Half-Life 2 - The review

Game reviews 126 Page 6 of 7 Published by


Page 6 - Graphics & Sound (2)

Review 1 : Mike Review 2 : Matt
I managed to run this game at 1280x1024 every setting cranked to the top with 4xAA and 16XAF perfectly. The only thing stopping me trying higher resolutions was the limitation of my 17 TFT. Out of all the recent next gen games this game performs by far the best, providing unbelievable framerates considering the level of graphics and complexity of the physics. Those of you who have mid range GPUs need not worry either, as I have had it perform perfectly well on an ATI 9500 Pro Athlon 64 3000 system at 1280x1024 with all but water effects pushed to the limit. The only sacrifice you have to make is AA and AF at this level of GPU, unless you notch down a resolution and in my opinion that doesnt make sense.

If you are in the market for a video card specifically for this game, I would strongly advise you to get AT LEAST a 9500 Pro as a bare minimum standard. Anything less than this (including the Geforce FX series) sacrifices the DX9 bells and whistles in the game which contribute to it so much.

Basically, if you have a DX9 compatible card, whether its from ATI or Nvidia, this game is going to run great. I would like to comment on Steam here too, as you need it in order to run the game. In general (and I am awaiting hate mail for this view!) I think Steam is a good idea.

I preloaded my copy of HL2 no problems, and it was activated bang on 8am 16/11. I have never had any problems with access to the game, and now you can back up your Steam files to DVD/CD preloading games makes a lot of sense especially in light that the retail package you get is on the thin side for such a huge game. Just a box, DVD and sheet (no, not manual sheet!) with the keyboard controls are included. There is little benefit of one over the other except that preloading meant I could avoid torrential rain, and howling winds before I could play the game!

However, with its online activation Valve seems to have been a little too eager with Steams implementation. No doubt those with a lack of Internet access will feel it is a slap in the face when the can't play the game they have been waiting for 18 months even after it has been released!



In relation to how you handle the combat situation, there is always more than one way to defeat enemies. You can end it doing a classic shoot out, or maybe by using the physics engine to cause the enemies to plummet to their death from high above, or using the gravity gun to grab an object that shields you from bullets and then shooting that same object at them. Much like the enemies, you too can put an object in front of a door and block their entry.

This, in combination with the AI, makes this game have a very high replay factor.

The engine is designed in a way, combined with the various elements (enemies and such) found in the game, to create a truly fun experience. This game does not get monotonous ever, because you never have to deal with the "same thing" over and over again. Around every corner there is always something new to do or defeat. This makes this game very hard to put down, and I guarantee, if your schedule permits it, that once you start playing this game you will be very hesitant to put it down.

The game is an extremely realistic one, and gives you many powerful feelings while playing it, which are usually exhilaration and/or fear. Doom 3 claimed to be a very scary game, however I felt that their were many parts in this game that were a lot scarier than Doom 3. In one level you are in a "gothic" style village that is crawling with undead. Due to the realism presented in this game, I found myself actually a wee-bit tense and scared when I was in a dark room crawling with little creatures that give you a neurotoxin upon contact that lower your health from 100 to 1. The environment in this level was gruesome and frightening.

It wasn't only in this "meant to be scary" level that you felt a lot of tension and fear. Even in the purely tactical, "You vs. Trained Soldiers", levels you might find yourself breathing a little more heavy. When you are in a dark room and you hear the soldiers talk in their deep, evil sounding voice to each other, you get a big feeling of anxiety as to what they are going to do, and how you should handle it. This just goes to show how the engine, physics, sound, graphics, and AI work hand in hand to present you a truly great game. That being said, I would have to say that this game, when you beat it, is definitely replayable for a long period of time.


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