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Half-Life 2: Episode Two review

A quiet drive in the countryside

Episode Two is, needless to say, so polished that it hurts to look directly at it in sunlight - so our only criticisms are pretty feeble. The first is that it's slightly too easy, right to the end. We wouldn't mind if Hard mode only increased the damage you took. But it also reduces the damage you deal, and that renders almost all the game's weapons meek and unsatisfying. Speaking of which, we still haven't had a single new gun since the end of Half-Life 2. That game never went nine hours without introducing several new weapons, so where are our shiny new deathsticks? The armament is the only part of the Half-Life formula that's starting to go stale.

Episode One seems dismally small and boring by comparison, however much we loved it at the time. But the one edge it does retain over the second is Alyx: she's not quite as charming here. There are a few really wonderful character moments with her, and one superb performance from actress Merle Dandridge, but nothing quite as heart-meltingly cute as Episode One's Zombine joke. To be fair, that's only because the grim plot mostly keeps her in her less convincing emotional states.

More info

DescriptionThis episodic installment continues the Half-Life 2 legend with a whole chapter of brand new content. The most intense action in a Half-Life game yet.
Franchise nameHalf-Life
UK franchise nameHalf-Life
Platform"PC","Xbox 360","PS3"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"","",""
Alternative names"Half-Life II: Episode Two"