Review by gameanamic

"One of the Best PC Games Out There; With Nearly No Hype"

The Half Life 2 series, what a wonderful series. They have made us happy, sad, and definitely mad after pushing the dates to up to years later. Though, they have failed to disappoint us in game-play. Still, wouldn't you think that it would get repetitive after five games? Well that's partially true.... If you're a fan of Half Life 2, you will recognize similar game play immediately. That's not a bad thing, but still, they need a more variety of puzzles and such. Graphics-wise, this game is amazing, just a wow. Nothing less than what you would expect from Valve. The sound is great, nothing that superb, there are some pretty good music scenes when you are about to fight a lot, or a really hard enemy. Overall, it won't disappoint you.

Graphics - 10/10:
This game is jaw dropping, even in front of the eyes of 'Next-Gen' users. It is almost too detailed; there are no cut scenes so you can choose what you look at, and you will find yourself looking at the flowers on the ground instead of the big gaping portal that will destroy the resistance unless it's stopped, armed with shock storms that you are met with frequently, and just an amazing visual. Like I said, you'll be look at the flowers, rocks, and other little things, just wondering how they did this. You will be thrown into gloomy darkness, creepy space-bog-like areas, forests, mountains, villages, and everything else you can think of, some not as interesting as others, but are just amazingly beautiful. Even when you squash those giant-space-maggot-things, it's just beautifully disgusting. All the characters are very detailed, each have their own personalty. When you look at them you can see detailed wrinkles and cuts on their faces. Their eyes flicker if you were to throw something past them. It's truly amazing.

Story - 9/10:
Half Life 2: Episode 2 has the best storyline out of all of the Half Life games, in my opinion. There are so many surprises it's mind boggling. They even make the death of a certain character seem very sad. This Sci-Fi Shooter is so in-depth it can be played out in a movie. They make transitions in the story so natural, that it seems like these events are actually happening. But why not a perfect score you may ask. Well there is a fairly small period in the game, that made absolutely no sense. You will think you did something wrong and will back-track for about 10 minutes.

Voice Acting - 10/10:
This is truly a highlight in this game. This may not seem important, but it makes such a big difference. Without this, none of the characters would have their own personality. Half Life 2 has the best voice acting in any game, ever. They may not have epic voices like in God of War, but it is just stunningly realistic. None of it is forced; Valve pushed this to the limits until it was absolutely perfect. The main characters in the game were all based off real people, the voice actors. So their personality is the character's also... To a certain extent.

Controls - 10/10:
This isn't a huge factor in the game. There are no real complicated controls here; simply w, s, a d, + Mouse + a few other buttons. You're moving, shooting, or thinking about how to solve this next puzzle. It's really nothing special. I gave this a 10/10 because they are perfectly simple, there is no learning curb unless you are brand new to PC gaming, and it becomes second nature.

Gameplay - 9/10:
Obviously, this is the most important part of the game. This is nearly flawless. It combines intense action, with brain teasing puzzles. It's brain teasing if you're new to Half Life 2... After playing these games for a long time, you know Valves style of puzzle-making. Nearly impossible to others can be solved by a simple glance. Perhaps I am just good at puzzles, I do not know, but all I can say is Valve needs to have more of a variety of it. Though you do have to give credit to them, no other company would attempt a puzzle where you have to lodge a grenade under a scrap of medal and use it as a catapult so you can get on a ledge to turn on the power. The action is pretty much the same that you've seen. Shoot, dodge, get undercover. But that doesn't make it any less fun. You will never get tired of these Sci-Fi battles, because they continue to introduce new challenges where you will have to think which way to go, who to target, and where there is protection. Though, what I do not like, is that the game is very linear. You cannot explore too much, there is always a direction that you have to go. I want an open world where you can see it in all its beauty. Another problem with the gameplay is that it is way too short. It's a 6 hour game max. I want at least a 12 hour game. It's even shorter than episode 1. Unlike the story, you may be asking why I gave it such a high score. Well the answer is simple. The good easily outruns the bad.

It's not a matter of if you get this game, it's a matter of when. I suggest you get it as soon as possible, and be prepared to be shaken up. Half Life 2: Episode 2 sets a new bar for PC gaming, even for the previous Half Life games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/03/07

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

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