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Half Life 2 - Without Question the Best Game on XBOX
on 1 December 2005
Well I've heard great things about Half Life 2 on the PC and when the reviews also credited the Xbox version as being a must buy, I thought that I had to buy it to see what all the fuss was about.
It seems that with the reviewers no game is allowed to be credited up there with the mighty Halo. I for one thought Halo was good, but for me it was surpassed by Doom 3. The major credit to Halo was that it was far more expansive than Doom in terms of the freedom to move and the size of the landscape, but Doom had for me greater variation, better graphics, storyline and a real intensity.
When I played Half Life 2 I have to say that I was completely blown away. Sure it doesn't have the intensity (so far) of Doom, but in a straight fight between Halo and Half Life, HL would be an easy winner.
The gameplay on HL is a blend of Halo style action but with a puzzle element similar to Tomb Raider - but only in style and not in complexity. Where HL takes gaming to a new level is the shere expanse of area to explore. On Halo when you drive a buggy you have a limited area to explore and in reality you are pretty much guided to following a route or playing within an area. This experience compared to HL seems massively limited.
In HL you have the ability to explore in vehicles massive areas which gives the illusion that you are in a real world and not the confines of a game. When in Halo you would storm a beach area, in HL you explore miles or terrain or follow miles of river in a jet ski/hover craft.
Another benefit to HL is the Doom style interaction with your surroundings, pick up a bottle and throw it and it will smash, throw a crate at an enemy and it will knock him down and smash into and disturb other objects. The whole environment seems alive at at your mercy to change and interact with.
When it comes to weapons, Halo has variations on a theme - Guns with different styles and powers - Half Life's weopans have a wonderful blend of power accuracy and usefulness. Withouth doubt the star of the show is the Gravity Gun which allows you to pick up objects such as explosive barrels and hurl them at your enemies, pick up and stack objects to access other levels, and fire sharp objects like saw blades that can leave multiple enemies cut in half bleeding where they once stood with a single throw.
The biggest asset to Half Life though is the variation to gameplay, one minute you are trying to get your hover bike over pool by raising the ramp with floating barrels, the next you are dodging bullets and hiding from an attack helicopter, the next you are hunting enemies in a spooky graveyard and avoiding traps. This variation in intensity and variation of game objectives gives the game a real sense of not knowing what is coming next, where with Halo and Doom you know that around the corner there will be with certainty a group on enemies for you to kill and get past.
The only downside to Half Life is that there are no multiplayer or live options, which lets the overall package down. At least some access to Live for future levels (as available on PC) would have been a major plus, because Half Life leaves you with a really wanting for more.
Overall if Halo was rated at 98% Half Life must be a 100% - in summary, BUY IT AS YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR LIFE'S BEEN MISSING