That Was Half-Life 2?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Thaius:

But for all the praise this game gets, why haven't I heard a single word about the ending? That was one of the most incomprehensible, abrupt, unsatisfying endings I've ever seen. It's a mix between a cliffhanger and WTF ending the likes of which I've rarely seen.

I know it has the episodes, and I'm installing Episode 1 as I type this. I'm just trying to understand; for all the praise this game gets, I would have expected the ending be mentioned. It was a big deal for Halo 2, it was a big deal for Assassin's Creed, and I won't even get into the response to Mass Effect 3's poor excuse for an ending, but why has Half-Life 2 gotten by as one of the most highly-praised games of all time without having a single word mentioned about that frustrating stopping point?

I haven't played Assassin's Creed, but here are a few points of comparison:

Halo 2's narrative was pretty scattered to begin with, and introduced too much too quickly. The ending was awkward because it lacked cohesive form with the previous game. That, and Halo's writing hasn't ever been more than 'novel' (in the not-a-book-definition). It's very standard Militaristic Sci-Fi with a few clever twists.

Half-Life 2: Yeah, the ending is sort of a butt-nutter, but it does maintain internal consistency. G-Man is a much, much better-developed character than most in Halo, and Valve tends to assume you played the previous game. The role of G-Man and what he gets out of messing with Gordan Freeman are ambiguous. The ambiguity creates a more introspective mood for the player (especially when combined with the mute protagonist). It's true that the end fight isn't that difficult - and I wouldn't mind a faster-paced finale, but G-Man is the well-established Deus Ex Machina of the series. They use him explicitly for better storytelling. The HL2 ending isn't often discussed because it is succeeded by the Episodes 1/2, and because it's neither end of the spectrum. It is neither particularly good (a dash of action, some hubris, a sexy chick, and an 'old friend' - that's it), nor is it particularly bad (it doesn't leave gaping plotholes or contradict themes presented earlier in the game). What it does do is bring the story to a close without leaving a lot of lose-ends. Very neat, very tidy, and that's all it needed to do since Valve was planning in Episodic content after.

In comparison to Mass Effect 3's ending, which used its Deus Ex Machina device to blunt-force-trauma the player into an awkward situation antithetical to the player's expectations, and also happens to leave enormous plotholes casually strewn about in lieu of a truncated, "artsy" ending. Whereas in Half-Life 2, G-Man's motives and abilities are vague (at best), leaving the protagonist unable to either predict or logically interpret his actions, the Catalyst's motives and capabilities are explicitly stated. Unfortunately for the Catalyst, its motives are (within the same game, mind you) proven to not be based on any easily-recognizable logic.

The endings to each simply serve a different purpose:

Halo 2 - To prepare you for Halo 3 in the manliest way possible; by showing you how big Spartan's balls are.

ME3 - To attempt to wrap up a multi-billion year storyline in the most 'Sci-Fi' way they could manage (i.e. - imitating other great works of science fiction). Retrospectively, this one had the highest chance of failure since it's damn near impossible to both appease fan questions about the origins of the Reapers AND have them remain a viable threat over billions of years of history.

HL2 - To make Gordon Freeman a neat and tidy package that could be delivered into Episode One without a lot of questions.

If you don't like cliff-hangers, though, you're going to hate Episode 2's ending.

All I know is Valve both created episodic gaming and colossally ****** it up at the same time.
I know not of this praise it gets, I never gave it one nor did I take interest in it.

Zeckt:
.... But I LIKED the vehicle bits ...

It's funnt even if there's so much to ocmment about when the OP sais something about a part you liked in a game that's all you can think about xD
Then the comment is as above.

Captcha: Laser Beams... no sorry captcha, crowbar should've been the word

I loved the ending back in 2004, and love it today. It was similar to the Half-Life 1 ending so it was nice for the fans to see, and gave me many things to think about, such as the G-Man's references to time: "Time, Dr. Freeman? Is it really that time again?" "You've done a great deal in a small time... span" "ordinarily I wouldn't contemplate them, but these are extraordinary... times.. hm?" all this was not only awesome but CONVINCED me that the next story arc would involve some kind of time manipulation, at least back when I was 14 and didn't realize he was just being all chill after stopping time himself.

I didn't even know disliking it was "a thing" until this thread.

Then again, I even like the vehicle sections. Loved them back in 2004, these days they are a bit stiff, but awful? I don't get that. They are still pretty fun to me. I believe games age faster than any other medium but Half-Life 2 has aged excellently, vehicle sections included.

However,

Zeh Don:
snip

This post has some excellent points, even though I enjoyed the ending on a personal level its hard to argue with this kind of logic. But as usual on The Escapist the one valid post that isn't just opinions will get lost in the sea of... posts like mine.

I actually liked the ending a lot. There was plenty of buildup to it, and despite the deus ex machinaness of it all, it felt appropriate when you consider how the game started.

That said, I knew at least one person who actually threw their controller across the room when it happened, so you certainly aren't alone.

As someone said earlier, episode 1 was fast to come out and tie up a lot of the loose ends (flawed as it was) and episode 2 was so good that most was forgiven.

the spud:

On a related note, I just finished Deus Ex 1, and I must say, for such a well made game, the endings were quite shit. You barely see the effects of your final major choice. Very disappointing, but I never hear people complain for whatever reason.

Because the endings were awesome? :P Sure they didnt have a GIANT cutscene showing everything that happened, but you got the general idea. Merging with an AI, joining a secret group or just shutting down the world. All were awesome.

I saw the thread title and thought, "Welp. Guess we're back to 'normal' again. Time for the weekly 'Valve/Half-Life suck(s)' threads to commence."

Which also reminded me of the kinds of posts to expect.

Yeah. The Valve fans are the annoying ones... -___-

O.T.

distortedreality:
Heh, if you're raging now, wait until you finish Ep2.

I'll grab some popcorn and wait.

Indeed. Think I'll join you. Mind sharin' some o' that popcorn?

Thaius:
snip

huh, i liked the ending thats why:P

The frozen explosion looked damn cool and the G-man picking you up AS SOON as your job was done was great. Yes it was a cliffhanger, but its kind of obvious why when you consider what came after...

If you don't like that kind of ending, you better get used to it. Every single Half Life game ends like to some degree.

People give it slack because it's a cliffhanger. You know there's something after it, whereas a certain Bioware game was the ending of the entire series.

But yeah, Half Life 2 is maybe my favorite game of all time. I always make a point of going back to play it at least once a year.

Dryk:
That's also how the first game ended ^_^

I was going to say the same thing, it seems to fit with the HL universe.

Maybe it was just me but I liked the ending, you defeated the evil boss and just when you thought it was all over you get picked up by the Gman and you understand just how little power you actually had. I'm not sure if you played the first game but that theme has been a mainstay in the series, also valve loves plot twists so yeah.

Zhukov:
At the time it generated some considerable rage.

However, they released Episode 1 fairly quickly and all was well.

and here we are in 2012, still waiting for Episode 3.........

Wasn't the whole episodic thing supposed to bring about quick expansions to the main game?

oh who am I kidding, Valve's number one money maker is Hats now, not actually making games

Zeckt:
.... But I LIKED the vehicle bits ...

Me too, but I think he played it on the Xbox 360, because the controls for the vehicles on the Xbox are a little awkward since you only use the stick, so yeah they suck on Xbox, they are good on PC though.

As for the ending I kinda liked it, it fit the plot well and I actually would have preferred if it ended there, in my opinion that would have been more conclusive than episode 2, seriously episode 2's cliffhanger has been killing me for quite a while.

AverageJoe:

This post has some excellent points, even though I enjoyed the ending on a personal level its hard to argue with this kind of logic. But as usual on The Escapist the one valid post that isn't just opinions will get lost in the sea of... posts like mine.

It won't be lost on me. In fact, I'm going to respond to it and offer some counter-points:

Zeh Don:
snip

Extremely valid points. Ones I would whole-heartedly agree with it if weren't for two things.

First, the fact that the basis of the entire series story is built solely around what the player (Gordon) sees; directly. And second, the existence of the G-man.

No aspect of the tale is revealed to the player unless he/she is directly involved in that specific event as it occurs, he/she has it explained to them by another character, or he/she works out part of the tale from clues left in the environment or hidden in the ancillary dialog.

At the same time, it is slowly revealed to the player that he/she isn't actually in control. Everything they do, everything they see, everywhere they go is controlled, either directly or vicariously, by 'another hand'. This leads to a sense of exclusion. As if you're only allowed to know what 'they' want you to know; and 'they' is either the G-man or whom ever it is he works for. (which lends itself to even more questions like, "Is the G-man also being controlled?)

With this in mind, Half-Life is a tale of a man who, in the eyes of those around him, is essentially a Jesus-like character. A messiah to the masses. A savior. When, in fact, he is a slave. He is a tool. He only does what he is told and only experiences what he is 'allowed' to experience.

Taken in this context, the ending is both poignant and appropriate. You (gordon), your task complete, are plucked from your reality and placed back in your 'cage'. Your 'owners' never bothering to explain what happened, as they have no need to do so. You were simply removed; cut off from the rest of the world. In fact, if you think about it, the G-man only really bothers to say the few things he does afterward because he may feel some sense of obligation. As if he should say something simply to congratulate the player for doing the task so well.

It's at that point, at least for me, that the ending made the most sense. The abrupt ending and unanswered questions fit so well into the overall theme of the story that I honestly can't see how they could have ended it any other way. That is, any other way that would stand up to scrutiny. It demonstrates just how little control you had in the first place. It also makes the ending even more depressing.

That's partly why I still view the ending as not only one of my favorites but one of the best endings in video game history. (probably not the best, but among the upper echelons certainly)

Maybe Half Life fans decided not to throw a hissy fit like a bunch of little girls and just respected the developers damn decisions like adults.

Probably not though...

It was probably because people knew the episodes would be coming out shortly so it wasn't as big of a deal?

Yea, the ending sucked, as did Half Life 1's. Some people complained about it during the two year gap between HL2 and EP1, but I guess when you compare it to say the uproar over the ending to Mass Effect 3... More people play Mass Effect for the story, so a shitty ending pisses them off... But most people played Half Life for what it was, shooting dudes, before moving to a different area and shooting more dudes (with cooler weapons), then climbing a huge tower to shoot the big asshole dude with the suped up Gravity Gun. So the ending hit home less than it does in a story heavy game.

What angered me more (being an avid HL fan myself), was the end boss rather than the ending itself, that boss fight sucked, worse than the first game even.

Frostbite3789:

Pretty sure the existence of Episode 1 makes it a cliffhanger. And the non-existance of Episode 3 makes Episode 2 the worst cliffhanger imaginable.

HL2 has an open ending an leaves no strings open that does not fit in the concept. The existance of a direct sequel is justified by the beginning of Episode 1 and not the finally of HL2.

Well I played it on the orange box so it didn't bother me back then because I could just move on to the next game. I didn't get mad because it was technically not an "end" to me as I would be playing the next episodes afterwards.

Vigormortis:
/snip

Very much agreed, I really enjoyed the ending to Half Life 2; there was a definite feeling of closure (Episode 2 ending isn't anywhere near as good, most likely as Valve planned an Episode 3).

Then again, I'm happy to not have every question directly answered. One of my favourite endings in recent years has been Enslaved: Odyssey to the West's, and there were plenty of people complaining about it which I found disheartening. I occasionally feel my intelligence is being insulted by the lengths some games go to explain every little detail of their shallow plots and/or characters. Maybe I'm in a minority here, or that the lowest common denominator is being catered for and the game compensates for this failing in other ways.

I complained about the ending awhile ago, even though I love the game. It's just that I find most game endings are pretty crap, either cliche' or boring, and HL2's ending I prefered over all of those so I didn't see as that much of big deal.

The reason people aren't up in arms about it is because it's not the definite ending to the franchise. Unlike, say, Mass Effect, there was still time to explain what happened and answer the questions we had.

Neither would ME3 had generated such an uproar if people knew there would be an ME4.

There were so many unanswered questions that I had no doubt in my mind that the ending was not the conclusion to the series, and thus wasn't bothered. Endings with closure would only hinder the flow of the series, well, that and a absurdly long wait for episode 3. I just can't wait to see if all this G-man speculation will payoff or fail miserably.

It's something that's kinda hard to explain in a mere forum post, really. It's only absolutely amazing if you've been reading into everything a tonne throughout the game. It's kind of summed up by the G-man speech at the end. The lack of free choice, the idea that you're being bid on by higher powers. Basically the idea that you have no fucking clue at what's going on, but you still seem to pull through regardless.

Hmm... I dunno if I can really express this in written format.

I didn't really get upset about it because I knew there were more games/content to follow. ME3 was supposed to be the END to the series, the finale to Shepard's epic quest. In my opinion, you can't really compare the two.

Zeckt:
.... But I LIKED the vehicle bits ...

*Enters Vehicle, drives forward. Tries turning, falls over. Gets out to turn it back on its wheels. Gets his face eaten by antlions*

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU VALVE!

reminds me of Ravenholm.

-Zombies- Guuuuaargh.
-Nik- You cant be serious.
-Headcrap- 'ello face.
-Nik- FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuu VALVE!

awfull vehicle sections?
why?
I didnt have any problem with them.

People like to pretend Half-Life is some perfect series Valve blessed us mortals with. In reality, Half-Life 2 is simply a cool story with gameplay that was great at the time and is simply okay now. Nothing incredible or amazing, despite how fervently the fans froth at the mouth to tell you otherwise.

It's partly due to it being 'in' to like Valve and to think Half-Life (namely the second) is amazing, and also because it was one of the first to blend the FPS with actual story telling fairly well. Nowhere near the best, but hey, nostalgia makes fanboys of people pretty easily. Oh, and Yahtzee likes Half-Life 2, so, you know, sheeple and stuff.

I didn't have any problems with it. It made sense thematically. Gordon never had any control to begin with. He is (or was at this stage) G-Man's pawn.

It was made by Valve that is why. I am fairly certain Gabe Newell could break into most Valve fans houses steal all their stuff and they would thank him for it.

I thought the ending was pretty fucking awesome. Didn't really come too out of nowhere, either. We knew from earlier that G-man can fuck with time[1].

[1] Time, Dr. Freeman?

Grey Day for Elcia:
People like to pretend Half-Life is some perfect series Valve blessed us mortals with. In reality, Half-Life 2 is simply a cool story with gameplay that was great at the time and is simply okay now. Nothing incredible or amazing, despite how fervently the fans froth at the mouth to tell you otherwise.

Out of interest, what single player FPS has done better in recent years?

It's partly due to it being 'in' to like Valve and to think Half-Life (namely the second) is amazing, and also because it was one of the first to blend the FPS with actual story telling fairly well. Nowhere near the best, but hey, nostalgia makes fanboys of people pretty easily. Oh, and Yahtzee likes Half-Life 2, so, you know, sheeple and stuff.

I think it's hipster to hate on Valve these days, put down their games and the like as it's very much anti-establishment, etc. I do think some people take Yahtzee's comedic exaggerations far too seriously but I can't see any evidence of what you're talking about here, can you?

GoaThief:
Out of interest, what single player FPS has done better in recent years?

First game to come to mind? Crysis. A million times better, in my mind.

Grey Day for Elcia:
First game to come to mind? Crysis. A million times better, in my mind.

Honestly? What things did Crysis do better than Half Life 2, aside from the obvious high-end graphics department?

Grey Day for Elcia:

GoaThief:
Out of interest, what single player FPS has done better in recent years?

First game to come to mind? Crysis. A million times better, in my mind.

In my opinion Crysis is not as good as Half-LifeČ

What both did right:
-Had high-end technology inside (Source in 2004, CE2 in 2007)
-Characters were animated properly (Not like in most games where they are stiff)
-Gameplay-wise they were very different but both did their job good (HL2 classical shooter, Crysis slower-paced modern shooter) this is due to...
-Well made mechanics (HL2 many weapons and fast gameplay, Crysis many possibilities because of the Nano-Suit)
-Vehicles (HL2's weren't the best and Crysis' were awful - still better than having to run all the time or seeing how you drive in cutscenes....which leads me to...)
-No classical cutscenes (HL invented it and I'm really glad if it's done properly like in HL2 or Crysis)

Where Crysis did not match Half-LifeČ:
-Story (Although Crysis has a much better one than most modern FPSs (CoD - *cough*) I did not find it as good as the one from HL2 for two reasons)

    1. The atmosphere does not add to the story. In HL2 you could see what the combines did to the human and the planet. In Crysis you're just in an absolutely replaceable-environment. Crysis could have taken place anywhere on the world with exactly the same story.
    2. HL2 had an open ending. Crysis an abrupt ending. You should have gone back to the island once more IMO.

-Crysis is too short. This leads to the last point...
-Crysis had almost no variety, something that Half-LifeČ excelled in. In Crysis you had:
    -Jungle
    -Alien Spaceship
    -Frozen Jungle
    -Carrier

In Half-LifeČ you had:
    -"Normal" City
    -Its canals
    -The "wastelands" (where you are with the airboat)
    -Abandoned city
    -Its mines
    -The Highway
    -The coast
    -Prison
    -The Citadel
    -The "normal" city during war
    (Maybe I've even forgot something)

-The last point is connectivity (Crysis' "Suddenly there is ice everywhere" is nowhere as good as HL2's practically seamless transitions between the different areas)

That being said, I find that Crysis is one of the - if not the - shooter of the last years that comes closest to Half-LifeČ. Half-LifeČ, Crysis and BioShock are MY PERSONAL favorites amongst the shooters of the last years.
God....I need a new PC so I can play Crysis again. My Notebook can't handle it. ;.;

Half Life 2 had bad endings before it was cool to have bad endings. (Mass Effect 3)

Joking aside, I didn't find the ending too bad as I had the Orange box so I played 2, ep1 and ep 2 pretty much consecutively. I also don't really mind a cliffhanger style ending when I'm pretty sure that I'll eventually get to find out what happens, but at the moment that's not very likely to happen.

In retrospect, the ending was kinda meh, considering the lack of anything after. But as stated, Valve did get the first episode out shortly after. I rage more about the ending of Episode 2, but that's more because there' isn't an Episode 3. (Bah)

But even with that said, I really did like the HL2 ending in it's on way. Although I'm probably bias since I consider the G-Man to be one of the most interesting and amazing characters in gaming and seeing him end the game was pretty neat and without spoiling anything, his future appearances and 'heart to heart' meetings defiantly leave you wanting to know more about him.

Episode 3 can't come soon enough. And lord knows I'll be screaming out of joy IF they ever announce it.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked