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Half-Life 2 picks up exactly where its predecessor leaves off, with gamers stepping once more into Gordon Freeman's HVAC suit as he awakes at some indeterminate time in the future, now apparently in the employ of the mysterious G-Man. Humanity has been sold out to alien forces, and your job is to escape their thrall and lead the resistance to victory.
HL2's key successes are in a few critical areas, the first of which is the new physics & graphics engine, called Source. People and objects fall, fly, tip over, float, and break in an extraordinarily realistic fashion, and in-game puzzles often require you to use simple applications of physics to progress. Second, an elaborate facial structure system coupled with excellent voice acting make for some of the most believably human NPCs in gaming history. This is no small thing; you will find yourself actually caring about the characters who surround you, even those that are normally regarded as cannon fodder. Third, the level design exhibits a subtle brilliance, which frequently fools you into feeling like you're making your way through an organic environment and not a forced linear path. These elements combine to form one of the most truly immersive experiences ever captured on a PC.
This gaming bliss comes at a cost, however. If your computer isn't running the latest and greatest hardware, you may find yourself turning down a lot of the slick graphics to keep the machine from choking. Also, at the time of this writing the only two bundled multiplayer games are a barely updated version of Counter-Strike and HL2 DeathMatch. Counter-Strike: Source is every bit as fun as the original, but the DeathMatch is lackluster and contains only a handful of uninspired maps.
Overall, Half-Life 2 is a smashing success, every bit worthy of the prestige and respect that the franchise has been awarded. This is absolutely a game that every computer gaming enthusiast is going to want to have in their collection. -- Jon "Safety Monkey" Grover
Terrible experience. The game key only works once and with only one account --- the original owner. It was a waste of money, because I could not activate it.Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Another advantage of the Steam version is that it is constantly updated with outstanding contemporary graphics.Published 3 months ago by Laurent R. Duchesne
Used copies are useless - went through the 5 disk install only to discover that the product activation key (license) was already used and registered to another Steam account. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Claude Berman
The game doesn't include a working steam activation code, meaning the game doesn't work.Published 4 months ago by Blaise Marra
I've played this game for 2 years (using Steam). It's widely considered the mother of all modern first-person shooters, and for a good reason. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dmitry Kudriavtsev
I am unable to play this game. When I put in the provided activation code it says the code has already been used. The game is useless with out it. Help pleasePublished 8 months ago by Kathleen
Cool and fun game, excellent graphics and my nVidia GTX 970 rips through it like there's no tomorrow.Published 9 months ago by Big AL