Half-Life 2 – Episode One

Thursday marked the release of the newest installment of the Half-Life saga – Half-Life 2 Episode One. It picks up the story shortly after HL2 ends. The basic story is that the player (as Gordon Freeman) is caught in City 17 with Alyx, one of your cohorts from the first game. Following your actions at the end of HL2, the reactor powering the monstrous Combine Citadel is overloading, and you and Alyx must escape in short order.

Valve did a great job with this one. For a good portion of the episode you’re without any weapons except the gravity gun. Therefore, you must rely on Alyx to clear enemies while you clear other obstacles. After you finally find weapons, the game goes underground, and you’re forced to fight many uglies in pitch blackness, with things only illuminated by the occasional emergency flare and your trusty flashlight.

After a while, you finally escape to the surface, but the fight isn’t over yet. The Combine is after you with a vengeance, mostly due to some information that you and Alyx have taken from them. Towards the end of the episode, you meet up with some other civilians fighting to escape the city, and you help lead them to safety.

The episode ends rather abruptly, but the story isn’t over. Its my understanding that Valve intends to keep releasing additional episodes, each continuing the saga of humanity’s struggle against the Combine. I’m looking forward to the next one. This episode was only about 4-6 hours long playing-time-wise, but it was a lot of fun.

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