“ Genre: Action & Shooter / Downloadable Game „
In recent years, many games have been focused on the multiplayer side of the game, rather than single-player. This goes for many first-person shooters, such as Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company and Left 4 Dead. It makes single-player feel a bit tacked on, and gamers without Internet suffer. But with Valve's Half-Life series, it's the other way round: single-player is the main part of the game. In fact, Half-Life 2 was only released with Counter-Strike: Source, an online game also made by Valve. Instead, an online component was released separately, just weeks after Half-Life 2 came out. Called Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, it focuses on online deathmatch games. You may think it would be a bit bland because you can only play deathmatch games with no other modes. However, it's totally the opposite of bland; it's very fun and chaotic. Why miss this when it's offered for only £2.99 on Steam?
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Gameplay-wise, this is very similar to Half-Life 2, but, of course, online. There are seven official maps that you can play on, and two types of gameplay modes: deathmatch and team deathmatch. Both these modes have a simple principle. In deathmatch, it's basically free-for-all: you kill everyone in sight. In team deathmatch, you fight against other people, in a team. Here are the basics of what a match is like.
You start a match with a crowbar, submachine gun and grenade as well as a gravity gun. These are weapons from Half-Life 2. But what makes this different from any other shooter is the gravity gun. You use it to pick up objects, big or small, and launch them at enemies. It will often kill them. It makes matches far more hectic, and a lot more fun. You will also find other weapons hidden throughout a map. In a full server, bullets fly everywhere and objects will constantly fly past your head. It is also quite intense, as you struggle to stay alive. While it may not be as realistic as games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, you will have far more fun.
Maps are based on places from Half-Life 2 and are all very well designed, demonstrating Valve's ability as a great online developer. They are often fairly big, but you don't get much chance to explore them, sadly. These are some of the best maps from the game.
Lockdown is based on Nova Prospekt, a kind of prison building controlled by an evil force called the Combine. It is a mix of narrow and wide-open spaces. There are secret areas scattered round the map, like vents, which act as vantage points. It is quite a dark place, making matches quite tough.
Overwatch is a bit brighter, based on the 'Anticitizen One' level from Half-Life 2. There is a huge, three storey building in the middle of the map. It is quite a ruined, messy place meaning there are loads of objects to chuck around. It's one of the most chaotic maps, too, as RPG rockets are flying everywhere and crossbow bolts whistle past your face quietly.
Overall, the gameplay is excellent. It's great fun, the weapons are varied, the shooting is solid and the maps are fantastic.
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The graphics are breathtaking. You may even stop at some points to stare at the environment, whether it's a beautiful sandy map or a ruined city. The visuals are very detailed, and the wide range of maps helps make the graphics varied. The character design is also spectacular; you can see every little wrinkle and freckle on their face, and the textures on their outfits are also excellent. You will rarely see anything like it anywhere, even today.
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Because it's an online-only game, we miss out on the amazing voice acting of Half-Life 2. However, the audio is incredibly realistic. We hear loud gunshots everywhere and there are screams coming from people being shot. You will be impressed by the great sound quality.
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Here are the system requirements for the game. Luckily, despite the very impressive visuals and excellent sound quality, it won't challenge your PC too much.
1.2 GHz Processor
DirectX 7 level graphics card
2.4 GHz Processor
DirectX 9 level graphics card
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This doesn't have an official age rating but I recommend this to people of 12 and over. There's a lot of shooting and violence, and a bit of blood splatters on walls when you shoot an enemy. You don't even need to be a very mature 12 year old to play it, in my opinion,
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Overall, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch is fantastic. One of the best online games you can find, it has great gameplay, breathtaking graphics and flawless sound quality. There are also seven very well designed maps to play on. Plus, it's developed by Valve, the makers of Half-Life 2, Portal and Left 4 Dead. What can be better?