Half Life 2 Review
HL2 had a lot to live up to, and to everyone relief it did, in fact not only does HL2 succeed as a sequel to the original masterpiece but it shines on its mantel debuting in a new era with groundbreaking feats that rival if not surpass the original in terms of its relative impact. HL2 like its predecessor has raised the bar yet again and proves to be ahead of its time.
HL2 starts off where the original HL left off, with Gordon Freeman on a train, similar to the first HL, although this time around the destination isn't Black Mesa, instead you are unwittingly on your way to an Alien internment camp, accompanied by other humans who look beaten up and psychologically defeated. The atmosphere is bleak and post apocalyptic, consistent with the atmosphere of the original HL which I loved.
It’s slightly creepy, without really trying too hard to be creepy, even out in the daylight as you frequently are in this one I was a little bit on edge. The graphics and environments are breathtaking, the mechanics and physics of the game are so realistic, you can pick up dead bodies and fling them around, there’s newspapers being swept away by the wind, dust, debree, the game doesn’t just look like a next gen game, it looks better than any other game out there.
My first impressions were there wasn’t a lot of dialogue, but at the same time I was aware that nothing really needed to be said. What I found interesting was HL2 doesn’t rely on conversation or cinematic interludes to carry the story. A picture sais a thousand words and this game pays homage to that, the visuals and the environment say more than words ever could, the worried expressions of prisoners, the group of citizens underground crowed around a bong fire, the game works.
The outcome of the original HL game is observable, through the desolate landscape, the abandoned, run down vehicles and building, it’s a warzone. The subtle unveiling of the story really does the game justice, it takes a less is more approach and allows the player to connect the dots however the player may choose to. This gives the game an aura of realism by not being too heavy on the grandeur which is often attached to these types of games. The landscape and environments are marvellous.
Valve has managed to masterfully blend themes from all types of era’s. The camp at the beginning has draws parallels with World War II Nazi internment camps. HL2 now has long vehicle instances which are enticing and fun, fun enough to become a spin off series of their own, step aside Portal. HL2 is much more than a game, it’s a story and world onto itself that manages to keep you engaged all the way through. The physics, engine ties it all together by keeping the experience congruent from area to area.
Everything feels real and natural. You can toss items at people and other objects, and the game will respond to your actions in a very realistic and consequential way, if you hit a guard the guard will come after you and beat you down. The Half-Life 2 physics engine helps ties it to the real world better than any other game I’ve witnessed before.
This is Half Life 2, what more needs to be said. The game completely blew me away, any preceding doubt I had concerning whether or not this game could live up to the expectations I had for it were immediately squashed the moment the game began. It didn’t just meet my expectations it surpassed them by miles in every assessable department. The bottom line is every gamer who calls himself a gamer should own this game.
Valve has managed to develop another masterpiece for another era, at the very least a relative equivalent to its predecessor. Bravo.
Rating – 96%
Revolutionary physics engine makes the game look and feel real
Vehicle missions are sufficiently long and extremely fun
The story is told without too much Dialogue
The only con is that this game doesn’t last forever.