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Journal AngryUndead's Journal: Half-Life 2 Review

After my review of Doom3 I have finally gotten my hands on its apparent "foe", Half-Life 2.
I would like to point out, for the record, that both Valve and ID software are world-class game development studios and both have confrimed this by their latest releases.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics in this game are good, but not of Doom3's caliber. Now, since I have to take into acount other games to rate this one to... it lacks a little luster. The graphics are awesome however. There are a few things in level design, texture placement, and ruble texturing (in particular an old house along the Costal Road) that are plain ugly. I wondered why not place actual ruble from the side of the house there, instead of a textured blob... but I digress. The water in HL2 is fantastic and the variety of shader effects is nice. Fire looks a little 1998 at some times though. I would like to discuss that there are quite a few texture glitches in the game for me but turning the texture quality down to medium fixes this without impacting quality too much. The shadows are sub-par. Overall I like the graphics alot but they aren't the major selling point.

Sound: 6/10
I really wanted to give the sound a higher score but this is the only way that I can be fair. The sound timing and placement is beautiful but the quality has to be turned to low for it to even work. I imagine after version 1.1 or 1.2 comes out then my complaints will dissapear, but as it stands the sound experience is a little lacking. There is no reason to have crackly, stuttering sound when the game runs at around 40-45fps the rest of the time.

Gameplay: 10/10
Wow. The interactivity of this world is quite simply amazing. Throwing bottles at people, pulling plugs and tv's out of the wall. Physics puzzles that aren't overly-used. The engine amazes me at times, especially when playing CS:Source, but thats another story. The weapons work very well... I don't like the non-toggle grenades, though I could easily bind the buttons... thats just lazyness talking. The AI is simply amazing, and you are very lucky to hit someone with a grenade. If people thought doom gameplay was repetitive I would say that the gameplay in HL2 is just as repetitive especially until the "Sandtraps" level. Its a game, you do somthing over and over till you beat it... thats what games are. The implementation, complexity, belivability, and fun-ness of those tasks are what make a game good... but I digress. Overall I have no problems with the gameplay; everything seems natural and easy.

Story: 10/10
I'm litteraly engrossed in the story. I crave knowing what is about to happen. I play too many hours. The acting is above the par certainly, but it is more than that. The charecters are believable and that is quite an acomplishment. I particularly like the Overwatch Soldiers and the things they say... "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, FLASH, FLASH, FLASH, BANG!." It all gives it a nice consistant quality that would come from the training of elite troops.

Final Score: 8.5/10
That may seem a little harsh, but the first patches should clean that up to a rather nice 9, 9.5... hell, even 10. Drivers for ATI and nVIDIA should help too... as I've seen both versions. Keep in mind that I have not played through the whole game, but my opinions on it are unlikley to change unless they do somthing really stupid.

I'm even more eager for mod-makers to get a hold of this than I am for them to pound Doom3 around. Go for it guys! They Hunger 5! Re-make of They-Hunger! Lets go go go!

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351