I've still never played Half-Life 2.
I was on a ~26.4 dialup connection that was flaky. My disc actually did contain game content, so once I was able to get Steam installed, I could play the game. I actually highly recommend it, especially if you've already paid for it. It is a gem among single-player FPSes. But my problem was that the initial Steam install required (or requires?) a Steam update as part of the installation process, and the download for this update did (does?) not resume when it fails. This was enough to keep me from being able to install the game for several days, until I finally got a long enough uninterrupted download to get Steam installed. The actual game updates download relatively gracefully, in that they can be paused and resumed at will. There is even a scheduler, which works sometimes.
I have got a whole wad of Steam games via Humble Bundles, and a couple of Steam games via deliberate purchases — games I expect to be bored with after playing through them once, or which I bought only to get access to their data files for use with other game engines. Some of these games have no DRM, so the fact that they were delivered via Steam is of no consequence. It's also a fine delivery platform for free-to-pay games, since they're momentary things and you have to download all the content for them anyhow. Otherwise, I prefer to avoid the Steam logo.
This is a frustrating time to be a gamer, unless you're into retrogaming. Anyone still playing Mech IV? I miss that game.