this Hilary Duff security is intense!
has truly been a gamers dream come true. This year
alone we've seen some long awaited heavy hitters appear
like id's Doom 3. Within a two week span, gamers have
also received GTA: San Andreas, Halo 2 and now Valve's
highly anticipated sequel to one of the most influential
games ever released.
Life 2 much like the previous games mentioned is more
of an event rather than simply a release although
you'd be hard pressed to find anything written about
it in the mainstream due to the media's embarrassing
fawning over of the highly overrated albeit extremely
playable, Halo 2 for Xbox. There certainly weren't
1.5 million pre-orders for Half Life 2 but that doesn't
mean the game should take a backseat to a puffed up
poser like Bungie's Halo sequel. Let me put it this
way; if it wasn't for Half Life, Bungie wouldn't have
had any concept of what to lay down for the first
line of coding for Halo.
Life influenced an entire genre that was stagnating
under its own weight and lack of depth. Games like
Doom and Quake were nothing more than excuses to shoot
everything that moved on screen where Valve's Half
Life added a compelling story and scripted events
to the surroundings which transcended the experience
of what a FPS had been up until that point. Taking
a rib from Half Life, other developers have incorportated
the awardwinning genre altering elements from Valve's
imagination and managed to evolve the genre as a whole.
Since Valve was solely responsible for upping the
ante originally, the expectations of HL2 were off
the charts, as gamers everywhere were waiting for
the second coming to further move the FPS genre into
unchartered territories. Unfortunately I'm here to
report that right in line with every other highly
anticipated game this year, Half Life 2 misses the
mark and manages to be a solid jump to the left rather
than the 100 metre dash forward many were hoping for.
Truth be told I'd even suggest the game actually steps
backwards in certain areas which I will explain in
a few moments.
the game doesn't immediately strike you as the most
amazing game ever, that doesn't mean that it isn't
playable and entertaining. Half Life 2 is filled with
great game moments and visuals that will blow you
away figuratively and literally. This game is one
awesome looking digital canvas, provided you have
the horsepower under that $6000 Alienware PC of yours.
Insert medium sized chuckle.
you fellas going to the big Ragoo fesitval?
very moment you start the game on a train headed toward
City 17, reminiscent of the original games opening
sequence, you'll be immediately transported to the
Half Life universe even though it may have been years
since you faced the decision at the end of the original.
Gordon Freeman is back and although it sucks to be
him at the moment, you'll be tickled that you get
to spend quite a lot of time in his shoes. You may
not be prepared for what it waiting for you once you
step off the transport. City 17 is a metaphor for
the current state of the human condition. You can
feel the despair of the human spirit everywhere in
City 17. From the sunken faces of the citizens to
the crumbling architecture of its buildings, this
is a society trapped in emotional and spiritual upheaval.
You won't have long to soak in the sunny atmosphere
of City 17 as the adventure begins quickly and doesn't
let up for another 15-20 hours.
once again devotes your consciousness entirely to
Gordon Freeman throughout Half Life 2 and never waivers.
Cutscenes, communication, action and other pivital
moments are all viewed from Gordon's perspective which
goes a long way to keep you in the reality of the
game. This is his life and you're stuck with it for
the time being.
this pistol should take that thing down in a
couple of shots....
excited about all of the new weapon technology will
be disappointed somewhat. In keeping with the continuity
of the universe, you will use many weapons recycled
from the original. The one major exception is the
Gravity Gun which puts an new face on combat as well
as puzzle solving. The Gravity Gun is so damn fun
that it's a shame it's not available in multiplayer
(due to Valve recycling CounterStrike Source instead
of creating a Half Life 2 dedicated multiplayer game).
But what fun is shooting fish in a barrel, and that's
exactly what you've got here. The enemy AI is almost
non-existent and you'll marvel at how anyone at Valve
thought it would be challenging to send enemies running
towards you, rather than wait in the hiding spot they
adopt for a few seconds. It got to the point where
I could actually count out how long it would take
one certain foes to come out of hiding and attack
me, at which point I would just shoot them. Taking
the game up a notch in difficulty didn't seem to make
much of a difference either. Some of the larger enemies
in the game designed to be pains in the ass, live
up to expectations - especially the
could argue that games like Doom 3, Halo 2 and Half
Life 2 aren't cerebral experiences anyway, and all
that really matters is the action. This is where HL2
shines completely. When battling the gigantic striders
that roam City 17, not unlike the fearsome foes in
The War of the Worlds or the evil ant lions, you'll
be hardpressed not to deposit something in your underoos
every once in awhile. Later on in the game, you'll
even team up with a variety of nondescript and ultimately
disposable partners which makes the action take on
a more epic struggle.
the Master Chief calling again Gordon. I can't
keep telling him you're in the john...
how well Valve got the action down pat, I was very
unpleasantly surprised that they managed to fumble
the storyline so badly. HL2 starts off with such promise
and ends with something akin to what you'd find in
Doom, which is a travesty of a mockey of a sham, if
there ever was one. I can't say anything directly
as the spoiler-alert people would hunt me down, but
let me say this - the biggest spoiler is that the
ending is a huge spoiler (and I don't mean secret!).
so the action is great, the story is mediocre but
at least Valve's attentions to the visuals of Half-Life
2 was time well spent. If you have a PC that can take
advantage of what Valve intended you to see you won't
walk away disappointed in the slightest. Had this
game been released last year with graphics like this,
it would have been worthy of creating a new religious
holiday. With Doom 3 sucking some of the attention
away from HL2's visuals I can at least say that the
id boys just can't compete with the sheer magnitude
of what was going on the streets of City 17. Half-Life
2 is one of the hottest looking games ever. Take that
I come to the multiplayer aspect of the game. It's
no secret that Valve decided to tweak it's Counter-Strike:
Source game and include it rather than create a multiplayer
game that actually took advantage of the weapons of
HL2. I find this somewhat disappointing, especially
because I was really looking forward to messing up
some players with the gravity gun. That being said,
Source is an excellent multiplayer experience in its
own right and deserves to be played for years to come.
However if you are going to log on, you should know
right now that many of the maps included in Source
have been around longer than you have and you will
be pwned and pwned over and over again by people who
have had years of experience under their belts. Don't
let that discourage you though. Getting your ass handed
to you by people better than you is what makes you
a normal guy and what makes them lifeless nerds with
nothing better to do than sit around playing in cyberspace.
Bitter, you say? I say **** YOU, you lifeless nerd!!
futuristic mosquitos are intense!
survived a lot to get this game into your hot little
hands and you should repay the favor by buying and
playing this excellent addition to the Half-Life series.
Like the other big name, super hyped games of the
year recently released, it isn't the second coming
of software; it's simply a well put together game
that will while away the hours until you locate a
girlfriend, who will undoubtedly have to stumble down
your basement stairs by complete accident and fall
madly in love with you, even though you pay her absolutely
no attention. So while you are waiting for Ms. Wonderful
to enter your life, pick up HL2 and give Mr. Freeman
a hand saving the world again. He'd do it for you.
Note: As with any PC product, HL2 has
it's share of bugs - both significant and insignificant.
These bugs were not factored into the final score
due to the inevitable patch.