Like most peeps I bought it via Steam and it look me three evenings on and off to finish it, which was about 6 hours. I thought it was an enjoyable, if not ground breaking, romp. The level style is very much Half Life 2 and if you were being particularly cruel, you could say its just Half Life 2 with a richer palette. But that isn’t really true.
Admittedly it has a very old school style of play. You have a limited amount of weapons (four) which equates to simple point and shoot gameplay. There aren’t any puzzles as such and it gets progressively harder as the game goes along. I found the battle up the Sintek Tower pretty intense. Its a pity that the physics aren’t put to as good a use as in HL2, but there’s scope for that to get better.
There’s a nice high tech feel to the levels and I liked how you could see bits of levels that you later on ended up going through. There were some references to the first game as well. The opening level you escape from is Sintek’s chemical labs from Sin, which I think were level six. I’ve yet to finish Sin since there are about 30 levels (!?) and I’m only a third of the way in!
There were, unfortunately, the obligatory sewer levels, which really cheeses me off. Why does nearly every FPS have them? Sewer levels smack of filler material, since architecturally there isn’t a great deal you can do with them and it means lightning can take a back seat. Fortunately, Episode 1’s sewer section was short!
It was cool to have a ton of secrets which makes a nice chance and I was chuffed to see Dopefish make an appearance. I wonder if he’ll appear in every episode?
I had a problem with stuttering to begin with which I’d not experienced with Half Life 2. There are apparently numerous causes, but mine was fixed by dropping the texture detail down a notch. Its meant to have been fixed in the patch that came out mid-last week, but I’ve yet to try it.
Overall, its good stuff. Looking forward to episode 2.