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Half-Life 2: Episode One — pierwszy z epizodów dla first-person shootera z 2004, Half-Life 2[3]. It was developed by the Valve Software Corporation and was released on June 1, 2006, receiving a positive critical reaction.[4] The episode is a stand-alone game; while a continuation of Half-Life 2, it does not require the original game to be installed or registered to a user's Steam account to play. It takes advantage of several major upgrades to the Source engine since the release of Half-Life 2, primarily its high dynamic range rendering capabilities and the upgraded facial animation system.

The episode takes place immediately after the end of Half-Life 2, in and around the war-torn setting of City 17. Episode One continues to follow scientist Gordon Freeman and his companion Alyx Vance as they deal with the events of Half-Life 2 and humanity's continuing struggle against the Combine.

Valve views episodes One through Three as tantamount to a stand alone release, essentially Half-Life 3 divided into three episodes.[5] Episode One was released together with Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, a port of the original Half-Life's multiplayer, which doubles as Episode One's multiplayer component. The retail copies of Episode One also come with Half-Life 2 Deathmatch for those who have not previously purchased the latter tytuł. Episode One is also available as part of a bundle package known as The Orange Box, which also includes Half-Life 2, Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal.[6]

Spis treści

Fabuła | edytuj kod

Prolog | edytuj kod

The original Half-Life took place at a remote civilian and military laboratory called the Black Mesa Research Facility. The player took on the role of Gordon Freeman, a research scientist involved in an accident that opens an inter-dimensional portal to the world of Xen, which floods the facility with hostile alien creatures. Guiding him in his attempt to escape the facility and close the portal, the game ends with Gordon extracted by a mysterious figure with an "offer" of employment. Freeman was subsequently put into stasis by this mysterious "G-Man."

Half-Life 2 picks up the story with the G-Man taking Freeman out of stasis and inserting him on a train en-route to City 17 an indeterminate number of years after the Black Mesa Incident with Earth now enslaved by an alien power known as The Combine. The player guides Gordon in aiding humanity's struggle against the Combine and their human representative, Dr. Wallace Breen, who oversees the occupation from his base of operations in the Citadel; a monolithic building located at the heart of City 17. Fighting alongside Gordon is an underground resistance led by former colleague Dr. Eli Vance, as well other allies including Dr. Vance's daughter Alyx Vance and the enigmatic Vortigaunts. Half-Life 2 ends with City 17 in open rebellion against the Combine - culminating in a climatic battle atop the Citadel that inflicts critical damage to its dark fusion reactor. As it seems Alyx and Gordon are to be engulfed by the explosion, the G-Man appears once more. After a cryptic speech he extracts Gordon from danger and places him in stasis as before.

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Episode One starts out after the explosion of the reactor from which Gordon was extracted by the G-Man and Alyx Vance was left behind. As time stops, several purple Vortigaunts appear and rescue Alyx from the blast. After she is rescued, the Vortigaunts appear before the G-Man and stand between him and Gordon. They teleport Gordon away from the scene, much to the G-Man's displeasure.[7]

Gordon wakes up outside the Citadel, buried under a pile of rubble. Dog uncovers him, and Gordon is reunited with a relieved Alyx. Alyx contacts Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner, who have managed to escape the city, and is informed that the Citadel's core is at risk of exploding at any moment.[8] Kleiner states that the explosion could be large enough to level the whole of City 17, and that the only way for them to survive would be to re-enter the Citadel and slow the core's progression toward meltdown. Eli reluctantly agrees when he sees no other option.[9]

Alyx and Gordon re-enter the now-decaying Citadel to try to stabilize the core by means of Dog throwing them inside an abandoned car. Along the way, they discover a Combine Advisor fleeing in a pod, though they are not aware of what it is at the time. Gordon and Alyx are successful in re-engaging the reactor's containment system, delaying the explosion, but Alyx discovers that the Combine are deliberately accelerating the destruction of the Citadel to send a message off-world. She makes a copy of the message packet, causing the Combine to prioritize them as targets.[10] In addition, Alyx locates and downloads a transmission from Dr. Judith Mossman describing a certain project she has located, before being cut off by a Combine attack.[11] Alyx and Gordon then board a Razor Train to escape the Citadel.

The Razor Train derails en-route, forcing the duo to proceed on foot. As they fight through the disorganized Combine forces and rampant alien infestations, Dr. Kleiner appears on the screens that Breen once used to pass out propaganda, giving out useful updates to the evacuating citizens about the latest turn of events as well as reiterating the Citadel's imminent collapse.[12] Alyx and Gordon eventually meet up with Barney Calhoun and a group of other survivors who are preparing to move on a train station in order to escape City 17.[13] Alyx and Gordon provide cover for the passengers as they board.[14]

To keep the survivors safe, Alyx and Gordon opt to take a different train.[15] Though they are delayed by a Strider, they manage to escape just as the reactor begins to detonate, the energy sending out the Combine's message.[16] Several Advisor pods are ejected from the Citadel as it detonates. The resulting shockwave catches the train, derailing it. The last thing that the player hears is the twisting of metal and Alyx whispering Gordon's name. The fate of Alyx and Gordon is revealed in the sequel, Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

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Szablon:Further As a direct continuation of Half-Life 2, no significant changes to the gameplay were undertaken. As in Half-Life and Half-Life 2 players make their way through a linear series of levels, encountering various different enemies and allies. The gameplay is broken up between combat orientated challenges and physics-based puzzles. Episode One also integrates tutorial like tasks into the story itself as in the previous games in order to familiarize the player to any new gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to re-program rollermines, without breaking immersion. Like Half-Life 2, the gravity gun continues to play a crucial function throughout the game, granting the player extensive use of physics in combat and puzzle-solving.[17]

One significant gameplay addition was the enhancement of co-operative play with friendly NPCs, most notably with the character of Alyx Vance — her AI was specifically designed for co-op play in Episode One so that she would complement as opposed to hinder the player's abilities. The developers described Alyx's programming for Episode One as a "personality code" as opposed to an "AI code", emphasizing their attention to creating a unique and believable companion.[18] Her character is well-armed, making her a useful ally in combat, and she often makes suggestions to aid in puzzle-solving situations. At the same time, she is specially programmed to avoid performing too many mechanical or repetitious actions, such as repeating lines of dialogue or performing certain routines in combat situations, thus separating her from the more generic NPC allies the player fought beside in the later levels of Half-Life 2.[19] An example of this co-operative gameplay is combat in the darker underground levels just after the player escapes the Citadel. Here, the player can use their flashlight to help Alyx spot and kill oncoming enemies, conserving their ammunition.[20] Similarly, Alyx will often take up stationary gunner points to provide covering fire while the player travels to a certain area or performs certain actions, therefore keeping the player safe while they undertake their tasks.[21]

Enemies such as Stalkers and areas of the Citadel glimpsed at the end of Half-Life 2 are encountered and explored by the player. Other new additions include the Zombine, Combine pods and Hunters; the latter two are introduced as set-up for Episode Two and only appear in scripted sequences.[19] While new creatures were added, there were no additions to the game's weapon arsenal.

While no entirely new locales were introduced for Episode One, large alterations were made to the appearance of both City 17 and the Citadel from the end of Half-Life 2 to reflect the changing shape of the world and to serve as a story reminder to the player how their actions have affected the greater whole.[19][21] The Citadel has degenerated from the cold, alien and imposing fortress of the previous game to an extremely unstable state. This provides a visual cue to the player of the catastrophic damage they inflicted and to allow for new gameplay elements that accentuate the new dangers that come with the Citadel's imminent collapse, in addition to serving a thematic purpose in highlighting the weakening of the Combine's dominance in City 17 and beyond.[19] Likewise, City 17 has been altered to reflect the aftermath of the resistance's open rebellion, with vast swathes of destroyed buildings and the introduction of foes previously kept outside its confines in Half-Life 2 in order to further emphasize the scale of the uprising.[21] The introduction of the Zombine enemy, while providing a new dynamic in the game's enemy menagerie, also serves a story purpose in showcasing the Combine's loss of control.[20] Valve stated that they were interested in re-using concepts and providing twists on them — describing it as an important part of their philosophy to challenge the player's familiarity with previously encountered locations and enemies.[22] An example of this is the use of the Citadel as constant presence in the episode's backgrounds - in Half-Life 2 it was clearly defined as the player's ultimate destination and where they must battle to, but now it is a source of impending disaster and the point from which the player must get the farthest from.[21]

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Valve explained that the focus of Episode One was character development, in particular that of Gordon's female sidekick and friend Alyx Vance, to the extent that she accompanies the player for virtually the entire game.[23] Project lead Robin Walker discussed the thinking behind this approach in the episode’s announcement article in the May 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK'’ "It's kind of ironic that despite so much of the theme of Half-Life 2 being about other characters and other people, you spent most of the game alone".[24]

Lead writer Marc Laidlaw expanded further on the game's premise in the same article:

Episode One deals with the events and issues set in motion during Half-Life 2. You've done critical damage to the Citadel. The whole place is going to go up, taking out City 17 and what's in its immediate radius. You and Alyx are leading the flight from the city getting up close and personal with some of the creatures and sights from the end of the game.

It was later confirmed that players would reprise the role of Gordon Freeman – unlike the original Half-Life expansion packs, which all dealt with different characters. Valve explained their desire to develop Episode One in-house as opposed to working with outside contractors as with previous expansions as a decision based on their comfort with the technology and construction tools of Half-Life 2, as well as their enjoyment of working on Half-Life 2 content.[25]

Originally called Half-Life 2: Aftermath, the expansion was renamed to Episode One as an indication of Valve's confidence with their episodic structure,[26] an implication confirmed in February[27] and May[28] of 2006 with news of a trilogy of episodes covering the present story arc. While the plots and dialogue of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were written solely by Valve's in-house writer Marc Laidlaw, the "Half-Life 2 Episodes" are collaboratively written by Laidlaw, Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw with Laidlaw retaining overall leadership of the group.[29]

As the character of Alyx accompanies the player for the vast majority of Episode One aiding in puzzle solving and combat situations, Valve made modifications to her AI that allowed her to react to the players actions; this included commentating on objects the player manipulates or obstacles they have overcome (for example, jestfully making zombie noises when the player turns their flashlight off). She also acts as an important device in both plot exposition and directing the player's journey, often vocalizing what the player is required to do next in order to progress.[19] The developers explained that a large part of their focus was creating not only a believable companion for the player, but also one that did not obstruct the player's actions; allowing the player to dictate their own pace and method of overcoming any challenges faced without being hindered - this meant often scaling back Alyx's input and dialogue during the player's journey so that they would not feel pressured to progress and consequently object to her presence.[19] The developers also placed what they described as "hero moments" throughout the game that allow the player to single-handedly overcome certain obstacles, such as particularly challenging enemies, with Alyx taking the role of an observer and giving the player praise and adulation for their heroic feats.[30] Playtesters were used extensively by the developers throughout the entirety of the game's creation in order for Valve to continually gauge the effectiveness of in-game scenarios as well as the difficulty.[30]

The game runs on an incrementally upgraded version of Valve's proprietary Source engine, and features both the engine's high dynamic range rendering capabilities, and a new version of its facial animation/expression technology.[19][31] Upgrades to enemy AI allow Combine soldiers to utilize tactics previously unavailable to them, in particular the ability to crouch while being fired upon in order to "duck" underneath the player's line of fire. This feature is showcased to the utmost for the first time in the large street battle the player progresses through before entering the rebel safehouse in the game's fourth chapter.[21] It also features the commentary node system debuted in the Lost Coast tech demo.[19] The game's soundtrack was composed by Kelly Bailey.[29][20] The music is used sparingly throughout, primarily playing during scenes of major plot developments or particularly important action sequences such as large battles or encountering a new enemy.[20]

Episode One retailed at launch for $19.95 in the U.S. and is currently available over Valve's Steam platform for $9.95 USD. The game is also being distributed through traditional retail channels by Electronic Arts both as a standalone and as part of the Half-Life 2: Platinum Collection.[32] The game became available for pre-load and pre-purchase through Steam on May 1 2006, with Half-Life Deathmatch: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch immediately available for play as part of the package.[33] Episode One is also included in the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of The Orange Box.[34]

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Critical response | edytuj kod

Critical and public response to Episode One was broadly positive, with some reviewers praising the game for having more intricate, well-paced gameplay than the acclaimed Half-Life 2.[35][36] The game's interactivity, particularly in the shape of the character of Alyx and her reactions to the player's actions and the events of the game, has also received praise.[37] PC Gamer magazine gave an 85% in the US edition, summarizing that "...while this inaugural episode may not be the essential FPS that Half-Life 2 is, I can't imagine any shooter fan who'd want to miss it".[38] The game received 90% in the UK edition, which directed particular praise on the balance between puzzle oriented and action oriented challenges throughout the game.[17] In Australia, the magazine PC Powerplay awarded the game with a rarely seen 10/10.[39] Edge gave the game 8 out of 10, praising the "deftness" with which the game was able to direct the player's eyes, and the strength of Alyx as a companion; concluding that "...in an interactive genre bound to the traditions of the pop-up gun and invisible hero, it simply doesn’t get more sophisticated than this".[40] Episode One earned an overall score of 87% on review collection websites Metacritic[4] and Game Rankings.[41]

Despite a primarily positive reception, a common criticism of the game has been its short length. Depending on the player, the game can take less time to complete than the company line of 4–6 hours, which has caused various observers to raise the issue of whether it justifies the price tag.[42] Other reviews have argued the futility of reviewing the game due to its episodic nature; as the first part of a three-part story arc it is difficult to judge it divorced from the final product.[43] Reviewers also expressed disappointment at a lack of new features, including environments and weapons.[44][45]

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IGN awarded Episode One with the tytuł of Best PC FPS of 2006, describing it as a "great bang for the buck using Valve's new episodic plan" though not offering "the complete experience that Half-Life 2 was".[46] Gamespy ranked Episode One as one of their 2006 games of year, placing it ninth and making further note of the implementation of Alyx as a believable and useful companion.[47]

Przypisy | edytuj kod

  1. Half-Life 2: Episode Two - The Return of Team Fortress 2 and Other Surprises - PlayStation 3 Previews at GameSpot
  2. Steam - Half-Life 2: Episode One.
  3. Valve press release, May 22 2006. Steam News. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  4. a b Half-Life: Episode One on Metacritic. Metacritic. [dostęp 28 kwietnia 2007].
  5. Opening the Valve. Eurogamer. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  6. The Return of Team Fortress 2 and Other Surprises. Gamespot. [dostęp 25 sierpnia 2007].
  7. G-Man: We'll see...about that. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  8. Kleiner: Our remote sensors indicate that the process is accelerating toward a dark-energy flare. Anyone left in the vicinity will be subjected to energetic events whose effects are beyond my powers of speculation! (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  9. Kleiner: Well…nothing short of a direct intervention could possibly retard the reaction. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  10. Alyx: I can't tell what the packet contains, but it's important enough that they're willing to sacrifice the whole citadel to send it off. We need to get it back to my dad and Doctor Kleiner at the outpost right away. I've been pulling down a copy. Whatever it is, I have a feeling it's bad news for all of us. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  11. Mossman: I'm fairly sure I've pinned down the location of the project. It's hard to say how much of it might have survived intact or if there is anything remaining that could compromise our work; if it were discovered by the Combine. We'll need to take a close look at it, of course, but I should be able to give a better opinion within a few hours. If the site is where we think it is, it should be no more than... I'm gonna have to cut this short, we may have been spotted. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  12. Kleiner: Therefore, I repeat, evacuate City 17 at once if not sooner! I cannot state this without enough undue emphasis. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  13. Barney: You guys know about the evacuation trains, right? Alyx: Yeah. Barney: Yeah, well, we've been planning to make a push on the train station. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  14. Barney: If you can keep them safe and provide cover, we might actually stand a chance of reaching the escape trains Alyx: Sounds good. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  15. Barney: You guys coming? Alyx: Go on Barney! They're not after you. Gordon and I will draw their attention while you get the others away from here. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  16. Alyx: Oh my God! The message is going out. (Half-Life 2: Episode One) Valve, 2006
  17. a b Review: Half-Life 2: Episode One. „PC Gamer UK”. Lipiec 2006. 
  18. Half-Life 2: Episode One Preview. W: 1UP [on-line]. [dostęp 2007].{{Cytuj stronę}} Nieznane pola: "accessmonthday".
  19. a b c d e f g h Half-Life 2: Episode One, Chapter I: Undue Alarm, Developers commentary [2006]
  20. a b c d Half-Life 2: Episode One, Chapter III: Lowlife, Developers commentary [2006]
  21. a b c d e Half-Life 2: Episode One, Chapter IV: Urban Flight, Developers commentary [2006]
  22. Half-Life 2: Aftermath Preview. Eurogamer. [dostęp 13 października 2007].
  23. Half-Life 2: Episode One Preview. Computer And Video Games. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  24. Preview: Half-Life 2: Afermath. „PC Gamer UK”. Maj 2005. 
  25. Half-Life 2 Aftermath Q&A. Gamespot. [dostęp 3 maja 2007].
  26. Half-Life 2 Goes Episodic. Gamespot. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  27. Valve Confirms Half-Life 2: Episode Two. IGN.com. [dostęp 30 kwietnia 2007].
  28. Half-Life 2: Episode One gold, Two dated, Three announced. Gamespot. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  29. a b The Valve team (staff bios). valvesoftware.com. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  30. a b Half-Life 2: Episode One, Chapter V: Exit 17, Komentarz autorów [2006]
  31. Half-Life 2: Episode One, Chapter II: Direct Intervention, Komentarz autorów [2006]
  32. Half Life 2: Episode One (PC-DVD). Amazon.co.uk. [dostęp 30 kwietnia2007].
  33. Half-Life 2: Episode One Pre-Loading Now. Steam News. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  34. Half-Life 2: Episode Two pushed to 2007?. GameSpot. [dostęp 30 kwietnia 2007].
  35. Episode One review. GameSpot. [dostęp 2007].{{Cytuj stronę}} Nieznane pola: "accessmonthday".
  36. Episode One review. The Onion (A.V. Club). [dostęp 2007].{{Cytuj stronę}} Nieznane pola: "accessmonthday".
  37. Half-Life 2: Episode One review. GameSpy. [dostęp 2007].{{Cytuj stronę}} Nieznane pola: "accessmonthday".
  38. Review: Half-Life 2: Episode One. „PC Gamer”. Sierpień 2006. 
  39. Review: Half-Life 2: Episode One. „PC Powerplay”, August 2006. 
  40. Review: Half-Life 2: Episode One. „Edge”, August 2006. 
  41. Half-Life: Episode One on Game Rankings. Game Rankings. [dostęp 1 maja 2007].
  42. Episode One review. ActionTrip. [dostęp 28 kwietnia 2007].
  43. Half-Life 2: Episode One review. „Computer Games Magazine”. Wrzesień 2006. s. s. 57. 
  44. Episode One review. Game Revolution. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  45. Episode One review. GameAlmighty. [dostęp 29 kwietnia 2007].
  46. Best of 2006. IGN. [dostęp 28 kwietnia 2007].
  47. 2006 Games of the Year. GameSpy. [dostęp 1 maja 2007].

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