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Half-Life 2

Developer: Valve Corporation Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
16 November 2004
Half-Life 2 - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.21 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
3,760 Ratings / 8 Reviews
#43 All-time
#4 for 2004
The Seven Hour War is lost. Earth has surrendered. The Black Mesa incident is a distant memory. Reawakened from stasis in the occupied metropolis of City 17, Gordon Freeman is joined by Alyx Vance as he leads a desperate human resistance movement striking out against the Combine.
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Former Black Mesa scientist Gordon Freeman is awoken from stasis by the mysterious G-Man and finds himself in "City 17", the headquarters of a dystopian alien empire called the Combine, which has conquered Earth. There, he reunites with several Black Mesa scientists and helps resistance members and defeat the Combine in an effort to free mankind.
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2004 Valve Sierra  
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2004 Valve  
2005 Valve EA  
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Title
Undoubtedly one of the most influential games of all time but like some others have already said, it feels pretty empty. Not really in a "dystopian empty" way but in a way that I can't immerse myself into the game because it has that feeling of being in a gmod map in the way that you know there's nothing beyond the confines of the map. Also my enjoyment of the game went down quite a bit after Ravenholm (still like the rest of this game), but it's still a 4 because of how amazing that stretch of the beginning to Ravenholm is. The ending section is also very good. Just wish the latter-middle section of the game was more interesting.
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Have you heard the bad news?
Because you've already heard everything that's to be heard about this game related to the good parts.

1 - Amazing graphics for the time;
2 - Viktor Antonov's crazily unique art direction for the game, seriously go and look up the concept art;
3 - you get to witness the birth of modern FPS, TPS and all other action-adventure games nowadays in general;
4 - thrilling execution and immersion;
5 - good (although sparse) audio and OST;
6 - a crazy, powerful new engine that makes the experience;
7 - everything is virtually unforgettable. No moment, person or place you'll forget. The craft is amazing.

Now, Half-Life 2 has 3 major, undeniable problems:

1 - the "brainy" parts, too dumb and easy due to incompetent playtesters;
2 - the forced physics mechanics, that should have just been made more for emergent gameplay instead of idiotic "shoot the explosive barrel" bits and the like;
3 - the weird slow pace that makes it clunky.

The new experience Valve made (the story and action-packed cinematic adventure) with this game, that influenced all of the games coming after it, is also the reason for all of these shortcomings: they did it first but didn't do it just right.

Playing it is a chore. It's the classic sin of "shopping list" gaming, where there is no fluidity among objectives, even if they're put in a straight line. The natural feeling of Half-Life 1, that played between the height and space of levels is now replaced by move, stop - shoot, stop - puzzle, move again.

The semplicity has kind of been kept, but lost, as the design fails, giving you no ability to aim again but putting you in situations where aiming is necessary for example; you must throw grenades at the snipers all of the time and avoid them, but never get a rifle with a sight. You get a gimmicky level where you use the sand ants to help you with the enemies, that are useless and boring, just to give a sense of movement on screen and control (that was scrapped in the final game, replaced by a call command for teammates that is useless too), and the gravity gun gives limited excitement because there is just always one and only one way to solve things - you feel really trapped in this sandbox world that doesn't really work like one, everything is actually scripted and all other possibilities are locked.

Why? There is no answer other than the incompetence of the designers. Many steps forward on the hardest accomplishments to be ever achieved in gaming and then some dumb regressions over the simple things.

Luckily, this review is meant to be reactionary in order to write a few things down in a new perspective. The game is great for the most part; just too far from perfect. You should play it if you haven't.
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mattboa 2017-07-26T16:22:36Z
2017-07-26T16:22:36Z
8.5
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P.S.: Too easy and maybe not as good as the first one, which was just as important as this on those important fronts. HL2 could feel like an update to you.
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As a sceptic of many hyped releases across every medium (and also as a bit of a contrarian at times too if im being honest), Half Life 2 was not something I ever really payed any mind towards. I had the orange box on my ps3 growing up, played until the Nova Prospekt chapter, and just gave up. I'm glad to be able to admit that was a massive mistake (although maybe my frustration was with the game's console and not the game itself, trust me when I say this game was not meant to be played on anything other than a keyboard and mouse).

I finally committed to doing a full playthrough of this and despite all the hype, the 11/10 scores from some magazines, and the general mythos of this game all these years later, Half Life 2 is, bewilderingly, as good as people describe it. It took me a week to get to Nova Prospekt on the orange box version on PS3, whereas I beat the entire thing in one sitting on the PC. I was engrossed, every minute detail is almost flawless. the art direction, the graphics (which are still phenomenal in 2022), the story, there is literally nothing wrong with this game, apart from one or two extremely minor criticisms. I played half life 1 before I played this and I was not impressed by that, so its safe to safe my expectations for HL2 were smashed thoroughly. If ME of all people is saying this is exactly as good as people say it is, you better believe it. Absolutely ESSENTIAL, every "gamer" should play this before they die.
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soraka 2022-01-23T17:07:14Z
2022-01-23T17:07:14Z
4.5
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Removes the visual noise and circular paths from its predecessor and flows like an aqueduct. That it is one of the more linear games of its kind and yet also still feels more expansive than most is a thing of great mystery. Really it just does everything so well. To me it's the perfected rhythms of tension and release, of incentivizing forward momentum through novel affordances (weapons and vehicles), and of pure audiovisual affect: the game knows when to reveal a horizon or a sunset, and when to leave you buried or with the sun fading in the wrong direction, feeling in the shadows trapped and alone.
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nostalghia 2018-05-28T23:54:16Z
2018-05-28T23:54:16Z
4.0
11
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the only game that doesnt suck ass
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mystic3xs 2021-05-22T11:15:46Z
2021-05-22T11:15:46Z
5.0
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Certainly a sentimental favourite of mine, having called it one of, if not my favourite, game of all-time for the last 10 years or so. Re-playing it again for the first time in a while took the shine off a bit however, and it became more clear where the game works and where it doesn't so much.

I now feel the game only really kicks into gear with the introduction of the gravity gun (yes, I realise I am probably the millionth person to make this observation), with the preceding chapters, Route Kanal and Water Hazard, bringing little novelty to the table. The canals have a great feel to them, but the gameplay is too much of a non-stop barrage of dudes to shoot. The airboat chapter culminates in an attack helicopter battle, which is straight out of Half-Life 1.

The following two chapters, Ravenholm and Highway 17, represent the peak of the game, the former entirely transforming into a wholly unique horror game, and the latter an exciting driving adventure with each stop different from the last, ending in a breathtaking bridge sequence. It is in these two chapters that the game's new enemies are introduced (new zombie varieties, antlions), and combined with the gravity gun, the experience is completely unique.

What follows is the prison chapter, Nova Prospekt, which has some cool ideas (mainly the bugbait) and nice design, but is often too much of a shoot-em-up compared to the previous two chapters. Anticitizen One and Follow Freeman represent the most laborious moments of the game. The new Strider enemies are too tank-like, and the rest of the gameplay is mainly just traversing apartment blocks and rubble, shooting dudes along the way.

It now feels as though the game works best when it is quieter, with more space between battles, or in the case of Ravenholm, more outright chilling. The Combine soldier enemies are overused, which is perhaps necessary when your character is Most Wanted #1, but it leaves one desiring more breaks in action, and even missing the soldier-free solace of Ravenholm.

Naturally what made it such a monumental experience when I was younger is still present, and the consensus around the game's status in history speaks for itself. Still an essential play and an incredible game overall - the heavier emphasis on narrative than in Half-Life is a welcome addition and brilliantly written - but don't be surprised if it's not operating at full-strength for the entire duration.
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elbis 2020-05-16T02:46:22Z
2020-05-16T02:46:22Z
4.5
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Catalog

Oddball464 Half-Life 2 2022-12-04T00:14:33Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2022-12-04T00:14:33Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LenaCat Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T11:42:28Z
2022-12-03T11:42:28Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jankien Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T11:22:53Z
2022-12-03T11:22:53Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Angerj Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T11:07:49Z
2022-12-03T11:07:49Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Lunejix Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T10:59:31Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2022-12-03T10:59:31Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PsychoAct Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T10:02:12Z
2022-12-03T10:02:12Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Aarseth Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T09:31:46Z
2022-12-03T09:31:46Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bocik55 Half-Life 2 2022-12-03T07:31:36Z
2022-12-03T07:31:36Z
4.0
3
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
demonicgrowl Half-Life 2 2022-12-02T10:13:54Z
2022-12-02T10:13:54Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LavKazan Half-Life 2 2022-12-02T01:50:46Z
2022-12-02T01:50:46Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lakemachine Half-Life 2 2022-12-02T01:44:34Z
2022-12-02T01:44:34Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Doubloon00 Half-Life 2 2022-12-01T22:37:06Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2022-12-01T22:37:06Z
4
In collection Want to buy Used to own  

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  • Previous comments (64) Loading...
  • AGUMorbidD00d 2022-10-03 04:04:55.05416+00
    I am obsessed with the sound design in this game, it's a masterclass. The whole game is an astounding achievement in the marriage of tech and design, but the sound in particular, the way it informs atmosphere, physical/kinetic context, world-building, narrative pacing.

    This fucking thing is almost TWENTY YEARS OLD. Like ?????????
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  • acjd_shmacjd 2022-10-08 21:18:53.259425+00
    will actually never comprehend how you could dislike this
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  • TheRealJimMorrison 2022-10-14 02:56:17.560171+00
    Imagine if a headcrab latched itself onto your dick
    reply
    • SMZXW 2022-10-18 02:34:06.22216+00
      kleiner the week alyx went missing
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  • ThePsuedo 2022-10-31 01:24:11.049546+00
    Puzzle sections are trash. They feel so out of place
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  • Awsomename10 2022-11-05 15:21:41.774328+00
    I remember being like 10-11 only having a shitty laptop for gaming on and I would play this and Gmod non-stop. I have like 150 hours in it from just constantly replaying it over and over. Still doesn't get old even to this day.
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