Follows the natural progression of events from the ending of Part I to their most plausibly brutal conclusion. Floored me multiple times. The gameplay has drastically improved from the first game, with layers of complexity added to keep each encounter fresh (and each half of the game). Loved it.

Low-key should have just been in the full game? Retreads the same stealth (unfortunately, in a slow and repetitive way) as the regular game but that final infected/human combat section was great. I wish there was more of that in the base game. And of course, the flashbacks were beautifully done, more so in the context of the present-day Joel situation. I'd love to do a "machete-order" of this with the base game if I ever get around to another playthrough.

Quite possibly best tech demo! Dead simple but dead fun.

Incredible pacing. All aspects of this game's design are trimmed to be as neat and mechanically precise as possible. No wonder games today are still cheating off of its homework!


The core gameplay loop of shooting, looting, and glory killing is flawless. A great (and creative!) way to modernize the original DOOM's feeling of speed and brutality.
However, other modernizations (collectibles, RPG level-up trees, etc.) are useless and boring. Any time spent in a menu is frankly bad and should have been removed. Even the map screen is over-engineered to the point where you spend more time in it than necessary.
To maximize enjoyment, I recommend the following settings:
- turn voice volume down to 50%
- turn subtitles off
- turn sfx down to 75%
- turn classic doom gun position on.
The story is pointless and should be ignored. With the above settings and your volume cranked up, you can enjoy the pure adrenaline that the game designers perfected!

Far exceeds its predecessor in pacing and gameplay variety. Each chapter is distinct in aesthetic, gameplay motifs, weapon usage, and enemy patterns. No section overstays its welcome, unlike some of the parts of Half Life (and even Black Mesa). Truly a pinnacle of FPS design.
Also, shouts out to the sound design! Love that the Combine enemies have a flatline sound when they die. Really great non-visual kill confirmation that reminds me of the original DOOM's use of sound, though with a more minimal style.

A visual masterpiece. Even in a digital medium, Kojima sure knows how to direct a scene! UI is gorgeous, camera-positioning is cinematic yet functional, and the writing is hilarious, yet emotionally (and politically!) potent.
Gameplay-wise, I loved the snappiness during regular stealth sections, but I personally think some of the twitchiness of combat backfires in the bosses. Things end up being too dependent on perfect input and positioning, especially when you're low on rations. I ended up watching the final hour of the game via a youtube walkthrough because I was low on rations and too bad at the REX fight to make it with my low health.

Thoroughly improves on the weak points of Half Life. The new Xen stuff is actually really engaging and presents some fun sci-fi world-building. In the earthbound levels, I really enjoyed the reinterpretation of certain sections as horror levels--a good homage to the series' aesthetic nods to the Alien franchise. Interloper felt like a Doom level. An overall improvement on a classic!

Surprised by how concise this is! What a game!

Incredibly earnest perspective. Good use of the visual novel medium to enhance the dialogue and storytelling.

So many twists and turns! Who knew the whole series was leading to such a good payoff! Really silly game but the silliness is masterfully executed.

(review of campaign)
The movement, guns, enemy AI, music, sound design, and overall art direction are near perfect. Unfortunately, the levels in the second half start to drag due to repetitive cooridors and unnecessary backtracking, making the game really irritating to play (even on regular difficulty!). A masterpiece bogged down by some unfortunate pacing. I assume its a result of the technology at the time, so I hope the level design in the sequels improves.

What a tight game! With a sincere and heartwarming story to boot! Utterly flawless!

The open-world sandbox vs. mission dissonance is the realest its been for a Rockstar game, but goddamn are each of those halves of the game really really good. Most of my problems stem from Rockstar's unwillingness to let go of your hand in the missions, and their insistence on including a beautiful open world in a game that kind of doesn't need one.
That being said, the game is beautiful, the story and characters are incredibly engaging, and every other superficial detail in this game is flawless. Unfortunately, all of Rockstar's issues are central to their archaic formula.

More of the same, which is exactly what I wanted! Good cast of critters and hilarious callbacks to jokes from the first game.