Since this is a first person shooter, let’s talk about the guns. For starters you have the basic weapons, pistols, machine guns, a shotgun, grenades, rocket launcher (RPG?) and so on. Some weapons have dual uses like the machine gun has a grenade launcher. The weapons feel very good to use. The pistol has never been so much fun to shoot wow! I’m shocked. The machine guns have real kick to them. The shotgun seems very effective. The rocket launcher is laser guided, which is fun to take down helicopters with. Launch it and guide it to the helicopter, because if you shoot it straight, the rocket will get shot down.
The combat is rich and fulfilling with certain segments of driving such as a boat or car segment where you still get out and go into buildings to combat things. There are also puzzles and challenges to breakup the action just like there were with the original game. It keeps you thinking, sometimes over thinking. There are puzzles such as using a crane to move your car, using a washing machine to weigh down a platform and taking out a force field by rolling a car (trying not to spoil). There are less puzzles in this game than the last, most of the puzzles seem to involve combat like using the gravity gun as a weapon.
Level design is well thought out. Areas are very realistic and cluttered with things you’d really find in any given area. There are trees, junk, wrecked cars, beds, dilapidated walls, broken floors and so on. It really helps the immersion that these areas feel real instead of a typical video game level. This is a very linear game that does have little points of exploration, but you are cleverly guided through things that catch your eye. Like lights in a room are turned on or a character standing under a light and the game will condition you to subtle cues that they mean “go here” or characters will flat out say “run Gordon! Go now I’ll hold them off.”
The game has several new or altered enemies. Even the old enemies are more difficult and altered. There are new head crabs, the standard and the venomous kind. For humans that have a head crab on them, they are this game’s zombies, smart, difficult, dangerous zombies. You can shoot them in the head, slice them in half, sometimes the head crab will hop off, they scream a horrifying muffled wail, but worst of all… if you don’t get moving they will rise again in a matter of minutes. There are several terrifying enemies that with the dark and new lighting really disturbs you and sends a dread through you that other games fail to duplicate. The game really manages to terrify you through other ways, such as traveling beneath a giant bridge actually gives you a sense of height that is strangely intense because you fear falling when clearly this is a video game. Maybe that says something about the game’s immersion.
Of course there are your run of the mill soldiers, and special ops enemies… but they are intelligent. Several enemies in the game are very intelligent and don’t have patterns, but thought processes. Such as if they are injured, they will fall back and get a better position, if they have you pinned down, they will throw in grenades, rush in with guns blazing or bait you into firing at them. They will never line up to be shot; they will fan out so they can all shoot you.
In all the game is a lot of fun, but a lot of it isn’t, especially if you’re a little clueless as to what the story is, because the game won’t help you with that right away at least. What might be an intense boat segment of the game might be a long annoyance for some people. Sometimes you can over think puzzles that aren’t even really puzzles, but you miss a small lock to shoot off something and end up using the newly acquired gravity gun to pile junk to get over things. What could be a fun car segment with stops in between could be seen as an annoyance to have to stop, because the military has ambushed you or set up a force field.