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$20 Game of the Week: Half Life 2 (PC, Xbox)

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
Internet connection required for verification
DVD-ROM drive (unless obtained from Steam)

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Team Fortress 2’s Heavy Weapons Guy

I’ve already spoken of the pure excitement I have over the forthcoming Half Life Orange Box, but this trailer in particular is quite entertaining. The art style is perfect for a game. While Valve has the best visuals in the industry for rendering regular people, the highly animated look of Team Fortress 2’s players is reaching Pixar levels. Yeah I’m saying it. We’re out of that glass eyed uncanny valley of Spider-Man 3 visuals and squarely into spirited animated movie territory.

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Half-Life 2: Orange Box nearly Complete

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Its been some time since Valve and EA announced they’d bring the stunning Half Life 2 to the Xbox 360 & PS3. Its been an even longer time since Valve commited to an episodic sequel instead of a full on development of Half Life 3.

Valve’s updated their Steam service with news that Episode 2 is nearly complete! This is great news because it means they can get it up for download very soon and the wait is almost over. Well thats great news for PC Gamers anyway.

Console folks like myself can rest easy knowing that full focus will soon shift toward completing Episode 2 for consoles, to be released in the “Orange Box” edition with the new online Multiplayer Team Fortress 2 and the gravity physics puzzle game Portal, not to mention the full release of Half Life 2 and Episode 1. Even at the premium price of $59.99 for a next gen game, thats a crazy amount of content!

Hey, thats not all, Game Head went to Valve’s offices recently, and you can watch the full episode below…
[Read the rest of this entry…]

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