I made what turned out to be a surprise revelation to some friends of mine recently, I off handedly mentioned I don't like Half Life 2. Friends and colleagues all question how I could not like one of the greatest games ever made and quite simply it's because it's tedious and boring. The easy option for any fans of it is to tell me I didn't get it or that I'm somehow trying to be counter-culture, where as in fact I feel the truth of the matter is that I think there was a band wagon liking of the game. Making this statement of scorn brought tweets and defensive arguments my way. I thought back to what I said and realised people were getting defensive over a couple of sentences where I didn't really put across my point other than the equivalent of a long drawn out raspberry noise. So for all the fans I wound up with just a few words, please allow me to draw out the process this time and earn that vitriolic fan rage.
4. Silence Is Golden
Gordon Freeman, if this guy died tomorrow (or tomorrow in the near future) what could be said about this man at his funeral? His goatee was like his hair trigger temper and violent use of crowbar, short and sweet. that's it. Every year this bespectacled muppet is put in Top 10 characters lists left right and centre, and quite simply I need to point out; This is not a character. The obvious go to is that he doesn't talk, he has the ranged acting ability of the Marine in Doom or B.J Blaskowitz in Wolfenstein 3D. Having a mute character means you don't get real interactions with other cast members, all you have is people giving lines and filling in your parts like a drama student doing a monologue in front of their classmates. Finally if you didn't have the character design on the front of the box, would you know what Gordon Freeman looked like? This is a petty argument but at the same time it leads to one of the main issues with the game. You're supposed to be this Free-man, the one who will save the day, but at no point do I feel power or association with the character. The fans will come at me with You shouldn't feel powerful, you're a scientist but that's not true, you're the one everyone's hope are pinned to, so by proxy or osmosis you should have some sense of inner strength. Despite being able to control movements and actions in the game I never feel that connection with Gordon, his name could be Trixie the cross dressing sanitation worker and I wouldn't know or feel any different.