Half-Life is probably the deepest game out there.

Xanadu84

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What is, "Deep"?

Honestly, that's kind of one of those meaningless buzzwords, like when a politician talks about, "Freedom". To be meaningful, you need a proper definition.

Are we talking about subtle, metaphoric, storyline based developments representing a larger philosophic purpose? Half Life does this well, but it is hardly a heavyweight. Go play Braid.

Are we talking non-storyline "Points" to the game? Go play Passage, The Marriage, or many other video games.

Are we talking raw complexity? Where to even begin...

Emergent complexities in gameplay? RTS games in general blow HL2 out of the water.

So I don't see any definition of "Deep" that Half Life deserves the title of best. Half Life 2 is a fantastic game with a distinctive, compelling story, great characterization, huge amounts of polish etc. etc., but I don't see it topping any charts in any respect of, "Deep".
 

adamtm

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Dexiro said:
Any good sci-fi is firmly rooted in reality in some way, such as Star Wars trying to explain how the force works with those midichlorians (not the best example).
Any good sci-fi has science that is firmly rooted in the universe pertaining to that story. I.e. its consistent with the laws set up by said universe.

If magic in your universe is set to work on hard principles (i.e. not soft principles like willpower or "blood") then it is indistinguishable from technology and can be called science fiction.

The star wars thing was a failed attempt at creating hard rules in a soft-rules universe.
"The Force will guide you" is an appeal to the supernatural.

OT: HalfLife isn't deep, its good, but not deep.
 

Curttehmurt

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OP seems to forget that Gordon Freeman gets that nice suit to wear, one that is not too different from the one Master Chief wears
 

duktapeman90

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MiracleOfSound said:
I dunno if the themes in HL2 are deep, but the atmosphere certainly is.

It was the first game I ever played where I felt a part of the world around me and cared about the characters.

Everything - from the distant wailing of Striders to the ever-ominous Citadel towering over the vistas getting ever closer - just sucked me into the experience and kept me enthralled.
This. This right here. If it's one thing Valve does right it's atmosphere. Yeah the story is rather basic, but your so lost in it you really don't care.
 

ReaperzXIII

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Vonnis said:
Atmos Duality said:
Half-Life? DEEP?
*chuckles*
Sorry, I disagree, simply because the story of Half Life relies entirely too much on Deus Ex Machina events to progress.
I don't really have anything to add to this. HL isn't deep by any stretch of the word. In fact I believe both HL1 and 2 to be mediocre in just about every aspect, but that's just me.
This pretty much summed up my experience of Half Life 2, I tried really hard to like it just to see what the hype was about and thats what kept me playing for over 10 hours, then I thought "Fuck it" and returned it for store credit. Whatever deepness there was I did not catch it, all I remember was being told to go here, then go here, then go here and the only reason I got for it was THE COMBINE ARE HERE!!!
 

RA92

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Deep? You really need to play some more games if this is your standard for 'depth'.

Half life was never about the story, it was always about the narrative execution and the atmosphere.

Saviordd1 said:
Vonnis said:
I don't really have anything to add to this. HL isn't deep by any stretch of the word. In fact I believe both HL1 and 2 to be mediocre in just about every aspect, but that's just me.
GET DOWN, YOUR ABOUT TO BE ATTACKED BY THE RABID FANS!!! GET TO DA CHOPPER!
I'm so fucking tired of asinine comments like this.

Show me one instance of someone getting attacked on the forums for saying s/he personally doesn't like HL. Go on, it shouldn't be too hard, since it's so fucking ubiquitous.
 

Dfskelleton

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As far as FPSes go, Half Life is probably deeper than some, but calling it "the deepest game out there" is pushing it a bit. And by pushing it a bit, I mean pushing as in about 40,000 lbs of force pushing. Half Life is far from the deepest game out there. Very far. It's not even a contender for "deepest game out there". Your point is valid, but there are many other games that do the same thing ten times better. My vote for Deepest game out there goes to Silent Hill 2, which contains the point you made among the other hundreds of things that make it deep.
Don't get me wrong, I love Half Life, but Deepest Game Out There? Hell no.
 

JC123

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"Deep" clearly means emotional depth here: Attachment to characters, thought-provoking, response creating, emotional engagement. Deus Ex is not deep, it's a complicated playing experience.

Halo and COD do not give the same emotional depth. There is no attachment to any of the characters, no thoughts about your actions, no worries about what's happening. That's largely because there are no meaningful characters in those games - you're a soldier in a war zone with enemies and allied soldiers, that's all. There's no civilians in these war zones, no development between team mates, just the occasional joke or pleasantry. There's no emotional connection to anyone in the playing world at all - no pictures on walls, no children's rooms, no dead family members, no sign of any life at all. You can't worry for the people here as it feels like once the fight moves on, they'll all just come out of hiding and move back into their houses like nothing happened. The characters may as well be targets who can shoot back, and your allies could be moving turrets, and the game would be the same. Yes soldiers are brave, but when they're special forces (or in the case of Halo, rendered super human), this is their job every single day. It isn't bravery and purpose thrust upon them, it's a job they've chosen (or were born into), and as such it carries less importance. I will give COD a basic point for the nuke scene, since it does make you pause for a second, but the rest of the game is the same bland shooter paint by numbers material.

Whenever I play Half Life 2 on the other hand, I often find myself questioning what I'm doing. I'm the symbol of the resistance, fighting to reclaim the Earth - and my presence means a death sentence for every rebel in sight. Fleeing through the canals, you pass small rebel groups, fighting to hold out, and they're immediately destroyed either fighting beside you, or by the full force of the combine coming behind you. Fighting in the cities, you have every rebel in sight throwing their arms up to stand beside you - and they're usually killed within minutes. There's even that couple throughout each of the games that shows just how tired, strained and emotionally screwed everyone is by the ordeal. Your character is not a soldier, but a scientist thrown into the situation. Your allies are either poorly civilians who have to fight for their lives and freedom, or friends from your past who put far too much emotional weight onto someone they haven't seen in 10 (or is it 20?) years. Worst of all - Alyx is in love with someone who's never even spoken a word to her. Breen raises an interesting point at the end of HL2, saying "You have destroyed so much, what is it exactly that you have created?" It made me pause and think, and I realised that I have managed to completely upset the balance of life on this world, to ruin any chance of humanity simply continuing to exist until their time is up. You've sped up their destruction for the small chance of freedom. It may pay off, or it may be their end, and it's questionable whether you're the right person to be making that decision for them.

Half Life 2's world is an ongoing holocaust, it's time spent in a ghetto watching their world be destroyed. Anyone who has an understanding of history, or about the horrors of war, should at least be pausing for a minute to consider things while they play. It's still a game, and there's a lot of pure shooting, running, puzzle-solving, average writing game-ness in between, but the game world itself is quite deep, and none of the above stop that emotional connection.

I will have to agree though that Half Life is hardly the most emotionally deep game out there. Heavy Rain is a perfect example of a game that makes the emotional attachment the entire purpose, living those events and their decisions afterwards. Consider any truly good game (we're talking classics here, not the latest FPS you enjoyed) and you'll find an emotional attachment. It's a staple of true art - it makes you think and feel. As a side-note, I'd love to see some other examples of good games that manage this, they usually form a pretty decent "must play" list.

Portal gets points for building a connection to an enemy, building a character out of an empty shell that doesn't speak, and taking a lot of emotion from very little material (empty test chambers, some scribbles on the wall, a heart on a box and a few phrases from a robotic voice is all they use). I wouldn't say it's more emotionally engaging though.

dogstile said:
That's not deep, that's convenient events within the game world to get around real life issues. No children? In game reason? Suppression field. Real life reason? Showing kids getting killed is a hot button issue.
Writing within the constrains of the medium does not rule something out as good writing, or emotionally engaging. Some of the best writing, particularly in movies, has done just that - work with limitations to create a great story.

Side-note: For the Halo fanboys who jumped out simply to take down their sworn enemy Half Life 2, it's time for a reality check. The only thing Halo gave to the world of gaming was multiplayer shooting. It helped popularise and fine-tune some factors of console multiplayer games. That's all. Its single player campaign is not good, never has been, and will not stack up to anything but the most average FPS.
 

Post Tenebrae Morte

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Deep? Half-life? Nooooo, nooooo.
Go play Silent Hill (Even Homecoming has more depth that Half-life), Legacy of Kain, Deus Ex, Metal gear solid 3, etc

It was revolutionary for its time, like OoT and Deus Ex, but now it is utter mediocrity.

~Efrit
 

JC123

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Efrit_ said:
Deep? Half-life? Nooooo, nooooo.
Go play Silent Hill (Even Homecoming has more depth that Half-life), Legacy of Kain, Deus Ex, Metal gear solid 3, etc

It was revolutionary for its time, like OoT and Deus Ex, but now it is utter mediocrity.

~Efrit
Revolutionary for it's time...and you list other games from the same time or earlier as better examples.
 

Zhukov

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Ehhhhhh...

Don't get me wrong, I love HL2 and pretty much everything about it. One of my all-time favourites.

But "deep"? That's pushing it. And "deepest game out there"? That just sets off my fanboy alarm.
 

Mr. 47

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You go to area X and kill stuff. Not deep when it comes to gameplay. Half Life 2 story is deep, but to call it the deepest would be a major overstatement. I've never played it, but LIMBO seems pretty deep, so is the Half Life 2 Mod Dear Esther.
 

mrdude2010

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you're forgettign the power suit freeman is equipped with

i wouldn't say deep, just well explained and it manages to tell the story decently well, and i like the silent protagonist but there are no choices whatsoever in that game

bioshock 1 is probably one of the deeper games in terms of storytelling that makes you think, and KOTOR and mass effect have the most consequences associated with your various choices
 

lacktheknack

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JC123 said:
I will have to agree though that Half Life is hardly the most emotionally deep game out there. Heavy Rain is a perfect example of a game that makes the emotional attachment the entire purpose, living those events and their decisions afterwards. Consider any truly good game (we're talking classics here, not the latest FPS you enjoyed) and you'll find an emotional attachment. It's a staple of true art - it makes you think and feel. As a side-note, I'd love to see some other examples of good games that manage this, they usually form a pretty decent "must play" list.
Ever heard of "Yume Nikki"? It's a free genre-codifying game (it's the first "Dream Exploration" game to get its own wiki and dedicated fanbase, even though "LSD" was technically the same thing made seven years earlier) that is literally an agoraphobic girl dreaming her life away. It's very depressing, raises many questions about her state of mind and psychological health, made me care deeply about a character who never even opens her eyes, and the ending made me bawl like a little girl for about ten minutes.

It takes a LOT of patience to play, and the emotional connection takes time (some people don't get one at all), but it's one of my top freeware games ever made.
 

Awexsome

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Deep? No. It seems like a well paced and excellently told story (if you can get into it. I can't remember a thing about HL2 or the half of episode 1 I played through before stopping out of boredom) but deep? The Halo universe is deeper than Half-life's story.