Half Life 2 Ep. 1 picks up right where Half Life 2 ends. [Spoiler alert] We finally see what happens after the explosion at the Citadel. I had to play this game right after I played Half Life 2 as when I first played it on the original XBOX, it was a major cliff hanger that left me wanting more. Since I didn’t want to just jump into Ep. 1 on The Orange Box, I made sure to refresh my mind as to what happened in Half Life 2 first by playing it all over again. It was well worth playing it again.
Ep. 1 starts off exactly at the point that HL2 leaves off. This is basically the effect you’d get from watching for instance the season finally of Smallville and the next season’s premier of the new season. You get a small preview of all the events from HL2 that leads to EP. 1. It is a nice refresher for those who didn’t go back and play HL2 from the beginning. You again start off the game with no weapons at all, but this is quickly changed when you receive the fan favorite gravity gun. This is by far one of my most favorite weapons in the whole Half Life series. Even at its powered down status, it is a fun weapon to use. In Ep. 1 you will get a chance to play with the Gravity Gun in its “super modified” state again so that is a huge plus as I found it quite entertaining flinging combine soldiers into the air.
I made the decision to play this game with nothing but the Gravity Gun since there is a huge achievement for not using any other weapons. It was actually quite difficult, but I think it made the game a lot more challenging and fun. Basically you have to play the game a little differently if you are just using the Gravity Gun. You constantly have to find items to pick up and throw or if there is nothing around, run. Run very, very fast. I will not spoil and of the story or plot for those who haven’t played this game yet. I’ll say that the story is just as deep and penetrating as Half Life 2.
The graphics in this game are better then in Half Life 2. Also the physics engine seems to be a little better but there are times when the rag doll effects are just wacky and dead enemies do some weird things. Sometimes its very funny to watch. The game is a lot shorter then Half Life 2. This is really more like an add on then it is a sequel. The game doesn’t seem long enough to be a true sequel, although since it came in a package of 5 games, I’m not complaining about the length. If it was by itself, I might have felt a little disappointed by its length.
I would definitely recommend that anyone play this game. If you have played Half Life 2, this is a great follow up. If you haven’t, I would still play it since a lot of modern FPS’s draw their inspiration from the Half Life series.