After spending the last month uploading onto users’ computers Half Life 2: Episode One was finally let off the leash last night.
Thursday 6pm was the official moment gamers across the UK got to throw themselves once again into the shoes of (the wonderfully christen named) Gordon Freeman. The episode – which is expected to take around five hours to complete – is the first of three chapters which reveals the aftermath of Half Life 2 and launches a journey beyond City 17.
It incorporates the new graphics technology which debuted in the HL2 standalone level Lost Coast including High Dynamic Range (HDR) lighting, motion blur and improved animation while game play has evolved since Alyx is now your sidekick for most of the action. The company also revealed that Episode Two will ship before the end of the year and released the first teaser trailer which can be found here and here.
For those who haven’t pre-loaded or pre-purchased Episode One it can be grabbed from Valve’s Steam website now at a cost of $19.95. A £15 boxed edition from EA Games will also hit shelves today in case you’ve got one of those cardboard based fetishes. Neither edition requires the original Half Life 2 game to run.
So that’s my weekend taken care of: five hours of heroic battling being Gordon. After that, I’ll play the game.