Half-Life 2 - A (Somewhat) Comprehensive Review

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"Rise and shine, Mister Freeman, rise and... shine. Not that I wish... to imply that you have been sleeping on... the job. No one is more deserving of a rest, and all the effort in the world would have gone to waste until... well... let's just say your hour has come again. The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mister Freeman...wake up and... smell the ashes." - The G-Man, during the introduction to Half-Life 2.

Half-Life 2: A (Somewhat) Comprehensive Review

Continuing the adventures of Gordon Freeman, a doctor of theoretical physics who against the odds managed to survive the alien invasion of Black Mesa Research Facility, a military installation controlled by the United States government, Half-Life 2 begins with Gordon being woken up after years of suspended animation, being briefed by the enigmatic G-Man. After surviving the Black Mesa disaster, this G-Man has hired Gordon Freeman on behalf of his even more mysterious employers, and held Gordon Freeman until his employers saw fit.

Gordon then transitions to a train entering City 17, located tentatively in Eastern Europe, and the game wastes no time in presenting a dystopian future in the mould of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with gigantic screens showing the broadcasts of Dr. Breen, the administrator of Earth after the alien invasion which has left the people of Earth enslaved; floating camera drones which buzz around, constantly taking pictures of the citizens of Earth; armed, uniformed and masked guards which do not hesitate to beat citizens for any hint of defiance and huge war machines resembling the tripods from The War of the Worlds marching through the streets of City 17.

By doing the improbable by surviving the events at Black Mesa and stopping the first alien invasion, Gordon Freeman has inadvertently become a prophetic figure and a standard to rally behind, and the seeds of rebellion have been sown in the populace. With the revelation that many of the surviving scientists from Black Mesa have set up their own research into teleportation and into stopping the ruling Combine, the scene is set for insurrection.

But the teleportation technology is untested, and ends up alerting the Combine to Gordon Freeman's presence, and so, with his customary environment suit and his crowbar, he must run and fight for his life, for the lives of his friends and for the lives of all of humanity.

And so we begin with a strength of Half-Life 2: its plot and narrative. OK, the plot's not perfect; it's rather vague and relies on the player to fill in a lot of the gaps, but it is competent, has literary pretensions and it is never shoved in the player's face, which I find is a hallmark of a good action game. Not being a genre that has ever really been plot-heavy, I feel that the plot in a first-person shooter should give enough drive for the player to keep going, but should never become overbearing, and in terms of this idea, Half-Life 2 performs excellently.

The narrative, however, is very strong. Relating to the adage, "A picture tells a thousand words", Half-Life 2 uses the visual medium superbly, with the aforementioned gigantic screens with the propaganda broadcasts of the Combine, the floating cameras, the enslaved aliens, everybody wearing the same uniforms, and all of this just after you step off the train. As alluded to in the plot summation, a sense of Nineteen Eighty-Four hangs over the whole game, not least with the Citadel, a gigantic structure standing in the middle of City 17, towering into the air and similar in concept to the gargantuan pyramids that made up the Ministries of London, which themselves dominated the skyline.

By keeping to first-person perspective at all times, the game presents a great sense of immersion, which helps the narrative by maintaining suspension of disbelief. All of the analogues to the cutscene are perceived through the eyes of Gordon Freeman, a technique pioneered with Half-Life and elaborated on here, and I strongly feel that this works as a powerful storytelling technique, which gives the player a real experience of the things going on around them.

It doesn't hurt the experience for the game to have some of the best and most polished graphical experiences of its generation. While Half-Life 2 doesn't have the High Dynamic Ranging and other graphical enhancements of the two "Episode" sequels, or the official modification games built on the Source engine, like Counter-Strike: Source or Day of Defeat: Source, the graphical detail is still spectacular today and shows off perfectly the amount of work that went into Half-Life 2.

In fact, this sense of immersion and experience can be summed up in one word: "Professional". From the introduction video, which brings the player into that sense of dystopia and decrepitude which symbolises the world of Half-Life 2 with no more than a few sentences; to the world outside the train, with the gigantic Citadel taking centrepiece, to the balls-to-the-wall action sections where the Combine chase you down relentlessly through the sewers of City 17, to the shadowy and threatening streets of Ravenholm, and onto the inevitable revolt of the citizens, under the name of Gordon Freeman, the whole game shouts, "Professionalism!"

But there are a few sections which stand out for me: the vehicular sections. To me, these sections seem to be polished to a mirror shine, and they represent some of the most spectacular gameplay that exist in the first-person shooter genre.

Since 2001, and the advent of Halo, which popularised this, and other pioneering games released earlier in the same year, increasingly large numbers of first-person shooters have had vehicles in the game for the sake of variety. Since 2001, as well, most of these vehicular sections have been rendered in third-person, in imitation of Halo, or through some sort of modified first-person perspective, such as through gunsights. Half-Life 2, on the other hand, being stubborn, maintains its first-person perspective throughout all of this, and I have to say that the gameplay during these vehicular sections is improved because of this.

There are two sections involving a vehicle in Half-Life 2, one a mad chase down the sewers of City 17 on a hovercraft, culminating in a duel to the death between the player and an attack helicopter; the other a drive through the highways surrounding City 17, divided by clearing out Combine-held towns and with huge set-piece battles against alien gunships. Both work exceptionally well, with huge amounts of action, stunning set-pieces and the true sense of danger from the Combine forces that seek to block your way.

But neither would work properly if it hadn't been for the work of the Valve team, who among other things, pioneered the use of realistic physics in the first-person shooter. The vehicle sections work precisely because the vehicles feel "real", in that they interact the way you would expect a similarly-constructed real-world vehicle to interact with the world.

Of course, the use of realistic physics opens a world of opportunities, and the Valve team does not disappoint. Using a modified version of the Havok middleware engine (a package developed by an Irish team, originally from Trinity College, Dublin, which enables physics calculations for in-world objects), the Valve team recognise the potential of the physics engine excellently.

One of the biggest and most touted features in Half-Life 2 was the Zero Point Energy Manipulator (or Gravity Gun, if you're so inclined), a device which allows the player to use the objects around them as weapons or tools. Using the scenery as a weapon - now that's a new level of interactivity, and one that's put to good use. As well as that, the realistic physics help with the sense of immersion, by making interactions with objects feel like they should. OK, the physics engine isn't entirely perfect: While the interactions are all well done, the game can sometimes make it very awkward to move objects around; and sometimes the game seems overly insistent on showing off the physics, especially in some of the puzzles. However, it's a major step forward in the world of gaming, for one thing, and a strong and well-thought-out system for another.

Other elements of the gameplay shine through during the game. The AI, for one thing; the enemies are very intelligent, with the human enemies taking cover, and the larger alien entities, which do not have the benefit of cover, are not content in just letting you take them down without a fight. It seems right that a game which seems so content to show you new levels of cleverness with other elements of the gameplay should show you a high level of cleverness in the AI design, but as we all know, this doesn't always happen, and Valve deserve a commendation for succeeding with these fundamentals of gameplay, while also introducing new things to the gaming world.

As I've mentioned, this game shines out in gameplay and presentation, and as such, I find it difficult to find any flaws to talk about. But one point of the game seems to me like a black spot in an otherwise exceptional game, and it occurs after the second vehicular section.

After such action, it would be difficult to follow that section well in any case, but what happens is that the gameplay is slowed right down as you are forced from your vehicle to venture across a danger zone, where alien creatures known as antlions roam the sands of the coastline near City 17, and the only way to avoid them is to avoid walking on the sands. Cue most of a whole chapter of the game of either boredom, as you stack objects in front of you to stay off the sands, or of great difficulty, as you blast down the antlions one by one, exhausting your ammunition supply, or try keeping them off by blasting them with the gravity gun, a slow and difficult process in its own right.

It just seems like such a jarring change after the action and set-piece battles of the previous chapters, and it takes quite some time before the game manages to recover from its slip in form. I was strongly dissatisfied with this chapter the first time I played it, and subsequent experiences haven't dulled that feeling I have much. I count it as the definite low point in an excellent game.

Apart from that, however, Half-Life 2 is a triumph. With a strong sense of professionalism, from the dazzling graphics, to the powerful and well-polished gameplay, and including tight and intuitive controls, an enemy AI which succeeds in eliminating many of the flaws of the previous generation of first-person shooters, I would recommend this game to any single computer gamer, and it is easily one of the best computer games that I've had the fortune to experience.

Great review. I do have to disagree with the vehicle sections though: they are probably one of the best, but I still found them terrible compared to the rest of the game. This is probably due to my hate of vehicle section though.

Great Review Overall, but I think that the Vehicle sections were way too drawn out, especially the boat one.

Why hasn't half-life ep 3 came out.I mean they have the engine and most models they just need to write the damn thing.

I think HL2 is just dandy, except for the damn hovercraft section! It's far too long, and halfway thru you get stopped by some of the resistance and your thinking "finally, its over!" but no, they strap a gun on your hovercraft and its out to the radioactive sea again. That game would be entirely better if that sequence was cut down.

I see where we disagree about the vehicle sections in this game. They are a contentious issue, and many would be inclined to argue that vehicle sections haven't yet worked in any first-person shooter - in which case, I'd probably point them towards Operation Flashpoint, or the relatively unknown and obscure 1998 Activision title, Battlezone - but this is a place where I've got a lot to discuss.

I'm probably biased towards them, because I'm an automotive nerd, but firstly, I think that they're the strongest vehicular sections in a standalone first-person shooter (that is, one that isn't built around vehicles in some way, like certain combined-arms games and standalone simulators), and secondly, that they contain some of the most adrenaline-packed sequences in the game - and some of the most frustrating, incidentally.

(I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Sandtraps chapter, noting that you were all frustrated by the vehicle sections.)

There are always going to be people opposed to vehicle chapters in games, solely because a vehicle section is by definition totally different to the rest of a FPS. But it looks like we're going to get used to them, because they're here to stay

I did not really like the speedboat section. It felt needlessly long, and in my opinion took up a bit too much of the game. I did enjoy the speedboat, don't get me wrong, but the length of the section was just excessive. The buggy made a bit more sense, but again, felt like artificial lengthening. I did enjoy using the Tau Cannon to prod through walls once again though.

As for the dialog, I felt there was both too much and not enough. The sections with real dialog had it basically crammed in, greatly disrupting the flow, see in Breen's office or Alyx's exposition(s) in the prison -- or the bit in the silo in Episode 2 when you first arrive. It would've been better if they had gone on in the background while you progressed, but Valve, to their credit, was trying to make a game where you felt the characters, instead of instances like Halo where they're mostly cardboard cutouts that yammer on about giant rings that gonn' f*** you up.

I think CoD4 did a fair balance of "action game exposition" though. A lot of it was done while the player was moving about, quite a bit in sections that were seemingly hollowed out for this express purpose. You still felt like you were moving forward, even if there wasn't anything to shoot, you know? And the few sections where control was more or less wrested from the player, i.e. the interrogation on the farm, or the helicopter insertion to the freighter, had enough dynamic action to them to maintain appeal (I loved how watching Price smoking his cigar on the intro flight gave you a great feel for the character).

Though CoD4 also kinda disappointed me for the vehicle bits, lacking a tank battle was lamentable (understandable, though). But the AC-130U made up for it in spades.

"I think that might've been within two feet of him."
"Ka-boom."

I enjoyed the hovercraft section a lot and donīt quite understand why itīs getting so much hate here, I think the sections with the car where (albeit still good) worse.

The part where youīre not allowed to touch the sand is a bit too long, but I donīt think itīs particularly boring. In fact I believe this variety of challenges offered in HL2 is one of the games strongest points and of course, considering the diversity given, itīs impossible for everyone to like all gameplay elements.

Oh and good review by the way (maybe some titles in bold next time for better structure?)

RAKtheUndead:
I I'd probably point them towards Operation Flashpoint, or the relatively unknown and obscure 1998 Activision title, Battlezone - but this is a place where I've got a lot to discuss.

You get bonus points for having played one of the best games ever made that no one ever seems to have heard of.

I think CoD4 did a fair balance of "action game exposition" though. A lot of it was done while the player was moving about, quite a bit in sections that were seemingly hollowed out for this express purpose. You still felt like you were moving forward, even if there wasn't anything to shoot, you know? And the few sections where control was more or less wrested from the player, i.e. the interrogation on the farm, or the helicopter insertion to the freighter, had enough dynamic action to them to maintain appeal (I loved how watching Price smoking his cigar on the intro flight gave you a great feel for the character).

Though CoD4 also kinda disappointed me for the vehicle bits, lacking a tank battle was lamentable (understandable, though). But the AC-130U made up for it in spades.

"I think that might've been within two feet of him."
"Ka-boom."

Yeah, CoD4 was a great game for action exposition, and I'd probably review it myself, except everything that needs to be said has already been related by Gigantor.

As for the dialog, I felt there was both too much and not enough. The sections with real dialog had it basically crammed in, greatly disrupting the flow, see in Breen's office or Alyx's exposition(s) in the prison -- or the bit in the silo in Episode 2 when you first arrive. It would've been better if they had gone on in the background while you progressed, but Valve, to their credit, was trying to make a game where you felt the characters, instead of instances like Halo where they're mostly cardboard cutouts that yammer on about giant rings that gonn' f*** you up.

That's a pretty fair criticism, and it probably comes from the fact that in Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman is alone most of the time, while in other first-person shooters with good exposition, there is some sort of gameplay reason for the player to either be accompanied, or to have some sort of "voice with an internet connection" which has the power to provide exposition details (in the vein of the System Shock games and BioShock).

RAKtheUndead:
there is some sort of gameplay reason for the player to either be accompanied, or to have some sort of "voice with an internet connection" which has the power to provide exposition details (in the vein of the System Shock games and BioShock).

That is actually quite a clever little phrase, did you just come up with that?

That is actually quite a clever little phrase, did you just come up with that?

Nah, I actually nicked it from the TV Tropes Wiki. The people at TV Tropes are right: TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary.

RAKtheUndead:
That's a pretty fair criticism, and it probably comes from the fact that in Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman is alone most of the time, while in other first-person shooters with good exposition, there is some sort of gameplay reason for the player to either be accompanied, or to have some sort of "voice with an internet connection" which has the power to provide exposition details (in the vein of the System Shock games and BioShock).

This is true. It's just something that HL2 could've worked on. Hell, Alyx got into your suit radio during the prison, why couldn't that have taken off? Valve seemed to be playing up their "advanced expression engine" or however they were putting it, though, as even then she still had a video feed. Granted, though, if I had put the work into something like that, I'd want to make sure people got some good looks at it.

I enjoyed the hovercraft section a lot and donīt quite understand why itīs getting so much hate here, I think the sections with the car where (albeit still good) worse.

The part where youīre not allowed to touch the sand is a bit too long, but I donīt think itīs particularly boring. In fact I believe this variety of challenges offered in HL2 is one of the games strongest points and of course, considering the diversity given, itīs impossible for everyone to like all gameplay elements.

Again, I didn't -hate- the hovercraft section, it just went on a bit too long. Probably in part due to the couple of sections where you were forcibly dismounted to progress. Same deal for the buggy. I especially didn't like the train bridge, the jumping puzzle was somewhat annoying, and then you had the timed puzzle of the train coming at you headlong after you finished that. Never had a problem doing those, but they were annoying obstacles more than they were interesting puzzles.

To contrast, something about the buggy section in Ep2 is a lot more tolerable. Probably due to the fact you actually have some company that isn't trying to kick your ass. It's about the same length, but the forced dismount sections are a lot more interesting this time around too (the autogun was a fun 'minigame', and the radar caches had a very tangible reward for the diversion -- not to mention the Physics! radar caches, the first and last ones).

You get bonus points for having played one of the best games ever made that no one ever seems to have heard of.

Battlezone? Yeah, I first experienced on a demo CD from the Irish PC magazine, PC Live!, around the time I got my second computer. In fact, it was one of the first computer games that I bought.

Half-Life 2 and I have an odd relationship. There are parts of it and its Episodes that I hate with an overwhelming passion, but there are also parts that were some of the most fun I've had in a game.

One thing I hate about the game however are the weapons. Most of them are worthless because they either deal pittance damage or they run out of ammo in a few seconds and there never seems to be any extra. I found myself pretty much only using the shotgun and the gravity gun.

Nice review... but vehicles were a bit annoying. I guess i just hate any kind of racing where i actually have to drive the car in games.

Heroic One:
Half-Life 2 and I have an odd relationship. There are parts of it and its Episodes that I hate with an overwhelming passion, but there are also parts that were some of the most fun I've had in a game.

One thing I hate about the game however are the weapons. Most of them are worthless because they either deal pittance damage or they run out of ammo in a few seconds and there never seems to be any extra. I found myself pretty much only using the shotgun and the gravity gun.

Huh that's weird. I mostly used shotgun for tougher fights and just blasted things with everything i could find, mostly with the assault rifle thing ( can't remember it's name) and the combine gun.

Heroic One:
One thing I hate about the game however are the weapons. Most of them are worthless because they either deal pittance damage or they run out of ammo in a few seconds and there never seems to be any extra. I found myself pretty much only using the shotgun and the gravity gun.

And that there hasn't been a single new weapon since the original HL. Combine rifle doesnt count as its basically a reskin of the M16/203 from HL, the anthropods aren't really weapons and well the gravity gun, it's just a physics tool more than anything else.

Caboose669:
And that there hasn't been a single new weapon since the original HL. Combine rifle doesnt count as its basically a reskin of the M16/203 from HL, the anthropods aren't really weapons and well the gravity gun, it's just a physics tool more than anything else.

The Combine Pulse Rifle differs quite a bit from the MP5 of the original HL, it's the MP7-clone that's a direct reskin.

And who says that no new weapons is a bad thing? Where's the fun in cramming six more guns into a game if you never find ammo and/or a situation for them because the other guns do it already/better?

I personally tend towards shotguns and sniper rifles as my usual weapon combo in FPSs. I used the crossbow and shotgun pretty frequently whenever I had ammo, but ammo distribution usually boiled down to using the AR1 and shotgun.

And who says that no new weapons is a bad thing? Where's the fun in cramming six more guns into a game if you never find ammo and/or a situation for them because the other guns do it already/better?

I agree. In the original Half-Life, I found myself storing tons of ammunition for the gluon gun, and not being able to use it until the Nihilanth, and I almost never felt the compunction to use the tau cannon.

I felt that there were more uses for the weapons in Half-Life 2, and I tended to use almost all of them at one point in the game - pistols for long-range, ironically, SMG and shotgun for close range, pulse rifle for mid-range, crossbow for accurate long-range and the rocket launcher whenever I could find the ammunition for it. I think that having more weapons in HL2 would have just been a case of novelty value, and I wasn't overly impressed with the novelty weapons in the original Half-Life.

Its just so boring though. I personally found the gravity gun dull as fuck after ravenholm. And then playing through ep1, where every single puzzle involves the damn thing and you only have that and your crowbar for most of the episode.

It all just needs a bit of "oomph", a kick up the arse to just bring it all to life just that little bit more.

To contrast, something about the buggy section in Ep2 is a lot more tolerable. Probably due to the fact you actually have some company that isn't trying to kick your ass. It's about the same length, but the forced dismount sections are a lot more interesting this time around too (the autogun was a fun 'minigame', and the radar caches had a very tangible reward for the diversion -- not to mention the Physics! radar caches, the first and last ones).

When I got the car in Episode 2, I was thrilled. I must have thought to myself, "Oh my god, I got my car back!" Except this time, I had a big, muscular V8 under where the bonnet would be if it hadn't been stripped off. Hell, I had more empathy for the car in that game than most of the human characters. I was almost heartbroken to hear Alyx say, "We may have to ditch the car!", because I'd been waiting so damned long to be back on the road, and to see a V8 suffer is agony for a car enthusiast.

I mean, I crashed the thing through as many Hunters and headcrab zombies, not to mention pieces of wood and crates, as possible, but I never expected the car to die on me.

You failed to mention the best part of Half Life 2... when you get your lovable ant lion minions of fun!

I liked the vehicles in 2 standard, but the car part in Ep2 gave me headaches...

The hoverboat section could greatly benefit from being cut in half.

My main problem with the cars is that they had to make them alot lighter to allow you to punt them with the gravity gun. This resulted in very poor handling especialy when you use the turbo.

My main problem with the cars is that they had to make them alot lighter to allow you to punt them with the gravity gun. This resulted in very poor handling especialy when you use the turbo.

I mostly didn't mind. Have you ever tried to steer the Auto Union 1937 Streamline in Gran Turismo 4? If you can handle that at all, poor handling in any other game is going to be of little consequence. Said cars were quite stripped out, anyway, thus contributing to their lack of weight.

The hoverboat section could greatly benefit from being cut in half.

Perhaps, but the first thing that I'd chop out are those forced dismount sections, making it an even more balls-to-the-wall action sequence.

I haven't finished the game yet, I'm stuck on the Water Hazard level. I liked your review, it touched on some great points, but I have to disagree with the vehicle sections. I don't like the first-person vehicle camera.

I don't like the first-person vehicle camera.

There's another contentious issue to discuss. I personally believe, even having played only a few games with a true first-person vehicle camera, that it is a better device for retaining suspension of disbelief, and that third-person camera is a sort of cop-out. My favourite example is Operation Flashpoint (as it is in a lot of other places). Pilot a vehicle, especially a plane, in first-person in that game, and it feels amazingly engaging and realistic. Pilot it from a third-person perspective and it feels a bit arcadish. As I said, this is a particular issue when it comes to planes, because the game did go to quite a bit of work making the planes work from first-person, not something you'd have often seen outside of a dedicated flight simulator in those days.

Another example is Gran Turismo 4. Even though it has no true first-person perspective, looking through the windscreen (that's for GT5 to sort out), the closest analogue to it feels a lot less arcadish than the third-person perspective.

RAKtheUndead:

I don't like the first-person vehicle camera.

There's another contentious issue to discuss. I personally believe, even having played only a few games with a true first-person vehicle camera, that it is a better device for retaining suspension of disbelief, and that third-person camera is a sort of cop-out. My favourite example is Operation Flashpoint (as it is in a lot of other places). Pilot a vehicle, especially a plane, in first-person in that game, and it feels amazingly engaging and realistic. Pilot it from a third-person perspective and it feels a bit arcadish. As I said, this is a particular issue when it comes to planes, because the game did go to quite a bit of work making the planes work from first-person, not something you'd have often seen outside of a dedicated flight simulator in those days.

Another example is Gran Turismo 4. Even though it has no true first-person perspective, looking through the windscreen (that's for GT5 to sort out), the closest analogue to it feels a lot less arcadish than the third-person perspective.

I think one of the things about third person is that it gives you a better feel for driving the vehicle when you have abstracted controls (i.e. two analog sticks, and using them both to control velocity and facing).

For a better example of this, take the vehicles in the Halo games, and how they're controlled. Your 'movement' analog stick controls forwards and backwards, and your 'aiming' analog stick controls direction of travel. There's no real room in there to allow you to keep a 360 view around your vehicle in first person, which is why third person is a better choice.

For HL2, your movement keys control direction of travel and forwards/backwards movement, which leaves the mouse free to play the role of a driver's 'head,' giving you a 360 view of the area immediately surrounding your vehicle.

Plus, the fact that there's no official "Gordon Freeman" model in HL2, with third person you'd just see a car with an invisible driver (not saying they couldn't have made a Gordon model, but the way it is).

Hmm, good Review, accurate, gave opinions and references with a touch of your own personality.

I think one of the things about third person is that it gives you a better feel for driving the vehicle when you have abstracted controls (i.e. two analog sticks, and using them both to control velocity and facing).

For a better example of this, take the vehicles in the Halo games, and how they're controlled. Your 'movement' analog stick controls forwards and backwards, and your 'aiming' analog stick controls direction of travel. There's no real room in there to allow you to keep a 360 view around your vehicle in first person, which is why third person is a better choice.

As I said, I think that's a bit more of a technical issue than a necessity for a good vehicular section. I drive, obviously, as I expect many of the people who read this review would do. Imagine yourself behind the wheel of a car. That's how I imagine myself when I play a vehicular section from first-person; as I said, I play Gran Turismo 4 from the closest analogue that I can achieve. Now, imagine yourself in the same car, driving it from a third-person perspective. That's how I imagine myself when I'm playing most first-person shooter vehicular sections.

I'm making myself feel disorientated just thinking about it.

Plus, the fact that there's no official "Gordon Freeman" model in HL2, with third person you'd just see a car with an invisible driver (not saying they couldn't have made a Gordon model, but the way it is).

I think if they'd really wanted to do third-person perspective within the vehicles, they would have made a model. I think the first-person perspective within the vehicles was a deliberate move, and one I wholeheartedly support. You're free to continue arguing about it, though - I like this sort of discussion.

RAKtheUndead:
I think if they'd really wanted to do third-person perspective within the vehicles, they would have made a model. I think the first-person perspective within the vehicles was a deliberate move, and one I wholeheartedly support. You're free to continue arguing about it, though - I like this sort of discussion.

I don't really disagree with you. The entire game is done from Gordon's perspective from step one. And for first-person vehicle driving, it was extremely well integrated, unlike some other games that force you into first person, then make your mouse steer (which makes sense for games like Descent, to a degree, but can be bothersome).

Good review, even greater discussion that seems to have spawned from it!

I personally found the vehicular sections quite well implemented.
It felt like I was still playing Half-Life 2 when I was in the vehicle. Some other games detract from that perpetual state of immersion as soon as you step into a vehicle but I found it to be seamless in HL2.

Also, the vehicles seemed to hold a tremendous sense of value - sure you can complete some of the sections without the vehicle but the game really pushed for you to keep it with you at all times.
In other games you might as well skip using the vehicle altogether as it's just as easy to go it on foot.

Glad to see someone's done an epic review of an epic game :)

Great review.

Can anyone tell me, is the original Half-Life worth the $10 STEAM offers it for? I never played it, and I feel like I should. But it's so old...

ElephantGuts:
Great review.

Can anyone tell me, is the original Half-Life worth the $10 STEAM offers it for? I never played it, and I feel like I should. But it's so old...

Its worth it. You have to remenber that its old but its worth.

Its still one of the best FPS when it comes to AI. The US Marines are probably the best example of stellar AI found in a FPS. Theres also the giant piranha alien that will make you think twice everytime you enter water in any video game!

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