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Half Life 2: Episode Two (PC)

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2 Reviews

Manufacturer: Valve / Genre: Action / Release Date: 1998

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    2 Reviews
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      09.02.2011 13:48
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

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      An essential game - nearly flawless.

      (This review will contain spoilers for those who have not finished Half-Life 2 and Episode One)

      With Half-Life 2 Episode One ending on a cliffhanger, it was tough to wait a year for the second Half-Life 2 episode. Finally, it came but could it maintain the series' standard? Surely we would be bored of the same old Half-Life gameplay, and story involving the Combine? Luckily, Valve make this episode different enough for us to keep playing and really enjoy the game. New environments, fantastic gameplay and a stunning story mean Half-Life 2 Episode Two is possibly the best Half-Life game yet.

      The story goes straight on from Half-Life 2 Episode One. When Alyx and Gordon leave the city on a train, the Citadel blows up. The blast knocks the train off the rails, with both of our heroes still on it. However, they are OK and set off to a building where they contact with Dr Kleiner and Eli Vance at White Forest, with the cocky Dr Magnusson joining the conversation. Gordon and Alyx are told that they must set off there, while facing many obstacles along the way. Can they get there in time?

      It may sound like a fairly simple plot, but many secrets are revealed and we also find out more about the characters.

      The gameplay remains the same as Half-Life 2 Episode One, but with some minor HUD (heads-up display) changes. As with the other Half-Life games, this mixes first-person combat with physics-based puzzles. You may think this combination will be getting old now but its not and in Episode Two, its even better than before.

      If you're an FPS (first-person shooter) fan, the combat in this game will seem quite familiar. Its much better than in games like Call of Duty despite being less realistic. In Episode Two, you hold both ordinary and sci-fi weapons. You use these in shoot-outs against the Combine and aliens. It can be very fun despite being challenging at times. There is a drawback to the combat, though - there are no new weapons since Half-Life 2. This was also a problem in Episode One. The weapons are cool, though. You get guns like revolvers and a strong shotgun, and you also get to wield the powerful Magnusson device. Overall, combat is excellent.

      Puzzles keep the standard from Episode One. They involve the Gravity Gun, a unique device which is used to grab and launch objects. These puzzles are physics-based and realistic. You don't see as many of them as in the other Half-Life games, but they are still clever. You need to think hard to complete them. Puzzles are brilliant overall.

      One thing that makes the game different from the other Half-Life games are the environments. While in Episode One you had to find your way around dark areas, in Episode Two the environment is far different. Throughout the game, you get to see beautiful scenery including tall mountains. The game is still quite linear, but it feels open because of the huge space around you. The start of the game is arguably weak, though, because you crawl around in dark, claustrophobic caves underground.

      The graphics are stunning. This is probably because of the beautiful scenery you get to see, as I mentioned in the last paragraph. There is loads of detail. The characters look realistic and the same goes for the environments. As you may gather from what I've said, the graphics are breathtaking!

      Like all of the other Half-Life games, the audio is fabulous. The music is spectacular, even better than in the other HL games. Also, the voice acting is tremendous, with loads of talented voice actors involved in the game. The sound quality is jaw-droppingly loud (if you turn the volume up anyway!).

      These are the requirements for Half-Life 2 Episode Two.

      Minimum System Requirements:

      CPU: 1.2 GHz Processor
      RAM: 256 MB
      Graphics Card: DirectX 7 capable graphics card
      Windows 2000/XP/ME/98
      Mouse
      Keyboard
      Internet Connection
      CD or DVD rom drive

      Recommended System Requirements:

      CPU: 2.4 GHz Processor
      RAM: 512 MB
      Graphics Card: DirectX 9 capable graphics card 256 MB
      Windows 2000/XP/ME/98
      Mouse
      Keyboard
      Internet Connection
      CD or DVD rom drive

      Ideal System Requirements:

      CPU: 3.4 GHz Processor
      RAM: 1024 MB
      Graphics Card: Radeon X800 or Geforce 6800
      Windows 2000/XP/ME/98
      Mouse
      Keyboard
      Internet Connection
      CD or DVD rom drive

      Despite being such an impressive game, Episode Two isn't too challenging on your computer unlike 2007's Crysis.

      Details:

      Age rating: BBFC 15
      Developer: Valve
      Publisher: Valve

      The game is amazing overall. Nearly everything is perfect. The storyline reveals loads of secrets and continues the great Half-Life story, the gameplay is similar to the other HL games but still great and the graphics are breathtaking, plus the sound is brilliant. This is essential for any PC owner. However, I'd recommend you getting The Orange Box instead, which features Half-Life 2, Episodes One and Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2. You can get this on PC, PS3 or Xbox 360.

      Thanks for reading my review! If you think I could improve on anything, please leave a comment!

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      • More +
        12.11.2008 16:59
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        A Stunning Sequel (Well Episode) That Must Be Played By Any Half Life Fan

        Half Life 2, Episode Two - Stunning Follow On Of A Masterpiece Series Of Games

        Intro
        ~~~~

        As you may already be aware I am currently reviewing the Half Life Series of games. My last review ended with Half Life 2 Episode One so as a follow on I am continuing with its brilliant sequel being Episode Two. This game continues where the last one left off being where Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance have escaped city 17 and the citadel as it nears a massive explosion due to the inner core of the citadel over reacting. As you have escaped the city the train gets de-railed by the blast that comes off the explosion just as you have reached a vast area of forest. From here on you are more or less in the deserted lands out of the city that compose of tunnels, mountains, woods, forestry and buildings etc... I am not going to go into anymore further detail of the story other than to mention that your main goal is to successfully reach white forest where Eli Vance (Alyx's dad) and his researchers are at in order to give them the data disk you received from the citadel. As with the other reviews I have done I am not mentioning the whole story as I am here to reveal my thoughts and feelings on the game as a whole. Not the story, although let me say this, the story is shockingly good.

        Gameplay
        ~~~~~~~~

        Valve know how to make games highly playable. This is relevant in any of their games, particularly the 'Half Life games'. Half Life 2 Episode Two is again brilliant in terms of the gameplay factor. Highly immersive, very addictive, very well played and also well thought out. This along with fluid controls all add up to this having brilliant gameplay like all the others in the series.

        Episode two seems to have improved enemy A.I even further. This is evident with the new addition of the 'hunters' enemies that are programmed to come and hunt you down. It was in Half Life 2 that players really noticed a massive improvement to the A.I system. For example in Half Life 2, some of the big advances were when the non-player characters were aware of what you were looking at and what you were doing, a great example of that was when you went to Eli's Lab, and you were looking at the pictures of his family, and he would say, "you remember my wife, don't you...?" and stuff like that. That instantly made the players think wow how did he know what I was looking at ? Well these features are again relevant within Episode Two and its very welcoming when you notice these events of well programmed A.I happening around you as it adds a great deal of surprise to the player.

        The enemy troops also have slightly improved in terms of A.I as this time they seem really determined to kill you (as if they weren't determined enough in the others within the series) One particular bit comes to mind within this game when they are trying to stop you; as you are on route to White Forest in the tuned up car (which is great to drive) you eventually get forced to stop due to an electronic barricade that comes into effect in order to stop you going any further. As this happens you get bombarded by enemy forces such as troopers and hunters. You are forced to take cover in an abandoned house that you have stopped beside in order to stay alive. The troops come in to attack you while the hunters stay patrolling outside. This game is full of excellent moments like this that are able to grasp your attention from the intriguing story while you get thrown into full out action blown sequences. Another excellent part that is rather near the start of the game is when you are underground in the tunnels with Alyx Vance who is seriously wounded and two members of the resistance who you have to help in order to fight of a massive array of ant lions. This part is very clever and is one of many excellent parts that are just brilliant fun to play out. Don't even get me started about the finale battle with the striders, it really is beauty within a game itself.

        The physics of this game are intense to say the least. For example in Half Life 2 if a building was going to get destroyed then it would only be a building that you could not enter, however this time round taking the strider scene at the end as an example you are able to go into a building and think your safe while the strider comes and just tears it down on top of you. This is all thanks to the wonderful 'source' engine and the use of 'direct X 10'. Crates, chairs, enemies and all objects within the game have the usual great physics that makes this game appear so real. Walk into things they fall over, shoot someone at different points and they will fall accordingly to where they were shot. Were talking realism at its finest here.

        Weapons remain unchanged but you wont care. Use of the gravity gun again come sin really handy which is great as it also happens to be great fun to use. The assault rifles, shotguns and the legendary crowbar are back to help you get through the many enemies within the game. The crossbow is great for long distance shots and has an awesome noise upon being shot.

        Again the characters element in this game is strong. The voice acting is perfectly fluid and in sync with the characters mouths as they move, their actions that they undertake are very well developed and realistic plus the characters themselves look real. The characters also move and change positions in order to get a better viewpoint of the enemies and there locations which is very helpful if you are undergoing a massive attack that you don't think you will be able to undergo yourself. The facial expressions is very real and well detailed. As a result of all these points the characters are a very strong point within this game. It adds to the gameplay being even more enjoyable than you would have thought possible.

        Half Life 2 Episode Two takes place mainly in outdoor environments. So were talking open, fresh, new, exciting and mostly damn good fun. Full of trees, tunnels, caves, mountains, and other outdoor terrain episode two never feels dull. You never have to back track in order to find stuff as there is always options open to the player in order to proceed. It constantly feels fresh and new and as a result of your environment your enemies tend to have to adapt new techniques to reach and kill you. Thanks to the massive outdoor areas, the use of the car (modified 68 dodge charger) that you get hold of comes in extremely handy as means of transport. Its also extremely good fun to drive and packs a lovely, gritty noise as a real tuned up dodge charger would.

        Graphics
        ~~~~~~~
        Unlike Episode One, Episode Two features much wider use of outdoor environments which is very enjoyable to say the least. Its much more fun being in an outdoor environment in this game than being inside as was the case for Episode One. Since much of the game takes place outside it is clear to us how important the graphics were for this. Beautiful spanning views across hills and mountains can be seen in this game. That is until your view is spoiled by a pack of hunters coming rampaging after you which results in your view being composed of your carefully aimed weapon and well placed feet in order to survive.

        Stunning visual improvements are seen thanks to use of direct x 10. The people behind this game really have worked on all details of graphical importance including the minor ones. The whole environments look so realistic, the characters are very well detailed just like your weapons. Even everything right down to a basic crate box looks good. All you have to do is look at a screenshot of this game and you will see that the graphics are visually brilliant and well defined. They play so smooth as well all thanks to the marvellous source engine which is handy if you have quite a out of date computer as you are still more than able to play it (within reason)

        The various effects are again very real and detailed. The fire, water and smoke effects are all brilliant as they are all being well used with the help of Direct x 10. Buildings fall apart piece by piece as if it was real life and the overall effect of things within the game getting destroyed looks visually stunning.

        Again the sky has a key importance as it transforms due to the explosion of the citadel. It changes vastly and differs at various points and times throughout the game. Its really interesting to notice the effects of the sky when you get the chance to take a break from all the action.

        Sound
        ~~~~~

        Along with the exceptional gameplay, graphics and physics comes excellent sound. The soundtrack again is composed by Kelly Bailey who has made an exceptional job at doing the soundtrack so far for all the games within the series. This game is the one that features the best soundtrack to date in my opinion as it is very well driven throughout the whole game and as usual ties in perfectly with the games main action sequences and events. The music is very well placed again usually leading up to a battle, sequence or key moment that will change everything for the latter.

        As usual the voice acting is spot on, very crisp and clearly defined, there is no mumbling of the characters voices here meaning you are completely able to hear what all the characters are saying to you as you progress through key areas of the game. The sound of the car you drive is exhilarating and really makes you enjoy using it.

        Weapons, movement and environmental noises are astounding. They are spot on in terms of detail making you as the player feel very immersed in the games environment. The gun shots, recoils and reloads are excellent and very well defined. Each gun has a unique sound that makes using them all the better as there is a immense sense of realism added to the game.


        Specs
        ~~~~~

        Half-Life 2: Episode Two Minimum System Requirements
        CPU: 1.2 GHz Processor
        RAM: 256 MB
        Graphics Card: DirectX 7 capable graphics card
        Windows 2000/XP/ME/98
        Mouse
        Keyboard
        Internet Connection
        CD or DVD rom drive

        Half-Life 2: Episode Two Recommended System Requirements
        CPU: 2.4 GHz Processor
        RAM: 512 MB
        Graphics Card: DirectX 9 capable graphics card 256 MB
        Windows 2000/XP/ME/98
        Mouse
        Keyboard
        Internet Connection
        CD or DVD rom drive

        Half-Life 2: Episode Two Ideal System Requirements
        CPU: 3.4 GHz Processor
        RAM: 1024 MB
        Graphics Card: Radeon X800 or Geforce 6800
        Windows 2000/XP/ME/98
        Mouse
        Keyboard
        Internet Connection
        CD or DVD rom drive

        As you can see thanks to the 'source engine' this game is not demanding at all in terms of graphical and gameplay qualities.

        My Personal Thoughts
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        This game is definitely the most fun to play out of the whole series. The very fine balance of outdoor and indoor environments is a great success and is very well used in conjunction with the gameplay. The final battle in the game is the best ending battle I have ever seen in a game, especially in a first person shooter. The ending battle leaves you full of adrenaline and excitement and by the end of the battle you are left sitting in pure awe, also the ending sequence is one of the most dramatic (for me personally) ever to happen in a game. The ending of the game seriously leaves you wanting a whole lot more and makes the wait for episode 3 even harder.

        Overall
        ~~~~~~

        This game is a certain must buy for any fan of the Half Life series. You simply must get this if you have played the others in the series. Without this one in your memories and game collection you are seriously missing out on one of the best FPS ever to have hailed on the PC. As I always say, if you cant play this on your PC or you just don't have one, then get it for the console (either PS3 or Xbox 360) as you seriously cannot afford to miss out. I suggest getting it along with the orange box package and this gives you a great deal for truly amazing games.

        This game on average has managed to score 9.4 and above out of 10 on most websites I have seen. Hugely popular and after playing it is very easy to see why. Prices for this game range from £3.99 as I saw it for on ebay however if you are to be getting the orange box then you will be paying around £30.00 for all the games in one. Still that is a deal that cannot be missed out on.

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