Hitting stores after 12 tortuous months of delays and broken promises, there was a real danger that Half-Life 2 couldn’t live up to the hype. But as the best blasting game to ever rattle a PC, this stunning sequel was definitely worth the wait.
Like its classic predecessor, the game excels in its cinematic pacing and sense of immersion; rather than interrupting the flow of the action with slick in-game movies, Half-Life 2 creates a seamless experience where the entire adventure is viewed through the eyes of the beleaguered hero, making it feel as if you’re starring in your own virtual blockbuster. The visuals are incredible, too, from the friendly characters who look convincingly human – right down to the watery glint in their eyes – to the crumbling cities that resemble the Warsaw ghettos of World War II, each echoing with the propaganda pumped from huge video screens and patrolled by brutal, black-clad troops.
The plot may not be as engaging as the first game, but the tense gunplay and dystopian police state it creates make Half-Life 2 one of the most impressive PC titles around.
Reviewed by Dave McComb