Half-Life 2: Episode 1 Reviews

The Orange Box

The Orange Box

We pit EA's port against PC and 360.

Google "Valve's Gabe Newell and PS3" and you'll see why I approached this review with some trepidation.

Valve's Gabe Newell comes down hard on PS3

Valve: PS3 a "total disaster on so many levels"

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Half-Life 2: Episode One

Half-Life 2: Episode One

Eurogamer 4 Valve 2.

When is a sequel not a sequel? When it's Half-Life 2: Episode One, the confusingly titled first new episode in a trilogy of releases that picks up the story where HL2 left off. So it's part two of Half-Life 2, but episode one of three of the second half of the story? Something like that. Even Valve boss Gabe Newell seems exasperated with trying to justify it. "We should have just called it Half-Life 3: Episode One, but it's a bit late now," he chuckles. Actually, Aftermath worked pretty well...

Daft naming conventions aside, Episode One very much belongs to the original Half-Life 2 in every sense. Just as the box says, this is "the first new episode for Half-Life 2," and the game's millions of fans will be more than happy with the opportunity to wield the gravity gun again, duff up the Combine forces and hang out with Alyx. Who wouldn't?

But once you play through Episode One it's hardly surprising Valve tied itself up in knots when deciding on a title. The fact that it's the first part of a coherent story-driven trilogy elevates it above expansion pack cash-in fodder, but at the same time it's perhaps too closely associated with its 'parent' game to be thought of as a bona fide sequel. In a sense we're very much in GTA III/Vice City/San Andreas territory: you know exactly what to expect, but love it precisely because it's more of the same.

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