|Half-Life 2 (2004) |
November 18, 2004
No Cheap Shots
|by: squeegie ( November 27, 2004 )
Experience: < 1 Week
|» Pros|| |
Emersive and believable - Great use of texture and lighting. The water looks great and reflects so well that at times I stood back and took a screen shot just because the landscape looked so picturesque.
Flowing and functional - Level desing is a real high point. From City 17, where you will spend a lot of your adventure, to beach side frolicks and a particularly high citadel (especially impressive) - they all just feel right and are easy to get caught up in.
Fun and useful - Most would probably disagree, but I did find the vehicles fun and useful, and more importantly forgiving. The boats and buggys were easy to thrash around and when it comes time for modders to do their thing, given a few tweaks I can see vehicles improving alot more
Explosive barrel anyone? - While the idea of integrating realistic physics isn't new to any gamer these days, the interactivity provided made it a whole lot more fun. Especially on one level with freight crates and a crane.
Perfect - All I can say, is the voice acting is either up there with the best or is the best I have heard. Along with the lip synk and model animation characters are very life like.
|» Cons|| |
Cuppa' tea and a biccy - You could replace those words more appropriatly with "Razor blade to your wrist and let bloody spray over your face" as that is probably what alot of us thought about while trying to authenticate the bastard!
Did you say CS or CS Source - Pretty much the defining factor in keeping a game going is multiplayer. Its sacraligous to not include it in an FPS game. Simple as that. (P.S including a game that is 6 years old with a little plastic surgery doesn't consitute multiplayer)
Nit picking - Some could consider this "Nit Picking" (for the record this is entirly possible) but don't expect shocks like you may have in the first Half-Life. For those of us who have finished it, the ending?
Easier done than done - The game is pretty easy for anyone who has played a few FPSs. This isn't really that bad a sour point, but play the game on hard if you want your moneys worth.
A Lesson in History
|» Review|| |
This is one of those games that a lot of us have been loosing sleep over in anticipation. Valve have had their fare share of misfortune (arguably through their own bad judgment) and over time a different kind of hype has been created over this game. Halo 2 had mass advertising. Doom 3 had ID behind it, a company that had delivered in spades in the past, to which everyone thought they would do again.
Valve on the other hand kept pretty closed mouthed. Sure they have delivered in the past and delivered well! Possibly one of the greatest games of all time, but it was just one game and it had been six years ago. Sure, it doesn't feel that long considering the amount of mods that have been released including the world famous Counter Strike - but Valve only participated in the full creation of Half-Life. (Forgetting Opposing Force and Blue Shift. Games that basically show you another way of completing the classic)
Well, right off the bat you will recognise the same type of entrance to the game as you had in the original. A train ride and thankfully not quite so drawn out. Your plonked into the heart of "City 17" and after only a brief chat with the guards and talk with your new neighbours, you realise this is not like Kansas. Unless Kansas has had a major political overhaul and everyone is under tight police control.
Everything is quite reminiscent of the book 1984, and the atmosphere created is second to none. As you walk around a little you get to see glimpses of the rest of the city scape which is created perfectly. A large blue tower also sticks directly out of the centre slipping up into the clouds, creating a focus point.
It doesn't take long for the blood to start pumping and be on the run from "Civil Protection". Basically the equivalent to cops that bash everything that moves. These escape scenes are exciting and very well scripted. You will either do or not do, there is no try! In other words, unlike some games where in complex scripting sequences you can get a little lost and at times jump into areas you probably weren't meant to, I found this didn't happen in HL2. You are directed appropriately in times of haste and given enough freedom when things aren't so hair raising.
As you progress through the game you will encounter your fair share of different terrain each flowing into the other in a believable manner. Indoor and out door settings are evenly disbursed, which is a good thing. Too often in older games especially, indoor settings were pretty much the only way to go - thank fully this trend has started to disappear. *cough* doom 3 *cough*
Will I be sickened with the amount of candy I eat?
Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is nicely spaced. As I have mentioned, the graphics are excellent and you won't have strobe lights, strange looking reflective surfaces or anything else the developers wanted to show off the source engine. You will have what you want to see - great model design, correct texture usage and water. The way the water reflects objects is flawless. Its not like a mirror that has all of these cool ripples in it either. Somehow as you walk away from objects they become more faint and distorted and as you approach they get clearer and less misty. Very well done.
Lets get physical, physical... I wanna get physical!
Okay, the physics are pretty cool, but more in the way you interact with them. Not to say they aren't realistic, but physics aren't a new thing. It's the gravity gun that is new and comes into good use throughout the game. Chucking various objects around and blasting them into creatures or NPCs gives you quite a laugh and I can see things getting very interesting when multi player is finally brought out.
Vehicle reporting, yes sir affirmative
The vehicles are useful when you need them and the buggy is fun. More to the point again, these were quite forgiving and I think at least they could be integrated nicely into multi player. I did like it how in the boat you could smack sideways into a wall while flying along and twist towards it, instead of doing some crazy immediate stop or get caught in a piece of the level. The vehicles weren't mind boggling, but they were useful.
To be or not to be
The acting in the game was perfect. Facial expressions mixed with the animation of characters and voice acting made you really believe these people exist. I want to bone Alyx! I want to have a beer with Barney, cause Barneys me mate! I want to talk to Dr Kreger (i think thats how you spell it) about science stuff. The acting is funny, scary and just all round professional.
Okay, so now I have licked the games rectum enough - its time to go to the dark side of the force
"Ah, I'm not sure whether I put in my pass code correctly for the second triangular security sequence or whether I can be frigged and grab a cracked copy."
That statement basically sums up the process of authentication. I had trouble up the wazoo. Mind you that could have been to do with a faulty 5th disk, which didn't want to read properly in either of my two CD drives, but would in my house mates? So after 6 hours. Yes thats right ladies and gentlemen, 6 bloody hours! I got the game working. I don't expect everyone to take this long to get the game working, but you can add this entry to the huge list of people who have had authentication trouble.
Okay, so where exactly am I up to?
This con is questionable, but the story line is nothing new. As you progress you understand that you must be nearing the end of the game as certain events that fill the formula for nearing the end of a game span out, but never did I really feel like "Ah, so if that has just happened, I go do this." Everything about the game is emersive and an engrossing environment is created with an understandable storyline, nothing that will make you think though. And I don't want to talk about the ending for fear of cutting my lungs out with a carving knife. (Okay its not thaaaaaat bad, but I prefer the books that go "and in the end it was all just a dream)
Where's your multi player?
Ahum, ahh I left it in my sock draw.
Valve left the multi player in their sock draw. If anyone can tell me why it is okay when you release a brilliant FPS not to include multi player I will take up bud ism and live in the himilain mountains. CS Source is included, but really people does this constitute Half-Life 2 mutliplayer? There has already been a work around found to get a somewhat buggy and sorry excuse for multi player version going, but it shows you people want it! I doubt many would say the game would have been worse if multi player had been included. Valve are rumoring on a bit of a bomb shell being let off soon and my bet is (Hoping!) that multi player will be coming out.
My closing statement your honor
Undeniably a great game. The cons don't even touch the pros, probably on the basis that the pros are so damn good! If this had been another game, the cons could have been a lot more costly (they were bad enough for Valve as it is).
On the single player front - a game that would give a brick shit house a run for its money in the solid stakes. The boots of the drill Sargent wouldn't have the sparkling finish this game has. It just feels right, it plays right and is worth your money.
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