Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - hands-on

Luckily you’ve also got that modified muscle car to ram them back with. It’s faster, sexier and better-handling than Half-Life 2’s rather rickety wireframe buggy, and your trips in it are made a lot more entertaining by having Alyx in the passenger seat. She cries out when you’re about to hit a tree, whoops when you jump off a ramp, and hops in and out intelligently enough that you never need to think about whether she’s with you. A couple of times we realized we were driving off forgetting her, but she was already clambering in, Dukes of Hazzard-style, as we pulled away. And if you think you’re in love with her now, wait until a Fast Zombie leaps on your hood, claws at your face, then finds itself rudely dispatched by a kick to its crab-smothered head, shooting out from the passenger seat. Good God, does this woman know how to charm a gamer.

In Episode One we got a glimpse of an Arctic base where Mossman was searching for the data packet, and project lead David Speyrer confirms that we’ll be seeing a bit more of that in Episode Two. Valve’s coffee-table book on the making of Half-Life 2, Raising the Bar, includes a detailed description of a climactic battle there, which was cut before it got made. But it brought to mind something Valve said long ago about Half-Life 2’s Citadel: they always want you to see where you’re going to end up, a long time before you get there. You can see where we’re going with this.

Valve was being typically coy about all plot details, but we told them our theory anyway: that Episode Three would be set at this Arctic base and feature the huge climactic battle described. We expected the usual “We’re not talking about that,” but chief PR man Doug Lombardi just smiled, and said: “That would be exciting, wouldn’t it?”

For more info on Valve's other upcoming games click here.


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