Half-Life 2 is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation and it’s the sequel to the successful Half-Life. The game was released in November 2004 after five years of development, but it could’ve been released one year earlier. It was delayed because of a leak into the internet of the game’s source code.
Half-Life 2 is available for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems and was ported to the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in the Orange Box Compilation Package. The game won over forty “Game of the Year” awards for the year 2004.
Half-Life 2 uses the Source engine which includes a heavily modified version of the Havok Physics engine. The Source engine is a 3D game engine developed by Valve Corporation and it supports Consoles and PCs.
Half-Life 2 takes place in a fictional world unknown years after the events and alien invasion of Half-Life. Like in the original Half-Life, you play as a scientist named Gordon Freeman, who battled against an alien invasion, but did he win? At the end of Half-Life, the mysteries G-Man offered Gordon Freeman two options - to work for him, or to be killed. Frankly, we all know what the choice was.
Half-Life 2 - The Mysterious G-Man
At the start of Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman has a hallucination, where G-Man speaks to him and wakes him up from the vision, and you start on a train going to City 17 to be introduced to the new world. After Gordon gets off the train and proceeds through security, a Combine officer arrests him and later on he reveals himself to be Barney Calhoun, who was Freeman’s co-worker in Half-Life. The action begins after Barney helps Gordon get to a laboratory where he will meet Dr. Isaac Kleiner, and will enter a teleport which is supposed to send him back to Black Mesa East, but the doctors pet – a head crab, disrupts the machine and it teleports him just outside the laboratory. After that Barney Calhoun throws you the good old Crowbar from the original Half-Life, and that’s where the fun starts.
Half-Life 2 - G-man Vision before traveling to City 17
Like in the first Half-Life, the player takes the perspective of Gordon Freeman through the whole game, which utilizes sequences of puzzles, breaking combat moments, and fully operative vehicles. The player navigates through all this while fighting with the Combine troops and Alien creatures using modern-day weapons, like submachine-guns, shotguns, and pistols. Half-Life 2 features a set of new fictional weapons such as the Zero-Point energy field manipulator or we can just call it the “Gravity Gun”, the “Pheromone” that gives you the ability to command hostile alien creatures, and a pulse rifle that shoots dark energy balls which molders your enemies when in contact. The Gravity Gun is probably the most used weapon in the game, because it is needed to solve most of the puzzles in game, and it’s also used to pick up objects and hurl them at enemies, grabbing ammo from distance, flipping vehicles and more. The HUD at the bottom of the screen is pretty simple. It displays the player’s health, ammo status, and energy. Also, when the player scrolls with the mouse (default controls), a toggle menu appears on the top of the screen. Health and Energy can be replenished by using charging devices seen on walls, or just by using medical kits and energy cells. Although the Original Half-Life featured operative trains, Half-Life 2 introduces new vehicles such as the buggy and the airboat, which can be fully controlled by the player and can offer an exciting action chasing thrill. With valves state of the art graphics engine, the environments are beautiful to look at, and some of the alien life forms might look a bit scary because of that, which is thrilling.
Half-Life 2 - Source Engine State of the Art Graphics
Similar to the original Half-Life, Gordon Freeman never speaks through the entire game. Sure there are a lot of cinematic moments in Half-life 2 and Half-Life, like you are a part of a big story-line from a sci-fi movie, but the lack of cut-scenes makes the story-line a little un-explained and raises a lot of mysteries and questions, which can be disappointing to some people who wanted to see the raised question from the original Half-Life answered. Like the personality of the Mysterious G-man, who extracts you at the end of Half-Life 2 and offers you an employment.
Half-Life 2 - Almost at the Ending
The Art Director of Half-Life 2 is Viktor Antonov, who lived in Bulgaria when he was a child, which was in Eastern Europe. The environments and maps in Half-Life 2 are designed in such an Eastern-Europe stylish environment because the developers were fascinated by the combination of old and new structures and architecture.
Half-Life 2 - Eastern-Europe Architecture
Half-Life 2 does not have a Multiplayer Mode, instead it came with Counter-Strike: Source, which was an upgraded version of the old Counter-Strike, and uses the Source Engine. A few weeks later after the release of Half-Life 2, Valve Corporation released Half-Life 2: Deathmatch on the Steam network, which was technically a Multiplayer Half-Life 2. The objective of the multiplayer was to kill everybody you see, and as many as possible in either a team deathmatch or a free-for-all deathmatch. The Xbox version of Half-Life 2 did not have Multiplayer, but the Orange Box compilation for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 included Team Fortress 2, which was Multiplayer. Source SDK “Software Development Kit” was released on steam, which gives the opportunity to level designers and environment artists to create maps for Half-Life 2: Deathmatch and all the other Multiplayer games.
Half-Life 2 - Multiplayer Deathmatch
Half-Life 2 has to be the best Single-Player First-person shooter ever. Although the game is quite easy, and you won’t have a hard time killing your enemies, the amazing cinematic moments make you feel like you are starring In a sci-fi movie, and that you are actually out there on the field, with the world being enslaved by the unknown Combine alien forces, and Alien life-forms. Valves state of the art engine will make this entire combination look stunning. Half-Life 2 is a MUST-BUY not just for the Half-Life fans, but for everyone who adores the First-Person shooter genre.