Half-Life 2 was first released by Valve Corporation in 2004. It was such a giant leap forward for games in general – not just first-person shooters – that its reverberations are still being felt today.
Half-Life (one) is a brilliant game, but Half-Life 2 completely blows it out of the water.
Half-Life 2 feels so incredibly well accomplished. The Source Engine gives the game an unprecedented level of detail in the environments, the physics, the lighting, and the controls. The story and pacing are top of the line. The variety in the gameplay astounding. The continuing adventures of Gordon Freeman are the distillation of almost a decade of ideas and work on the part of Valve‘s developers and its impact on gaming in general has not been surpassed.
I remember buying the game on DVD when it first came out, installing it on my PC, and then having to wait about 12 hours for my dial-up internet to download a 1GB+ patch over (a very early) Steam before I could play it. I wasn’t best pleased about that, but afterwards my friends would come over and we would play through the game together – taking turns at the controls. Few games manage to generate such interest nowadays…
And Half-Life 2 is still going strong today. Some 14 years after release. So strong – in fact – that Half-Life 3 may never be released. Will Half-Life 2 just last forever? Of course it will…
I have to say that I still play Half-Life 2 today. Combined with Half-Life 2 Episode One & Episode Two, Half-Life 2 is still one of the greatest shooters ever made and a great sandbox to play around in, with the amazing Gravity Gun and the various other weapons and toys at your disposal.
You can forget all your Call of Dutys and your Sniper Elites – Half-Life 2 is better than all of them… And it will long be remembered after all the others have been forgotten.
More: Half-Life 2 on Wikipedia
Steam: Half-Life 2 on Wikipedia
You begin Half-Life 2 on a train.
A warning about the Combine checkpoint up ahead.
“Pssst. In here!”
You first look at the lovely Alyx.
Exploring the lab before you put your suit on.
Something always goes wrong in transit.
First shot at a Combine soldier.
Don’t get hit by these massive trains flying past.
Being introduced to a Vortigaunt.
Being healed by a Vortigaunt. Either that, or I’m being sexually harassed.
Manning a gun turret to fend off the assaulting Combine forces.
These Barnacles will pull you up and try to eat you if you don’t blast them first.
Crawling headcrab zombie!
Hitting a Manhack with my crowbar. Manhacks are flying robots that bump into you to cut you with their spinning blades.
Attacked by a jumping headcrab!
Combine forces have been dropped to apprehend you.
A jump out of the seat moment.
Firefight in a dingy warehouse.
The Combine keep coming as you avoid them on your hovercraft bike.
Even dull locations are memorable in Half-Life 2.
Uh oh. Looks like we’ve got company…
This Half-Life 2 helicopter chase is something of an epic.
Every now and then it will target you and open fire.
Two huge chimneys collapse in front of you.
This rocket looks about to hit me.
Mowing down Combine soldiers with my front-mounted gun.
The tank got a rocket off before I could destroy it.
I’m taking a pummelling here. Time to back off.
Making this jump, though that hole, is one of the trickier parts of the game.
Half-Life 2’s Source engine made great advances with character modelling and animation.
The nerve centre of the resistance.
Nice view from down here, Alyx.
Alyx gives you the legendary Gravity Gun.
Dog and Alyx play a few games to give you a taste of the Gravity Gun.
“We Don’t Go To Ravenholm…” – A classic episode of Half-Life 2.
Using circular saw blades and the Gravity Gun to take out zombies.
Some geezer shouting down to me, above the flames. Surely he’d be burned to cinders from there?
Burning zombies keep coming, it seems.
Poison headcrabs and their zombie carriers. Scariest monsters in the game!
Zombies at the cemetery gates.
This cavern is swarming with headcrabs. Trying to take them out from a distance.
A Fast Zombie jumps down from the train carriage. I think it’s coming for me.
Trying to take a sniper out with a grenade.
One shot from one of these snipers will kill you dead.
Looks like all hell’s been breaking loose down here.
Driving a rickety buggy over the beach hills.
Thankfully the buggy has a front-mounted cannon.
That crane in the distance is where I need to be.
Combine soldier too close for comfort.
This crane scene is one of the more entertaining gravity gags/puzzles in Half-Life 2.
Driving through the buildings, blasting Combine soldiers.
This AR2 pulse rifle is good for picking off soldiers.
Crossbow for killing silently at a distance.
Zoomed in to Combine soldiers running out to engage me.
This bridge-crossing is somewhat memorable. Especially on the way back…
You are constantly being attacked by Combine soldiers are you try to cross the bridge.
On the bridge crossing the final act is: you versus a rocket-spewing chopper type thing.
Damn zombies! Bloody everywhere!
Gravity Gun deals with this intelligent mine.
Combine soldier gets his shot in first!
Reinforcements being deployed by air.
Firing a rocket at a Combine assault craft.
This looks ominous… I smell a boss battle coming up…
Vortigaunt uses his powers on a dead Ant Lion Queen.
I have to get up there…
Another rocket battle with a Combine assault craft.
An Ant Lion ally in prison. He’s on the wrong side of the bars though.
The indoor fight with this giant Ant Lion Queen is what I would call: “flipping scary”.
I’ll just leave this here. ***Blows own head off***
Time it right or the moving walls will crush you.
Scary headcrab attack in a dark, confined space!
Yeah! Gordon Freeman now has his own squad!
Desperate room-to-room fighting as I near the end of the game.
Zooming in with the binoculars: I can see enemy soldiers moving in the distance.
My squad take out an automated turret.
This vent looks like the way out.
My squad – shooting a fast zombie until its green blood shoots out.
Surprised by a Combine soldier!
This bastard bit me. Thus the one point of health left. One more hit and I’m dead…
Heavily-guarded building. I must get into it.
Almost at the central tower. What I’ll find in there is anyone’s guess.