So no shit: there I was. Bumming my way through White Forest, getting insulted by Magnusson, shooting Combine, clambering through vents, getting murdered by hunters–you know, #JustFreemanThings.
And then–THEN you guys–THIS happens:
How much shit can go down in the space of, what, like five minutes?! Seriously, I’m not even kidding, let’s list this out:
Heeey check it out, the new episode is up:
And new episode means (at least since there was some serious story here!) a new post!
First of all, holy shit, they aren’t kidding when they said sequel. Although to be honest, this feels less like a sequel, and more like…a continuation of the exact same game, seeing as it picks up right where HL2 left off. I imagine it didn’t feel that way back in the day, when you had to wait so long for the game to be released, but as it is? For me, it’s just like starting a new chapter. Which isn’t a bad thing.
(See part 1 if you’re unsure what’s going on here.)
Ah yes. If I recall correctly, this is the first time we ever lay eyes on Combine Adviser in the game. (Obviously this happens much earlier in the comic, but since we’re following along with the comic in the article, that’s how it’s gonna be.)
I’m pretty sure I didn’t know the significance of what I was looking at in the game, when I saw these guys for the first time. To be fair, I still don’t, not completely–I do get that he (it?) must be the Combine’s equivalent of Breen–not in the traitor sense, but in the sense that it’s the alien liaison with humanity. I wish we had heard more of Breen’s interaction with it…I’m curious what this specific alien thinks of humans. Does it look down on us? Pity us? Think of us like cattle? Is it completely indifferent? I don’t know. But I really hope we get to find out in Episodes 1 and 2.
Also, I just want to say that I love the idea of Frohman cheerfully taking a message from the Adviser without questioning anything at all.
So, as you probably know if you’ve found your way to this site, my LP of Half-Life 2 is complete. Now that it’s done, I can finally, finally, FINALLY devour all of the brilliant and hilarious comic Concerned.
Rather than another long winded, rambling post about my HL2 thoughts–I’ve honestly said 99% of what I want to say about it at some point in this blog anyway–I figured I would format this ‘retrospective’ a little differently: by using various Concerned comics and commenting/analyzing/laughing about them. It seems like a fun and fitting way to end all of this, and look back at the last five years (!) through a slightly different lens.
There are a LOT of comics, obviously I’m not going to address even close to all of them, but this will no doubt take more than one article. But for now, here is part one!
So at the very end of my last Half-Life 2 episode, I stopped and strained to hear a fairly short but important Breencast. I’ve taken the liberty of looking up the full text (since I had some trouble hearing it in game) and present it to you in full now:
I’d like to take a moment to address you directly, Dr. Freeman.
Yes. I’m talking to you, the so-called One Free Man. I have a question for you. How could you have thrown it all away? It staggers the mind. A man of science, with the ability to sway reactionary and fearful minds toward the truth, choosing instead to embark on a path of ignorance and decay. Make no mistake, Dr. Freeman. This is not a scientific revolution you have sparked…this is death and finality.
You have plunged humanity into freefall. Even if you offered your surrender now, I cannot guarantee that Our Benefactors would accept it. At the moment, I fear they have begun to look upon even me with suspicion. So much for serving as humanity’s representative.
Help me win back their trust, Dr. Freeman. Surrender while you still can. Help ensure that humanity’s trust in you is not misguided.
Do what is right, Dr. Freeman. Serve mankind.
Let’s, for the sake of this sure to be long winded philosophical exercise, take most everything in game at face value. Let’s assume that Breen is being entirely forthright here, and honestly believes what he’s saying (which may or may not actually be the case; no real way to know that yet.) Further, let’s assume that Gordon is fighting purely because he believes that what he is doing is right, and that he isn’t being manipulated by some shady, possibly omniscient, time/dimension hopping alien thing in a suit (we know that he is. That his morals cause him to do what G-Man wants is irrelevant.)
Assuming ALL of that…is Gordon Freeman (and the resistance) doing the right thing?
Carpe noctem my feathered flock! While trolling through some comments and messages, the following idea came in from Rob on Patreon:
Here’s a question, since you’re coming back to Half-Life again. You have a somewhat unique perspective on Half-Life because you played all of 1, spread over a while…and have now been partially through 2 on a blind run for quite some time. Obviously, you enjoyed 1 enough to start 2, and 2 is engaging you enough in some ways to keep you coming back to it. What engaged you about the first one, and is it the same things that are engaging you in the second?
It’s a deceptively fascinating question, at least to me. My initial knee-jerk response is, of course, I play it because that’s what I do. I started the series, I should finish it The sky is blue, dogs bark, and Hawk plays Half-Life. But, as Johnny Rico observed in Starship Troopers, “Fight because I’m an M.I.? Brother, you’re drooling like Dr. Pavlov’s dogs. Cut it out and start thinking!”
So I did. I started thinking. This article is the result of that thinking.
I figured I’d post a little something while we wait for the new episode to upload. Granted, this song is actually about the old Prisoner TV series but, given where I think the Half-Life story is going…I think it’s quite fitting: