Half-Life 2 (stylized as HλLF-LIFE2) is a first-person shooter video game and the sequel to Half-Life. Developed by Valve Corporation and published by Sierra Entertainment, it was released on November 16, 2004, following a protracted five-year $40 million development, during which a substantial part of the project was leaked and distributed on the Internet.
This game is separated into short-length chapters.
The game takes place some years after the events of Half-Life, where the protagonist, Gordon Freeman, is awakened by the enigmatic G-Man to find out that the world has been taken over by the alien Combine due to events that occurred at the Black Mesa Research Facility, the setting of the first game.
Gordon encounters human resistance forces that aid him, including former associates from Black Mesa, among them Dr. Eli Vance and his daughter Alyx, the latter whom joins Gordon as they search for a way to eliminate the Combine from Earth and free humanity.
Why It Rocks
- The game has revolutionized graphics and physics due to being made in the Source engine, which was capable of more emotion in characters and beautiful environments that look lifelike.
- Amazing soundtrack by Kelly Bailey.
- Instead of the same copy-paste scientists and security guards that Half-Life 1 had, there are more types of NPCs and even new characters who are extremely likable.
- More backstory about the protagonist, Gordon Freeman.
- Lots of likable characters especially Alyx and Eli.
- Rather than taking place in a western setting, such as the U.S., the game takes place in Eastern Europe, which is a really nice and interesting idea. The area also has references from many Eastern-Europe countries, via signs that are written in different languages besides English (such as Russian, Romanian, etc.)
- Brilliant plot and story with influences from the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, with two Episodes expanding upon it in some of their own ways.
- The Gravity Gun allows for more creative combat, such as throwing an explosive barrel at a group of zombies, and it also creates clever physics puzzles in some cases, which is another thing the game excels at.
- Awesome voice acting.
- Allies can help out more in combat.
- Good gunplay.
- The combat is great and can get pretty intense at times.
- It introduces vehicles, which spice up the gameplay a little.
- Great modifications, including some of them that improve the graphics such as Half-Life 2: Update, which is made by one person who is involved in the development of Half-Life 2 (available on Steam).
- There was an infamous leak which ruined/halted game development during the last months of 2003, thus cutting down most or all working ideas or already added gameplay etc. not found in retail for "Half-Life 2 Beta's enthusiasts" or the "Valve beta fandom" sub-community.
- But the community either brought a few of them back in both main game and its episodes as references, nods, or brought back outright but reworked for fitting the plot of episodes or given permission using them by Valve for modding purposes or recreating them from scratch.
- The amount of weapons is more limited than in the prequel (most likely because of the infamous leak). Also, they seem less creative than the HL1 weapons, and there being no alien weapons (excluding the Bugbait) at all.
- On the subject of the Bugbait, since it's an alien bioweapon, it unintentionally creates a gameplay plothole, which in the final version has the weapon creating infinite spheres while somehow not showing where new balls are grown (like being grown on Gordon's suit or where it came from); despite showing it in the leak, a concept art, and E3 trailer with the same name (which in the latter shows five/six of them are all equipped to try 'addressing'/fixing the plothole, rather than one of them and seeing it removed in the final version), that the Bugbait originally had limited ammunition (from one infinite amount to 5/10 balls).
- Lack of enemies from HL1 or even new ones not found in retail, and they were (if not all) planned to be there due to the leak, gameplay having them playing in the background or minor antagonistic roles.
- For old players, the game might be a bit short due to various maps being cut, again due to the infamous leak that released almost all of them in near to mostly completion.
- Resistance NPCs quickly become annoying in the next two chapters for if not all hardcore players who want to kill the Combine alone, in the final chapters in the game.
- The VPK era of HL2 requires newer components in the computer and a GPU.
- Some of the music tracks are recycled from the prequel, such as the "Lambda Core"/"Diabolical Adrenaline Guitar" during the Hunter-Chopper chase in Water Hazard chapter.
- This game retconned lots of things from HL1 as you'll hear characters talk about things that weren't originally true or didn't happen in the previous game, which could confuse some players of the first game.
Half-Life 2 was met with universal critical acclaim upon release, and with an aggregate score of 96/100 on Metacritic, remains tied with the first Half-Life game and Grand Theft Auto V for the best-reviewed PC game of all time. Sources such as GameSpy, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The New York Times, and VideoGamer.com gave it perfect scores, and others, such as PC Gamer, IGN, GamesRadar, and Eurogamer, gave near-perfect scores, while the game became the fifth title to receive Edge magazine's ten-out-of-ten score. Critics who applauded the game cited the advanced graphics and physics. Maximum PC awarded Half-Life 2 11 on their rating scale which normally peaks at 10, calling it "the best game ever made".
In the United States, Half-Life 2's PC version sold 680,000 copies and had earned $34.3 million by August 2006. It was the country's 17th best-selling PC game between January 2000 and August 2006. It received a "Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom. Forbes reported on February 9, 2011 that the game had sold 12 million copies worldwide