Does Half-Life 2 matter anymore?


posted 8/18/2004 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
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Not only did we have a new generation of FPS titles but other great games were popping up. A new Splinter Cell game that introduced new multiplayer concepts, Ninja Gaiden gave users a new single player masterpiece, and gamers even got a new high quality Prince of Persia game. So where was the relevance? Why do so many people consider this to be the next great thing?

I then thought about what little is known about the plot of the game. We know that Gordon choose to go work for the G-man and that he’s working in an Eastern European city. We know he’s under a military occupation and that the aliens from the first game show up at some point. If you put this into the grand scheme of things it’s not that original. The Orwellian nightmare thing has been done plenty of times before and it’s a bit played out.

At this point I was really starting to despair. There’s nothing like tearing apart one of your own pieces of personal hype. It was almost like watching The Phantom Menace for the first time and realizing that the hype had been for nothing. How could I really have been that excited about the game in the first place? Could I ever wear my Half-Life 2 shirt again?

Then it hit me. I could almost see Gabe Newell in a Obi-Wan Kenobi like glow (from Empire…not Jedi). It’s not all about the technology or the plot, it’s the blending of the two together. It’s how the folks at Valve mesh all of these things together into a game. It’s not playing around with boxes to see the cool physics, it is picking them up with the anti-gravity gun thing and flinging them at enemies. It is not about the cool graphics but the atmosphere they create, putting you into the story of the game. It is about the interactions with the other characters in the game and it is about crushing head crabs with a crow bar. Hopefully Gabe and the folks at Valve won’t let us down and everything we’ve seen so far indicates that we’re in for a hell of game. Hopefully the game will be more Aliens than Phantom Menace. I guess we’ll find out next month.

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