But, if you know what Half-Life 2 is, you already know this. And, seriously, do any of you read this journal for me waxing poetic about how beautiful the world is and how everything in it is perfect?
I don't think so.
Or if you do, you're a masochist.
So there's one flaw with Half-Life 2 that's really starting to bug me, and it's something that Halo 2 got dead right. Basically, you have no fucking clue what's going on.
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that. In Half-Life 1 you had no fucking clue what was going on either. In Halo you pretty much had no fucking clue what was going on, and in Halo 2, well, there's a LOT of stuff going on, and guess what? You're right in the middle of it, and, surprise, you have no fucking clue what's going on.
The difference is that, in those games, nobody *else* knows what's going on either. Take Half-Life 1. There's you (clueless), there's the blueshirts (clueless), there's the enemy humans (they're grunts, they've got to be clueless), and there's the aliens. Now I suppose technically the aliens might not be clueless, but there's a bit of a language barrier.
Half-Life 2? Hell, EVERYONE knows what's going on. Random people on the street explain that we're working for the same thing. What is this same thing? I have no idea! How about this friendly base? Oh, look, we have lots of people! Hey, look, we've mastered TELEPORTATION! And there are aliens walking around! How did the aliens get here? Why are they friendly with us? Who is it that we're hiding from? Why does any of this matter?
Note that I'm now about halfway through the game. I just entered some sort of a mine system. Why am I in the mine system? Why was the last city I visited on fire? Where are all the civilians? Why isn't the military attacking me? Why *was* the military attacking me? Why are there friendly aliens helping me against the headcrabs? What exactly *was* Black Mesa? Who am I, really?
I have no fucking clue.