Half-Life 2 is so super awesome, it makes my face melt. So, when I finished playing it recently (and Episodes 1 and 2), I promptly went back and played through the whole thing again just because I wanted to relive the entire experience.
But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You played through it ages ago and are already aware that Half-Life 2 is the best. But, just between us, you know who doesn’t? My friend Jennifer Culp. SHHHHH! Just be cool. Don’t let on that we’re talking about her.
So, here’s the thing. When I finished playing Half-Life 2, I ran to the Internet (as we live in different states) to tell Culp how much I loved it. She is one of the people I go to first when I play a new game. She got me into Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and BioShock (among others). She has great taste in games. So, when she told me that she hadn’t actually finished Half-Life 2 yet, I was shocked…SHOCKED. How could this person whose gaming advice I take every day shun this game I have found so completely and utterly amazing? She said, and this is a direct quote, “I’ve only ever played HL2 up until I escape out of the city at the beginning, and then I put it down. I’ve done that twice. I think if I can just make it over that hump, I’ll be golden.”
I know! She hasn’t even gotten out of the city! But– But– That’s when things get good!
Now, you and I know that there are millions of reasons for Culp to finally finish Half-Life 2. But I don’t have all day to write out millions of reasons. So, here are the main ones, without giving too much away because we don’t want to spoil the game for her. THIS is why Jennifer Culp should quit being an utter butthead and finish playing Half-Life 2 already.
1. The Village of Ravenholm
This is arguably one of the most exciting, terrifying, and well-orchestrated experiences in gaming history. Gordon Freeman must rely on a limited supply of ammunition, the gravity gun, and various puzzles and traps to fight his way through a village filled with headcrab zombies. It’s dark. He’s (almost completely) alone. And this is the part of the game where you discover that there aren’t just basic headcrabs and headcrab zombies. There’s stuff that’s even more sinister. Plus, you finally obtain the shotgun during this part. And who doesn’t love mowing down zombies with a shotgun? I don’t know a lot about firearm history, but I’m pretty sure that’s why shotguns were invented.
2. That Part With the Antlions
When you first encounter the antlions, it’s like, “AAAAAAAAA!” You just walked out of one giant shitstorm and into a brand new one. But then, you get to use them against your enemies, and things start getting good. Really good. What I like about it is that you can’t just run into this part of the game, guns blazing, and expect to come out of it unscathed. It requires a lot of strategy and patience because, no matter what you do on your first playthrough, you’re going to end up dying a lot. But I loved the antlions so much, I didn’t even care. “Reload last save point? Why, thank you, Half-Life 2!” When this part was over, I was like, “More antlions!” And luckily that’s not the last you see of them.
3. And Then There Are Striders
The Striders are an unbelievable challenge. This isn’t like running into a regular boss battle where you die a few times, get the hang of what you need to do, and then beat the boss to pulp. This part goes on for a very long time. Just when you think you’ve met your most difficult challenge, the game takes it to the next level and you see that things are not that simple. Even on my second playthrough of the game, I found myself shouting at the TV in frustration. But the second playthrough was what made me appreciate the Striders. It wasn’t as simple as figuring out one little weakness and taking advantage of it. I had to constantly be on my toes, jumping from one hiding place to the next and looking for ammo and resources. It’s challenging and exciting, and I came to love it. The Striders continue being frustrating assholes into Episodes 1 and 2, so you’re never too far away from your next Strider battle.
4. That Part When the Gravity Gun Gets EVEN MORE AWESOME
You know that part, towards the end? *wink wink* Yeah, that part. It’s like they are rewarding you for getting past the Striders with the best present of all time.
When you’ve finally finished Half-Life 2, you can move on to Episode 1. How often can you actually do that in life? You finish one amazing game and move right into the next part. And it does not disappoint as you struggle to find your way out of the city before it’s too late. (Too late for what? That’s for Jennifer Culp to find out when she finally gets through the first game.) And if that’s not enough, there’s Episode 2 right behind it. Which brings with it interesting new challenges, like the Hunters and the worker antlions (acidlions). While the game is a completely cohesive unit as a whole, each episode is unique in its own right.
6. The Anticipation of Half-Life 3
If you’ve played Half-Life 2, you know what I’m talking about. The ending of 2 leaves a lot of things up in the air. What’s next for Gordon Freeman and Alyx? Valve employees have gone out of their way to keep this sequel under wraps. And, if it ever materializes, I’m sure this will be the game sequel to end all game sequels. Look at the epicness of the long-awaited Portal 2. The excitement I feel over Half-Life 3 is OUT OF CONTROL. My friend Jennifer Culp deserves to enjoy this level of anticipation. Why? Because she is the one who told me to be patient with Mass Effect and it would pay off once I got the hang of it. And it did.
Have you got any additional reasons why Jennifer Culp should finish Half-Life 2? Share them in the comments. Because there are so many more!
Bethany Bryan writes funny things at Welcome to Bethville!