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Jacing It Up

Half-Life 2: A Necessary Pass or Necessary Play?

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Back in 2004:

Friend 1: Jace have you heard? Half-Life 2 came out for the pc. It’s being hailed as one of the best shooters to come out of 2004. Hell it even got a rating of 11 out of 10 in Maximum PC! You should buy it and play it Jace.
Jace: Sure. Does it have high system requirements?
Friend 1: Nah don’t worry it isn’t so bad.

(Three hours and 50 dollars later)

Jace (on the phone): So hi I bought Half-Life 2 and it sure does look great. Only problem is that uh, well…
Friend 1: What?
Jace: Yeah my computer can’t run this.
Friend 1: You said it looked great!
Jace: The box. I haven’t loaded the game yet because of Steam and even pass that the game just crashes on load.
Friend 1: WTF is steam?
Jace: Yeah….you better hold on from buying it because I have to tell you what you have to go through to play Half-Life 2.
Friend 1: (Silence)

As many can attest, this was the common scene among the gamer community when Half-Life 2 hit the streets back in late 2004. Considered to be the “Crysis” of 04, Half-Life 2 was a real back breaker in terms of computer hardware. But how does it compare to the modern games? And more importantly should people even play a game that was originally released in 2004!?


Well to understand the Half-Life 2, one must go all the way back to the year 1999. Released by the relatively unknown developer, Valve Software, Half-Life hit the shelves and became and instant classic. Setting a new standard in FPS, Half-Life brought an epic level of story and game play. Many gamers have never seen such depth and complexity when venturing throughout the world of Half-Life. As one IGN writer said, “The use of scripted events made it feel like you were the star of a $200 million Hollywood sci-fi/action/horror movie. And for those of us who played Half-Life upon its release, you couldn't shake the feeling that you were playing something revolutionary and memorable.” Hailed as one of the greatest FPS of all time, it used visual cinematics, environment, story, and game play to shape an astounding game. Many gamers were in awe and became eager to play the long awaited sequel. Fast forward to 2004, gamers were all excited after a 5 year hiatus to once again venture in the shoes of Gordon Freeman and continue his journey.

With the release of Half-Life 2, many gamers wondered if they would get a game that would equal the quality of the original Half-Life. None were let down as Half-Life 2 went above and beyond the original Half-Life. Continuing the plot from the original, Earth has been invaded by the Combine and now it is Gordon’s job to join the resistance. Without spoiling too much of the story, the plot of Half-Life 2 is well structured and interesting. It keeps the player attentive to the world that he or she is entrenched in. Making his spooky return from Half-Life, the G-Man drops in and makes his creepy appearance in the beginning and throughout most of the game. He carefully watches Gordon as he traverses through Post-Combine City 17. Other notable characters such as Barney, Dr. Kleiner, and Dr. Vance appear with very pivotal roles within the story. New additions such as Alyx and Dr. Breen make great additions to the story. Carrying the great tradition of story telling from the original, Half-Life 2 surrounds the player in a story that leaves them wanting more of Dr. Gordon Freeman!


Although story telling may be a strong point for Half-Life 2, the graphical hurtle of 2004 was the biggest draw back of game. Probably considered the most daunting game to run on a system, Half-Life 2 was beautiful to play if and only if you could render the game itself! But if you were one of the select few that had a pretty expensive rig (usually 1500 plus), one would find the most fulfilling graphical game to date. From the backdrop and expansive City 17 to the prison-like Nova Prospect, environmental detail was pitch-perfect. Human character models looked life-like while the zombie models liked gruesome and grotesque. For its time period, Half-Life 2 was well above the curve. But how does it compare against the newer games? Many gamers will say “Jace, this game came out in 2004! That is like over 9000 years ago in the gaming world! ” Even though it has been over 6 years since its initial release, I must admit that the game still looks graphical up to date with many of the games out in the market today. It may not be as realistic as “Crysis” but it does a damn good job looking good for a game that was out when Crysis was a mere idea. Unlike games that came from the same year, Half-Life 2 is still being updated from time to time with the most recent (Yesterday!!!) update being a graphical update. Bottom line, Half-Life 2 is good then and is still great 6 years later.

So did I ever get to play Half-Life 2 in 2004? Yes I was able to but at much lower graphical settings. However, did it hinder the experience of Half-Life 2? I confidently say NO! Furthermore with the advancement of technology, I fully enjoy the game at the highest settings that it has to offer. But more importantly has Half-Life 2 made an impact on my life as a gamer? Well to answer, I mark my life as a gamer before and after Half-Life 2. Before, I was missing out on the greatest First Person Shooter ever made. After, I had experienced something special that went well above and beyond any FPS I have played before and after it. So is it a necessary play or pass? IT IS DEFINTELY A NECESSAY PLAY! At 10 dollars it is a bargain with the Orange Box being the greatest deal to any new gamer. So People go out and play Half-Life 2 because you don’t know what you’re missing! (Mainly the Gravity Gun...God what a great invention....)


Pros:
Great Story that entrenches the player
Graphics has keep up with the changing times
Only 10 Dollars on Steam!

Cons:
Graphics still show some signs of aging
Requires steam which can be a pain under a weak internet connection/computer


Rating: 10/10

IGN TOP 25 Pc Games- Half-Life is number 6!
http://pc.ign.com/articles/101/1011624p4.html

Trailer with some great play footage:


Bob Vu/Jacing It Up
Gamegavel.com Writer

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Comments

  1. Dhalamar's Avatar
    The modern versions require Steam, but that game came out long before Steam ever did if you get ahold of one of THOSE releases. heh

    And I personally think the graphics have held up beautifully. That old source engine still has a hell of a lot of "steam" in it (no pun intended :P )
  2. JestersChef83's Avatar
    Nice opening with the friend dialog. This blog brought back memories of good times due to the solid foundations of the HL franchise - former CS CAL-m guy here...and it also reminded me of my hatred for Steam, lol. I'm sure it's gotten better since I last cared to use it, but since then, I've transitioned back to my roots in console gaming. Still would rather have a mouse and keyboard over dual analog joysticks for ANY fps tho!

    Look forward to reading more of your stuff - even reviews of 6+ year old games!
  3. Jacing It Up's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhalamar
    The modern versions require Steam, but that game came out long before Steam ever did if you get ahold of one of THOSE releases. heh

    And I personally think the graphics have held up beautifully. That old source engine still has a hell of a lot of "steam" in it (no pun intended :P )

    LOL so true....

    Quote Originally Posted by JestersChef83
    Nice opening with the friend dialog. This blog brought back memories of good times due to the solid foundations of the HL franchise - former CS CAL-m guy here...and it also reminded me of my hatred for Steam, lol. I'm sure it's gotten better since I last cared to use it, but since then, I've transitioned back to my roots in console gaming. Still would rather have a mouse and keyboard over dual analog joysticks for ANY fps tho!

    Look forward to reading more of your stuff - even reviews of 6+ year old games!
    I have meet many people throughout the past years playing on Steam games (especially CS). Oh it has a bit and it just got updated since macs now support steam LOLLOLOLOL...gaming on mac is the in thing but my pc will keep beating through the masses on TF2 !

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