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Do you like Half-Life's Gameplay, or Story (2)

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Do the stories of Half-Life games matter, or are they just a vehicle to the gameplay? Like a bad experiment, more than one variable is changed at a time. While each major installment in the series (by the most impactful definition, Half-Life and Half-Life 2) brings a new narrative, they also signify touchstones of the advancement of the FPS genre technologically. Back in 1998, Laidlaw’s writing was recognized as a stride forward in the medium because it was possibly the best told story in video games up to that point, leaving the player with the kind of questions that only they could answer. Who is Freeman? What is he like? A savior? A survivor? A mad man? Or just a tool for cosmic change. Is he a free man? These are all questions that Doom Guy and Quake Guy never heard. Laidlaw certainly kept the magic alive in the second game, aided by new facial rigging technology. He effectively utilized all the new tools at his disposal to tell a much more complex tale. The story of City 17 mixes world-scale drama into Freeman’s personal struggle in a more relatable and human way. So we know the stories are always worth experiencing, and the gameplay, (even if it becomes dated, at least at the time of it’s release,) is without peer. Is one more important than the other, and if so, is that something everyone has to decide for themselves, individually? Is it a subversion of the common sense many believe about video games, meaning that instead of the story existing for the sake of the gameplay, the game play exists for the story? Is the story of Freeman best told in the form of a game? Or are they equals, coming together to create some greater experience, enriching each other through their strengths? Does the story need to exist at all, or is the spectacle of new technology worth the praise the Half Life games get?

I don't wanna talk about the episodes, or the expansions to the original, because I feel like those are all just continuations of their own universes. I am much more intrigued by the main story. But if you guys wanna talk about them, by all means, do. I'd be glad to listen.

 

I was a dummy who needed to lurk moar (and drink less) and originally posted this in Misc because I'm dumb. Please forgive me. I deleted that and posted it again over here so I don't bother the people in Misc more than I already have, and the intended audience gets to see it. This was all like 20 minutes ago. Sorry.

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I've recently finished my every-now-and-then replay of HL2 and its episodes. For HL2 specifically, the gameplay is what won out. There's a story there, sure, but you have to look a little deeper to actually grasp all the background lore. The episodes, though - with how much they focused on the characters, I'd say it was the story for those games, aside from the ending to Episode 2.

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Posted (edited)

I think the Half Life games are boring as hell, I only liked Episode 2, the environments aren't as bland. There are too many boring sections in Half Life 2, and Episode 1 is just... I don't even remember what the hell happens in that, it just sorta ends, it was pretty lame.

 

Most of the gameplay in Episode 2, was actually pretty enjoyable for me, the original games are so boring compared to it.

I liked the final battle, and the music is way cooler. I don't know, I wish the whole game was like Episode 2.

 

Episode 2 also has less annoying cutscenes, but I would rather not have them at all to be honest. It just flows better to me at least. You get into the action a bit faster. I don't like how you need to fight ants for most of the game though. But once you get out of those stupid caves, it starts to open up.

Edited by RaTcHeT302

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While I'm big sucker for a narrative in games, story in Half-Life isn't all that interesting. One thing it does though is providing great atmosphere, but it wouldn't hold the game alone, if gameplay wasn't great.

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This isn't as easy as night and day.

Half-Life as a whole is narrated while you're soaked into the gameplay, so the story is touch n go.
Ergo: They're both rolled into one anyway? Kind of defeats the purpose of choosing one over the other.

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9 hours ago, sheridanm962 said:

This isn't as easy as night and day.

Half-Life as a whole is narrated while you're soaked into the gameplay, so the story is touch n go.
Ergo: They're both rolled into one anyway? Kind of defeats the purpose of choosing one over the other.

Not really. If you stripped it down to level design, gunplay, and movement/mechanics, you would still have a really solid game. When you start thinking about what's actually happening in Half-Life it's actually quite silly.

 

HL2 is marginally better in terms of storytelling but boring as fuck in terms of gameplay.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, Annie said:

HL2 is marginally better in terms of storytelling but boring as fuck in terms of gameplay.

I don't know, in Half Life 1, aliens invade your workplace, you kill the alien god. Government people also want you dead, for reasons. Money probably.

 

Half Life 2 - ???? - The cops invade planet earth and you kill a human guy, who betrayed people for reasons.

There are also these flying thingies, and they suck the life stuff out of people. That's bad. So we want to kill them. Also we sent a missile somewhere, for reasons.

 

Why did the graveyard man give me a gun? Why are we following the graveyard man? Where did the graveryard man go? Why does he live in a graveyard.

 

Why does Black Mesa have a giant zombie graveyard in their backyard. Didn't we go underground?

 

I kinda struggle to describe the storyline in the second game to be honest. It got pretty complicated.

Meanwhile in videogame land, with the first game, I felt like it was a bit more straightforward to sorta get.

 

I wouldn't call it better, there's just more stuff going on, it's a little bit more involved, I think - and... I have no idea how any of it ends, Valve just left us on a cliffhanger so, oops.

 

I'm really fine with more basic storylines, maybe I'm simple, but give me someone to hate, and give me a good reason to shoot him in the face, and that's good enough motivaton for me. I mean all I cared in Half Life 2 about was to just, kick Breen's ass, anything else either got over my head, or was just filler to me.

 

Player motivation is a very strong tool, above all else from what I've seen. You can have the most complex storyline in the world, just to end up with the player, only caring about the guy who stole his orange soda, for the whole game.

 

HEY, WHEN'S THE ORANGE SODA BOSS FIGHT STARTING, I WANT TO KICK HIS ASS, WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GUY, I NEED MY SODA BACK, I SAID, I WANT MY SODA BA-

 

oh the game's over

 

 

 

uh, anyway, I'm not really defending any of the games or anything, to me, they were just kinda bland games overall, i played through them but, I don't really feel like touching them ever again, i think the portal games, are the better games overall

 

yeah, that's the conclusion guys, GO PLAY PORTAL

Edited by RaTcHeT302

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Annie said:

Not really. If you stripped it down to level design, gunplay, and movement/mechanics, you would still have a really solid game. When you start thinking about what's actually happening in Half-Life it's actually quite silly.

 

HL2 is marginally better in terms of storytelling but boring as fuck in terms of gameplay.

Oh no, someone said something bad about a game that came out just over a decade ago. Whatever shall I do ;)

Your response is lazy? I'm gonna need more input from you if I were to take it seriously.
Also Gameplay boring? Wow... I maybe biased because the games still amuse me, but come on... You gotta do better than that.

To each their own I guess.

Edited by sheridanm962

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17 hours ago, sheridanm962 said:

Oh no, someone said something bad about a game that came out just over a decade ago. Whatever shall I do ;)

Your response is lazy? I'm gonna need more input from you if I were to take it seriously.
Also Gameplay boring? Wow... I maybe biased because the games still amuse me, but come on... You gotta do better than that.

To each their own I guess.

 

Seems like a weirdly defensive way to respond my dude. I'm not obligated to type an essay as to why I don't share the same taste as you. My point is that the gameplay and story are separate from one another in the HL series. You could change the visual design of the levels in HL1 and toss them in Doom or Quake and they wouldn't feel horribly out of place.

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20 hours ago, RaTcHeT302 said:

I don't know, in Half Life 1, aliens invade your workplace, you kill the alien god. Government people also want you dead, for reasons. Money probably.

 

Half Life 2 - ???? - The cops invade planet earth and you kill a human guy, who betrayed people for reasons.

There are also these flying thingies, and they suck the life stuff out of people. That's bad. So we want to kill them. Also we sent a missile somewhere, for reasons.

 

Why did the graveyard man give me a gun? Why are we following the graveyard man? Where did the graveryard man go? Why does he live in a graveyard.

 

Why does Black Mesa have a giant zombie graveyard in their backyard. Didn't we go underground?

 

I kinda struggle to describe the storyline in the second game to be honest. It got pretty complicated.

Meanwhile in videogame land, with the first game, I felt like it was a bit more straightforward to sorta get.

 

I wouldn't call it better, there's just more stuff going on, it's a little bit more involved, I think - and... I have no idea how any of it ends, Valve just left us on a cliffhanger so, oops.

 

I'm really fine with more basic storylines, maybe I'm simple, but give me someone to hate, and give me a good reason to shoot him in the face, and that's good enough motivaton for me. I mean all I cared in Half Life 2 about was to just, kick Breen's ass, anything else either got over my head, or was just filler to me.

 

Player motivation is a very strong tool, above all else from what I've seen. You can have the most complex storyline in the world, just to end up with the player, only caring about the guy who stole his orange soda, for the whole game.

 

HEY, WHEN'S THE ORANGE SODA BOSS FIGHT STARTING, I WANT TO KICK HIS ASS, WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GUY, I NEED MY SODA BACK, I SAID, I WANT MY SODA BA-

 

oh the game's over

 

 

 

uh, anyway, I'm not really defending any of the games or anything, to me, they were just kinda bland games overall, i played through them but, I don't really feel like touching them ever again, i think the portal games, are the better games overall

 

yeah, that's the conclusion guys, GO PLAY PORTAL

 

I mean it's easy to caricature stories like that, I see it all the time when folks compare Fallout games. It's easier to write off Fallout 3 as "chasing your dad around until you find him and help him fix a nuclear thingy with a geck" than it is to talk about the intricacies of the story. You can make a case that any game has shit writing when you try to summarize it in the dumbest way possible. The problem with Half-Life is that it's genuinely hard to go in to detail about it's story because of how barebones it is narratively, and how silly certain parts of it seem otherwise. It feels like the narrative is stretched around the gameplay because that literally is the case. You could cut straight from Unforseen Consequences to Lambda Core and not lose anything narratively. It's not really a written game. The attention to detail in the world built is certainly interesting but that doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of story.

 

HL1 also leaves the players asking a lot of questions. What's a resonance cascade? What was the purpose of the experiments at the anomalous materials lab? Why did the government try to cover it up and why did they go about it by sending in armed forces to slaughter scientists by the hundreds, maybe thousands? Nothing in the game really makes complete sense, the story feels like an afterthought at best.

 

I say HL2 is marginally better because it does at least answer some questions, has greater narrative focus, and doesn't leave you wondering what the fuck is going on nearly as much. That said, I'm not really itching to see a conclusion to the series either. I thought the gameplay and writing both were honestly pretty lackluster. Not terrible but not terribly good either.

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18 hours ago, sheridanm962 said:

Oh no, someone said something bad about a game that came out just over a decade ago. Whatever shall I do.

Your response is lazy, I'm gonna need more input from you if I were to take it seriously.
Also Gameplay boring? Wow... I maybe biased because the games still amuse me, but come on... You gotta do better than that

 

:(

 

Anyway, to me it's mostly about, how I perceived the storyline as I played the game on the moment, I generally don't think too deeply about game storylines, beyond the surface level stuff, and whatever I actually see or understand. I generally don't take videogames too seriously, I'll always take a more goofy storyline, beyond one which takes itself too overly seriously.

 

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On 8/1/2019 at 4:25 PM, RaTcHeT302 said:

I have no idea how any of it ends, Valve just left us on a cliffhanger so, oops.

 

To be Fair, Marc Laidlaw did state the following game was also going to end in a cliffhanger. Sounds to me he never saw a proper ending, and always left the series open for us to figure out.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, RaTcHeT302 said:

:(

 

Anyway, to me it's mostly about, how I perceived the storyline as I played the game on the moment, I generally don't think too deeply about game storylines, beyond the surface level stuff, and whatever I actually see or understand. I generally don't take videogames too seriously, I'll always take a more goofy storyline, beyond one which takes itself too overly seriously.

 

I can accept that.

 

14 hours ago, Annie said:

Seems like a weirdly defensive way to respond my dude. I'm not obligated to type an essay as to why I don't share the same taste as you. My point is that the gameplay and story are separate from one another in the HL series. You could change the visual design of the levels in HL1 and toss them in Doom or Quake and they wouldn't feel horribly out of place.

(You wrote an essay-ish after posting this response, just saying)
I didn't really ask for an essay, you've literally responded now with what could've been better input before; so yeah...

Kind of awkward at this point hahaha

 

Edited by sheridanm962

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