OK, you can tell from the fact this update has taken me an hour and a half that I'm into this now. It's getting good - there are some decent set-pieces. I've come through a firefight where Alyx is manning a sniper rifle on the rooftops, gunning down troops as I take them out from close quarters. It's far more fun fighting the combine than it is fighting Antlions and zombies.
We're trying to get the heck out of City 17 before it blows, and we've been making our way across rooftops and houses. Finally we get to a safe-house and... Barney! Rock on!
Barney tells us that we have to draw the Combine away from the train stations so that they can get the trains going again so we can all get out. Why do I have to be the bait?
The scenery in City 17 is spectacular. The Citadel looms overhead, and the rubble and detritus of a city destroyed is evident. Dr Kleiner is making his voice heard over the airways Breen-style, trying to keep people in top spirits and, er, encouraging them to get busy, as Alyx puts it.
The audio design is prett spectacular. It's a whole level about HL2, and it's really adding atmosphere to the game.
Enjoy these shots of the ruined City 17.
Antlions. I hate god-damn Antlions. They keep emerging out of the ground non-stop, and the only way to get some space from them is to block up their emergence points by Gravity-Gunning a burnt-out car over the top. A pretty neat idea, but annoying after the fourth time.
However, the rest of the action is awesome. We've had Zombines, standard headcrabs, running screaming headcrab zombies, the works. There's one tense section at the end of this underground level where you're waiting for a lift to come down to take you to the surface. All the time there's zombie after zombie after zombie. Then... Click click. No ammo left. Disaster! I run like a coward and take cover behind the ever-invincible Alyx, just as the lift arrives to take us to safety - and some upstairs combat action in City 17. Bring it on Breen!
At this point, I should note that the gameplay has picked up a bit from the slightly boring plod that it was earlier. I hope it keeps going this way!