Showing The Player That The Barrels Exist
This is the first instance where explosive barrels are shown to the player. The design of the barrels is something i thought was really cool. There is the red striped on the top and the bottom of the barrels, indicating that they are dangerous in some way. The sign on the front of the barrels is also red, therefore indicating danger, with the image of a fire above text saying flammable which means the barrels could be provoked somehow to cause something sudden to happen.
Showing The Player That They Do Something
A bit further from the first barrel there are two barrels holding up a piece of wood in front of the door. The windows are small enough that you cant get through them, and assuming that the player didn’t just move the things out of the way or just broke the piece of wood, the player would have shot the barrels, showing that they explode and damage things around them, as shown by the shattering wood.
Showing The Player How To Use Them
Literally around the corner from the last instance, there are some barrels on top of a dumpster on an elevated position, next to some metro cops. Using what the player has learned so far, they shoot the barrels hoping for it to kill the metro cops, and it works. The player now knows that the barrels can destroy or move physics objects and enemies, in less then a minute even without any tutorial windows!
Showing The Player How To Not Use Them
A little bit after the last instance there is a metro cop throwing a barrel that is about to explode at you, which is a sort of test of how well the player understands the barrels. If they don’t get it yet it’s not a very harsh punishment, because if they panic then they will naturally walk away from it so that they don’t die, and just take damage. But if the player does know how the barrels work and have good reactions, since the barrel is close to exploding then they can just shoot one pistol bullet at the barrel, and instead of exploding you they explode the metro cop, as a reward for their fast thinking.
This has always interested me, because games like Doom and Quake have explosive barrels, so its not something that would need a proper introduction or is something revolutionary and new that people wouldn’t understand. Whenever people that have played a first person shooter before play Half-Life 2 i never see them pay any attention to these small details that make Half-Life 2 the great game that it is. Moments like these in the game don’t get the attention that they deserve, is basically my point.
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