Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Half Life 2 Review

North American Box Art, featuring the
series protagonist Gordon Freeman 
     Hello everyone, glad to be back from a very long and fulfilling summer to write about video games. Now then a new service announcement, I will only be posting one blog a week on Wednesday instead of on Tuesday and Thursday.  So now that I have set down the standards for this year, I can get down to business.  Today I will be reviewing a game so awesome, it received Game Of The Decade award.  That game is Half Life 2.  Developed and published by the Valve Corporation, Half Life 2 was released in November 16, 2004, receiving positive reviews from both fans and critics alike.  A sequel to Half Life, Half Life 2 was highly anticipated after the release of the first game.  Though Half Life was a huge success before the release of the second game, it was HL2 that really threw the series into the the category of golden games that would be played for generations.  
     Upon its release it was praised for the number of new features that were added in, along with new weapons, the occasional vehicle, the ability to command and control a squad of soldiers in combat, and the biggest thing; the introduction of the Source Engine.  Basically the birth place of most modern Valve games, the same engine is used in countless titles such as Team Fortress 2, Portal 1 & 2, Alien Swarm, Dota 2, Counter Strike: Source, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and countless other titles.  Another popular indie title that became a large success using the Source Engine was Garry's Mod, a game in which the player the player has the ability to manipulate rag dolls, create an environment, and do just about everything.  But enough about about all those other games, now we will talk about Half Life 2.  The genre is a single-player FPS that takes place 20 years after the first game, located somewhere in near Europe (perhaps Russia as several old Russian bill boards found around the countryside suggest). Also the iconic trade mark of the returns, the grey and red crowbar continues to reek havoc on your foes and planks alike.   You are Gordon Freeman, the silent protagonist of the series.  The game begins with Gordon mysteriously appearing on a train bound for City 17, as you take your little train you are spoken to by the mysterious G-Man, who has been watching Freeman since the start of the first game.  At the end of the first game, after Gordon is transported to the alien world of Xen and destroys a powerful space entity that was holding open a portal to Earth, allowing the hostile aliens into Black Mesa (the facility where Gordon worked until the "resonance cascade" or what is referred to as "The Black Mesa Incident".) After Freeman kills the creature he is teleported to safety in the G-Man, the man who had been shadowing Gordon throughout Black Mesa.  At the end of the game the G-Man offers Freeman a opportunity to work with him, Gordon can say yes or no, but in the case of moving on to the sequel, he presumably said yes, because if you say no, you get eaten by aliens.  Happy ending, no?  
G-Man as he appears in Half Life(left) and
as he appears in Half Life 2(right)
    So, Gordon's on a train, and after the somewhat disturbing speech given by the G-Man, he gets off the train into a station.  Quick fill-in on the current state of the planet: the Earth was conquered sometime ago by a alien race known as "The Combine" during a event called The Seventeen Hour War, in which the human race as we know was conquered by the Combine. So, yeah, pretty sad, but we didn't totally get our ass's handed to us, with the help of Dr. Wallace Breen, former Black Mesa administer, Breen negotiated the surrender of humanity.  For his efforts and cooperation Breen was rewarded by the Combine with power, and seated as representative and Administer to supervise the survivors of humanity.  Unable to reproduce due to a Combine suppression field, humanity has matured, meaning no kids.  The Combine have also implemented a brutal police state of Civil Protection officers in effort to maintain order over humanity.   Now then, after arriving at the station and evading Combine forces, Freeman joins Lambda resistance members including Barney Calhoun, a former Black Mesa security guard now working undercover as a Combine CP officer, and Alyx Vance, the daughter of one of Gordon's former colleagues, Dr. Eli Vance.  From here Freeman will travel across the remnants of the old world, fight the Combine, and free humanity.  I don't want to give away all the details, so I'll leave the story at that.  
     As I mentioned earlier, vehicles were a popular introduction  because nothings more fun than driving around in a air-boat with gattling-gun shooting down choppers.  I would honestly give this game a 10/10, that how good it is.  If you would like to purchase it, you can find it on the steam store for $10.00 on Steam Store.  Hope you all have enjoyed my back-to-blog post and I will be back next Wednesday.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.