The Half-Life series just continues to impress with each entry in the series. Even when working with episodic content, each episode stands out as both unique and impressive. Maybe that is because Valve continues to take so long in-between each release, so just imagine how good Episode Three will be, if it is ever released. As for the second episode, just like other trilogies, it is the most difficult to design as it doesn’t really have a beginning or an end. It is just stuck in limbo.
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Of course this is Half-Life, so you play as everyone’s favorite theoretical physicist, Gordon Freeman. After the cliffhanger events of Episode One, Gordon and Alex are now on the run, trying to escape the Citadel and reunite with the resistance. The story itself adds something that the series has been missing, and that is open land. Instead of being in confined urban settings, you are now outside in nature among the trees, birds, fresh air, and Hunters, the new terrifying enemies that will hunt you down.
The areas are not as linear as before which really changes up the gameplay. You can come up with some of your own strategies, playing with the physics engine, instead of just going through the motions.
Gordon again has his trusty set of weapons, from crowbars to gravity guns. The combat has not seen too many changes, but hey, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it right. You move from one area to another, killing enemies and solving puzzles. Many of the puzzles feel similar, with a lot of them making use of the game’s physics engine.
The game suffers from the same problem as Episode One, in that it is over far too quickly. That is understandable since it is cheap and just an episode, but with the eternal wait for the next Half-Life, I only wish I had more.