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About the Game

 Platform:    PC
 Publisher:    Vivendi Univ.
 Developer:    Valve
 Genre:    Action
 ESRB Rating    Mature
 Players    1
 Release Date:    Nov. 16, 2004
 Difficulty    Average
 Other    5 CDs
 Internet Required

Pros & Cons

    Stunning Graphics and Visuals
Works well on most computers
Amazing Ideas and Concepts
    Storyline isn't amazing
Online activation

The Low-Down

 Gameplay:    9.7
 Graphics:    10
 Presentation:    10
 Sound:    10
 Lasting Appeal:    9
 Total Grade:    9.8



"Much has changed since Gordon left Black Mesa"

Six years.  It has been six years since we last saw Gordon Freeman.  Six years since Valve revolutionized the first-person shooter genre.  Six years fans have waited.  And finally--finally Half-Life 2 has found its way to the shelves.

The game opens in relatively the same way the first one began, however much has change since Gordon left Black Mesa.  Gordon awakes to find himself traveling on a train to one of the last cities in existence, City 17. 

When you walk off the train, you will find yourself in area much different than you see today.  Surrounding the city are Combine forces who have taken everything under their strict control.  It even seems like the Combine's have their own hierarchy.  While walking around, you will see one of the soldiers cleaning up trash, like a janitor.

For the story, I will leave you there.  However, I must assure you that the story, while it isn't as great as the first, is very good.  You will find yourself addicted to the game just trying to find out what truth will unfold next.  You can't wait to see the storyline develop.

I must admit, while the game isn't amazingly innovative, it combines the best aspects of a first-person shooter and action game into one.  Everything in this game is just amazing.  Also, unlike in HL1, you will find yourself spending near equal time on foot and in vehicles.  All of this making the game extremely interesting and not repetitive at all. 

"It combines the best aspects of a first-person shooter and action game into one"

Gamers will also find many new, and old, weapons in the game.  One again, I won't ruin the surprises, but I will tell you that some of the weapons you get are, well, nice.  Quite nice.  You will find the return of weapons such as the Pistol and Machine Gun, which are definitely new and improved.  The pistol for example makes a debut in a much more attractive yet deadly form.  Still, the coolest gun in the game, is one unlike any we have seen before--the gravity gun.

Defy gravity.  Lift extremely heavy objects.  Drag items towards you like Luke Skywalker would do with "the force".  The gravity gun is a huge and jaw dropping addition to the game.  Picture this: you are running around attacking enemies and one of the NPC's throws a grenade at you.  You whip out the gravity gun, suck the grenade towards you, and shoot it back at that NPC's, killing them.  As you can see, you will have a lot of fun with this weapon throughout the game.

Just like in HL1, Valve flawlessly gets gamers used to new weapons like these.  Without ruining too much, I will tell you this: when you first get the gravity gun, you will learn how to use it with a nice game of "catch" with one heck of an "animal."  Valve clearly thought-out parts of this game for a while.

I'm sure we all remember the "interesting" looking characters Valve designed for Half-Life.  Well, I must admit, they put a lot of work into fixing the lifeless corpses they created before.  In HL2, things just seem realistic.  Characters are wonderfully designed with great texture, dynamics, and several dozen facial animations to express the emotion of any situation.  The graphics in this game are simply astounding.  For all of you that thought Doom III crushed all other games in visual beauty, wait until you see HL2.

One of the great things about HL2 is that it can run on limited systems.  Sure, it will look best if you have one juiced-up computer, but even with the average computer on the market, this game will run with hardly any hiccups.  This is something that games like Doom III could do nothing for.  If your running a decent system that isn't top-of-the-line, don't worry, this game should work for you!

Overall, Half-Life 2 will definitely please any gamer on the market.  We've waited for six years for this sequel, and luckily that time wasn't wasted in designing this game.  However, please note, to play the game, you must have an internet connection to register the game. 

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