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Review: Half Life 2

by Nick Haywood on 21 November 2004, 00:00

Tags: Half Life 2, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Vivendi Universal Interactive (NYSE:VIV), PC, Xbox, FPS

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Introduction : Half Life 2

Nick Haywood is a half-wit too, so that was the tenuous by-line bit for Half Life 2 sorted then.

Right then. The boss has asked for a review of Half Life 2. No problem.

Buy this game. Now.

Sorted, time for a cuppa.

(Write some more or you’re fired. Ed.)

Oh. Alright then, for the sake of you ‘sit on the fence’ types I’ll tap out a few words.

Way back in 1998, Sierra and Valve burst on the scene with what was easily the best FPS of the times. Each gaming genre has a defining game that encaptures all that is best of the genre, and Half Life was THE defining game for FPS’s. The story, scripting, AI, environments… everything was put together to give the player an almost cinematic experience. Eschewing cut scenes and FMV for story progression through interacting with the AI, the whole game was a seamlessly smooth ride through an original, engrossing story. Thrown into the mix were some excellent puzzle elements, gameplay pacing that was spot on and even a shot of humour in places. Deservedly so, Half Life remained top dog of FPS games for quite some while after that.

Times change though, and PCs are far more powerful than six years ago with graphics cards to match. The original HL used a modified Quake engine and was looking seriously old. Time for Valve to bring out the sequel. That in itself is a saga, the announcement that the game even existed (after much tight lipped-ness at Valve) coming last summer with the promise of a release only a few months away. Then the code was stolen and bootleg copies of a half finished game were flying around the net, with boxed pirate copies being openly sold on the shelves in some countries. But here, at last, we have the finished version… the one we’ve been waiting for ever since we finished Half Life all those years ago… Has it been worth the wait?