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Half Life 2 Review

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PC monster finally comes to the console

★★★★★

A year after tearing-up PCs and winning a clutch of ‘game of the year’ awards, Half-Life 2 is finally blasting its way onto the Xbox. But even though Microsoft’s gaming breezeblock shouldn’t be able to handle Valve’s gloomy classic – the PC game required five times the amount of RAM available on the Xbox, don’t you know – the developers have shoehorned just about everything from the original adventure onto a single Xbox disc.

Like its PC cousin, the game looks stunning, the violent action set in a grim, dystopian futuristic world that pays homage to George Orwell’s 1984, the crumbling cities and bleak countryside creating an all-pervasive sense of doom, an atmosphere further enhanced by profoundly depressed and downtrodden characters all around you, each brought to life by superb voice acting.

The action itself is also incredible, the punchy gunplay punctuated by driving, platforming and puzzle-solving sequences that make sure the adventure never gets dull. And with super-intelligent enemies that behave just like human rivals – running for cover when you open fire and working together in packs to pin you down – this is one of the most immersive and engaging games on the Xbox.

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