Half Life 2, episode 1

This post will contain spoilers.

To continue on with Half Life 2, I have been playing the episodes. So far I’ve finished episode 1. It wasn’t very long but continued the story from directly after the main game. I loved getting to use the overcharged grav gun some more, but unfortunately not for much longer.

You start out having to stabilize the core so that City 17 doesn’t explode. There were some fun puzzles involved. The beginning was my favorite part of this episode.

The next chapter, however, was my least favorite. It’s called Lowlife, and was quite scary for me. I had a hard time getting through it, as there were lots of jump scares as well as a new kind of zombie: the zombines. The zombines were very annoying to fight, because they are tougher than the regular zombies and will also make suicide runs at you with grenades which will kill you in one hit. At the end of this chapter, you have to fight off a massive horde of zombies and zombines while you wait for an elevator. It took me so many tries but I finally did it.

Next was Urban Flight, which was also a lot of fun. While it was one of the longer chapters in this episode, it went quickly. My favorite part was fighting zombies and combine in a hospital we had to get through.

Finally, Exit 17 was the last chapter. This was a quite challenging one, but still fun. I had to help escort a bunch of civilians to an evacuation train, all while fighting off combine troops. Then I had to fight a stryder, and Alyx and I finally made an escape ourselves. As we left City 17, we could see it exploding. Next is episode 2, which  I guess is a direct continuation of episode 1. I’m looking forward to it!

 

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Half Life 2

This post will contain spoilers.

Guess who finished Half Life 2 today? I did! I really was concerned I wouldn’t like it after I couldn’t get through the first Half Life. I’m so glad I tried 2 because I really enjoyed it. It was so much more varied than the first one and the graphics were a big improvement, so both issues I had with the first game didn’t bother me in the second.

I was also worried I wouldn’t make it through Ravenholm, because I am such a wimp with anything that remotely fits into the horror genre. Well, I guess that’s been changing because while I was scared while playing through it, I still had fun. In fact, it is actually one of the more memorable parts of the game for me.

Some parts of the game got a little frustrating. There were a few parts that I felt dragged on too long, or too much backtracking which always makes me feel like I didn’t make much progress even though I did. But there weren’t too many of them and I made it through whenever it did happen.

Allying with the antlions was also fun! I liked having my little army of them to send at my enemies.

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Learning to use the pods to control antlions.

Another memorable part was fighting the stryders, which I enjoyed. Any time I get to use the rocket launcher was fun for me.

Every time I saw Alyx again was nice. She’s such a cool character, and I was glad she and her father were safe at the end.

However the best part of all was getting the supercharged grav gun. It was so overpowered it really didn’t matter that I lost all my weapons. I wouldn’t have been using them anyway. I had so much fun just tearing through enemy troops and shooting fusion cores at them. I almost felt bad some of the time by how brutal and quick the grav gun could be.

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Ready to fire a fusion core.

Finally it was time for the final battle. It took me two tries but I didn’t mind too much because it was so fun. All I could do was keep firing fusion cores until I finally destroyed the portal that Breen was trying to open into another dimension.

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Once I did, everything else froze, and a mysterious man appeared and spoke to me. I don’t even know exactly what happened but I understand now why people want a third game so much. Well, at least I still have the episodes to play!

 

Animal Crossing: New Leaf, part 2

As you may know if you’ve paid close attention to my blog, I sometimes have issues with anxiety. It’s nothing too major but just enough to occasionally be an inconvenience. When it does become a problem, I love this game so much. It is just so calming and free. It gives me a chance to just slow down and do whatever I want in its cute, happy world.

I especially love it right now, because I live in a place where snow is unheard of. I know plenty of people who have never even seen snow. And in Animal Crossing right now, there is lots of snow and you can even go catch snowflakes and build snowpeople. It makes me so happy. I’ve been hard at work catching the snowflakes and collecting everything in the ice series. I’ve always loved the look of ice, and the floor and walls make my house look like Elsa’s castle in Frozen.

The holidays have always been a bit tricky for me. Family issues tend to flare up with the added stress the holidays bring. Things were better for a while when I could see my boyfriend’s family and do fun holiday things with them, but we broke up in January. This is my first holiday season as a single person since 2009 and it’s been a bit hard to accept that. But thank goodness for this game. It has helped me get excited for the holidays and looking forward to giving and receiving gifts.

5 Ways Video Games Help Me Stay Motivated

Another piece I wrote for the blog FemHype.

FemHype

Dragon Age

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stereotype about how gamers are lazy and unproductive people who never go outside and play games all day. (While I think there is nothing wrong with that, our society would beg to differ. Just remember you are all worthy no matter your fitness or productivity level.) However, I will argue that contrary to popular belief, gaming has actually helped to make me a more productive and motivated person. Here’s how:

1. The self-bribe

Gaming is obviously something that I enjoy, so first there is the basic self-bribe. I often reward myself by taking some time to game after I get an important task done. I know this doesn’t work for everybody because I’ve suggested it to many people and they’ll say, “But I’ll just start playing before I get it done.” It does work for me, though, so I will keep suggesting it because I’m…

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Half Life 2, part 1

This post will contain spoilers.

I’m a good way through Half Life 2. I wanted to make sure I would like it before I started writing about it. I didn’t want another situation like I had with the first Half Life game, which I started and just couldn’t get through. Partly because I’m a scaredy cat, and partly because in my opinion it did not age well.

However, since I already had Half Life 2, I figured I might as well give it a try. Perhaps I could put up with the horror aspects with more polished controls and graphics.

I’m happy to say that I can! I waited until after I got through Ravenholm, since several people have told me that is the scariest part. It wasn’t even too bad! Sure it was scary but I could handle it. I think I’ve gotten more brave. I don’t know how that happened, but I don’t mind.

Right now I have played up to the end of the seventh chapter, which puts me right in the middle of the game. I’m having a lot more fun with it than I thought I would, and I’m glad. There’s a lot more variety in the game mechanics which makes it more interesting, which is good because one problem I had with the first game was that it managed to become stressful yet also tedious for me.

There are puzzles to solve and actual characters, like Eli and Alyx Vance and Dog. The grav gun is also a lot of fun.

While I’m not the biggest fan of all the driving parts there have been so far, I still have fun with it. Once in a while I’ll manage to get stuck on something so badly I’ll have to reload the game, but that’s just a mild annoyance.

I can’t wait to see where the story is going and to keep having fun with it!

Life is Strange – playlist

I can’t believe I forgot to mention one of my favorite things about Life is Strange -the soundtrack! This is the kind of music I like, to the point where I even already knew some of the songs. I loved hearing the familiar ones and also finding new songs to like. Here is a playlist of them I found on 8tracks. Enjoy!

#NowPlaying on @8tracks:
“Life Is Strange Soundtrack” http://8tracks.com/cxlliecat/life-is-strange-soundtrack – Sent from the #8tracks #Android #musicapp

Life is Strange

This post will contain spoilers.

I think this is the first time I’ve played a game within the same year it came out! After hearing so much about it, I just had to play it. I was not disappointed.

Life is Strange is about a girl in her senior year of high school, studying photography. She returns to the town where she grew up to study at the school there and develops a power to go back in time. She also reconnects with her childhood friend Chloe, who she didn’t talk to at all while she was living in Seattle.

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Life is Strange is an episodic point and click/RPG game. This was my first experience with either type of game. I’m glad I waited to play it all until all the episodes were out; I can only imagine how hard it must have been to get to a cliffhanger at the end of the episode and have to wait for the next one to come out. And there were some incredibly suspenseful cliffhangers!

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I quite liked the episodic aspect of the game; they lasted about as long as my play session usually go which is between 2 and 3 hours. The dialog option layout was also quite familiar; it was just like the Mass Effect series. I loved the role-playing part of the game.

However I was not such a fan of the point and click. While I think it was well done and the thoughts of Max, the protagonist, sounded very natural as you explore her world, I guess I would have preferred more action. The world was very fun to explore. In my opinion, the places you could go were very nice to look at. The only times there was more action it was stealth-based. At least if you were caught you could rewind time and just try again, so it wasn’t too hard. I just don’t think that stealth games are really my thing.

Like I said, I had never really played a point and click game before so the controls took me a little to get used to, but I finally got used to them. I managed to get my PC to work with an XBox controller, and I much preferred using that over mouse and keyboard with this game.

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The RPG aspect pretty much made up for my ambivalence towards the point and click and stealth parts of the game. Just because of the rewind function, you could go back in time to try another option if you felt you said the wrong thing. There were some really tough choices to make too! I love making those choices, and it’s fun to discuss with other people what they chose and why.

By far my favorite part was the story. There were twists and turns I never saw coming. I highly recommend this game, but I will warn you that you will cry. I thought I’d be fine and would be well prepared to deal with it, but I wasn’t. While it hurt, it was still amazing and I had to make one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make in a game.

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I also loved the fact that you could have Chloe and Max be a couple. They were so cute together and it’s nice to see for a change.

Thanks for reading!