Coast Guide

How Half-Life2 ’s High­way 17 changes the pace. By Robert Yang

PC GAMER (UK) - - COVER FEATURE - by Robert Yang

Half­way through Half-Life 2, Valve gives you a car and sends you off on a road trip. It makes sense con­sid­er­ing the other first-per­son shoot­ers re­leased in 2004: Halo 2 and Far Cry both em­pha­sised driv­ing across huge lev­els, and even Un­real Tour­na­ment 2004 added ve­hi­cles with large land­scaped are­nas. Now in 2017, so many big re­leases are big open world games. It’s funny to think such a scripted roller­coaster of a game like Half-Life 2 was part of that de­sign shift as well.

But High­way 17 works. The open coast­line con­trasts well with the pre­vi­ous chap­ter, Raven­holm. In­stead of fight­ing zom­bies in al­ley­ways, now we’re lit­er­ally go­ing on a sunny hol­i­day to the beach! And sure, maybe it’s a beach swarm­ing with antlions the sec­ond you hit the sand, but at least there’s plenty of park­ing.

Here’s a guided tour of the chap­ter’s sec­ond level.

A col­lapsed pier forces you to de­tour to this scenic beach­front prop­erty, where you ex­pect more zom­bies and head­crabs af­ter sur­viv­ing the first house. Sur­prise, it’s ac­tu­ally a Com­bine spy­ing post! Well, for­tu­nately they’re ter­ri­ble at spy­ing and they won’t no­tice you sneak­ing up be­hind them. Once you clear out all the sol­diers, you can use their binoc­u­lars to spy on your own friends, and catch a rare G-man sight­ing. Maybe the Com­bine knows some­thing you don’t. Valve likes mix­ing it up ev­ery few min­utes, so this en­counter is pretty dif­fer­ent from the other houses. In­stead of hid­ing en­e­mies in­side, there’s al­ready some Com­bine sol­diers bat­tling some antlions out­side. Watch­ing stuff fight other stuff is per­haps one of the great eter­nal plea­sures of the FPS. For bonus fun, try to ram the Com­bine APC into the ocean. These tall craggy antlion hills hint at a net­work of tun­nels buried deep un­der­ground. They re­main un­ex­plained un­til Episode Two, when you also find out antlions drown eas­ily in wa­ter. Good thing they nested near the beach! No­tice how the high­way just sud­denly ends? Well, you wouldn’t be able to see that break in the game. Lev­els are al­most al­ways con­structed like elab­o­rate film sets – when some­thing is out of view, it’s bet­ter to stop ren­der­ing it. It saves your PC some work, and it saves the de­signer time. S P Y PO S T A NT L I ON HILL B OAT H O U S E H I G HWAY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.