Day By Day

Half-Life 2: Episode One: Friv Game Review

Detailed instructions for creating Latin American soap operas that captured the minds and hearts of millions of housewives in the nineties of the last century have found their application on the game development front. Episodic add-ons, most of all like free mods, cultivated by numerous parties of fans, are slowly beginning to win material goods from the classic expansion packs. The happy owners of Battlefield 2 (local "series" are usually called booster packs), Sin Episodes url (in total, nine parts have been sentenced to be published, but after the trash-like leaven, the fate of further episodes seems very vague) and Half -Life 2.

The scientifically proven fact - the signing of an agreement for the online distribution of the game through the Steam service significantly affects the release time of the product - was confirmed this time too. Due to the absence of a publisher and, as a result of the constant rattling of owners of strict business suits about release numbers, pedantic magicians from Valve are free to develop projects as long as they want. Gabe Newell and K are not at all embarrassed by the fact that the company has spent a criminally large amount of time on the pattern of the transient add-on. It is for Mr. Levelord to hurry up with the conveyor stamping of "sinful episodes" (after all, and by no means the first freshness of the engine and dull gameplay at the slightest delay will finally put an end to Sin Episodes ), -Valve is not familiar with such problems. By the way, Episode Two is scheduled to premiere at the end of this year, and the third, final act of the sci-fi play will be played out next spring. Although, of course, we all know that these dates will move more than once along the timeline. And even the impending wave of next-gen shooters is unable to accelerate the pace of game development in a single independent studio.

Surprisingly, after completing Episode Onethe head is not clogged with plot tinsel and worries about the future fate of Alix Vance, who suddenly found herself on the verge of death in the advertising teaser for the second part. Thought processes in the cranium are beginning to actively seek the answer to the main philosophical question - is the four-hour immersion in the game of the ill-fated twenty dollars worth? In our case, yes. How worth it.

Episode One is a kind of fat-free, but at the same time athletic and muscular Half-Life 2... Most of the annoying factors were thrown by developers into the office garbage chute. The prevalence of common sense led to the absence of tedious races in various vehicles, tedious running through the levels and logically awkward puzzles in the add-on. A thoroughbred action crawled into the foreground, spitting from a high bell tower on the storyline generator and other game elements that interfere with non-stop action.

The expansion's opening scene sets the rhythm for the entire playthrough. The game meets us exactly in the same place as the original Half-Life 2The final credits were shown with might and main - the roof of the Alliance Citadel. The popularly beloved glavgeroyskaya couple begins to slowly realize the horror of what happened. The systematically collapsing skyscraper threatens to raze the entire territory of City-17, demonstrating the consequences of a nuclear explosion in all its glory. There can be only one way out in this situation - to leave the confines of the agonizing city as quickly as possible and enjoy the inevitable death of the Eastern European metropolis from a safe distance. However, as befits the main hope of the nation, Superman Freeman and his equally advanced partner, postpone the salvation of their own skins for a couple of hours and begin a full-scale evacuation of civilians. Here, alien beings - Vortigons - unexpectedly come to the aid of the inseparable couple - they are able to rewind time to sleep without any special movements and point out the place to the mysterious G-man. So, the hands of the clock are turned back, - Gordon and Alex get to work ...

The rescue process for the inhabitants of City 17 was completed in exactly five levels. Led by a noble goal, the protagonists will again visit the Citadel in order to freeze the destructive processes a little, explore more than one dark basement and, finally, run away to their heart's content at the railway station.

The Source Engine remains responsible for accurately reproducing the above landmarks. Of course, the status of the mission pack does not in any way oblige developers to use the new graphic "engine", however, sadly enough, the picture in Episode Oneno longer produces last year's wow effect. The bulk of the cosmetic investment was spent on the newfangled HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology, which realizes the true play of light and shade and the so-called "eye addictive effect". First tested by Valve in the Loast Coast demo level, the visual "feature" came in handy - a kind of paint for Source-gray hair.

Without HDR game developers, the add-on would have lost a third of its atmosphere. Just what are the crazy dances of the flashlight beam, snatching out the silhouette of another zombie in the pitch darkness. By the way, a walk through the abandoned rooms covered with dense darkness definitely gets the title of the best level in Episode One . Clearing out a leper village in Half-Life 2 was far from here.

In the company of sluggishly wandering zombies and headcrabs, the only newly-born inhabitant of the local bestiary, the zombine, who received such a cute nickname from the witty Alix, who noticed obvious similarities between a monster with a harvester and a half-decayed corpse, also appeared. Freshly baked adversaries are distinguished by increased immunity to lead bullet streams and excellent GTO standards for aimed grenade throwing. For a snack, the developers offered two new bosses - a helicopter and a strider. The tactics of fighting especially "fat" opponents have not changed one iota. Fortunately, the faithful rocket launcher and the box with endless ammunition have safely endured the process of adaptation to new episodic conditions.

Otherwise, there will be only familiar faces among the hordes of enemies. The number of adversaries almost doubled, which, however, was obvious: of course, no one was going to modify artificial intelligence (despite the press release promises), therefore, the reproduction of the at times non-stop massacre became possible only through a radical increase in AI-led dummies.

Lovers of shooting from a variety of firearms in Episode Onewill be deeply disappointed. Not only did the developers not bother to get new barrels, but also the scientist will have to wield most of the game exclusively with the gravitational cannon. True, closer to the final, when caring developers still give us the opportunity to hold other representatives of the weapons range in our hands, an irreplaceable unit will remain in the leading ranks, because the boxes with cartridges are listed here in the Red Book. A number of physics puzzles are built on the correct use of the gravity gun, which have become much more entertaining and organic.

And finally, it makes sense to talk about the significant difference between the add-on and its predecessor. His name, or rather her, is Alix. The dark-haired resistance fighter is now excommunicated from Gordon in exceptional cases. Throughout the game, we will constantly have to protect the fragile girl from the crowds of advancing adversaries - despite decent protective performance and an infinite number of cartridges in a clip, surrounded on all sides by Alix will last a minute or two at best - to listen to an incessant stream of caustic comments about and without , and admire the hand-made animation of the heroine, who, meanwhile, has somewhat warmer feelings for her partner ...

We are no less sympathetic to the add-on itself. Closing our eyes to petty quibbles and shortcomings, we can confidently state the fact that Episode Onereally worked out. And even if the price does not justify the status of the project, for four hours of pure platonic pleasure you can pay a lot of money.

Pros: addictive gameplay; "live" heroes; decent multiplayer.
Cons: short duration of add-on; lack of significant changes; gradually outdated engine.

PS The best addition in the history of the series.