Half-Life 2: Episode Two: To the White Forest

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The opening chapter picks up where Episode One left off. The Citadel Core gave out as Alyx and Gordon were leaving City 17, and the resulting shock wave has derailed the train in which they were traveling.

Gordon and Alyx survive the crash, and Alyx retrieves the Gravity Gun in order to free Gordon from the wreck.

The ruins of City 17 are visible, with a superportal forming above the collapsed Citadel. A portal storm occurs, appearing to emanate from the Citadel ruins, destroying the damaged rail bridge and opening a path into a mine shaft for Alyx and Gordon to follow.

Alyx informs Gordon that they must contact the White Forest base and deliver their data packet. They travel through a short Zombie and Antlion-infested mine tunnel to a communication building, and Alyx is able to contact White Forest base.

Dr. Kleiner and Eli Vance are relieved to learn that Gordon and Alyx survived the detonation of the Citadel, and Dr. Magnusson is introduced as the head of the White Forest base, more concerned with the data packet than the safety of Gordon and Alyx.

The sound of a hunter-chopper and an overheard Overwatch message confirm that the Combine are still searching for the duo and the data packet Alyx possesses.

Shortly afterward, Alyx is critically wounded by a Hunter. A Vortigaunt arrives in time to drive off Antlions and stabilize Alyx’s condition.

Gordon becomes separated from Alyx and the Vortigaunt and must travel through Antlion caves to meet them at a nearby Resistance outpost.

It is during this cave journey that Antlion Grubs and Workers are first encountered.

Trivia

No known trivia for this chapter.

Screenshots

Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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Achievements

I won’t be covering the Episode Two achievements in the same way as I did in the Half-Life 2 TREE event, because they are less chapter based. However, the CombineOverWiki has nice list that is very useful.

The Replay Experience Experiment

This post is part of the The Replay Experience Experiment event. This is a chance to replay all the Half-Life games and discuss them based on our experiences since we first played them.

Hat Tip

The intro and trivia text are taken from the CombineOverWiki, a fan-supported, editable wiki covering the Half-Life series of games.

Walkthrough
A Complete Half-Life 2: Episode Two Walkthrough

On the left is a complete text walkthrough for Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

It has been written by Stanley E. Dunigan and updated with all the tricks and tips from PlanetPhillip.Com readers.

It is in PDF format, meaning you can open it directly in modern browsers or download it and print it.

(Left-click to open and right-click to save)

Do Not Own This Game?

You can purchase Half-Life 2: Episode Two directly through Steam and could be playing in within moments, depending on your internet connection.

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6 Comments

  1. And here we go again…

    After a cinematic recap of the Episode One, we find ourselves alone and stuck. Thank goodness Alyx comes looking for us or we’d still be there now.

    I am normally really hard on mod teams when I find invisible walls and I actually managed to do it in this level. It’s possible to get on top of one of the carriages but you can’t go anywhere because of those invisible wall. So to all the mod teams I shouted in the past: I’m sorry.

    So, we get a great view of the citadel and it’s quite interesting because Valve allows you to kill yourself if you explore too much. I’m not sure if was a change of design philosophy or an isolated situation – time will tell.

    We continue through the mine area and we have a scene where Alyx talks to Dr. Kleiner, her father and the introduction of a new character; Dr. Magnusson. Now the other interesting feature here is that Valve doesn’t keep you in the area whilst this takes place. It’s possible for you to wander off. I don’t remember them doing that before.

    Let’s not forget the quick humour about Alyx “fixing” the set up. It’s more funny because we can’t say anything.

    Worker Antlions are introduced too and the combination of worker + shotgun has to be the most delicious combination of enemy + weapon in the whole HL series – or is it? Personally I love headcrab + crowbar. What about you?

    Suddenly, Alyx is mortally wounded and the lucky arrival of a vortigaunt saves the day. To be honest, I was happy to leave Alyx behind. I don’t really like having her with me – at least not for extended periods.

    And so, I’m back into the games as if there was no break, which in this case was almost true but the actual release dates show 16 months of time between the two.

    All in all a great start to what proves to be a fantastic game.

    Playtime: 34 minutes

  2. JG

    I had forgotten about the neat recap movie showing the events of Episode 1. It’s cool to see a lot of the action with seemingly better graphics and more cinematic effects.

    Anyhow, so begins Episode 2, an Episode I remember as being slow to start, but being rather exciting by the end. The first chapter takes place across two levels, the first of which is absolutely enormous. We have very few weapons to start with, so it’s refreshing to use the Gravity Gun exclusively for a while. Soon, though, we get our arsenal back.

    A lot of this chapter presupposes the “newness” of the world around you and wanting to take it all in. Functionally, there’s not a whole lot going on here and there is a lot of mood building, which is to be expected.

    I don’t really care for Alyx that much. While the voice acting is fine and the animations are great, there’s something that always seems “forced” about her. But, how can I blame her, she is having a conversation with herself most of the time. The way she gets pinned by the Hunter without much of a fight seems to contradict how tough she was back in Episode 1 purely for story purposes.

    Then, it’s onward to the mines. I expected to travel through ten miles of mine, but we actually arrive at the Antlion nest pretty quickly. We get a little taste of it before the end of this chapter and I remembered how much I disliked this part. I love the acid-spitting Antlion Worker, but the claustrophobic tunnels and water isn’t a very fun battle space.

    There’s a certain contrivance to the setup for the mines as well, since it’s obvious that taking the crowbar would cause the elevator to fall. When you look back on it, our whole excursion through the mines is based on just having to have THAT particular crowbar. There is literally no other explanation. In fact, the Vortigaunt is kind of at a loss to explain what we do now, only that he’ll take “Miss Vance” somewhere and we’ll meet up ahead… somewhere. You’d think, this is a mine, there have to be dozens of crowbars. Or maybe you want to trade in the crowbar for a nice pickaxe. Whatever the case, it’s a pretty silly explanation for why you get separated.

  3. After a brief ” Previously, on Half-Life 2 ” the game start where Episode 1 ended. Gordon didn’t get in but he is now trapped in the train. Fortunately, Alyx is not injured as it was planned in the trailer, but it will not take too long…

    For me, the view of City 17 is probably the more impressive thing of the game. Not because of the Portal Storm nor collapsing bridge, but because of the fallen Citadel, replaced by a huge energy beams. It resume the situation in the whole game.

    Then comes scenario. As in Episode 1, a video communication with Eli and Kleiner set the plot. Dr Magnusson character is introduced there but we don’t learn many things on him. Apparently, he want to close the Combine Portal with the same technology seen in Decay.

    After that is the bad thing. No, Gordon is not a powerful hero. Witness to this scene without being able to do anything was a little frustrating, but it is necessary for the story. Then a real Vortigaunt hero comes and save both Alyx and Gordon, why the Hunter had left without finishing work ?

    Alyx and the Vort can’t follow Gordon for long, that’s why he fall in an elevator apparently for nothing except a crowbar. No matter, he can now explore the mine and meet the Antlion worker, an enemy that perfectly replace the HL1 Bullsquid for me.

    At this point, we can notice the amount of new elements. Episode One was similar to HL2 with some novelty. In Episode Two we can see real forest, beautiful caves and well designed mine shafts, very different compare to Ravenholm ones.

    G-MAN SIGHTING

    He is not back yet I think.

    CAUGHT MY EYES

    Strange, a gnome without a helmet nor an axe …

    DEATHS

    None

    PLAYTIME

    27 minutes

    MY FRENCH LET’s PLAY

  4. So here comes the first chapter of episode 2. We start off in the train, but it obviously crashed recently. Alyx is outside, and she uses the gravity gun to help us out too. Then she gives it back to us and we start moving. The chapter title comes later, when we see the citadel. There is obviously something wrong with it, and we witness what Alyx calls a portal storm. Then we fight zombies, communcate with white forest (and meet the awesome person that is dr. Magnusson), then a simple physics puzzle that teaches us that huge metal stacks are way heavier than the player or anything wooden. We get in an abandoned city, and Alyx gets caught off-guard by a Hunter and almost gets killed before our eyes. A vortigaunt saves her from antlions (and saves us from our “prison” too) and takes care of her. Cool, no need to wait for her anymore 😀

    Then we play alone in dark antlions caves, meet the worker, and the chapter ends right before we leave them.

    Five words or less review:
    can’t you be more careful?

    Deaths:
    None, those workers are pretty dangerous

    Playtime:
    6 minutes 50 seconds 500 milliseconds

  5. Ade

    Man this has a kick ass intro, who wouldn’t love this episode?
    The engine looks better of course, right as we are put in the game in the train wreck.
    The way the weps are given is exemplary, take notes, people!

    Funny how this: http://steamcommunity.com/id/7656119802515648/screenshot/884115325741522185 reminded me of this http://hlssmod.net/image.php?fullimage=concept/12.jpg and not the other way around, maybe it’s been too long since I played ep2..

    Playtime: 30m (I’m going for the Grub achievement, wish me luck!)

  6. Unq

    Ugh, I thought the recap at the beginning was unnecessary and totally annoying, it’s so un-Valve-like. But at least it’s over quick and very soon we’re outside City 17 but with a fantastic vista of the former Citadel. The portal storm effect is nifty but the bridge collapse is more impressive. Already we’re being shown the engine improvements over the previous games.

    Just a bit later in the chapter we get a glimpse of the hunter, and then Alyx is down for the count. It’s a nice setup for the hunter as a key adversary in this game even though the big cheese is still yet to come. And we also get a quick sense of the support of the vortigaunts which of course is significant in the following chapters.

    In all, a nice solid opening chapter. It’s generally not too tough (but those acid antlions are no slouch on Hard if they score a hit on you, I had to grab every single grub I could find for the health) and again eases you into the combat nicely.

    Playtime: 32 minutes

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