The introduction cut-scene, although a bit too long, adds a lot of suspence, foreshadowing, and wonder to the start of the game. The fact that you can move around in your lift also puts you into character. It being one of the first games of its genre, I can only imagine how much awe the introduction put into the players of its time.
I also like the fact that the tutorial isn’t built into the game, giving experienced gamers the choice to skip it altogether.
If I could change one thing about the intro, I would shorten it a little bit. After 2 minutes, I started to get a little restless, and annoyed.
The learning curve was dead on. The game requires you to use certain actions to move on to the next stages, making the eventual fights challenging only to intuition and reflex, and not as much to prior FPS experience.
The lack of “out-of-character” guidance (messages poping up on the screen) kept you immersed in the game, even through the “pre-action” stages of the game.
I found the foreshadowing a little excessive, however. I don’t consider the storyline a big element of the game.
There were a lot of suprises, which most of the time got my heart beating fast. The game definitely keeps you on your toes, almost never letting go of your nerves. At one point, noises around my house made me jump.
The challenges in the game are very intuitive in nature, which makes even the hardest ones fun, and not frustrating. If there was one thing I would have added to increase my experience: more hidden ammo/health, and a bit more NPC interaction.
The occasional darkness gives you suspence, a sense of caution. The flickering flashes of “energy” gives you a sense of the supernatural, which makes the game very freaky.
Some enemies in the game have a primitive intelligence (See live thing, jump on live thing), which suits them well. Other more evolved enemies prefer to attack from a distance, which makes the combat more tactical in nature. I enjoy the variety of different AI attributed to different enemies.
The NPC AI is also suitable; the fight/flight instinct is displayed well.
The combination of visuals, sounds, and constant need for alertness makes for a very immersive game. My curiousity also becked me to keep playing to find more weird alien things.
A couple of things that could have enhanced my level of immersion would have been a more complex background story, and more safe areas to relax in. Playing the game felt like a test of endurance for my nerves, since I almost never got a break from the action.
The game only incorperated a first person view of the action. I think it’s a good thing they did, because I think a third person view would hurt the immersion in the game.
There were no camera problems that I could find.
As with most first person shooters, the controls are very straight-forward, and easy to get the hang of. I wouldn’t change anything about them.
The in-game interface is well done. I like it how the weapons menu only appears when you want it to. I also like the feeling they gave you that the interface comes from your biohazard suit (the interface only appears when you slip it on).
I like the concept of a parrallel universe, with mutated things travelling between it and our world. It gives the game a supernatural and wonderous feeling. It made me want to keep playing, so I could experience more surreal events/creatures.
In-game advanced technology is nothing new to the gaming world, but I like it how Half-Life introduced the modern day “Frankenstein” to it. By that, I mean: What if we meddled so far as to corrupt the fabrics of time/space?. When the events in the game led to that discovery, a small feeling of uneasiness came over me for that reason.
The game doesn’t have much in the way of customization/freedom, but I think they did a good job at dragging you through the horrors in the game.
After finally closing the game, I was left feeling a little shaken, but still curious to see what other strange things the game holds in store. Because I feel compelled to, I’m definitely going to play it until completion.
I would sum this game up like so: A horror first person shooter game, where you’re always left wondering, and most of the time fearing, what’s around the dark corner.