"Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman"
So far so good, but not my favorite game ever. I do think it is generally overrated.
Things I like:
Slower pace compared to most big first person affairs now. There's some time to think about what's happening and turn off instead of go-go-go.
Art. Teleporters, other sciency things, headcrabs, Overwatch, and the visual characterization of NPCs are all fantastic. Best of all, everything goes together and makes sense in the world that it's a part of.
Alyx. A non-oversexualized female character who just is and does what a person is and would do. It's sad that the bar for female characters is still so low a decade later, but Valve easily cleared that bar here.
G-man. Mysterious, weird, supernatural, and different from most NPCs in most games. Definitely interesting.
Characters in general have little ticks or are a bit neurotic (Dr. Kleiner and Lamarr) which adds life to them. Would have liked to see it on the other side.
Not so great:
The game is a little too explicit or guided. Sample quote: "Pick up some stuff to get through that window." When running along the rooftops fairly early on, there's only one path. There's no way to get lost, or to explore, or to take a wrong turn and be captured. Lots of games do this sort of guiding and I'm not a fan. I know it's a linear story but on rooftops I should be able to run around, trapped by dying if I fall. The semi-enclosed nature is built in, you don't need to constrict me to running on a line.
The populace is in some cases openly insolent without repercussions.
There is a lack of communication on both sides, which on occasion left me running from a group of soldiers with another one just standing there watching.
Overwatch is dehumanized, which is alright for the nameless soldier sort of thing. However, it would be interesting to put some humanity on both sides instead of people being the good guys and featureless half-robots being evil. They become disposable, like the stormtroopers in Star Wars. Trashing minions is hackneyed gameplay (maybe not as much ten years ago, I don't know, but certainly now) and gets old fast. I much prefer the spatial puzzles. The gravity gun is by far my favorite tool.
Killing is necessary to moving forward.
Agree? DIsagree? I'd like to hear either way.
Screenshots from the first few minutes
Any specs nerds? I guess it isn't that relevant here. Maybe if we play a more intensive game later. Highest settings ran on my laptop just fine.