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Reviews Comments: Half Life 2 Half Life 2 whole series review by CPF Mfan

The Half Life series is often lauded as being one of the greatest FPS series of all time, with almost everyone saying its completely perfect. Simply put: it's not. Its great, but not perfect. Let me explain in this review of Half Life 2: The game is often lauded for its great production values, enemy AI, immersion, physics engine, and easy modding tools. It deserves a lot of this praise, but the game no doubt has some problems. For example: some of the "puzzles" are really really stupid. Like in one chapter, "Route Canal", you make your way through a sewer, gunning down a whole bunch of Civil Protection officers, when you come across this unreachable area. To get to the area and proceed, you must locate a valve on a pipe to flood the sewer. Thats not even a puzzle. Thats just "find this random red thing located in a red and gray background". However most of the puzzles are pretty good, especially the ones with the gravity gun. Also, I never really felt immersed. Maybe its the giant health bar, or the fact that you cant see your hands while driving, but I never really felt that I was' Gordon Freeman. One more thing: my biggest complaint with the game is that the gunplay is horribly unbalanced. While the MP7 (SMG) and the USP Match (pistol) feel powerful when you are fighting CP officers, they simply feel like toys when fighting combine soldiers (it takes over a dozen MP7 shots to kill one soldier). Later in the game, the only really useful weapon is the shotgun. It kills most enemies with one shot at close range, has plentiful ammo, and has tight enough spread for medium range fighting. The Colt Python (magnum) and the crossbow have nowhere near enough ammo to be effective in normal gameplay. The AR2 is pretty powerful and is a bit more accurate than the shotgun, but the shotgun is still way stronger. Now this might sound like I'm bashing the game, but I'm only pointing out its flaws because the game receives enough praise as it is. It has good AI (even on the resistance members), high quality voice acting, likable characters (especially Alyx) and an awesome physics engine. However, its not the perfect god send everyone makes it out to be. Its a great game (the pros far outweigh the cons), but not perfect.

Final Verdict: 8/10 I'd recommend buying it on steam, but chances are you already have.


  • Frostfef
  • 25th Jan 11
I agree completely: however, I actually felt very immersed, when i was being chased by combine, hearing them shout orders, I felt like I was the one they were after. In Ravenholm, when a blood curtling cry from a zombie sounded in the distance, I got goosebumps... When a fast zombie charged me from a distance, and i had only one round of ammo: I was scared for my life. I think that whether or not you feel immersed, depends on what type of gamer you are: If you are a Hardcore gamer: you probabaly wont feel very immersed, but you'll enjoy the game. If you are a casual gamer, or hobbyist, you will be much more likely to feel immersed. It really depends on your mindset.
  • BonsaiForest
  • 25th Jan 11
I didn't feel immersed at all. It totally felt like a game the whole way through. Things like having characters talk while you're able to jump around and act like a screwball during the "not-cutscenes", the blatantly scripted moments, all did more to take me out of the game than anything else. Cutscenes exist for a reason. Being locked in a room because a group of idiots are holding a conversation and refusing to open the door until it's over is neither entertaining nor immersive; quite the opposite of both. And the scripted moments feel like I'm not in control. Cutscenes in first-person just feel unnatural to me.

I feel much more immersed playing Uncharted, which doesn't resort to some of these tricks, or when it does, speeds them up so the game still flows well and feels more natural.
  • comodapoltrona
  • 25th Jan 11
It was immersive enough. The cutscenes were annoying because they were too long, but making them out of body wouldn't have been better save that they might have been skippable. The biggest problem was the last part, the overly long romp through the boring citadel with no guns and constant nonchallenging enemies and elevator puzzles. Blargh.
  • Scardoll
  • 26th Jan 11
Odd, I never had trouble getting ammo for the magnum.

I agree with the general gix of the review, however. A good game, a great game, but not a perfect game.
  • CPFMfan
  • 8th Feb 11
You never had trouble with magnum? Ammo is only in like 4 spots in the entire game, and you can only carry 12 spare rounds at a time.
  • Scardoll
  • 9th Feb 11
Nope, still didn't have a problem.

I did tend to break out the Magnum only when I needed some extra punch (Since using it on Antlions is a waste), but I almost always had ammo.

Speaking of Antlions, God, I hated Highway 17.
  • RadioactiveSpider
  • 26th Mar 11
I agree with this review. It's unfortunate that it gets so hyped, because it's a good game that can be ruined by Hype Backlash.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it feels like you're not actually Gordon Freeman. Everyone says the game is so immersive because Gordon has no personality, but it just has the opposite effect for me. Then again, maybe that's because no arms, no legs + Heroic Mime is one of my pet peeve tropes. Never was a fan of AFGNCAAP.
  • 26th Mar 11
Immersion, like free-roam, is overrated.
  • CPFMfan
  • 27th Mar 11
Never said anything about immersion being bad, just that this particular game didn't have it. I understand that it's not a roleplaying game or anything, but it does not feel realistic or immersive. If you're going to make it so in this game you can't talk to anyone, you have to go through heavily railroaded levels, you have to sit in a room while people talk, you can take hundreds of bullets before dying, etc. Also, I didn't feel like this game was scary. When I saw a bunch of zombies limping towards me, I didn't think "OH SHIT", I thought, "Oh, here comes another bunch of enemies that I can kill with one shot".
  • Heartbreaker
  • 28th Mar 11
First off, this review seems kind of amateurish. Not bad, just worded a bit oddly.

One of the big problems I had with Half-Life 2 was that it was very scripted. Sure, the setpieces and scripted events were nice on the first playthrough, but after a while it just sort of lost its spark.

The actual gameplay and action was pretty boring, there wasn't much that was really unique, and even the gravity gun was a bit gimicky and not as useful as it could have been. I also really, really despised Route Kanal, mostly because it didn't have nearly enough scripted stuff to cover up the rather boring action.

It wasn't very immersive either, and the supposedly exhilarating and creepy Ravenholm level ended up being much more of a mindless killfest than I ever expected. Granted, I came in with high expectations, but how could I not with all the hype?

And am I the only one who thinks that a couple of the levels dragged on way too long? Water Hazard really started to annoy me after a while, even if the end was nice and satisfying.
  • gunarao
  • 25th Apr 11
I agree, Route Kanal was pretty bad. I'm glad I toughed it out though (HL 2 from Route Kanal, to when you get back to City 17 was a real slog.)
  • CPFMfan
  • 1st May 11
Strange, I liked Route Canal and Water Hazard, maybe because I just felt like I was racking up a body count on the squishy cops. Though I do tend to like levels no one else does, like the Prophet of Regret boss battle from Halo 2 or the infamous Xen from the original Half Life.
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 9th Nov 11
I find it amusing that you didn't feel immersed in a game with a silent protagonist and no cutscenes.

I'm not saying you're wrong and whilst I haven't played the game I personally find those cutscenes immersion breaking in Assassins Creed because you either try really hard to act like a person and fail because the body is a lot more than a moving square window or don't try and end up with characters playing out a cutscene as though you weren't there (or desperately ignoring you whilst moving pots). Also from videos there seems to be way too many jumping elements for a game where you don't appear to have a proper body and don't have to land realistically.

But I haven't played the game so I can't say either way, it's just funny because it's a game that's done a lot in the name of immersion and yet with you thats the one thing they haven't done right
  • eveil
  • 10th Nov 11

  • maninahat
  • 11th Nov 11
The guns are a tad disapointing, and there are far too few to have fun (where are the sciencey guns?). I think that the idea though is that you use certain weapons on certain enemies: save the pistol for head crabs, the smg for the squishy cops, the pulse rifle for the soldiers etc. I don't think they get it quite right due to the lack of variety, but I don't think it is a deal breaker in any way.

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