NOTE: Related Content
Also see my:Half-Life (1) ReviewHalf-Life: Opposing Force ReviewHalf-Life: Blue Shift ReviewBlack Mesa Review
TL:DR? See Conclusion
Half-Life 2 is a first-person shooter game developed and published by Valve Software (Corporation) and is a sequel to the extremely popular and revolutionary 1999 game Half-Life
. Half-Life 2 was originally released back in 2004 and was then boasting the newly developed, highly flexible and powerful Source Engine, it then became an instant classic by making good use of new technology, excellent storytelling, gameplay mechanics and an unrivaled online experience. Alongside its predecessor, both games left a lasting impression, particularly on the FPS genre, as an industry standard for future FPS games to come.
Half-Life 2 puts the player once more behind the thick-framed bulletproof glasses of Gordon Freeman, an MIT Graduate of Theoretical Physics with an uncanny ability to wield military hardware and the person indirectly responsible for opening a portal to an alien world and exposing Earth to an invasion that is to be known as the 'Black Mesa Incident'. Half-Life 2 is set 20 years after the events of Half-Life 1 and the world is now under the full control of the 'Combine', an interdimensional empire that is currently harvesting the natural resources of Earth including the human race which is now close to extinction.
Enter City 17 and step once more into the HEV Suit and discover a dystopian future where the only hope of humanity is a small pocket of resistance that refuses to bow down to the Combine rule. Meet old friends as well as establish new ones, explore a vast post-apocalyptic world, fight through impossible odds and stand as the last orange beacon of hope for humanities stand against extinction.
+ Graphics and artstyle that looks just as good as it is now (2015), as it was eleven years ago (2004).
+ Excellent sequel with an excellent story that expands the Half-Life Universe
+ Excellent memorable supporting characters such as Alyx Vance
+ Great sound quality, facial animation, and voice acting adds to the immersive experience
+ Excellent enemy AI
+ Great level and environment designs but...(see CON #1)
+ Fun gunplay and gameplay mechanics
+ Good selection of weapons and equipment with very creative special abilities (Gravity Gun)
+ Atmospheric with excellent use of lighting, sound effects and environment design
+ Challenging difficulties
+ Expanded levels that give some room for exploration, but doesn't destroy the narrative storytelling
+ Lengthy game time
+ Very affordable price (though I highly recommend the Half-Life Complete pack)
+ Multiplayer is still active as far as I can tell
+ Tons of available mods that expand player experience
- Driving section may be a little too long but it does offer a few 'stops' where the player can stretch his leg muscles and trigger finger.
- The Squad Support AI is down right suicidal with no command to tell them to stay in place for more than 15 seconds before they follow you again. (This is annoying specially if you're trying to keep them alive against particularly deadly opponents such as Striders)
- Rag-doll physics engine can be unrealistically (albeit hilariously) glitchy
- No Steam Workshop Support for the multitude of MODS that are available.
Much like its predecessor, Half-Life 2 is a MASTERPIECE
of a game and is a MUST BUY and MUST OWN for any fan of the first person genre because how else can you describe a game that is almost 11 years old, yet, can still retain all the fun and excitement of a recently released title.
Half-Life 2's use of the amazing Source engine reflects on the fact that this game's graphics, despite showing some age, still manages not only to look good, but also to look authentic and atmospheric with its excellent use of sound and music that makes the environment feel alive. Graphics aside, the gameplay has survived for even after a decade and has still not lost its charm. The enemy AI provides an imposing challenge while gunplay and the creative weapons creates one of the most fun and immersive experience you can get on a first-person shooter. Storywise, the Half-Life universe can be considered as one of the most beautifully crafted worlds in gaming history. Half-Life 2 fully emphasizes this point with its amazing and memorable supporting characters that can establish a connection with the player on an emotional level. To recap, Half-Life 2 is the game that once again redefined how modern first-person shooters will be made in the future and remains as the benchmark for good single player FPS gaming experience.
If you decide to purchase and try this game, I do recommend you purchase Half-Life: Complete
so you may also avail of the two Episodes that was subsequently released.
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