The sequel to the incredibly popular first-person shooter, Half Life 2, has been delayed for so long that its release date is now a popular meme on forums like Reddit. However, nearly 13 years since the release of the second installment of the series, Half Life 2 is still one of the best games ever made. Here’s why.

Article structure:

1. What is Half Life 2?
2. The Basic Plot of the Game
3. Gameplay and Mechanics
4. Platforms
5. Walkthrough
6. Characters
7. Weapons
8. Why Was it so Popular?
9. FAQ

1. What is Half Life 2?

Half Life 2, to those of you who don’t know of it, is a science fiction FPS game that was made by Valve Corporation (yes, the same people who make the Steam platform). Released on the 16th of November, 2004, this game was immediately deemed one of the best in the world for multiple reasons. Lying in the development chambers at Valve for over five years, it was thought to be a myth more than an actual game.

2. The Basic Plot of the Game

The second game takes place in, and near, City 17, the same location as in the first game of the series. However, the timeline is nearly twenty years after the first edition. Players are introduced to the protagonist and playable character, Dr. Gordon Freeman. The Combine, a force of evil, has placed mankind in chains. It is the task of the player to work with their allies, friends, and rebels to free humanity from the Combine.

The Original Half-Life had an extremely new and original story, unlike anything prior to it and gripped millions of people world wide, selling more and more until 2001, years after its original release, Half-Life 2 looks set to do it again.

The Half-Life 2 plot was written by Mark Laidlaw who also wrote the original (pure genius btw) and has 12 chapters. The sequel's plot is a little more complex and they reckon to take about 3-4 hours on each chapter, so it will be longer than the first one.

Half-Life 2 is set in an European style city called “City 17” (see below) some years after the original ends. Flashbacks during the game explain the time between the original's ending and the sequel's beginning. We know that Gordon is now working for G-man on ‘government business' presumably battling the Xen world for the government. Of the two Half-Life endings, valve say there is a ‘right one' meaning the one where Gordon dies is actually wrong, and the story picks up from the other ending (makes sense right?) The new maps look absolutely stunning and the T&L (texture and lighting) blows my mind, just look at those shadows in the picture!
City 17

We know that City 17 is a big place and Gordon will visit a Harbor, Jail, town center and suburbs of ‘City 17'. We also know of a Dried up sea and an Icebreaker (don't know if or how they are connected though)

The aliens are not all hostile either, and apparently the vartigan species will fight your cause.

Because the game has yet to be released, further details are to follow.

3. Gameplay and Mechanics

One of the main reasons why Half Life 2 was so popular was its gameplay. Players were tasked with assuming the character of Dr. Freeman and shooting their way through waves of modified humans and alien creatures. Within each level, puzzles need to be solved, and vehicle sequences are woven in, which breaks up the monotony of continuous “boots on the ground” combat. As a member of the FPS genre, like Call of Duty and Battlefield, players see the world through the eyes of their character. A HUD is available showing health, energy, and ammo levels. Players can replenish their stats by picking up items in-game that can heal or recharge them.

The reception for Half Life 2 was positive, without a doubt. All the reviews were overwhelmingly complimentary, and sales have been continuing to take place even today. Renowned for the advances the game made in animation, sound production, storytelling, graphics, and physics, it won over 35 international video game awards. A total of over 30 million copies of the game has been sold (estimated) since launch.

4. Platforms

Half Life 2 was initially made available exclusively for the PC when it was released. EA published a port for the game onto the original Xbox in 2005. This port wasn’t very well-received because of framerate problems. In 2006, the game’s developers introduced The Orange Box, a package of Half Life One, Half Life Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal. This package was to ship on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, the “next-gen” consoles of the time.

5. Walkthrough

Not finished yet, but to be continued 🙂

Chapter 1: Point Insertion
Chapter 2: “A Red Letter Day”
Chapter 3: Route Kanal
Chapter 4: Water Hazard
Chapter 5: Black Mesa East
Chapter 6: “We Dont Go To RavenHolm…”
Chapter 7: Highway 17
Chapter 8: SandTraps
Chapter 9: Nova Prospekt
Chapter 10: Entanglement
Chapter 11: Anticitizen One
Chapter 12: “Follow Freeman!”
Chapter 13: Our Benefactors
Chapter 14: Dark Energy

6. Characters

Human

Gordon Freeman
Gordon Freeman is the main character in both Half-Life 1 & 2, a scientist turned hero was originally an ordinary worker in Black Mesa, an underground research facility, testing substances under the direction of superiors when somehow the substances opened a portal to the xen world and all kinda freaky things started happening. Gordon battles his way out of the mess and ends up working for G-man in the sequel.
Alyx Vance
Alyx Vance is Gordon's partner and also working for G-man; according to Valve Alyx's mother was a scientist killed in Half-Life 1, probably in ‘Black Mesa' (that's where most of the scientists were). Alyx follows Gordon's lead and we think that she fights enemies a bit like Barney used to (hopefully not as stupid though)
Eli Vance
Eli Vance is Alyx's father and a scientist. He's only got one leg, presumably from being nibbled at by a head crab, or his wife. Eli was in the original, however he still had two legs then (maybe he got bored waiting for the sequel to be finished and chewed it off himself)
Barney
Barney returns from the original and from Blue Shift; Barney escaped from Black Mesa, presumably so he can moan some more.
G-man
G-man, or ‘government man' is Gordon's boss. He's a bit of a shady character and spent most of the original trying to get Gordon killed.
Combine Soldiers
These soldiers look pretty mean.
Scientists
In the original there were many scientists, Eli being one himself. We can expect to see more of them in the sequel.

Alien

Hydra
The Hydra is a creature that is water like in appearance and can grab people into the water, presumably to munch up into lots of small pieces.
Strider
The Strider is a massive creature, and is about 15 times bigger than Gordon, many people have likened it to the creatures from ‘War of the worlds' by H.G. Wells. I'm guessing that if its so big, it might also be clumsy and easy to hide from.
Antlion
Actually there are two types of Antillions: Antillions and Antillion Guards, initially they are hostile but if you collect the pheromone they will think you are one of them and will follow your direction!
Prowler
Prowlers are aliens with claws. That's all the info for now.
Vortigant
Vortigant will fight along side you in the game, were unsure of the circumstances at the moment.

Robot

Scanners
Scanners are security drones that patrol the skies. They have an eye that changes colour to indicate their alert status.
Manhack
These little things have a small rotary blade, that we think also keeps them in the air. They basically fly towards you and try to chop you up.


7. Weapons

Crowbar
Ahh the classic crowbar, which no doubt you had much fun beating the crap outta scientists when they refused to go any further in Half Life 1. This weapon is only used by Gordon.
HK USP
This will be the standard pistol in half-life2, just as the glock was in the first. In the movies I've seen it looks mint, I'm looking forward to using it.
Caliber: Unknown
Magazine: Unknown
HK MP5K
This will be the standard pistol in half-life2, just as the glock was in the first. In the movies I've seen it looks mint, I'm looking forward to using it.
Caliber: Unknown
Magazine: Unknown
HK MP7 (Personal Defense Weapon)
This gun is similar to the MP5 but has a red dot sight (can zoom in during game play).
Caliber: 4.6 mm
Magazine: 20 rounds
SPAS-12
The SPAS-12 is a pump action shotgun.

Caliber: 12 gauge
Magazine: 12 rounds

OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon)
This weapon features a red-dot sight on the top, allowing you to zoom in on a target. The gun fires fully automatic and we think has a 30 round capacity magazine. The weapon is believed to be used by Gordon and the Combine Soldiers.
Caliber: Unknown
Magazine: 30 rounds
Gravity gun
Initially this can only move inorganic objects like boxes. In chapter 13 the gravity gun gets modified and can pick up Combine soldiers and fling them around. You can’t pick up Alyx though (not that you'd want to of course..)
Grenade
Its a grenade, you throw them and they blow up, what else you need to know?
Ant lion phenome Capsule (smelly thing).
This little ball shaped object can be thrown at the ground, on impact the capsule breaks to release ant-lion smelly stuff that they are attracted to. So by throwing this stuff in front of enemy's, the ant-lions will munch them for you. Makes you feel like doctor dooditle I guess.
RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade)
The rocket launcher is very similar to the one in opposing force and features laser guidance.
Combine weapon
This weapon has two fire modes, primary fire is a large caliber machine gun type (slow fire rate) seconary fire is a type of electromagnetic ball that bounces off walls and stuff.
Magazine: Unknown


8. Why Was it so Popular?

There are many reasons why anyone who played the game when it was released (and any who still do) loved it so much. Here are some of them, in no particular order.

Weaponry

As any FPS gamer will tell you, the weapons are what can make a game the best one in the genre or the worst one ever. Since these games are all about shooting things in the face for a vast number of hours, having a broad range of powerful weapons is essential.
Half Life 2 had some of the most ingenious weaponry designed for a game at the time. The crowbar from the first game made a triumphant return, along with a robust set of starting weapons. Even the basic, generic pistol was loud and powerful. The Magnum handgun packed a very powerful punch. Machine guns were satisfying to use, mowing down waves of enemies or disintegrating them in a ball of plasma.
The crossbow was another weapon that was introduced in the game. The designers made it so that shooting anything “living” with the crossbow would effectively pin it to the wall or ceiling with the bolt. Other weapons included the guided RPG and one more that deserves an honorable mention: the Gravity Gun.

Engine

Valve was testing out one of the most advanced engines in the world when they made Half Life 2. The Source engine had been used to make “Counter Strike: Source” earlier that year, but Half Life 2 broke records by really showing what the engine is capable of.
Gamers were blown away by the quality of the graphics of the game, which surpassed those of later games like Modern Warfare. These graphics were backed by some of the most realistic physics used in a game to date. Realistic physics allowed Valve to incorporate intricate, complex puzzles into the game world, paving the way for third person action-adventure games like Uncharted in the future.
Today, the Source engine is still very much alive in series like Portal and Left 4 Dead, but the introduction of the engine with Half Life 2 is still deemed one of the best and biggest reveals in the world.

Protagonist

Do you know who your character is in a game like Call of Duty? Sure, you know their name. You know what they do, and who their friends are. In Half Life 2, players were introduced to a character they could truly know. Gordon Freeman was a scientist. He wore glasses, had a goatee, and loved fighting interdimensional life forms with his crowbar. He had a Ph.D. in theoretical Physics. Growing up, Dr. Freeman wanted to be like Einstein and Hawking. The character development in Half Life 2 is stellar, and everyone who plays the game falls in love with Dr. Freeman.

Physics

Before Half Life 2, the dream of throwing an entire toilet at an enemy was just that – a dream. The Source engine changed all that. With the realistic physics that were introduced, players were able to pick objects in the world up and throw them. Each object had weight, and players would visibly struggle to lift heavier items.
Simple physics puzzles included having to pile boxes on top of each other to climb over ledges. Soon, the puzzles became more complicated. Gordon would have to attach a washing machine to an elevator as a counterweight to lower it to the ground, or would have to use barrels to make ramps.

Vehicle combat
Today, games like Battlefield and Call of Duty allow a player to seamlessly transition from ground to vehicle combat. Before the release of Half Life 2, though, no game in history had done this. Some franchises had dedicated levels, such as the AC-130 mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but there was no transitioning. In Half Life 2, vehicles could be mounted and driven if they were found in the game world.
This isn’t the end of the many things that make Half Life 2 a game worth playing 13 years into its life cycle. The rest we leave to you to find. The game needs to be experienced in all its glory, as one of the defining titles of our generation. We part ways with one last question: WHERE IS HALF LIFE 3?

9. FAQ

Q: Will Half-Life 2 work on my PC?
A: Half-Life 2 will work on a fairly low spec computer, however we recommend a 64 MB graphics card for good graphics.

Minimum Specification:
Processor: 700MHz
32 MB Graphics
64MB RAM

Recommended Specification:
Processor 1GHz +
64 MB Graphics +
256 MB RAM +
Fast Hard Drive

Half-Life 2 will also take FULL advantage of a very fast computer and graphics. For example a AMD 3000XP and Radion 9800 Pro. The graphics just get better! There is rumour of a 64 bit version, but this is unconfirmed.

Q: Will I be able to play Counter-Strike on Half-Life 2?
A: Yes, Counter-Strike is being made for half-life 2, it will be version 2.

Q: Will there be multi-player like the original?
A: Yes, there is also more client-side stuff to save bandwidth too.

Q: Will I be able to make mods for Half-Life 2 like the original?
A: Yes! and it will be easier according to Gabe the big cheese of Valve.

Q: Will I be able to play Alyx like Gordon?
A: No, you can only play Gordon in Half-Life 2.

Q: Where i can download free Games?
A: Read our download guide here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *