Saturday, June 26, 2010

Half-Life 2

So after a lot of egging on from a gaming friend and after watching all 28 episodes of Freeman's Mind and after Steam released the title on the Mac platform I finally got around to playing Half-Life 2.  Half-Life (the original) was as well downloaded but I'm still on the extended introductory tram ride through the Mesa Research Facility.

In any case Half-Life 2 is a standalone first person shooter which in my books (and a whole lot of hardcore gamers) is a definite "must have" in the repertoire.  The game is still a technological advancement in the gaming experience offering a smooth 3D rendered experience in various indoor and outdoor environments, a great alien infestation/survival story, and a realistically rendered cast of "intelligent" computer controlled characters.

The game play can be set to a low difficulty which means the enemy characters are not impossibly hard to kill but you still have to deal with the puzzle like challenges presented through out the progress of the game.  Even more so, it's not a time dependent game leaving you to explore the beautiful environments the game has to offer and at times (almost surprisingly) rewarding your exploring nature with secret caches of am-munitions and health reviving items.  Certain levels of the game have you commandeer vehicles which thankfully is not too difficult but I find detracts from exploring every corner of the large outdoor environments of the game.

As for the story, the game is a mash of typical alien infestation movies and big brother like scenarios; though nothing original it is still well thought out and at times pokes fun at the genres.  I do not understand, however, why everyone thinks Gordon Freeman (the playable character) is such a god send when all he has done (with reference to the first game) is literally climb out of a hole and live to tell about it.  It is still quite amusing to be heralded by the non-playable characters and have the array of weapons at hand to show for it (where does Gordon keep all those guns on him?).

Half-Life 2 is fun.  I like that the game play and progress is not dependent on trigger skills and armchair reflexes.  The game is (to me) more focused on being an interactive fiction that you can pick up every now and then and blow away some aliens.  The game as well is highly re-playable and I often find myself re-playing a scenario in game when I figure a way to get through a situation with less liberal use of my ammo.  You can get Half-Life 2 on Steam for about 10$ USD.