Half Life 2 Review: Sci-Fi First Person Shooter for Windows PC

Half Life 2 Review: Sci-Fi First Person Shooter for Windows PC
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Half Life 2 Intro (5 out of 5)

Half Life 2 is a first person shooter game set in a fictional City 17. The protagonist, Gordon Freeman, fights for his survival yet again, and this time the enemies are more brutal. The destructive abilities of the Combine Forces and the spine-tingling aliens leave little doubt for survival. But, Freeman has the awe-inspiring gravity gun and some of his friends to stop the evil plans of the extra-terrestrial forces.

The unprecedented success of Half Life demanded an equally awe-inspiring follow up. Half Life 2 proved to be one of the best sequels and grabbed over 35 Game of the Year awards for 2004. This Sci-Fi first person shooter revolves around Gordon Freeman’s struggle for survival against alien creatures and the armed “Combine” in the fictional City 17.

The ending scene of Half Life shows Gordon Freeman being extracted by a mysterious G-Man who then puts him into a stasis. Half Life 2 continues with the G-Man releasing Freeman out of stasis and taking him to City 17 via rail route. The city is under control of the alien transhuman forces called the Combine, who have mysterious plans for planet earth. The story enfolds and becomes more interesting and confusing as Gordon breaks into levels and missions, battling for his survival and trying to solve the mystery behind Combine’s plans.

Gameplay (5 out of 5)

Half Life 2 is played from Gordon Freeman’s perspective. The game takes our hero to various locations of City 17 including ocean beaches of Nova Prospekt, highway stretches, prison and the huge Combine Citadel. There are also characters from the Black Mesa who team up with Freeman. Dr. Kleiner, Barney and a new character Alyx Vance help our hero out in defeating the Combine alien.

The enemy AI in Half Life 2 is not as impressive as expected. But it still challenges players by taking cover or hurling grenades. The headcrabs have environmental advantage. They will use any objects in the environment and hurl them. But sometimes, you will experience AI glitches as the “intelligent AI” forces will rush towards you rather than away from your bullets. Apart from the armed Combine, the game features some new entrants including striders, gunship, headhunters and the headcrabs. Gamers will have to confront alien forces in squads or groups and can have access to an arsenal of weapons in dealing with such situation. There are Primary weapons ranging from pistols to shotguns whereas advanced weaponry includes crossbows, pheromone pod and the famed “Gravity Gun”.

Features (5 out of 5)

The Gravity Gun:

The in-game terminology for gravity gun is Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator, but it is popularly known as the portal gun in Half Life 2. This advanced innovation was also introduced in Valve’s Portal, a puzzle-based action game. The weapon plays an important part in this game, especially in solving certain puzzles. This ultra cool device can become extremely useful in combating Combine forces, particularly in flinging back enemy grenades. Gamers also have environmental advantage as the device picks up objects to throw them at enemies or create a shield from the objects. Another great feature of the gravity gun is its ability to perform non-combat functions including clearing highways by flipping abandoned vehicles and forming semi-transparent bridges across impossible gaps.

Graphics (5 out of 5)

Graphics in Half life were revolutionary, but Half Life 2 takes the gaming experience a step further with its extraordinary presentation and advanced graphics technology, thanks to the new source engine-a modified Havok physics engine. The expansive and stunning environment makes you forget everything else. The engine excels in rendering the highway, streets, the interiors of the citadel and the abandoned factory. The animations combined with lifelike facial emotions of the characters are impressive and believable. One can see the eyes gleam with excitement, faces shuddering with fear and frowning in anger, truly amazing! Just like the game, the Half Life 2 trailer is also quite awesome.

Multiplayer (4 out of 5)

Half Life 2’s multiplayer is divided into two parts, one is Counter Strike: Source and another is the HL2 deathmatch set in the Half Life 2 environment. Most gamers are aware of Counter Strike, which mainly involves a heated battle between terrorists and counter terrorists. The deathmatch mode is impressive. You can challenge friends with your cool gravity gun. The specialty of the game is the unconditional access of gravity guns to all players. The Counter Strike: Source mode is similar to its predecessors but is quite impressive in graphics, courtesy: the newly modified physics engine.


Half Life 2 was released in 2004, but still more than 6 million (as of December 2008) copies have been sold worldwide. There might be endless updates and more mod sites mushrooming in, but the magic and aura of Gordon Freeman’s silence, excellent gameplay, and realistic weapons and of course, the gravity gun will be remembered for years.

Visit the Half Life 2 Official Site

Watch the Half Life 2 Trailer

Grab the latest Mods

Half Life 2 on Wikipedia

Half Life 2 System Requirements

Operating System: Windows 98/200/ME/XP

System: 1.2 GHz processor (2.4 GHz. Processor recommended)

RAM: 256 MB (512 MB recommended)

Video card: 32 MB

DirectX compatible graphics card (Direct X 9 compatible graphics card recommended)