Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Valve! Don't abandon us!

Valve software, over the last 10 years have been community favourites, pumping out a number of top quality games.

This, of course, all started with Half Life. It took me a couple of years to get into Half Life, but once I did I was hooked! There was obviously something special about the way their event driven story telling worked.

It took many years for the sequel to be finished. It was worth the wait and thus in 2004 came another turning point in FPS gaming history. Half Life 2 was one of the first mainstream games to weave physics based game play into the story rather than just having it as a "feature" of the engine.

In 2006 we were surprisingly introduced to "Episode 1" an immediate sequel to HL2. Although not quite as good as HL2 itself, we were treated to far more character interaction than previously used to in the series.

In late 2007 things went a bit nuts and we were treated to 3 brand new games in one package. Episode 2 (continuing the HL saga), Portal - a brilliant FPS puzzle game and another example of Valve's story telling skills, and Team Fortress 2 - my now favourite team based shooter game of all time.

However, for me this stopped in December 2008 when I finally bought a Valve game I didn't like too much. Left 4 Dead, the zombie shooter co-op game which i had longed to play for well over a year up to that point was a huge disappointment for me. It didn't have the last-ability of Team Fortress 2 as it was hard to build a community around a game where the maximum player count is 4 (8 on the versus mode which I enjoyed even less).

Recently Valve have announced Left 4 Dead 2. A sequel to the original featuring 5 new campaign levels, new weapons, new characters and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I've had to wait a whole day before posting about this as my first reaction was akin to remorse. However since then I have tried to reassure myself that we do not yet know the full story. Is this going to be a full priced game? If not will L4D owners get a discount? Will L4D be updated ever again? Is this just a round-about way of pretending Console players won't have to pay for L4D updates?

It looks ok, and by the looks of things you get to kill Angelina Jolie... Also the date given is November 17 (no year given I notice) - and if that is this year I'll eat my golf clubs (I've not played for 10 years, don't need 'em) if they release on that day.

Assuming the game will cost over £20 (lets remember killing floor is now out and looks pretty good) I'll be avoiding it for some time for several reasons. Firstly there doesn't feel like any point in reviewing a non story based game sequel that is only an updated version of the original. Secondly the price will drop almost immediately after release like L4D, and if it doesn't I'm sure I'll hear if it's worth the cost from someone I know.

Again, assuming the worse, I'll be hanging my official HL2 fan-boy cap up. Unless Valve can announce anything that will make me eagerly wear it once more.

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