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Platform: PC
Genre: Shooter
Publisher: Vivendi
Developer: Valve
ETA: 2004 (Maybe)


Related Links:

Review: Half-Life (PC)

Review: Halo (PC)

Review: No One Lives Forever 2 (PC)

Review: Painkiller (PC)




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Half-Life 2


half-life 2 preview          half-life 2 preview


Much, much ink has been spent extolling the virtues of Half-Life 2 (HL2) so it’s difficult to find anything new to bring to the table.  Did you know about the realistic physics?  The Source engine?  The facial detail of each character?  The theft of the HL2 code last September?  Chances are you know just about “everything” there is to know about the sequel to one of the best PC games ever.  Like me, you’re tired of reading about how great HL2 will be – that it will cure cancer and come packed with a guaranteed orgasm; you’re ready to play this damn thing!  The sooner the better.  Fine tuning is one thing but we're tired of waiting.


After forever, Vivendi finally stamped an official fact sheet at E3.  The text below may not be “endorsed by Gamespot” but, what the hell, we will:


1998: Half-Life sends a shock through the game industry with its combination of pounding action and continuous, immersive storytelling. Valve's debut title wins more than 50 game-of-the-year awards on its way to being named Best PC Game Ever by PC Gamer, and launches a franchise with more than eight million retail units sold worldwide.


Now: Half-Life 2.


By taking the suspense, challenge, and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, Half-Life 2 opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors – even the emotions – of both friends and enemies.


The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people – people he cares about – are counting on him.


The intense, real-time gameplay of Half-Life 2 is made possible only by Source, Valve's new proprietary engine technology. Source provides major enhancements in:


CHARACTERS: Advanced facial animation system delivers the most sophisticated ingame characters ever seen. With 40 distinct facial "muscles," human characters convey the full array of human emotion, and respond to the player with fluidity and intelligence.


PHYSICS: Objects; from pebbles to water to 2-ton trucks; respond as expected, as they obey the laws of mass, friction, gravity, and buoyancy.


GRAPHICS: Source's shader-based renderer, like the one used at Pixar to create movies such as Toy Storyand Monster's , Inc., creates the most beautiful and realistic environments ever seen in a video game.


AI: Neither friends nor enemies charge blindly into the fray. They can assess threats, navigate tricky terrain, and fashion weapons from whatever is at hand. AI Allies take only calculated risks. Cover them and they'll advance to help you.

I’ve got a real problem with the idea that Freeman has to save the world “from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa.”  Was that his fault?  Weren’t the wheels set in motion before Freeman became involved?  He did a pretty good job of blowing the Xen aliens back to their own dimension and killing that weird-as-hell alien boss, so what makes him responsible for the mess?


Everything else I don’t have a problem with because I’ve seen the videos and talked with Omni about seeing HL2 first hand.  No doubt it will be cool to play when it finally does ship, but if you’re



like me, you’re already thinking about the mod possibilities that the Half-Life community will produce.  You can bet someone out there will create a Half-Life redux using the HL2 engine.  There’s ample evidence that Counter-Strike will be made available soon after HL2’s release.  But what else will the community produce?  With the inclusion of vehicles in HL2 the creative possibilities open right up.


half-life 2 preview          half-life 2 preview


One aspect that I’m very interested in is the hard requirements.  Will I need a top of the line everything to run it?  Earlier reports pegged HL2 as being friendly to all speeds of hardware, with the most eye-candy reserved for those with expensive hardware.  Right now, it’s anyone’s guess.


No one has been able to nail down a release date for Half-Life 2, but rumor has it that we’ll see it before the end of 2004.  Maybe.


- D.D. Nunavut

(June 16, 2004)