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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Game Review 15:Half-Life 2

I encountered many problems concerning Steam when attempting to play Half-Life 2 on PC 2 years ago. After many tries, the game still refuses to launch. Yeah, so I got this Xbox version and here is the review of the game. Taking into consideration that HL2 Xbox was released at the end of last year, I agree that this review is quite late, but I will just write it anyway.

If you have played the original HL on PC, this game is more or less the same, save for the weapons and enemies. The puzzle element is still present, but they are quite simple compared to HL. Needless to say, the graphics is better (even on the Xbox, where the game fades in comparison to the PC version). The music in HL2 is as intensifying as that in the HL. However, what I did not like is that many enemies from HL are gone in HL2 and I realised that HL2 has got far lesser weapon count than HL. Nevertheless, the gravity gun in HL2 compensates for this. It introduces an entire new way to play the game. The gravity gun is very crucial in some missions and is also a great way to save ammo. In fact, the whole game is designed around the gravity gun. The crossbow received an upgrade; it shoots electric arrows that causes any organisms to die instantly. Sadly, the amazing gauss gun gets relegated to being mounted on the buggy. The developer, Valve, drew many inspirations from other movies when it comes to the enemies in HL2. The Striders, those big walking giants, which you will face in the last few chapters of the game, look like those machines from H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. The antlions look like those bugs from Starship Troopers. The all new Combine replaces the Marines from the HL2 with three variations. Not forgetting the headcrabs and the zombies, Valve has also added another two variations of them. There are now fast headcrab and poison headcrab (very fatal, because it reduces your health to 1), which give rise to fast zombie (monkey-like creatures) and poison zombies respectively. The Vortigaunts (known as alien slaves in HL) have joined the rebels (the good guys). Good news! The barnacle is back, but I still missed some of the aliens like houndeyes from HL2. Every game has at least one bad point and HL2 is no different. Well, be warned that HL2 storyline is as confusing as Halo 2. The game is not even finished at the last chapter. The first expansion, Episode One, is out now, but the story remains uncompleted. There are other minor glitches in this Xbox version, most obvious when the game starts to 'freeze' for a few seconds in some areas. Your allies (the rebels) also have no common sense when they keep on blocking your way, forcing you to sustain more damage in the line of fire. Overall, HL2 is a fantastic game that ought to be remembered -- even after you have finished playing it. However, I still think that the original Half-Life is so much better. Go to the nearest PC and start playing Half-Life if you have not, for an introduction. Do not be mistaken, HL2 is impressive and is a must-try for any gamer; it gives me the 'Hey! This is the best game I have ever played' feeling that even Call of Duty 2 and Halo (two of my best games) do not even match up. Bravo, HL2, you have just received the title of the top game I have ever played (HL2 is now no. 1 for my top 10 games of all times). I wish I have played it much earlier. Heard that it is arriving on the PS3 platform in the future.

Overall score: 10/10
Platform available: PC, Xbox
If you are looking for a HL2 guide, I think I've found one good one from The best coverage!


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