Saturday, October 22, 2005

Half-Life 2 (Xbox) Hands-on at IGN

IGN Xbox has put up a new preview of Half-Life 2, including new screenshots and videos. The game will be a direct Single Player port of the PC version, and will be released tentatively on Tues. Nov. 15th.

Half-Life 2 (PC) was regarded as one of the best FPSes of all time, and received rave reviews all around. I've never played the retail game, only the demo, and I do remain skeptical of it.

While I certainly credit Valve Software for creating a game that can play very well and look good on my 3.5 year old system, something id Software and even Gearbox couldn't do (with Halo: Combat Evolved), I must say I wasn't overly impressed with the PC demo.

I found the levels visually pleasing, and Ravenholm had a very good atmosphere the first play-through, however I found the level design very limiting in terms of player choice and freedom, and felt the designers "forced" me along too many paths (including weapon use). This made the demo's second playthrough absolutely boring.

I was also disappointed that the arsenal seemed to be very much the same as the original Half-Life, save the Gravity Gun, and that despite the fact that Half-Life 2 is a title big on boasting about it's realism, you still unrealistically carry around a dozen weapons, something other modern shooters like the Halo and Call of Duty franchises have long since done away with.

The PC version also shipped with Steam, Valve's "Content Distribution" System that violates Half-Life 2's own EULA and forces an off-line game to constantly connect to the net. I simply could not support this and thus refused to buy the title.

Though I've never played the PC retail version, our Staff picked it up on its release nearly a year ago. If he reads this I'd very much like for him to make a post regarding his thoughts on the PC version of Half-Life 2.

For the Xbox version, I intend to rent it first, and to try to go into it with an open mind. It'll be interesting to see if it can measure up to Doom 3 and/or Halo 2.

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