from one environment to another.

The story was pretty good, but not the reason HL 1 ..or the others did so well... in my opionion anyways.

Xvito:
What!? Half-Life 2 had tons of fucking exposition!

Or have you people totally forgotten about those ten-minute stretches where all you do is listen (or not, because it's sooooo boring) to some random NPC that you've never met before. And they go on and on!? I can honestly not understand why anyone would praise this game for it's story (not anything else either, for that matter).

Also, the setting does get some bonus points for not taking place in America (doesn't look like it anyway), but it's still pretty dull...

Not really no. The biggest parts was probably at Kleiner Lab, Black Mesa East and at the final level. That's it. 3 sections of the game. 2 of them you get to learn to use some "new" gameplay, like the Hazard suit and Gravity Gun. They also moments to wind down after all the action

Xvito:
What!? Half-Life 2 had tons of fucking exposition!

Or have you people totally forgotten about those ten-minute stretches where all you do is listen (or not, because it's sooooo boring) to some random NPC that you've never met before. And they go on and on!? I can honestly not understand why anyone would praise this game for it's story (not anything else either, for that matter).

Also, the setting does get some bonus points for not taking place in America (doesn't look like it anyway), but it's still pretty dull...

Wait, you actually understand who Gman is and know exactly what's going on by the stuff he says? (hint, you don't) Also, they're generally around a minute or two, not ten, Mr. ADHD.

So... Yeah, you're full of yourself. I'm sure your just trolling, which can be forgiven, because this is the internet.

Anyways, I think I've played through HL2 at least 7 times. I find new stuff each time. Almost all of the stuff you find adds to the setting/the lifestyle of the people trying live in City 17. Highway 17 is probably the best example of this. I always seem to go into every building along the road, knowing full well that I don't have to... although I do enjoy destroying the resistance houses converted to combine outposts by breaking windows with chairs. It strikes me as funny when one lands outside, and I think "man, a combine soldier is going to come along and see that chair in the middle of the street and think 'WTF?'"

Also, you can find a citizen that committed suicide with a revolver, and that's cool too.

For me, the best highway 17 moment was 'think you've killed everything in this house now for some healthpacks and furniture destruction AH CRAP ROLLERMINES'

Also, for some reason, the gate that was powered by the Metrocop police car, where all you had to do was pull out the chock blocks and watch as it slowly rolled off the cliff.

And all Breencasts are awesome. I can see why everyone misses his show.

Awexsome:
So while the article is right about how Valve can "show, not tell" I wouldn't call it's story even close to the level of an RPG or even some other shooters for that matter.

While it's true that HL2's story isn't nearly as complex as those in other games, I still think it's one of the best out there because it manages to tell its tale almost entirely through gameplay (such as the environment exploration like we see in the above article). Too often deeper stories rely on non-interactive sequences like cut scenes to further the plot, and what's the point of playing that kind of game when you can just watch the story line on youtube and not miss anything?

Xvito:
What!? Half-Life 2 had tons of fucking exposition!

Or have you people totally forgotten about those ten-minute stretches where all you do is listen (or not, because it's sooooo boring) to some random NPC that you've never met before. And they go on and on!? I can honestly not understand why anyone would praise this game for it's story (not anything else either, for that matter).

Also, the setting does get some bonus points for not taking place in America (doesn't look like it anyway), but it's still pretty dull...

I actually thought this poster was being sarcastic at first. HL2 can't have more than 20 minutes of exposition in the whole 10 hour play time. I'd like to see someone name a game with a better exposition-gameplay ratio that doesn't have a completely throwaway story.

I love the half-life games and Portal. They are competent FPS's and puzzlers respectively. The methods of story telling are also fantastic as this article shows. I think Half-Life 1 and 2 are the 2 most frequently played games in my gaming repetoir. So many run throughs all of which have been satisfying. Episode 1, 2 and Portal i've played several times but due to the much shorter experience i play them less frequently (counter logical i know but that's how it seems for me), even though they are better developed then HL1 or 2.

Xvito:
Claims it has tons of exposition, using italics and bold font to make his uncontributory argument seem more valid.

If you've played any number of games with a story you will be bombarded with information bombs in the form of PDA's. Notes, long dialogue sequences with no interaction, cutscenes and videos etc.... and you claim the 5 minutes they take out of the game as exposition. Most of the time they don't give away story, instead teach you some new gameplay feature or (as you unwittingly proved) introduce new characters

-"Or have you people totally forgotten about blah blah blah to some "random NPC" that you've never met before."

I'd love to know what other first person shooter (or game in general) you can bring to this discussion to change my opinion or even just verify your own, as you seem to be just opposing whats generally accepted for the sole purpose of attention seeking.

DBlack:
What the hell??? The entire half life series has been slightly entertaining at best, and portal had shit for story line! I loved the game portal because it was fun NOT because it was full of depth. Its like saying Mario Bros. had a revolutionary storyline and amazing character development. No...it...fucking...didnt.

Three question marks! Are you really that confused? Your welcome to an opinion but at least back up your argument with support, like another game for example, that does it better. Also no one mentioned character developement... at... fucking... all. In fact i would agree with you if you had absolutely any bases for your opinion. The discussion has nothing to do with the originality or revolutionary aspects of the story line as it has simply been said -in the article- "Earth's been taken over by aliens. Go shoot them." What is being discussed is the suggestive nature of the world opposed to information being thrown at you in waves.

One thing I would admit is that the Character developement isn't the best. Personally i don't find myself moved by the plights of the characters. For example at the end of half-life 2 i was surprised but not saddened. In that regard they missed the mark for me. Although i do enjoy alyx's (and dogs) company in the episodes and i actually felt bad for the companion cube.

Ragsnstitches:

Xvito:
Claims it has tons of exposition, using italics and bold font to make his uncontributory argument seem more valid.

Claims I'm seeking attention while he really knows fuck all about me. Is also under the impression that I need validate my opinion to him.

ucwutididthar?

Also, I think the Half-Life-series suck balls... And there's nothing you can do that will change my mind. I almost stopped playing it halfway through, but since I had payed for the game(s); I thought I might as well finish it.

Xvito:

Ragsnstitches:
[quote="Xvito" post="6.167501.4520607"]Claims it has tons of exposition, using italics and bold font to make his uncontributory argument seem more valid.

Claims I'm seeking attention while he really knows fuck all about me. Is also under the impression that I need validate my opinion to him.

ucwutididthar?

Yeah i did... very clever. How about this, you come on to a topic devoted to showing appraisel to valve where its due... only to say you hate their main game but also semi-attempting to bash the article by saying it has tons of exposition of which it doesn't and in the process tripping up on your own argument by explaining why these scripted scenes occur (to introduce new characters)

again-"Or have you people totally forgotten about blah blah blah to some "random NPC" that you've never met before."

Would i be wrong in presuming that your judgement is based purely on the experience of Half-Life and not it's sequel, as your argument would make more sense there (just about). Don't bother to answer that... it doesn't change the fact your argument carries no weight what so ever.

I'm really curious as to what you consider a great game... as you hate a game for a reason that actually isn't present in that game. Its a shooter yes, you shoot things and they die or explode, expecting anymore in terms of gameplay will only dissapoint. It's linear and generally simple to get through so you can't get lost and frustration is eliminated.

Finally i have no interest in changing your mind about the series, it's your loss after all. I just don't understand where your initial argument came from... it's out of the blue. You rant about exposition and ponder on how could anyone possibly enjoy it in any way. When i counter your argument you respond (oh, sorry... retort) that the half-life series "sucks balls" and again leaving wihtout makeing any possible attempt at giving your opinion any value. Amazing really. I wonder what you have to contribute next.

Ragsnstitches:

Xvito:

Ragsnstitches:
[quote="Xvito" post="6.167501.4520607"]Claims it has tons of exposition, using italics and bold font to make his uncontributory argument seem more valid.

Claims I'm seeking attention while he really knows fuck all about me. Is also under the impression that I need validate my opinion to him.

ucwutididthar?

Yeah i did... very clever. How about this, you come on to a topic devoted to showing appraisel to valve where its due... only to say you hate their main game but also semi-attempting to bash the article by saying it has tons of exposition of which it doesn't and in the process tripping up on your own argument by explaining why these scripted scenes occur (to introduce new characters)

again-"Or have you people totally forgotten about blah blah blah to some "random NPC" that you've never met before."

Would i be wrong in presuming that your judgement is based purely on the experience of Half-Life and not it's sequel, as your argument would make more sense there (just about). Don't bother to answer that... it doesn't change the fact your argument carries no weight what so ever.

I'm really curious as to what you consider a great game... as you hate a game for a reason that actually isn't present in that game. Its a shooter yes, you shoot things and they die or explode, expecting anymore in terms of gameplay will only disappoint. It's linear and generally simple to get through so you can't get lost and frustration is eliminated.

Finally i have no interest in changing your mind about the series, it's your loss after all. I just don't understand where your initial argument came from... it's out of the blue. You rant about exposition and ponder on how could anyone possibly enjoy it in any way. When i counter your argument you respond (oh, sorry... retort) that the half-life series "sucks balls" and again leaving wihtout makeing any possible attempt at giving your opinion any value. Amazing really. I wonder what you have to contribute next.

If you must know what I consider a great shooter, then I shall tell you.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is a great shooter. It has a lot of funny interactions between the player and the characters he meets. It has an interesting take on ammo, a semi-open world to explore, cool boss-fights, cool enemies, and almost no exposition at all. It has cut-scenes but they aren't filled with needless dialog, like it's brethren in the Half-Life-series (while not technically cut-scenes; they still serve the same purpose).

Also, the cut-scenes in the Half-Life-series do not introduce any characters; they just sort of assume that you already know them (quite an eerie feeling, to be honest).

PS. I never even finished the original game (Half-Life), because it was nearly unplayable. So, my experience of the the Half-Life-series comes almost entirely from the second game and it's expansions.

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