Time for another installment of Half-Life commentary-on-the-commentary!
This was an interesting episode. Strange that they’d have another boss so soon after the Tentacle…but given how easily he’s defeated (in a few episodes from now) I guess he’s more of a mini-boss. I love the design of this creature, too. He’s like some sort of futuristic, alien cyclops. Awesome.
I really like how they actually make headcrabs dangerous here; I don’t think its simply a lack of skill that allowed them to damage me so much. They are very well placed, and their AI is good enough to be a threat even though they’re pretty weak as enemies go.
Isn’t it funny that, as good as Valve is at creating a near-perfect gaming experience, they didn’t anticipate a player like me that would want to *walk* through all of this big, empty space rather than run? I mean it makes sense; walking is pretty illogical in an FPS, but I can’t help myself. The way these creatures materialize (and the way marines ambush you!) I’d much rather be safe than sorry. Ironic it lead to me getting unnecessarily killed a couple times.
So this seems like a good place to discuss building a player’s trust within a game. You can see how badly I failed for most of the video here; ordinarily (especially with FPSes) I would get quite discouraged, and maybe even walk away. Because of how scrupulously fair the creators have been up to this point though, they’ve gained enough of my trust that I’m willing to stick with the game (and specifically this segment) in spite of how difficult it is. Rather than being frustrated, I feel like I simply haven’t figured out the solution yet. THAT is how you make a game, developers.
I just want to say how well designed this game is. I love all the little detours you have to make, while still ultimately ending up where you started in the first place. This really gives the place a sense of verisimilitude, and helps me buy it being a real building and facility. Incredibly well designed, and really adds to the sense of progress you feel, too.
On another note, I AM curious where all those marines from the last video went. I know I didn’t kill that many. Maybe the game decided that I’m pathetic, and eliminated them all for me?
Well it seems like I’ve finally learned how to make correct use of grenades. The key is pretty much only using them in open areas; they’re inaccurate enough that they’re as liable to kill you as your enemy if they bounce off a hallway wall or something. I need to practice this though, because when they do work, they seem to be one of the best weapons I’ve got at my disposal.
As for the big ugly dude…I don’t like him as much as the tentacle monster, but he’s still got more personality than 99% of enemies I’ve seen in gaming. He’s more traditional than the tentacle boss (who seemed almost as curious as aggressive a lot of the time), but his mannerisms are wonderful–from anger to frustration. Obviously I figured out how to kill him, but I really was at a loss at the end of this video as to exactly what I was going to do next.
Lots of running back and forth here as I solve the track control puzzle. Kind of irritating to have to go back and forth three times, but oh well.
I’m shocked at how fast the boss died here; neither boss fight so far has involved direct combat. I really like that, actually. After all, Gordon isn’t a marine or even trained to fight. It stands to reason he would use his brain and knowledge of the facility to kill these giant unkillable things, rather than his gun. That’s as good a piece of characterization for him as any dialogue they could possibly write.
I love this game.