|Episode Free Passes Hack|
One thing you can say approximately the team at Valve Software: they don’t like to rush. After taking six years to craft the sequel to Half-Life, it is taken another eighteen months for the first mini-enlargement, Half-Life 2: Episode One, to arrive. As the preliminary installment of a trilogy to be supplied in episodic format, the good news is that Episode One is a welcome go back to the sector of Half-Life 2, with the same incredible graphics and gameplay that helped that sport win severa awards in late 2004 (which includes GameSpy’s PC Game of the Year).
Episode One begins off precisely wherein Half-Life 2 ended: with you (as scientist/killing gadget Gordon Freeman) atop an exploding Citadel, with your sidekick, the spunky Alyx Vance, about to be toast. Without spoiling matters, let’s simply say that Alyx is kept out of harm’s manner, and the 2 of you’re quick reunited outside at the bottom of a smoking Citadel. After establishing an uplink with old pals Dr. Kleiner and Alyx’s father Eli (over again voiced with the aid of Robert Guillaume), you discover the Citadel is about to head kerplooey, and that allows you to provide yourself, Alyx and infinite different residents extra time to get away City 17, you’ll must pass returned in to try and put off the meltdown.
There’s a good deal of exposition on the begin of Episode One, as characters are quick reintroduced and duties are laid out earlier than you. The intro consists of a reappearance by means of Dog (Alyx’s puppy robotic), who makes your re-access into the Citadel a memorable one. Once inner, you and Alyx spend numerous time exploring the deteriorating monolith, providing you with a threat to get reacquainted with the gravity gun. Before lengthy, you may be flinging round Combine soldiers similar to the coolest ol’ days. As you figure your way to the Citadel’s important reactor middle, you are confronted with a wholesome dose of puzzles, which start off easy sufficient but require greater imagination to remedy as you continue.
Once you have delayed the Citadel meltdown (and picked up a few greater intel on what the Combine is up to in the procedure), the second one half of of Episode One focuses on Gordon and Alyx’s efforts to haul ass out of City 17. Of course, the escape is anything but easy, as you’re first forced underground in which you need to address headcrabs, zombies, and ant lions, and then you definitely make your manner onto the streets where you get knee-deep in fight with Combine infantrymen, who’re none too glad with the records you pilfered from the Citadel.
The gameplay in Episode One in no way strays too some distance from the acquainted Half-Life system: levels are kept quite linear as you’re steered from one assignment to the next, with plenty of scripted activities to transport the plot alongside. The beginning stages in the Citadel sense the maximum unique, because of the heavy emphasis on storytelling, the gravity gun, and all the puzzles worried with stabilizing the reactor. Things sluggish down a piece when you cross underground and start combating zombies, despite the fact that there are some interesting scenes in which you have to shine your flashlight on enemies so Alyx can see and shoot them inside the dark. Once you get out of doors with a complete complement of guns, things move alongside tons quicker, although it could occasionally experience a bit too acquainted, as if you’re replaying the later sections of Half-Life 2 rather of latest content material.
Probably the biggest trade introduced in Episode One is how Alyx fights at Gordon’s aspect for most people of the game. Plenty of shooters have attempted this and failed, with NPCs who wander off or get inside the manner or are simply simple disturbing. Valve strikes simply the right notes with Alyx; she doesn’t nag Gordon, she can properly observe you round, and even affords beneficial aid a variety of the time. There’s a a laugh series in the later chapters where you’re unfastened to run ahead and fight alone, however it is more fun to draw enemies into Alyx’s line of sight so she will be able to snipe them from afar. Aside from her use in fight, Alyx is also successfully used to place a human face on things and keep the tale shifting alongside, and Episode One is a higher recreation for it.
As turned into the case in Half-Life 2, the portraits in Episode One are drop-lifeless fantastic; there may not be any other images engine nowadays able to constantly producing such appealing scenes in such a lot of exclusive settings. From the dramatic points of interest outdoor the crumbling Citadel to the shimmering reactor center to the dramatic lights consequences when combating zombies within the dark, it’s nearly not possible to take a awful screenshot in Episode One. The NPCs are once again rendered with remarkable detail and animations, and Valve has covered the advanced HDR lighting consequences that it showcased closing 12 months inside the Lost Coast tech demo. Best of all, Episode One appears to be every bit as hardware-pleasant as Half-Life 2, and ran with out a hitch at 1920×1200 on our test system (a three.4Ghz CPU with 2GB RAM and a GeForce 7800 GTX video card).
One of the maximum unique features in Episode One is the addition of developer remark, which, once enabled, may be accessed through chat bubbles sprinkled for the duration of the sport. There’s a wholesome amount of remark, with Valve builders mainly presenting insights approximately layout choices that influenced sections of the sport. The observation gives a captivating observe why parts of the game grew to become out the way they did, and while Episode One isn’t the primary game to try this (the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick had a statement characteristic as nicely), it’s a characteristic well worth checking out as soon as you have finished the sport, and something we’d like to see extra of.
The largest query you will probably have about Episode One is whether or not it is worth the $19.99 price tag. With about four to five hours of recent gameplay, it goes via truly rapid, that is all the extra disappointing whilst you don’t forget we’ve got waited goodbye for brand new Half-Life 2 content. (Episode Two is presently scheduled for the end of 2006.) There’s also the Steam aspect: up to now, Valve’s download service appears to be protecting up ok, however the sport is also in stores now for the equal price for those of you (like me) who like having a container and a disc. (For the report, Episode One is a standalone identify that doesn’t require Half-Life 2 to play, and includes get entry to to the formerly launched Half-Life 2 deathmatch.)
Half-Life 2: Episode One delivers precisely what you’d assume from a Half-Life expansion: it returns to the fascinating putting of City 17, can provide lots of tight motion sequences and nicely-crafted puzzles, and is arguably the pleasant-searching shooter out today. At $20, it goes through pretty short, however the developer commentary provides some replay fee, and it’s impossible to assume absolutely everyone who enjoyed Half-Life 2 passing it up. It’s exciting to see developers ultimately embody the concept of episodic content; the massive query now is whether Valve can hold up with the demand.