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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Half-Life 2: Episode One

I haven't even beat it yet, but I'm a few hours into it and it is friggin' amazing. Even if I had beat it already, it still would've been worth way more than $20. The fact that this amazing game is $20 and still pwns is enough reason to buy it. More than HL1's crafty AI, more than HL2's creepy Ravenholm, this game is one long rush of excitement. Not once have I thought "this is boring." Still, the Source engine being memory sensitive as always, I had a crash in the first two minutes of gameplay. However, after a reboot and changing my (cruddy) memory timings to 8-4-4 instead of 8-3-3, it was rock solid all the way. Through use of new pixel shader tricks and the awesome HDR (High Dynamic Range Lighting), this totally competes with the current games on the market when it comes to graphics. The audio is pure Valve magic. Through perfect 5.1 mixing, I was jumping and turning during some of the creepiest pitch black scenes in any game.

For instance, imagine you and your sidekick (Alyx in this case) have shotguns. You're waiting for an elevator to come up and there are absolutely no lights but a couple sparks and your flashlight. Alyx doesn't even have a flashlight! Headcrab zombies, fast and slow are coming from all directions. You and Alyx are blasting away, every now and then popping an explosive barrel and creating a minimal amount of light from the fire. The fire quickly fades and so does your flashlight power. It blinks out and you begin blasting away at the pitch black darkness while it recharges some. You panic, so you try and click it on for a brief moment to find out what's attacking you only to see at least six or seven zombies, all in close range and attacking you. The light blinks back off because you didn't let it recharge more. Yeah, this game invoked moments of sheer terror in me.

I have only one gripe about this game. There are times that Alyx will say things that make you turn and look at her like "seriously, what?" However, the more I think about it and study her facial reactions, I see that she's saying things that some would expect a young woman to say that was trying to impress someone she liked or whatever. More or less flirting. But some of the things really are obviously dumb sounding. Haha, I don't know if she's supposed to come across a little ditzy, but she does. Other than those few moments, it's easy to feel like I'm actually fighting next to a real person. The new facial animation system is outstanding! Never again do I have to deal with stiff mouths lip syncing text. HL2 had amazing animation, but wow did they really push the envelope. Out of all the game companies that have impressed me through the years, Valve has really done the best job. Now everyone keeps asking "what about Half-Life 3 ??" I read that Valve joked that they should've changed the name to "Half-Life 3: Episode One." Let me just say, if this is how they deliver Half-Life 3, then fricking YES.
In the woods behind Alicia's house. It's frickin' awesome back there. But there were a ton of bugs and spider webs. Plus a snake slithered through the grass at one point which freaked out Alicia because she hates snakes. I, being the brave man I am, protected her of course. Hehehe.. I hope she doesn't read that.

In other news, yeah, I'm typing another blog thanks to Steven's words of encouragement. That and Alicia is out of town.. er.. more out of town and I need to do something to keep my mind occupied. ;-) Hehe.. yeah, I'm uber-manly like that. Oh and hey Steven, I'm having trouble finding a counter to put on the page. Any tips?

And I'll be working Friday day and night as well as having to go to Evansville Saturday (be there by 7:00 AM.. UGH..) for SRP (records review prior to AT). Later mad peeps. Or something.
Currently Listening To: Opeth - To Rid The Disease - Damnation - 2003

Half-Life 2 is copyright of Valve. Like, the image I posted is one I captured, but like, it's all Valve's work. So.. don't like, throw any books at me.


Anonymous steven said...

If you look for "hit counter" on Google you'll come up with a ton of results. It's easy to put one on your page too, most hit counter providers will allow you to copy and paste their code onto your page and you're done. If they require registration, I recommend setting up a dummy email account to prevent receiving spam.

One important thing to note is that you will have to place the counter in a space on your blog that is always viewable. I noticed you have your last.fm graphic on your page, so if you could post the code in that same section it should work fine.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous steven said...

Oh, on second thought, I could use CSS to place your counter wherever I want to, i.e., below the list of links on the left that link to your archives, etc. It still has to be in that same space I mentioned earlier.

1:03 AM  

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