Half Life 2

January 27, 2008 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Nearly seven years later and Half Life is reborn. How good is it on the Xbox?

Remember the opening cut scene of Half Life, it’s almost “operatic quality”, as Dr. Gordon Freeman is escorted into the largely corporate, largely secular, absolutely huge underground scientific facility known as Black Mesa. As we watched, the ten minute escort led us into a new scope that has become a hallmark in games – a scientific dissociative Twilight Zone-ish game that made us stop and say, “What is going on” as much as “I’m curious whats ahead”.

Half Life 2 follows thought. Dr. Gordon Freeman continues on the path started in the New Mexico complex in 1998. Half Life 2 in awesome. It gets better the more and more you go through it. The story is parallel to 1984 and “Brazil” where corporation(s) began to controll the planet. We see this as we start City 17 walking through the dilapidated train system. Xbox’s Half Life 2 has two additional episodes that do more to explain the story than the original. After the train station in the orriginal, the story is mostly back dropped and instead focuses on action, which is unfortunate but it does end well.

Though the story isn’t much in original the characters are the best I have ever seen in a video game. The limited but well expressed characters: you, Dr. Eli Vance, his daughter Alyx, Dr. Isaac Kleiner, and Black Mesa’s Dr. Breen (oh yeah, and “Dog” – a must see ), are so well done it will stop and make you pause and appreciate the subtle gestures they make. We don’t see them enough in the original but thank goodness we get to see them a good bit in the following episodes. Half Life Episode 2 is the best, most involving story I have played yet in a video game.

HL2 Screen

On the FPS front Half Life isn’t top dog and the action scenes are more mechanically exciting than say movie exciting. I found the responsiveness of hitting someone with a rocket or shot to be unresponsive. But it was a pleasure to use the weapons because they were weighted nice. Where Half Life shines is its custom-designed Havok physics engine. This means being able to manipulate objects, all objects, in HL2 as if they were real objects. It puts battles as I have never seen them before – I never operated a crane before and… wooo-weee! This physics though and how characters respond can be kinda creepy -watching characters falling off bridges can make you stop and pause. Half Life 2 really seems to be involved around the physics engine so maybe it shouldn’t be grouped in FPS – don’t expect your standard fire and grenade.

The AI ( my achilles in today’s games ) is dam good. I personally don’t think companies take enough time to great a good AI and often defer the CPU to graphical tasks. I fact, a lot of times I jumped as I didn’t expect a person to be chasing me, or was surprised at how predictive a grenade throw could be.

The detail missed in Half Life 2 that could have brought more to Half Life is the music – there really isn’t any. The ability to connect events and provide importance to events can be a good music clip. Unfortunately the music is filtered to a few occasionaly rock star clips.

Overall though Half Live 2 is a new, innovative, creative and the story gets better and better the further you get into it.

4.5 X’s
5/5

  • (+) Characters and scenes set up well.
  • (+) Gameplay is polished.
  • (-) alot of sharp edges to get stuck on.
  • (-) multiple load times – twiddle thumbs.
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Entry filed under: xbox 360.

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Xbox Game Quick Review is a non-commercial review site and means to give quick unbiased reviews. I love gaming. A good original game is the best thing. I couldn't find any websites that gave good fast reviews, so I began renting from GameFly and thought this the perfect chance to share my experiences. No spoilers here. :) I am without Xbox Live so none of my reviews will reflect this. Hope you like the site. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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