Half-Life 2 is one of those games that you hear a lot about (if you’re a loser like me. Which Parny is and, chances are if you’re reading this, you are too.) Mainly, you hear that there’s a constant, long-standing, undying desire for Half-Life 3. From this, you glean that 2 must be something special. It’s got a similar reputation and level of reverence as Ocarina of Time. Anything that’s this over-hyped tends to be a letdown, which is why I am attempting to give myself Star Wars Amnesia. Anyway, H2 lives up to its reputation.
When I started playing it, I was expecting it to have a revolutionary game mechanic like its partner title Portal, which deserves its own post. It does have one particularly enjoyable mechanic in the shape of the Gravity Gun, which is simple but brilliant, but it’s not the core of the game play. Above all, it’s a really well made first person shooter game. It’s like Apple Macs – there are some new ideas which make for great features, but what it does best is take existing technology and make it all work seamlessly and effectively. It’s a first person shooter that has the perfect blend of action, story, and problem-solving. All of these elements are in proportion and finely tuned to compliment each other.
It’s fun and satisfying, until you reach that cliff hanger at the end of Half-Life 2 Episode 2. I’ve only recommend Half-Life 2 rather than the add-ons Episode 1 and Episode 2, because I don’t want you to become an incomplete wreck of man, leaping on clues in source code and weeping when they come to nothing, waiting for Half-Life 3 and the resolution to the story. No one needs that. No one.