Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Sep 15, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars

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"The Right Person In The Wrong Place Can Make All The Difference"

The Good

The sequel to 1998’s game of the year. So named by over 50 publications. Half-Life 2, is an amazing game. It is just as good and often exceeds the original. Not an easy task considering that Half-Life is considered by many to be the greatest FPS of all time.

Half-Life 2 picks up an undisclosed amount of time after the events depicted in the first game. Alien overlords known as “The Combine”, are in total control of the Earth. And have beaten humanity down. Due to the ruthlessness of the invaders very few dare to stand up against them. Gordon Freeman has gained a legendary reputation for his defeat of Ninlanth, the alien that led the invasion, of what is now known as “The Black Mesa Incident”.

Known as the one “Free Man”. Gordon is about to return. In so doing he will be the catalyst for the human race to fight back. In HL2, you will be reunited with many familiar faces, as well as some new ones. As in the original the game is broken up into chapters. The story is told via interactive cut scenes, in which the player has freedom of movement. While the characters talk. As before Gordon Freeman does not say a single word.

In HL2 you play through chapters on foot, and with the aid of vehicles. The chapters with vehicles play quite differently than those on foot, and of other FPS with vehicles. These chapters tend to be longer, and filled with more action. While more standard chapters have Gordon fighting Combine troops and other foes, collecting weapons, and solving simple puzzles.

In later stages of the game, you get to make use of a squad of fellow freedom fighters. Not unlike Opposing Force. However in HL2 it is implemented better. You can give more precise orders to your soldiers. They can heal you, and themselves, as well as give advice to certain situations. Parts of the game when alone tend to be more fun and more like the first game, but the squad gameplay is a nice change of pace.

There is little in common in HL and HL2 level wise. This is often a complaint about the game. But it is understandable. In the first game you were stuck in Black Mesa for 80% of the game. In Half-Life 2, the levels are almost exclusively outdoors. As you battle through “City 17”.

Where HL2 excels the most is the diversity of the areas. From the creepy “Ravenholm”, to the thrills of vehicle segments. In the end however HL2 is not a long game. In fact it is even shorter than the original.

The Graphics are stunning. The NPCS look so real as to be almost life like. The use of lighting and particle effects are outstanding! The decrepit city looks convincing, while Ravenholm looks eerie and foreboding. The best part has to be that you do not need dream machine PC to play it! The minimal video requirement is 32MB, incredible! The better your system of course the better the game will perform. But the fairly low requirements mean than playing the game will be in most peoples range.

As in the original the game has amazing sound. The voice overs are excellent. And while there are few big names aside from Louis Gossett Jr. The cast all do an amazing job here. The sound effects are very well done. From the gunshots to the chatter of the Combine troops. The music while not as good overall as the original, but is still great when it needs to be. Some tracks even return! I hope you have a good sound system for your PC.

The Bad

On the negative side, HL2 is too short. The ride is over a little to quickly. Some chapters are not as strong as others. Thankfully when you finish the game you can jump to any chapter. And play your favorites, over and over if you wish.

Steam sucks! Steam is a program used to upload HL2 to your PC. It is horrible. Even with a cable modem it is so slow. It took like an hour to install. Ridiculous!

The game needs a lot of hard drive space. About, 4.5 Gig…..shessh!

The game ends abruptly, and it seems that the writers have themselves in a corner.

The Bottom Line

Overall this is a worthy sequel, and a hell of a fun game. Even if you have not played the original. And barring the huge amount of hard drive space needed, this game can run on most systems. The different character boxes are cool!