halflife2.jpgIn 2004, there were 3 big first person shooter games; Doom 3, Halo 2, and Valve’s Half Life 2. Of the three, many gamers consider this to be the best, and for good reason. The game is second to few in terms of graphical quality, story telling, gameplay, and capability for modding. Built on a modified version of the Havok physics system, a large part of the game’s appeal is simply picking up objects laying on the ground and throwing them at people. A weapon known as the gravity gun allows players to use the physics system to make anything into a weapon. Players take control of series protagonist Gordon Freeman, as he is awoken from stasis nearly two decades after the end of the original Half Life. He emerges into a world overrun by the combine. Joining up with a resistance group, Freeman has to fight back against all odds, battling head crabs, police officers, and alien creatures with a large variety of weapons.

As mentioned before, another part of this game’s popularity has to do with the modding community. There are several mods ranging from new deathmatch maps to full game conversions. One of the more popular mods, “Gary’s Mod” allows players to simply spawn objects in a sandbox environment just to play around with the physics system. Another mod is an attempt at recreating the popular N64 game GoldenEye. Of course when you’re through with the main game, there is plenty of more material coming to keep fans occupied. Episode 1 was released this year, continuing Gordon Freeman’s quest. This fall will see the release of Episode 2, along with the source engine based Team Fortress 2 and Portal. Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers can grab a special “orange box” containing the main game, as well as all the extras mentioned above. Whichever way you decide to get it, don’t miss out on the chance to play one of the best FPS games ever.

System Requirements

Processor: 1.2 GHZ or better
OS: Windows 98 and higher (including Vista)
Internal Memory: 256 MB RAM
Storage: 4.5 GB
Graphics: DirectX 7 or greater
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DVD-ROM drive (unless obtained from Steam)