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Is the classic first person shooter, Half-Life 2 overrated? Is it an actual bad game or not reached gamer's expectations of this game? Well...
I love Valve. I really do. And quote me if you want to, but I honestly think that Valve is one of the most successful and dedicated developers of our time. They have made some of the most memorable games of all time, especially the one I'm going to review right now. Countless of people have praised Valve of being one of the best developers of our generation and their co-operation with Steam, with the fans and most importantly, their dedication towards the game that they have created.
Half-Life 2 has been noted as being the one of the pioneers of modern first person shooters. And well, that could be true, but to say that Half-Life 2 has ushered us into an era of brilliant games is a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, Half-Life 2 has now iconic landmarks in gaming history, like the quotable G-Man, the gravity gun and of course, our hero, Gordon Freeman.
Half-Life 2 is a brilliant game, not doubt about that. The graphics at that time was acceptable, but Valve has never been known for their outstanding graphically intense games. Valve has been known for outstanding character development, sharp writing and great voice actors. Half-Life 2 doesn't disappoint. Although the main hero never talks, and many people have noted this, Alyx has a notable voice acting success that rivals a lot of modern voice actors right now. The development in characters is strong and at last, G-Man has uttered one of the best quotes in gaming history, "Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and shine," and "So, wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." God, brilliant stuff. Brilliant.
The story revolves around Gordon Freeman, a scientist at the Black Mesa Company and after the incident, in which a lot of complex storylines appear, I recall something about an alien world, some weird dimension, uh, that's complicated. In this game, it starts off in City 17, a city in which is overruled. You have to stop the Combines' and other various creatures before they, well kill everyone. Yes, the plot may be a bit cliché and at some parts, a bit unforgivable in the generic aspect, but really, the voice acting, the mechanics and the development that the characters experience make this a worthwhile game.
So, is Half-Life 2 overrated? Maybe, I mean, it depends on what you believe in the game. But, is it the pioneer of modern fps games, is this giant of a game worth playing? Yes, this game made what we experience right now. So, thank you Valve, thank you Gordon Freeman (however, you never talk) and thank you Valve (did I already thank them?) for making one of the best games, if not the best game, of our generation and possibly well, ever.
I remember looking for a game to buy because at the time i was bored of the games i did have and i ended up buying the orange box which included HL2. This is the moment where i will not ever regret because it got me into the Half-life series, since that life changing moment i now own the valve complete pack which contains the original games, which i have not yet played although i have downloaded the Black Mesa: Source mod. I like the engine that valve introduced for this game because of the level of mod ability that was introduced which allowed the creation of games such as Garry's mod.
I also admire the modular nature of the source engine which allows valve to update the engine without creating errors in the game world. This means that the later versions of the engine such as the engine used in Episode 2 are used in the original game, the affect of this is that the graphics quality is increased by this effort. You can also have a level of fun in this game especially after you exit the train station because you can pile up boxes over areas where non player characters are going which blocks of their route and you can create a traffic jam which can be funny to watch if you can't be bothered to progress.
This game in my opinion has a unique introduction which involves the G-Man from the previous game waking you from stasis. the G-Man is a unique character because of the way how he seems to speak which puts importance on letters and words that don't require it. The game also features easter eggs and other details which encourage you to look around the game world instead of with other games where they seem to channel you towards a more linear path, some of these details is seeing the G-Man watching you on televisions around the game world.
I like the take that this game takes on the idea of a invaded world with the idea of instead of a quick destruction of the planet and the life on the planet it is a much slower process taken through events which at first will not seem like they are linked. You see an example of this on the coast level because one of the objects is a ship which is marooned on a beach much further than would be possible through a tidal wave. The array of weapons available to you is also interesting because there is a mix of modern weapons along with some more futuristic weapons, and even what you would call hybrids which make use of both bullets and energy weapons.
This game has a diverse range of enemies which you can face such as a standard gestapo type "civil protection" along with more intelligent enemies such as elite combine which seem to have more AI options open to them, with this game you will also notice that in no 2 playthroughs will the enemy be likely to take the same route, this is because valve has given them much more freedom in the routes that are available for them to navigate. This game has a above average amount of game play time which sometimes can feel like you have reached the half-way point only to find out you aren't too far from the beginning, there are also a diverse range of environments for you to be able to enter along with a new take on the idea of zombies which seems to be executed perfectly.
This is a game that i would recommend anyone who likes a first person shooter to play just for the guns that are available to your character. I would also recommend this based on the AI system that is present which includes the characters when they are talking to you will track you which means that if you walk around the room while they are talking their head will follow you. Sometimes your allies will get in your way which can be a problem but the good thing is that if you bump into them a couple of times or standstill right in front of them they will move out of your way.
Half-Life 2 is the sequel to what many consider one of the best first person shooters of all time in Half Life. The original game really set the standard for story-telling in first person shooters, a feature that made people realise that they can embed themselves more into the game if there is an overarching story unfolding around you as you progress. Rather than using the now rather tired method of cut-scene after cut-scene, Half Life allowed the user what felt like a more seamless unfolding of the story as you are in the action.
As you would expect, Half Life 2 continues this trend by thrusting you right into the central story. There are a few moments where you will be standing around listening to conversations and watching people perform activities, but during these moments there are usually things you can run around and do whilst you listen to what is going on. There are some very entertaining characters that you meet along the way too, which breaks up the action nicely.
Half Life 2 also became one of the first first person shooters to heavily use physics. The Havok engine here is used to good effect for things like weight puzzles and to offer you an extra tool in an anti-gravity gun, which allows you to move suck in and fire out objects. This gives the game a lot of depth and for the most part is good fun.
There are also a few vehicle sections requiring you to hop in and out occasionally to explore houses or activate switches. This also gives more variety.
The shooting action is top class in this game and stands the test of time well. Overall I would recommend this to any gamer who has somehow missed out on this top product.
This game is one of my favourites. It's amazing how a story can suck you in and a game to become so addictive.
With several awards Half Life 2 was nominated as one of the 'greatest games of all time' which may seem like an overrated view. However, this game does deserve that title.
First off I have to discuss the Source Engine. The 'source' of it's graphics. In 2004 when the game was released this engine was used for numerous games created by the game developers at Valve. A very famous example of this is the 'Counter Strike: Source' game which sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The engine was highly praised by critics and users alike.
The story of Half Life 2 follows on from the previous instalment in the series Half Life 1. Gordon Freeman is back but this time comes back to City 17, a dystopian, autocratic city ruled by the 'Combine' an Empire which spans across the universe. From there we seen Freeman fighting the combine, occasionally with the help of the Rebels and Vortigaunts (aliens who've made an appearance in the first Half Life, and are now part of the resistance), and meeting new characters along the way, such as Alyx Vance and the mysterious G-Man.
The gameplay element combines puzzles and first person shooting. The FPS aspect of the game is now a little outdated but still highly enjoyable. The puzzles throughout the game give the player something to think about other than mindlessly shooting. At certain points in the game the player is able to drive a buggy and a hovercraft (Airboat in game), which is extremely fun, unfortunately it doesn't seem to be in the game quite enough, but maybe if it was it wouldn't seem as fun and the novelty may have worn off.
In the game there are so many different places to explore. From the East Berlin style bloc to the evacuated, zombie-ridden town of Ravenholm. The game lasts around 20-30 hours, depending whether you rush ahead or explore every place you can, finding the numerous Easter Eggs that are present throughout the game. The good thing about the game is that you can play it over and over again, it is fairly linear but so enjoyable that it doesn't matter!
The sound is both awe-inspiring as well as highly frightening. The voice acting throughout the game is fantastic, we see that each character (other than the silent Gordon Freeman) has a complete personality, and can feel real at times. The voice acting of the rebels is also quite a big part, it's clearly been taken with care since ever rebel sounds different and it gives you and idea of so many different people who are involved in the rebellion. The soundtrack to the game is also decent, the sound can either wow you when you're looking across a vast city, or can scare you as it does in the town of Ravenholm.
As I've stated, it is one of the best games you can buy, and now it's around £10-£15 for 'The Orange Box' (A game combination of different games based on the Source Engine including Half life 2, Episode 1 + 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal) Personally I'd rate this game at a 9/10, knocking off 1 mark for the outdated graphics as well as the bland and boring multiplayer.
HALF LIFE 2 (PC)
The problem with being the sequel to one of the greatest games ever made is that you're the sequel to one of the greatest games ever made. Just how in the blue hell are you supposed to top the original resonance cascade and Gordon Freeman's rise from PhD boffin to gun-totting, alien arse-kicking hero of awesomeness? Even the most erudite Vortigaunt is likely to scratch his nuts in irritation whilst pondering the answer to such an impossible conundrum. Yet, fear not mere mortals. Gaming Gods Valve were on the case and considering they rarely, if at all, goof up, Half-Life 2 must surely have been in safe hands. However, John Romero (of Doom and Quake fame) was also considered a first-person shooter game-making genius before the sheer awfulness of Daikatana, so perhaps we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves with the superlatives just yet.
"Rise and shine, Mr Freeman. Rise... and shine." With the G-Man's cryptic words ringing in Gordon's ears, the man with the crow-bar is finally awoken from his lengthy stint in stasis and re-inserted into a world much changed following the Black Mesa incident. His time has come again, apparently. Gordon may have prevented one hostile alien takeover, but the portals created by the original resonance cascade did not close, remaining open for any charlatan or shit with a big enough army to plough through, exploit and enslave humanity. Just like the Combine have managed during Gordon's extended rest. Stepping off the train into the dour, oppressive atmosphere of City 17, unarmed and unknown, Gordon's insertion is primarily to save humanity. Again. Not bad for a theoretical physicist turned one-man army...
Beginning at the exact point the original game left off with Gordon in stasis, albeit some 15 years later, is a pretty good start on the track to besting your forefather. If you're going to borrow a plot device from anywhere else you may as well borrow it from Aliens (curiously a sequel that out does the original - coincidence?). The art of successful sequel-making is usually best attributed to more of the same, yet entirely different. So whilst the stasis concept allows for Gordon's first step into City 17 to be a world away from the journey through the bowels of Black Mesa, there really is little change in the main game dynamics.
Firstly, it remains a glorious first person shooter with magnificent depth. City 17 and the world beyond are highly immersive arenas continuing in the vein of the original that story progression is just as central to blowing the shit out of everything for maximum entertainment. As before, the initial chapters set about enveloping the player in a bewildering environment lacking the nice tidy answers and spoon-feeding common within the genre, and introduces some wonderful little touches that give the world definition instead. The video screen of Dr Wallace Breen (former head of Black Mesa) welcoming new arrivals to the safety of City 17 is offset by Combine troops lining humans up against a wall for nefarious purposes further into the city. Not everything is as Breen would have you believe. Mechanised striders briskly moving between the city's tower blocks and a routine sweep and clear of one building all add to the feeling of a dishevelled European state run by Stasi type overlords.
Again there are no objectives, no cut-scenes, no inventory page; everything is shown within Gordon's (your) eye-view. Barney and Dr Eli Vance (who frequented Gordon's original adventure) show up to fill in the gaps about what happened at Black Mesa and the aftermath following Gordon's disappearance, before providing the initial inertia (and crowbar) that moves the storyline in that familiar unrelenting way. Similar to the original, a good hour will have passed drinking in the surroundings before Gordon is thrust into action in attempting to escape the City. By this time you're so immersed in the Half-Life universe that putting the mouse and keyboard away for the evening will be the last thing on your mind. This is how movie-styled gaming should work!
Once it does arrive, as before, the action is pretty much spot on. Scripted events burst into thrilling skirmishes (with the obligatory pounding music) benefitting from classy AI that renders enemies complete bastards to take down. The Combine will throw grenades, dodge the one's you chuck at them, communicate with each other and attempt to out flank you, back off if you're getting on top and duck behind cover. Tactical nous and strategy are required to get through each set piece - there are no moronic enemies running into your line-of-sight here - and the AI is smart enough that no one single battle ever turns out the same. Attempt to re-load from a save point and the enemies will not appear in the exact same locations as the previous run-in. After all, this isn't some sloppy, shite FPS experience, like Modern Warfare 2.
Added to this similar feel are new elements that breathe fresh life into proceedings. This is where Valve succeeds where most others fail; generating sheer variety in level design. Two levels featuring a hover-craft and buggy, which allow Gordon to zoom around expansive environments outside City 17, are great fun balancing involving puzzles (using a crane to move the buggy to a higher ground) with high-octane action sequences (a brilliantly conceived helicopter gunship chase). If there is one disappointing aspect that could be directed the sequels way it's with the reduced amount of weaponry available. Gone is the Alien firepower from the original, along with the likes of the rail-gun. However, Valve has simply replaced these items with refreshing and original concepts. The plasma rifle is a neat addition; the Antlion pheromone is simple genius. Throw this Antlion queen body-part like a grenade and a horde of Antlions appear at the location it lands to fight alongside Gordon. It opens up a whole raft of additional tactics from the typical point and shoot style engagement. For instance, under heavy fire from a big fecking gun with no way past unless you want to be turned into mincemeat, the Antlions are perfect cannon fodder and a handy distraction for Gordon to dodge to more convenient cover. Furthermore, chuck the pheromone into a group of Combine and just watch the Antlions tear them a new one. Marvellous!
Yet this is nothing compared to the uniqueness of surely the best and most intriguing weapon ever crafted for an FPS title. The gravity gun seems like a little bit of a novelty at first, designed purely to show off the wonderful physics implementation of Valve's Source engine. It simply pulls objects within range towards the gun that can either be fired away or dropped to the floor. That's it. However, you soon realise that the gravity gun potential and the game world are hugely inter-linked, providing a whole set of entirely new gameplay options. Sure it does the basics, such as retrieving ammo and health kits from out of reach places or crafting makeshift pathways across a desert teaming with Antlion's underneath. But the real show stopper is the combat options that become available with the gravity gun. So how about pulling a fridge off the wall to use as a shield from enemy fire and, when close enough, flinging it as a piece of shrapnel death towards the Combine motherhumpers. Cool, huh? Oil drums can be fired as grenades, circular saws used to slice enemies open; in fact, any piece of debris lying about can be picked up and used as a weapon, transforming the gaming environment into something much more deadly.
The gravity gun ensures the Ravenholme section of Half-Life 2, an area that resembles a gothic horror novel filled with the terrors of the Black Mesa's resonance cascade, is one of the best designed (and most chilling) levels ever seen in the genre. A bombed out, abandoned town devoid of civilians (apart from one deranged priest) but host to a horde of head-crab zombies is made evermore difficult by the lack of ammo for your regular weapons. The gravity gun becomes vital in slicing, dicing, pummelling and burning your way through this most absorbing chapter. Half Life 2 would no doubt be a great game without it, but with the gravity gun's added dimension it just reaches a whole new level of awesome.
Ravenholme itself is just one of Half Life 2's many 'wow' moments, yet there are so many more spine-tingling encounters in the game that you'll be creaming in your jeans with glee throughout the whole experience. The sentry gun sequence in Nova Prospekt is not only feck hard, but a truly adrenaline pumping experience. Few other games manage such an ingenious close-encounters battle with such refined success. A roof-top battle against the striders observed in the games prologue is simply beyond superlatives and yet this is bettered by a sequence in the city square that can only be described as War of the Worlds on shitloads of cocaine. Bringing such behemoth machines down with a solitary rocket launcher, whilst hiding in the havoc and destruction caused by their obliterating weaponry, is absolute gaming heaven.
Even in the games more subtle moments there is poise and purpose. Taking a serene ride through the bowels of the City 17 citadel (yet another 'wow' moment) merely adds more style and substance to the magnificent storyline. Frequent conversation with the Vortigaunts enlightens one further to Gordon's being (and their dichotomy with the elusive G-Man). Small touches such as drop-ships touching down and having enemies disembark to engage Gordon elevates the game mechanics away from the annoyance of poorer titles where enemies can just spawn randomly. And unlike much of the next gen console first person shooters, it's not all over in a couple of seconds like a teenager rifling through his Dad's collection of porn. Half-Life 2 is much classier than that.
So, if you have somehow managed to miss the underlying message to all this, Half Life 2 is the perfect sequel. More of the same, but with added bits that make it reek of awesomeness. Sure, some will moan that come the end there is no conventional boss to defeat (like any of the strider or gunship battles are in any way a piece of piss) and that there remain a number of unresolved questions, this really doesn't prevent Half-Life 2 from being constantly challenging, highly immersive and, on more than the odd occasion, absolutely spectacular beyond mortal words. Resonance cascade topped. Grab your crowbar and rock on!
Overall - The measure by which all other single-player first person shooters are judged. Kneel before the Freeman!
Hardware requirements - released in 2004, Half-Life 2 will run on all modern PCs with a half-decent graphics card.
Where to buy - Download it from Steam for just £6.99 or purchase as part of The Orange Box (the greatest compilation box-set ever released) for £14.99.
© clownfoot, September 2011.
Half Life 2 is a first-person shooter game for the PC developed by Valve Corporation in 2004. It is the sequel to the widely-acclaimed game Half-Life, which was released 6 years before, and the story begins 2 years after the events of the first game. In the first game, you play Gordon Freeman who has to escape the Black Mesa Research Facility after it is overrun by aliens. At the start of Half-Life 2, the mysterious G-man, a government agent, from the first game puts you on a train and sends you to City 17. In the first game, a portal was opened between the research facility and an alien dimension, causing an "interdimensional instability" which we now learn that the aliens, known as the COmbine, have taken advantage of this instability leading them to invade.
City 17 is just one of many cities overrun by these aliens, and on Gordon's arrival, he joins an underground resistance group who plan to overthrow the aliens and restore peace and order. In many ways Half Life 2 is a great improvement on the first game. The graphics are incredible, possibly one of the best I have ever seen in a game, and each location in the game is incredibly well-designed with a huge amount of detail. The variety of locations in this game is also much greater. Whereas the first game mainly took place in and around the research facility, the locations in this game range from urban areas, coastal areas, sewers, underground mines ... the list goes on. The huge variety in terms of levels and locations mean the game is never boring and I always found myself looking around at the scenery in the game. The highlight of this game for me was the Ravenholm level, in which you enter a town completely overrun by aliens and abandoned and blocked off, which I think is probably the most terrifying gaming experience I have had. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and I defy you not to be even a little bit scared when you play it.
Half Life 2 contains many of the features which made the first game iconic, such as Gordon's crowbar, the lack of cutscenes, and many of the alien species. There are many new features however, most notably the ability to drive, which is used to great effect in a couple of levels. The game does have a good storyline which is very engrossing, however a lot of the appeal of the first game lay in the simplicity of its plot, which let the action and gameplay do the talking. Half Life 2 for me was more science-fictiony and complex than I had hoped, with its dystopian cities, underground resistance, and political aspects making me nostalgic for the simple "kill the aliens and escape" story of the first game.
The controls are what you would expect from a first-person shooter for the PC and are very easy to get to grips with, plus the first part of the game has no action, just to get you acclimatised to the controls and feel of the game. The combat is also good, with a huge variety of weapons and enemies, and in many parts you have the choice to kill your enemeis directly or use your environment in various ways to take them out.
Overall, Half Life 2 is an extremely good game, and technically it is a far better game than the original. The graphics are better, the gameplay is better and there is more in the way of variety, however the original Half Life will always have a larger space in my heart since it was a bigger part of my childhood and I just love the simplicity of it. However, I recommend this game to anyone who has not yet played it and since it can be purchased on Amazon for the excellent price of £9.99 then you have no excuse not to!
P.S. An annoying thing about the PC version is that you have to download Steam in order to play it which I just found time consuming and frustrating. IOt seems like most games nowadays rely on Steam and it really annoys me - why can't we go back to the old system of installing games from the disc then playing them?
Half Life 2 is the second game of the highly successful franchise "Half Life" and a direct sequel to it's predecessor, Half-Life (1998), both developed and published by Valve. The player takes, once again, control of Theoretical Physicist Gordon Freeman, shortly after the end of the first game (in Gordon's perspective) and 20 years after it (for the rest of the world). After being woke up by the mysterious G-Man, Gordon sees himself in a world ruled and enslaved by an alien raced called "The Combine", who had come to Earth shortly after the Black Mesa Incident, through the interdimensional portals opened after the Resonance Cascade. Gordon also discovers that Earth is now ruled by Wallace Breen, former Black Mesa Administrator and Gordon's old boss. He also discovers that some people, including his old friends Barney (formerly from Black Mesa Security Force), Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner (both scientists from the old times) are creating a movement against the Combine ruler-ship called "The Resistance". Gordon now must help his former colleagues save humankind from the Combine.
Think back to November 1998. Do you remember the impact Half-Life made? People called it 'a revolution in FPS gaming' and 'the best game since Doom'. It was so fantastic that Valve must have worked for hours and hours making the sequel, Half-Life 2, trying to make it just as good as the original, if not better. Could they succeed in this nearly impossible task? Yes, and they did a great job. Excellent gameplay, an absorbing story, breathtaking graphics, amazing voice acting. What game could be better?
The start of Half-Life 2 sees you being talked to by the mysterious, creepy G-Man. He wakes you up from stasis, and when he says the words 'smell the ashes', you know that something has gone wrong since you escaped Xen in Half-Life. It turns out that things have gone wrong. G-Man places you on a train that is on it's way to the grimy City 17. On arrival, you come across some guards, who don't appear to be very nice. One of them takes you to a small room with blood splattered on the floor. If it was me, I'd be quite scared right now. But then, the guard reveals himself to be Barney, your friend from Black Mesa.
He tells you to make your way to the lab of Dr Kleiner (a scientist of Black Mesa). Barney tells you not to go to any checkpoints. So what do you do? You go into a checkpoint. Luckily, a young woman comes and saves you from electric stick-wielding guards. She tells you that she is Alyx Vance, daughter of another scientist at Black Mesa, Eli Vance. She escorts you to Dr Kleiner's lab. After getting into your HEV Suit, both you and Alyx are teleported to Eli's lab. Actually, her trip goes smoothly but when it's your turn, Kleiner's 'pet' interrupts the teleportation, landing you outside the lab. Your job now is to make your way to the Eli's lab on foot. At first, anyway. The trip involves you getting into violent shoot-outs with the guards, finding a way to get past the many obstacles, meeting some refugees and getting an awesome hover-vehicle.
Gameplay-wise, the game is also fabulous, mixing first-person action with puzzles to make a fun, memorable experience. The combat is familiar if you are a fan of the original Half-Life, with some varied weaponary. First you get the crowbar and a Half-Life game wouldn't be Half-Life without it. Soon, you get much more advanced weapons, like the powerful revolver to the futuristic pulse rifle.
So combat is great, but the puzzles are what makes the game so good. The unique Gravity Gun helps you get complete the many puzzles throughout the game. The mechanics of the Gravity Gun are simple - left clicking launches smaller items, while right clicking will pick an object up. These objects can include planks, explosive barrels, debris and much more. These puzzles are often physics-based, and here is an example of what the Gravity Gun can do. A large plank is leaning onto its side and you want to tip it the other way. Grab some objects and place them onto the part of the plank that is in the air. The weight of these objects will obviously make the plank fall on its side, which is what you wanted to do. But this is just a simple, early puzzle and the later ones will really challenge you, making both experienced gamers and brainboxes think hard.
The game maybe well over six years old, but the graphics are still very good. The characters look fairly realistic, with plenty of detail on the face, including wrinkles. The environments are also detailed. Because the game isn't open world, Valve focuses on making the world full of detail. For example, you see a frame of the scientists at Black Mesa in Dr Kleiner's lab. One of the faces is scribbled out and as the game progresses, you will figure out who this is. Basically, even the smallest things may add to the story.
To sum up the sound in one word: spectacular. The music is catchy and often fast-paced, suiting the type of situation you are in. Fast, loud music will play in an action-packed shoot out, while slow and creepy music will play while you are walking along a dark corridor with no enemies nearby. The music is awesome, but the voice acting is even better. These days, no effort is put into finding great voice actors in games, but Half-Life 2 is an exception. Expression is always found in the characters voices. If a huge battle is won, the characters will cheer and sound happy, but if a number of people have died, they will sound sad and unhappy. Basically, the sound is perfect.
Half-Life 2 is amazing. Awesome. Every positive word you can think of. Unique puzzles. Fun combat. Brilliant graphics. Fabulous voice acting and music. Everything is great. I found no flaws even after playing the game through twice. You may find it quite challenging at first but this is good - it may make the game last over twenty hours. I wouldn't buy the game as a standalone product though, but rather with The Orange Box, which features five games: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One, Half-Life 2 Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2, which will cost you about a tenner.
The only problem with the game is that you need Steam to play it. This is an online store from Valve. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing for me, but of course you need the internet to get Steam and not everyone has internet. If you don't have the net and you want the game, I'd seriously recommend getting the internet because this game is absolutely essential. Really.
The original Half-Life took the world by storm in 1998. An engaging storyline with plenty of twists and a compelling yet silent protaganist, Professor Gordon Freeman, along with plenty of hostile adversarys and puzzles captivated and intrigued gamers. Half-Life 2 picks up where the original left off, with the player under the aparant control of the mysterious "G Man."
Upon starting the game, the player is treated to a short introduction sequence featuring flashbacks from the original story, and the G Man mysteriously tells you that "your time has come again." during this intro, a new scene gradually warps and blends into view, until you find yourself at a train station in a strange post-apocaplyptic urban centre governed by military police and with propaganda messages spouting from large television screens around the city.
Hats off to the production team, who captured and implemented very fine details, such as rubbish strewn about the outside areas, birds flying around and soldiers picking on hapless civilians. To give you an example, near the start of the game a civilian is trying to find his suitcase in a pile of bags and a soldier tells him to move along. He begs the soldier saying "Please, it's all I have left," but receives a harsh blow in the sholder for his disobedience. This level of immersion is evident throughout the levels, and really completes the gaming experience.
Of course, no Half-Life game would be complete without aliens to fight, and there are plenty to be shot, blown up, set on fire, electrocuted and whacked with a trusty crowbar! old familiars such as the "headcrab," zombies and barnacles see a return, and new arrivals in the form of Antlions and terrifying screaming "fast zombies" see a debut among several others.
The environments are as varied as the enemies; indeed the enemies you will face depend on the environment you are in. For example, in the daylight city sections you will normally be exchanging hot lead with soldiers armed with rifles and shotguns, but in the abandoned town called "Ravenholme," you will be fending off hordes of decaying, pouncing zombies!
Puzzles form a major part of the game, and present a genuine challenge requiring some serious thought. A good example would be when you have to jump a speedboat-like vehicle over to a higher level using a ramp floating i nthe water. The ramp isn't angled high enough, and so you must find all the blue plastic barrels hidden around the area to place under it, so that their buoyancy raises the ramp, allowing the boat to make the distance! Genius in their contruction, these Tomb Raider style riddles provide a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction once the player has found the answer!
Overall a fantastic game, with fantastic sound and graphics, intriguing puzzles, a mysterious and compelling storyline and breathtaking environments. A must play for any casual or serious gamer!
Half Life 2 is the sequel to the hit Valve developed game Half Life. It received critical acclaim upon release due to the source engine developed specifically for it. That robust engine is still being used today for brand new titles such as Team Fortress 2 and the Left for Dead series.
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In typical Valve style, gameplay is second to none, with extremely intelligent AI which is not too obviously triggered immersing you in the world. The game play like a very standard shooter with a good range of weapons, the obvious difference is the use of a gravity gun as you progress through the game, this changes a lot of the areas into interactive puzzles that you must solve to progress. As you reach towards the end of the game another twist to the gameplay style presents itself, but to avoid spoilers I'll leave that vague.
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Back when this game was originally released the visuals were superb. Now they are starting to look a bit dated but retain the cold suppressive atmosphere that is provided by being constantly hunted down by the forces that are against you in the game. Additionally the use of interactive cut scenes and digital actors is a great addition that adds full immersion to the in depth story line.
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Overall the combination of an epic storyline, heart racing gameplay and a solid array of gameplay styles make this into a must have game. If you have not played this by now, I recommend that you get the value packs that are available in stores and through steam.
Half life 2 See's the return of everyones mute hero Gordon Freeman. The game assumes you made the decision of working with Gman at the end of half life 1. Apparently the Gman doesn't like what some of the alien species of the universe are doing to planet earth and wakes you up from stasis to sort it out.
Early on in the game you find out that the planet has been invaded by an alien force known as the Combine who have enslaved the whole of humanity and you have to find a way to destroy them once and for all. You may recognise several characters from half life 1 such as Barney the policeman and one of the scientists from black Mesa. There are also a host of new characters which serve to push the story line across this and the next 2 episodes of the game.
Gameplay is made fun by the use of half life's graphics engine that allows you to use the environment around you to solve some very entertaining puzzles.
Another amazing part of this game is a brand new gun that hasn't been seen in any game made to date. The one and only Gravity gun. The ability to pick up objects and hurl them at the enemy, and then eventually pick up the enemy themselves makes for hours of endless fun.
Overall this is another smash hit from the best games company in the world
The original Half Life was an incredibly revolutionary FPS game, boasting superb visuals and a crackling sci-fi plot - the long-awaited sequel somehow manages to live up to the impossibly high expectations, taking the mess of the first game out into the real world, as nerdy action hero Gordon Freeman attempts to survive yet another harsh outing against not only alien monsters, but also the alien force known as the Combine, who have enslaved humanity and run them into slum-style camps.
Gameplay-wise, the game doesn't change something that wasn't broken - it merely introduces a few new features (such as the ability to drive vehicles), enhances the graphics greatly, and also throws a bunch of new weapons your way (chiefly the gravity gun - a superb weapon that allows you to throw items at your enemies, and later in the game, to even throw the baddies themselves!).
The game also delivers the same compelling plot as the original game - leaving where the first game left off, with Gordon being confronted by the G-Man and being offered a position working him, or being threatened with death, Freeman decides to conform and is currently in the slum that is City 17. However, soon enough he becomes involved with the resistance, which has him meeting Alyx Vance, a feisty young woman who is trying to bring the Combine down and win her freedom. Soon enough, you're on the run, and will have to contend with the seemingly endless combine forces if you want to both survive and win your freedom.
The game is extremely smart and has some wonderfully engineered set pieces - it also has a lot more variety than the first game, such as the superb Ravenholme level, which is more like a zombie game than a sci-fi FPS. Also, the balancing of racing, action and puzzle elements is very strong, and the game gives you your money's worth for sure - there's a good 15 hours of gameplay here to be had.
With incredible graphics that are very well optimised for lower end systems, Half Life 2 not only ensures that most people can enjoy it, but that fans will be satisfied with new plot developments, gameplay mechanics, and some scintilating set pieces throughout. Stunning, and one of the greatest gaming sequels ever.
Half life 2 puts you in the boots of Gordon freeman, physicist and unwilling employee to the mysterious G-man, Once you start the game you see the G-man and flashbacks to the first Half life and the World as it is ruled by the Combine, some sort of aliens who build giant teleporters to take over over alternative galaxies and combine the life forms in them with their technology and probably DNA, then you suddenly find yourself in a train as the G-mans words "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world, Dr Freeman" and so you set out to find out what the hell is going on.
as you move around you see more and more of the combine occupation, eventually you meet up with a few people who knew you from Black mesa and who are strangely aware that you were going to arrive, the mysterious G-man frequently appears and disappears throughout the game rounding corners only to have disappeared into thin air once you investigate giving you the feeling you are constantly being watched and controlled.
The game-play is pretty fun though the levels are often linear, some areas best described as boss battles have to be completed to move on from time to time, there are also several physics puzzles using the physics engine which are pretty fun.
The Graphics are pretty good and combat is often interesting, though the story and plot are great the linear levels means there is only limited re playability, still a good choice for people who liked the first half life.
As you can see from the cover of this game, it may as well be called 'Revenge of the Nerd'. In this game, you play as Gordon Freeman, who, coincidentally, is fighting to free Earth from the nefarious mechanical tentacles of the Combine. The Combine, on first look, are your run-of-the-mill alien invaders. They come to Earth and ironically enslave our human race, which is really rather rude because we were perfectly happy enslaving each other, thank you very much Mr. Combine.
The graphics are, even today, at the top of the range. The framerate is flawless; explosions are rendered with morbid attention to detail. Despite such graphical intricacy, the loading times are gratifyingly short, given you just enough time to down a Red Bull between levels and growl at the screen like a man-bear (that's the offspring of a bear and a man, FYI). Visual effects, such as the mega-satisfying spurt of crimson goo that erupts from a Combine infantry's neck as you sever it with a judiciously-placed sniper round, are realistic enough to make you wonder if real-life murder would be as fun. Unfortunately, it isn't. There are ramifications. But in Half Life 2, there are no consequences. The Combine are the Vietnamese, you are the Americans. You Tarzan; they Jane. You can do whatever the hell you want. Blow them up, slice them up, plant grenades beneath their biomechanical bottoms; it's all legit in this game.
Yes, it is fun. If I haven't convinced you of that fact already, perhaps you are illiterate. As a small token of this instant-classic's incredible gameplay variety, I will disclose to you, dear reader, that this game contains both zombies and robotic stormtroopers. I repeat: both zombies and robotic stormtroopers. Half Life 2 is the apex of videogame ultraviolence: you are a homicidal, albeit strangely attractive, geek. It does not get any better than that.
Half Life 2 - Beauty In Its Own Aspect
Half Life 2 is a game that completely redefines the FPS genre for me. Half Life, Half Life 2, Deus Ex and Far Cry are the games that really make full use of the FPS genre and as a result are completely brilliant for me. Half Life 2 is a brilliant sequel to the original masterpiece for all the right reasons. Brilliant gameplay, great story, Gorgeous visuals, undefined sound etc.. It has to be played by yourself to experience the true perfection of it all. It runs so smoothly together and plays so well. It really is one of my favourite First Person Shooters.
Half Life 2's gameplay is brilliant. It is fluid, dynamic, unique and most of all unmatched. It plays great and the controls are great. Its very immersive and the whole environment in the game is approachable in the aspect that you can pick up many things and throw them. This really comes into use when you get your hands on the much loved 'Gravity Gun' as this gun allows you to pick up anything in the environment and toss it around as if it's status was unimportant. As well as the gravity gun you get a whole load of brilliant weapons from the original pistol to the classic Crowbar, the single weapon that defines Gordon Freeman himself. The weapons are great fun to use and come in very handy when a host of aliens are chasing after you in the streets of ravenholm or wherever you happen to be.
The vehicles in the game are great fun to drive, the speed and sound of the buggy makes it pure bliss. Not just the buggy but also the aliens in the game as well as the many troops and forces are both challenging, clever and perceptive. They judge your movements and actually come after you to hunt you down instead of just standing around like idiots would do. So the A.I is seen to be a big improvement from the last game in many respects and as a result is very enjoyable to go hunting down all the enemies in the game. Ok maybe it can get annoying if you are constantly dying but if that's the case then obviously you just need to change and adapt to new tactics in order to pass your enemies.
The locations within the game are great and highly enjoyable to play through. It takes place in an urban like city called "city 17" but within this city are many shut down complex facilities, wastelands and info structures that all play a pretty important part in Half Life's 2 overall gameplay.
Wow. That is the single word needed to describe the graphics in Half Life 2. There pretty damn impressive all right especially if you are able to play at Full graphic capability settings. However even if you are only able to play on medium settings they are still visually fantastic. I was able to play on high settings on resolution of 1280x1024 and the game looked brilliant and that's without anti alaising enabled at all.
The set pieces such as streets, buildings, vehicles and the environment is very realistic looking and really makes you feel part of the gaming experience. Also the weapons have amazingly high details on them just as the enemies, including troops do especially their faces. Even when you are speeding through the deserted wastelands in the sand buggy the graphics are able to hold a steady foundation. Now if your thinking, damn I wont be able to play that on my computer then possibly think again. I played this on high using just a Radeon 9600 SE, 1 gig of ram and was able to play on resolutions of 1280x1024 as I already stated. So maybe you will be able to play it even if you doubted that you would. So the graphics are amazingly high up there with me and must be seen to be believed.
The sound in Half Life 2 as you might have guessed is brilliant, just like everything else. The guns are punchy, accurate and sharp. The speech is excellently put together and very audible and clear to the player and the music used in the game manages to retain that special quality the original Half Life had which is the sense of originality.
The tracks used in the game were all composed by Kelly Bailey who has done an excellent job. The music gives you that sense of action and pace when you are playing the game as well as the extra bit of hype factor. There was also a CD containing all the music from the game that came with Half Life 2 if you purchased the gold package of the game however it can also be bought separate from the Valve store.
As for the sound effects used in this game ranging from the whirring of the gravity gun to the squirms, screech's and grunts from all the aliens added along with the brilliant, addictive gameplay and you have one hell of a greatly playable game. The sounds are a big part of this game and can be played using Dolby Digital sound 5.1 but if you do this you will need a pretty good sound card. Never worry though as the sounds are great with your standard 2 stereo speaker set up.
Here is the specifications required to be able to play the game:
Processor: 1.2 GHz Processor
OS: Windows, 2000/XP/Me/98
Graphic card: DirectX 7 level graphics card
Hard Drive: 4.5 GB
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Other: Internet Connection, DVD-ROM Drive
As you can see this game will play on the very modest of PC's meaning that if you can play it you have no reason not to.
My Personal Thoughts
For me Half Life 2 is a game that really does redefine FPS for ever just like the original masterpiece did. Its full of everything you could want from a FPS and considering there my favourite type of games you can begin to understand how much I love this game along with all the others in the series. Its got great graphics, brilliant gameplay and a very enjoyable story to play through making it FPS heaven for me.
This game won over 35 game of the year awards for 2004 ! That's some achievement. And this didn't happened for no reason. Its evident to see when you play this game why it won so many and why it has and still is praised so much by gamers and critics all over. As of July 14, 2006, the Half Life franchise as a whole has sold 16 million units. Considering its now 2008 you can imagine how much those figures have increased by. It scored 10/10 from many companies and got ratings such as 98%, 100% etc... You may think its over rated but I think its bang on.
This game can be bought new for around £5.00 from ebay, however I highly recommend you buy it along with the orange box deal allowing you to get half life 2, episode 1 and 2, portal and team fortress all for around £30.00 new. Never have I seen a deal like this for games in my life. Its well worth buying plus it can be played on Xbox 360 and PS3 as well as PC. I prefer it in PC personally but if your PC aint good enough play it on the console versions.