Monday, July 22, 2013

First Impressions: Half-Life (PC)

Half-Life is a game developed by Valve Software and released on the PC all-the-way-back in 1998.  By this point, my experience with FPS' was limited to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (1997) and GoldenEye 007 (1997), so I know the quality for games developed in and around 1998.  I only first heard about Half-Life and the Half-Life series sometime in the mid-2000's and all I could tell you was that it was apparently a really good game with a protagonist who looked like Hugh Laurie.  What type of game is it?  I thought it was an science fiction adventure game, maybe akin to a Resident Evil game but without the survival horror-ness.  It was only a year and-a-half ago that I found out that Half-Life was an FPS when I saw a GoldenEye mod for Half-Life 2.

Right before Steam started their Super-Düper-Summer-Sale, the Half-Life series went on sale for 75% off so I told myself I should go ahead and purchase the beast (all 11 games including Team Fortress Classic).  And, I figured, what better place to start than at the beginning.

Presently I've put in 3 hours into Half-Life and my proverbial socks have yet to be blown off.   Graphically, Half-Life looks a lot like what I would expect from an FPS from the late 1990's although it has a lot of spoken dialogue, but I chalk that up to it being a PC game with a larger capacity than a game cartridge.  

I initially felt that my "meh-ness" was due to the fact that I was killing/defending myself/standing my ground against weird alien creatures who seemed hell bent on killing me after they were transported to the Black Mesa facility.  Sure they're aggressive.  Sure they seemed to be perfectly designed to kill/devour/digest humans.  But they're probably just scared.  Scared demonic aliens designed to kill/devour/swallow your soul.  I'm not a big fan of FPS' that focus on aliens, or at least non humanoid aliens.  That being said, I just entered the 3rd (4th?) chapter and I'm now killing military personnel  so my feelings on the game might change in the next couple of hours of gameplay.

I also do not seemed to have reached the level of immersion that I've recently read a lot about.  Sure it's a first person game so you're in the head of the protagonist so there is a certain level of "forced" immersion, but I don't feel immersed in the world.  Yet.  My initial confusion cropped up in the beginning of the game while wandering around the Black Mesa facility trying to figure out what to do/where to go in a place where Gordon Freeman apparently works on a regular basis.  For that reason, I was not immersed.  Maybe if Gordon had been a new hire so there would be reason for the player to not immediately know the layout of the facility. 

My main point is, is that I'm just sort of whelmed with Half-Life.  If I didn't know that this was (supposed to be) an amazing game, I don't know if I would continue playing it, although I probably would anyway because it's not a bad game, just not the "Game of the Year" that I was promised it would be.


1 comment:

  1. The first one doesn't hold up hardly at all anymore. For a game made in the Quake engine that was released in 1998 I think a lot of the methods they used were progressive.

    Its sequel is where it's at. They really tightened things up. Though that game is also starting to show its age.

    Honestly, Half Life 2: Episode 2 is the crown jewel of the series and the latest entry.

    Apologies for these random rambles.