I’ve played a pretty good amount of video games over my winter break so far, but the Half Life series is by far one of the most riveting video game experiences I’ve had in a while. I say that wholeheartedly because the series itself is uniquely and wonderfully crafted, especially considering when these games were developed. Spanning the early to mid-2000s, Half Life 2, Episode 1, and Episode 2 are phenomenally developed games. In fact, Half Life 2 just recently won game of the decade. They are that good. Unfortunately, Valve hasn’t produced a new game in the series since 2007. Many people have speculated that Valve dropped the Half Life series entirely, but others believe that Half Life 3 is currently in development for the next generation of gaming consoles. Regardless, it’s been five long years since Episode 2, which forces me to ask; where on earth is Half Life 3?
Because I only just beat the three games in the Half Life 2 series I can only begin to imagine how people who beat the game back in 2007 feel. Without giving any spoilers, it’s obvious to me that a lot of people are probably a bit pissed after the way Half Life 2 Episode 2 ended. Don’t get me wrong, the game ended dramatically and set up the possibility for either Episode 3 or a new game entirely (Half Life 3). Unfortunately that was five years a go and Valve has merely hinted that a new game “might” be in development. I consider myself a pretty optimistic person, but by the time Valve gets around to producing a new game in the series it will have been nearly seven years. Anyway, enough complaining about Valve, let’s take a look at what makes the Half Life 2 trifecta so amazing.
I’m a big fan of games that place you in a non-expressive lead character such as Link from Legend of Zelda. This doesn’t work in every video game, but it certainly works in the case of Gordon Freeman, the main protagonist in the Half Life series. Both Link and Gordon were designed to make the player feel as though they are that particular character, which in turn further immerses them within the game. Half Life is entirely first person and you develop relationships with many individuals on the resistance throughout the game, specifically Alyx Vance (a possible love interest) and her father, Eli Vance. These types of relationships are extremely important to the Half Life series because they immerse you further into the games. The missions and adventures you are sent on would be far less fulfilling if there was lack of relational importance in the game. Because there is, it pushes you to keep playing in order to finish the story.
There is a common thread between all great games. In my opinion games that immerse the player combine a thrilling adventure, relational development with other characters, and some sort of puzzle aspect throughout multiple parts of the game. Games such as Ocarina of Time fall into this category and the parallels between it and Half Life 2 are impeccable. It’s no wonder both of these games are hailed as two of the best of their decades. What makes Half Life 2 even better is that you actually end up traveling through its world with allies along the way, which is a necessity at times due to such a huge level-concept. Any large scale adventure can tend to feel a bit lonely at times, especially when the character you are playing as doesn’t say anything at all, but this problem is solved by the likes of Alyx Vance and D.O.G. (Alyx’s pet robot). Half Life 2 combines the perfect mix of solo missions and missions that involve other members of the resistance.
With such a huge following and an incredible set of games thus far, one can only hope that Valve doesn’t hang their fans out to dry. It would be a crime against every person who has ever played Half Life if third installment is neglected. If you haven’t, take some time to play through the Half Life series and you’ll understand why it is so upsetting that another game hasn’t been released since the end of Episode 2.
-Ocarina of Time Nerd
- Half-Life 2 Series and Portal Get Big Picture Update (news.softpedia.com)
- Kotaku Timeline: Half-Life 2: Episode Three (kotaku.com)
- Valve confirms next-gen Source engine exists and is just ‘waiting for a game to roll it out with’ (gamesradar.com)
- All I Want For Christmas is a Headcrab Zombie Action Figure From Half-Life 2 (kotaku.com)
- Alleged Half-Life 2: Episode 4 screenshots surface years later (slashgear.com)
- Valve working on next-gen Source engine (develop-online.net)
- Forget ‘Half-Life 3,’ These Screenshots are Supposedly from ‘Half-Life 2: Episode 4’ (complex.com)
- And the best videogame of the last ten years is… (popwatch.ew.com)
- Jeremy Bennett Found Wearing A Half-Life 3 T-Shirt (valvetime.net)