Monday, May 31, 2010

Great game you're supposed to know about: Half-Life 2

Rise and shine Mr. Freeman, rise and shine. Not that I wish to imply that you have been sleeping on the job. No one is more deserving of a rest than you. And all the effort in the world would have gone to waste until.... Well lets just say your hour has come again. The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up Mr. Freeman, wake up and smell the ashes.

After this short speech from a being known only as "the G-man" Gordon Freeman appears inside a train pulling into a station. The train is dirty and old, newspapers later the flor and they are bullet holes in the Windows. As soon as he leaves the train Gordon's picture is immediately taken by flying drone while an older man on a holographic monitor welcomes him to "city 17" while men (?) In gas masks to harass the passengers, "It's safer here" the man explains.

Half-life 2 is the direct sequel to valve software's 1998 breakthrough classic Half-Life. It was released in 2004 for thar distribution platform "steam" (which everyone hated at the time) as well as the debut for their "source" engine. It is often referred to as the greatest first-person shooter ever made.

Story wise all you really need to know about Half-Life (one) is that an expensive science experiment was hardly wrong creating a interdimensional portal thing that allows highly agitated aliens to bring pandemonium. Gordon Freeman, a physicist with unexplained combat ability, fight's his way out of the laboratory to safety and is given an offer he can't refuse (Godfather style) from the "G-man". Gordon Freeman then returns to Earth in unknown time later to find that the world has been turned upside down by invasive alien species and invasive alien police state. Freeman also finds a small cast of likable characters with a caring warmth that is uncommon in American media. It all makes for a great science-fiction epic!

Half-Life 2 greatest strength is that it can set up great action with satisfying payoffs. This is the best example of pacing in a videogame dun right; Valve always knows when it's time to slow things down and always has something new to show. A new gun, a new foe, a friend it never stays the same for too long. If this game were the standard of action movies (as opposed to Michael Bay) blockbuster action movies would be smarter, more human and far more exciting.

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