Currently Playing: Half-Life 2 (PC)

Half-Life, I played that game years ago, I can really say that it was one unique experience and after that, other game developers tried to follow its path. The game was the first game that I felt like an actual participant experiencing the entire game and story in first person mode. There was no denying that it was an experience like no other. Having intelligent AI and a great story there was nothing like it. Here now is Half-Life 2, after tons of delay especially because of the hack incident where an unfinished version was spreading all over the internet. At long last, we can now get our hands on the real thing.

The game starts using you’re character Gordon Freeman as before. The previous game gave you a choice between working for the mysterious G-man; or to be left behind the alien dimension for you to die. Here you start our as choosing to work for G-man. Because of this, it places you in a city called Site 13. So it starts… the mystery deepens and the game gets more interesting.

It plays normally as the old Half-Life so it won’t be much of drastic change if you’re familiar with the old FPS games. In fact, somehow this game slightly presumes that you’ve played it before so it doesn’t have any kind of training at all. But somehow it comes naturally since you don’t go into action automatically, but at the start of the game it already gives you an exciting moment as you try to escape from the city police. Later on you’ll get weapons and such which is not so different from other weapons. The interesting weapons are the gravity gun and the missile launcher. The gravity gun is used to pick-up and throws items at far distances. It can be used as a weapon but it’s usually used for solving puzzles through out the game. The use of the gravity gun is the only training that you’ll have in the game. The missile launcher is interesting because it uses a laser to reach its target. It’s interesting since you can let you’re missile dodge while you try to get it to hit something.

What’s also notable in this game is the use of vehicles. Gordon now gets to drive, and it’s not only a moment. It takes a long period giving you a sense that you are traveling great distances from one place to another. You’ll get to experience riding a couple of vehicles in the game and it feels exciting every time since you can be attacked anytime through out you’re long journey.

The locations in Half-Life 2 are more ambitious than most games I’ve seen. The first place that you’re really notice is the urban city is highly detailed and feels very much alive. Most of the places that you’ll go to is huge, I know I’ve said that Halo 2 levels were huge, but what makes this game work is because it’s more natural. Doom 3 also had good graphics but everything was dark and cramped. Half-Life 2 has its dark moments too, it even has a place that seems to come out from a horror movie, it’s not as scary as Doom 3 but it has a good atmosphere on its own.

I can say that this has one of the best audio effects I’ve ever heard, so far I didn’t experience any cracks in the game, and I was surprised that this game still supports a 4.1 system. The music used in this game was minimal but usually it’s placed at spots where it’s really needed, at some of the exciting parts of the game. The voice acting seems good, not great but that’s usually predictable, this is one of the better ones out there. The voice acting is better than listening to “House of the Dead”, but it’s not as good as “Kingdom Hearts”, but the overall quality is just remarkable.

The multiplayer game is really a bonus. Although I really say that it’s not my favorite game, but it’s the best multiplayer package that they could pack in. They included the ever popular Counter-Strike. With upgraded graphics using Half-Life 2’s engine. It’s pretty much a direct port of the original Counter-Strike that people have known, but having a complete overhaul, it’s a nice welcome. I’ve grown tired looking at the low model and level design. It’s not difficult to get into a server too; you can filter it with so much ease that you’ll get into a game as soon as possible.

What’s also good about getting an original copy is that they patch through Valve’s Steam network regularly and automatically. That’s normal if you think about it, but get this, recently they added “Half-Life 2: Deathmatch”, a multiplayer deathmatch game and “Codename: Gordon”, a cute 2D game based on Half-Life. Now that is a bonus I’d really enjoy.

The system requirements are quite large, similar to Doom 3 but not as ambitious. Doom 3 had a system spec designed for 500Mb video cards which are not available today, but Half-Life 2 is more realistic, you could experience the best it has to offer, if you have a high-end video card and the top of the line processor. The game doesn’t look like Doom 3 but it is visually better in natural terms. Having to register online is a bit of a hassle but you do get more benefits that you feel almost immediately, not like all other games where registration is standard and after that you don’t feel a thing of importance why you did it in the first place.

Ok, with everything mentioned, the only problem with this game is the box itself and the package inside it. It has nothing inside the box, after all the waiting and getting a big clunky box, it only contains 5 disks and a key command list. The first time I saw the pack… WHAT THE!!! It was a disappointment. I was expecting a book or a short manual with it, or just even a short story on what happened on the original game. But no, it was a big box that offered little. There are 3 boxes available with different covers though, it’s a nice thing to collect similar to WarCraft III box.

But some little things give out so many things. Anyway, my review is coming to a close, and I can really recommend this game to FPS gamers everywhere, if you’re system can handle it. Having no manual is a bit of a bummer, but that’s not the meat of the box anyway. You may be looking for something new, Half-Life doesn’t offer anything new, but more of the same as before, but having more fun at it.

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  1. Updating the site with my old stuff « Pinoy Video Gamer

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