The Half-Life 2 Project: Chronicling An Attempt To Make It Through This Game With My Sanity Intact

RAVENHOLM IS UP. I AM OUT. NEED TO GO WATCH CAT VIDEOS ON REPEAT.

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Half-Life 2

Ch 1: Point Insertion & Ch 2: A Red Letter Day

Ch 3: Route Kanal & Ch 4: Water Hazard

Ch 5: Black Mesa East

Ch 6: We Don’t Go To Ravenholm

Ch 7: Highway 17 & Ch 8: Sandtraps

Ch 9: Nova Prospekt & Ch 9a: Entanglement

Ch 10: Anticitizen One & Ch 11: Follow Freeman!

Ch 12: Our Benefactors & Ch 13: Dark Energy

So I have a confession to make: Half-Life 2 is one of my favorite games ever, but I’ve never played through it.

Say what? you say. Come again?

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The Half Life 2 Project, Ch 6: We Don’t Go To Ravenholm

Fun fact: Nicholas Cage provided a reference for that second face.

I can’t believe I am doing this.

After a long minute where I stare up at the ladder to Ravenholm I enlist my sister, hereafter known as Hobbit, to bear witness for this leg of the game. It’s nice to have someone watch your back, even if they silently sit in judgment of you for the entire time.

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I’M JUST TRYING TO TURN A CORNER WITHOUT SCREAMING, HOBBIT.

Okay, time out:  we need to have a Come To Jesus/No Your Godfather is Legit Dead, Harry © moment.

I took no pictures in this chapter. None. My ability to snap still-screens is inversely related to the proximity of a hell creature making its way for my face.

Instead, I have taken some stills from a very helpful YouTube playthrough (he-yo GamingReviews) and made small illustrations of my experience. (This is why it took me three fucking months to put this up. Well, that and I got really into RPG horror games. Don’t judge me.)

“You could,” I can hear you think, “just play though it again and take the photos.”

I am never playing though this chapter again. Ever.

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The Half Life 2 Project, Ch 5: Black Mesa East

Safety!

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Judith puts me through a decontamination process and begins to use aggressive tactical attacks against me: grating and self-aggrandizing monologues about ‘research’ and ‘science.’ By God, Judith, I am a physicist – I have no time for this rabble! I need to shoot things so they go boom!

*SCIENCE*

At first, I assumed the dust up between Judith and Alyx was about me.

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The Half Life 2 Project, Ch 3: Route Kanal and Ch 4: Water Hazard

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Happy almost Halloween, everyone! May your nights be full of good scary and not bad scary.

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I sincerely apologize if I just gave anyone nightmares. I’ll be entering my own horror show soon, but I’ve got these two chapters plus one sweet, character-driven chapter before that.

In the meantime, here… we… go!

This week in HL2 I save two civilians by applying a crowbar to a couple of CPs’ faces and get a gun.

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The Half-Life 2 Project, Ch 1: Point Insertion and Ch 2: A Red Letter Day

Scuz me\\The chapter that starts it all. Chapter One is basically an extended controls tutorial, which is pretty handy for someone with two left thumbs. (Harr, harr.)

Still, there’s meat here: we get Dr. Breen on the terminal screens, trying to convince us of the benefits of our ‘Benefactors,’ including no longer needing or wanting to have sex. He makes alien overlords sound so appealing.

Our fellow survivors paint an even grimmer view. We get our first hint that things have gone awry in the intermittent years when we speak with a woman at the gate.

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Dragons! Giants! Direwolves! Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Speculation

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When you combine my love of video games with A Song of Ice and Fire (known to the Unsullied as Game of Thrones) I do a happy dance. It involves a lot of arm flailing, Irish jigs and high-pitched squealing.

Even better, it’s coming to us courtesy of Telltale, which is known for tight story-focused games such as The Walking Dead series and The Wolf Among Us.

So the big question is this: what story is Telltale gonna… tell? (I know, I’m sorry.) As an ASOIAF supa-fan, here are my theories:

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The Walking Dead, S2 E4: Post-Op

clementineeyeE4 copy 2Hey, at least I didn’t go for “Postmortem.” (Ok, ok. I’m saving that for the next episode.)

RECAP

Clementine and Rebecca find Jane, BAMF-extraordinaire, in the zombie horde and waddle to safety. On the walk over to camp, Rebecca shoves her foot into her mouth yet again by telling the super-survivor she doesn’t give a shit about her dead sister. Then she acts surprised when Jane storms off. I’m not entirely sure what Rebecca thought was going to happen.

Also, it’s pretty obvious at this point she’s having contractions.

Back at camp, Magic Mike is freaking out about where everyone is while dour Bonnie farts around. Kenny is, depending on whether you tried to chop Sarita’s hand off or not, sitting at the side of the fountain with her lying on his lap, or sitting at the side of the fountain alone. Either way he’s a total dick.

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The Wolf Among Us: Final Twist Explained

bigbyending copyWow.

Wow.

Let’s get started.

The woman we meet at the end is the real Nerissa. She glamoured herself as Faith and instigated the showdown with the Woodsman in Episode One in order make sure Bigby would recognize Faith’s head. Bigby never met Faith. I repeat: Bigby never met Faith.

When we hear Nerissa repeat “Faith’s” last words the initial “Keyser Soze” supposition is that it’s Faith who has been glamoured as Nerissa the whole time. But that doesn’t add up. Continue reading

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Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Episode 3: Carver’s a Dick

clementineeye1croppedUPDATE: I am aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive. It seemed fitting to say that in this post. Sorry for the delay, I just picked up a full-time job (woo!) and after my computer recovered from DEFCON 1, Photoshop stopped working. But it’s back and I’m back and we’ve got some interesting stuff coming down the pipeline.

So the plan is 1 post per week, given the new job/time it takes to make the pictures. Let’s get cracking!

Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Episode 3: Carver’s a Dick

One of my more vulgar titles, but it seems fitting. God, what an asshole. I’d say the guy needs to take some Ambien, but he probably needs Novocain and the grace of God now, considering the epic beat-down Kenny gave him. I’m not pleased about that or anything.

Ok. This game is destroying my internal moral code.

THOUGHTFUL REFLECTION: WHO LIVES, WHO DIES

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WHODUNNIT? The Big Bad Wolf: The Wolf Among Us

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Say what?

Hear me out: I’m not saying Bigby did it – the existence and continuation of the Fables series (as focalized, initially, around him) is enough to clear him of our suspicion. What I’m saying is Telltale is setting us up for another frame-job.

“What’d I say? You want the Big Bad Wolf to take you away?” Toad threatens his son.

So far the game has been built around the idea that people are afraid of Bigby, afraid because they don’t know how much he has been tamed. Even our closest ally, Snow, is uncertain about who we are at our most basic element.

In “The Crooked Mile,” Snow asks Bigby if he enjoys it “when things go wrong” – other characters such as Gren or Holly have mirrored that same question. I doubt the developers have put this in as simple window dressing. The inclusion, particularly, of Snow’s questioning in Episode 3 and, soon after, the opportunity to kill Tweedle Dum have more significance that the overall theme of mistrust between Fabletown residents. The developers are building the narrative toward a plausible moment where someone like Snow, Beast, Holly or Beauty could believe that Bigby did killed those women, and they are doing it by showing people having doubts about his ‘goodness.’ The overwhelming narrative is that, despite a player’s choices, Bigby is violent and ‘out of control.’ This has to come back and bite him in the butt.

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