Legendary PC romp Half-Life 2 turned 11 on the 16th of November, and my word what an occasion to be all whimsical.
Normally on Professional Moron we grumble and complain about how the modern games industry is plagued by violent first-person shooters. This is, in fact, entirely the case, but there are FPSs which stand out like a disease-ridden thumb in amongst a batch of sore thumbs.
Why? As it’s a masterpiece of excellence, with its science-fiction elements, clearly influenced by the likes of Ridley Scott’s Alien and Philip K. Dick styled wonderlands, intensity and, most surprising of all, a brilliant script!
Strong scripts in video games are an extreme rarity. Indeed, “watch” any modern video game and the dialogue and narrative structure is plain old embarrassing.
There are notable a few notable exceptions, such as Grim Fandango and the Curse of Monkey Island, but generally it’s wise for video games to steer well clear of dialogue, voice acting, and complex narrative structures.
This is why Half-Life 2 is positively miraculous in its delivery of a compelling storyline. Developers Valve seamlessly integrates the story with the game with a strong and intelligent story, heavily influenced by dystopian tales such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Indeed, the Big Brother theme runs throughout.
It stunned the games community on its release in 2004 due to its innovation. The player is Gordon Freeman (not related to Morgan Freeman) and it relies on physics and science elements to create a heavily interactive environment. Think of Doom but the ability to pick up objects and hurl them about and you’re there.
Essentially it’s a standard FPS, but with so much innovation within the genre it’s genuinely astounding. Dr. Freeman must save society and all that, but the items you receive (such as a gravity gun which manipulates the environment) allows all manner of clever uses. Puzzle solving or attempting to flee a horde of zombie and face-hugger hybrids, this one’s key to your arsenal.
We don’t want to give too much away so we’ll be brief. Half-Life 2 is brooding, scary, funny, inventive, compelling, incredibly bloody intense, and an outright joy to play. It’s the intensity which powers it along, however, and it’s genuinely exhilarating in a way not many games have matched or surpassed. Full marks, then, to the brilliant Valve – 10/10!
The Best Game Ever?
It’s been claimed by some media outlets Half-Life 2 is the best game ever. Well, it’s subjective isn’t it? It’s undoubtedly one of the best games ever, but we’d say the unholy brilliance of the Super Metroid offers a more entertaining package, particular the trilogy closer Corruption.
Regardless, Half-Life 2 is one of the best, so get the damn thing. Why? As there’s no excuse not to. Where can you buy it? Head to Steam, or you can get it on the PS3 or Xbox 360. It’s imperative you play it. We’ll shed real tears if you don’t, and you don’t want to see Mr. Wapojif cry – it necessitates the riot police!
Okay, so Valve also released two DLC packs for the game. Half-Life 2 – Episode One (2006) got everything rolling and it’s a fine addition to the first game.
The only downside? This one feels quite short and you’re left begging for me. But it’s an absolute must for anyone who loves the series. It advances Gordon Freeman’s narrative and you get to do some more crazy stuff.
Finally, the mysterious end to the series. Potentially. Half-Life 2 – Episode Two (2007) is an absolute blast. A thoroughly intense and dramatic addition to the first game and one that lasts far longer than the first.
It’s the title that offers the most impressive graphics, but above everything is the usual batch of crazed intensity. This includes a spectacular raid on a security facility towards the end of the game. An absolute must.