Half-Life 2 is a BLAST to play. Pretty much everything in the game is interactive. You pick up paint cans with the gravity gun and when the can hits, it splatters the object with paint. It always fun to pick up a saw blade and toss it at a creature splitting it in half. If its there you can almost be assured that it can be used.
The controls in Half-Life 2 are the exact same as the original Half-Life so veterans will be able to pick up and go very easily. For newcomers to the series the controls are very easy to pick up and very practical. After playing with this control scheme you probably will set all of your FPS games to it.
I played the game in normal difficulty and it was pretty challenging, but not too hard. I found myself reloading a lot, and even after doing parts in the games over and over again I was still having fun trying to pass it, unlike some other games I have tried. Even though you may load a lot I found that ammo was hardly an issue. The supply crates are pretty much random and give you what you need the most. So if you are running low in shotgun shells, the next crate probably will contain some. This is helpful but at times I felt that I had too much ammo.
The story takes place a number of years after the Black Mesa incident. The G-man awakes you on a train and talks to you for a moment and then vanishes. You soon get off the train and arrive at a place called “City 17”, ran by a dictator figure known as Dr. Breen, your former administrator at Black Mesa. You don't really know why you are there, or how you got there and the Combine roaming around the streets don't seem too friendly. You play through the entire game through Gordon Freeman's eyes really immersing you in the game.
I was always in awe throughout the whole game. This game has the best graphics I have seen on any game. The people look life-like. They display their emotions so well that you know what they are feeling. The buildings and the atmosphere are awe-inspiring. You may never want to leave City 17 after you see its beauty. The different lighting in each area was great. You actually felt like you were progressing through the game when you start out in day time, and soon you see the sun setting and then it gets dark again.
The music in this game was awesome. You could tell when a big battle was coming because the music would start playing, and your blood would start pumping. The music made the game that much more enjoyable. I listen to the soundtrack and I can see the battles without actually playing the game. That in my opinion is what makes the battles so great.
The sound in the game was great. I loved the sound the combines made when they died. Each character had a distinct voice and had astounding voice acting. I have never been as freaked in a game when I hear a howl off in the distance and hear a rain gutter banging letting me know that a fast zombie is climbing up after me. The only reason why this score got a 9 is that there is some stuttering when the game loads or auto saves which can be very annoying.
This game took me more than 20 hours to complete after playing around in the game with the physics and such, so it wasn't that short of a game, especially for an FPS. This game is definitely replayable. After playing through the game I invited my friend over so he could play it. He found different ways to kill creatures and solve puzzles that I never thought of, so that in itself is a great reason to replay the game. Also the game on hard is much more difficult than normal giving you more challenge as you go around a second time. Why an 8 then? Well the multiplayer is non-existent as of right now so I can't see myself playing it as much as I could be.
This game is the best game this year. The graphics, physics, AI, music and sound strung around a well woven story make for a great time. You should definitely buy this game. If you computer can't handle it then its worth the price of upgrading.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/04