Dekker, word of advice, if you want to continue posting, don't spam the threads with irrelevant crap, just FYI
Hl1's story wasn't terribly wonderous, it WAS, however, cohesive, you were there from the get go, hell, the resonance cascade was partially your fault, if not caused by you.
HL2's story is a mish-mash of various things, ignoring commentary, Strategy guides (which are mostly conjecture anyway), what are you left with?
It's Set (roughly) 20 years or so after the black mesa incident (this was gathered by comparing the photo of alyx as a child in Vance's lab, it was the only thing he got out of black mesa)
sometime after you capped the nihilanth, the portal storms erupted (or so we assume, it might have been because the nihilanth was a controlling force, or that it was pure coincidence from the resonance cascade)
after those got worse, the combine happened upon earth, hence begun the 7 hour war.
after the 7 hour war, Breen the former black mesa administrator, mediated some kind of surrender, and occupation of earth.
the combine took over earth, and by the looks of it, drained the oceans, and instigated a regime, in which they ruled over the planet, Why?.. we don't know why, why they didn't just wipe out the human race, capture, or what, i don't know, their motives were never elaborated on.
the Vortigaunts are clearly not a combine race, or a race under the former nihilanth, their own motives are as mysterious as the G-man's.
The G-Man himself remains a mystery, just who, or what he is as big of a mystery, as anything else.
From what the G-man tells gordon, gordon himself is a freelance agent of sorts, which means that the g-man has motives in utilising Gordon, for money, power, who knows.
Blaise, you really are looking too deep into this, as far as i can see, the entire HL2 story can be squeezed into the one paragraph.
Doom 3's story wasn't that great either, but in a way, you could garner snippets of info from computers, voice recordings, emails, people, survivors, and whatnot.
all HL2 did was give you a couple of bullitin boards, a photo, and some sad survivors that didn't really give you much in the way of info.
i mean, there's no cohesion in the story, you don't know where precisely on earth city 17 is (or what city 17 -was-), nova prospekt, or even what year it was. so many details were left in the air in favor of "keeping the player as in the dark as the character" which doesn't make any sense, really.
'Cuz, you know, when in doubt, you'd ASK for any info, quite possibly this would be accompanied with a funny look, a comment about where you have been in the past X amount of years, and finally you'd get your info, which would be a logical progression to things..