Review by Rashaed

"An outstanding experience with only a few minor flaws!"

Put on your HEV suit and grab your Gravity gun because it's time to get back into the toxic water that is Episode Two (E2).

Graphics: 10/10
A lot of improvements here. First thing you will notice are the new explosions, fire, blood when you shoot things and the addition of smoke. Textures have been improved on some weapons, zombies, headcrabs and the Combine. Valve has also done an impressive job with lighting and shadows. Valve also did very well on the outside environments. As in HL2, they are very large and allow a little bit of exploration. Overall, they updated and perfected the great attention to detail Valve has put into the graphics.

Controls: 8/10
Controls have not changed since the HL2. That helps veteran HL gamers jump right into E2. The only reason I gave it an 8 is because the game series still does not recognize my mouse's thumb buttons.

Sound 9/10
As always, voice acting is on a level I have yet to see anywhere else. A few new voices have been added, including Tony Todd (Final Destination {series}, Star Trek: TNG, DS9 and VOY) as the new Vortigaunt voice. Sound effects are virtually unchanged except for the stuff unique to E2. The car in the game sounds really accurate (sporty but rickety too). Music is also well done and well timed.

Story: 9/10
Wow. This is what made me finish the game in about 5.5 hours. I always had to see what happened next. Although there are still unanswered questions, I was very satisfied with the storytelling so far. I won't go into it anymore than that. Experience it for yourself.

Game play: 9/10
GOOD: Improved HUD. Better AUX power. Some great puzzles and situations to think your way out of. New enemies. At long last a great car sequence. New weapon and the final battle are a blast.
BAD: I was expecting a 10-hour game but maybe I am asking for too much. E2 is slightly longer than E1 though. I preferred to deal with the Combine more but here in this game your only going to fight them 25% of the time. The rest is spent on antlions and zombies.

Overall 9/10
For the HL vets: GET THIS GAME!! You problably have it already. If you are new to this HL series, GET THIS GAME!! Half-Life 2 is the pinnacle of the First person shooter genre. I can't wait for Episode 3!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/15/07

Game Release: Half-Life 2: Episode Two (US, 10/10/07)

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