Geplaatst: 15 april
Rises and...shines.Half-Life 2
, sequel to Valve Corporation's 1998 genre-defining sci-fi shooter was upon release—and to this day continues to be—the standard to which all single-player shooters and shooter campaigns should be held to. It exhibits stunning graphics and atmosphere as well as varied gameplay, all of which still remain superior eleven years
after the title's release.
The second game to utilise Valve's widely praised 'Source' engine, Half-Life 2
's graphics and physics retain their fidelity even when to compared to significantly more modern titles. Although I generally don't like to compare any game to a newer game in reviews, I feel as though it is the clearest way to establish how high the quality of Half-Life 2
really is. Set an indeterminate amount of years following the end of Half-Life
, Black Mesa employee Gordon Freeman is brought out of his supernaturally-induced stasis and dropped into an Eastern European city known only as 'City 17'. The Combine, an extraterrestrial empire has taken over Earth, establishing City 17 as it's European capital, creating a 'suppression field' to prevent human reproduction and sorting the citizens of earth into an oppressed existence under forceful occupation. The game's first chapter relays all of this to the player not by telling, but by showing. Given no directions upon the game's beginning, the player is left to wander the linear streets of City 17, taking in the rich atmosphere Valve has created. The things you see are how you will understand the world around you. It's a clever and subtle way of telling a story, and it furthermore removes the necessity for long, expository cutscenes, meaning the player will have control over Freeman for the entirety of the game.
Gordon Freeman is a silent protagonist. This is admittedly a somewhat dated stereotype of first-person shooters, but Half-Life 2
seems able to slide elegantly past a potential storytelling pitfall. While Freeman's silence can make some of the 'conversations' a little awkward, much of the dialogue is snappy and quick, for the most part avoid ruining every scene where a character opens his or her mouth. In the absence of a personality from Freeman, Alyx Vance takes centre-stage as the story's functional protagonist. She's the most developed character in the game, and while her extroverted personality can occasionally be irritating, she's interesting and likeable enough that she works as a protagonist. The narrative ofHalf-Life 2
largely ignores the previous title, in which none of the scientists nor security guards working at Black Mesa had names or unique personalities. Rather than simply inventing new characters, Half-Life 2
takes two scientists generic scientists from the first game and gives them personalities and names. This works well, as both characters talk as though they are old friends with Gordon and one another. The same has been done with Barney Calhoun, a Black Mesa security guard given his own obnoxious personality. He works far less well, being rude and annoying in every scene he appears in. Fortunately, the developers seem to be aware of this, and Barney's appearances are minimal.
Most of Half-Life 2
's weaponry is similar to that of it's predecessor. Gordon has access to a crowbar, pistols, an SMG, a shotgun, a crossbow, RPG launcher and grenades. Some of the more alien weapons from Half-Life
have been removed, but in their stead lies the single most excellent weapon in all of the series.The gravity gun.
The gravity gun pretty much lets you pick up objects and launch them at high speeds. In combat what this means is that rather than using boring old bullets, you can use more efficient ammunition such as saw-blades, cars, crates and even the enemies' own grenades. The gravity gun really does feel like the best addition to Half-Life
's combat, as it turns the game from an amazing shooter to the amazing shooter by allowing you to essentially turn a gunfight upside down, shake it and put it back, and then start killing people. The possibilities with the gravity gun really are endless, and it just adds a freshness to the combat that breaks away from many shooters in the best possible way—at high speeds, straight toward a Combine soldier's face.
I know it's been said before, but it's such an accurate statement—if you refer to yourself as a gamer, you truly owe it to yourself to play Half-Life 2
at least once before Half-Life 3
comes out.Take your time.