|Half Life 2 Preview
By James Winder
Release Date: November 19th 2003
Every self respecting PC games player must have heard of Half Life by
now. Hailed by some as the greatest PC game ever and spawning hundreds
of add on packs and mods. Perhaps the most popular of which being the
online shooter Counter-Strike. Originally released in November 1998 Half
Life has become a legend in its own right, and is still the world’s
most popular online first person shooter.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 5 years
or so, Half Life told the story of Gordon Freeman a scientist working
for the Black Mesa research facility. The story begins with just another
day at work for Gordon, until a bizarre government experiment which Gordon
is working on goes badly wrong releasing hordes of evil aliens from another
dimension. As one of the few survivors of the experiment you must guide
Gordon out of the underground research facility and back to civilisation.
In a twist of fate the government sends in marines to wipe out any trace
of the incident, and that includes Gordon himself.
Half Life 2 has been in production for some time now and fans of the
series have had to endure constant delays in production of the game. This
is one that the developers want to ensure will be absolutely perfect.
The plot sees us once again taking on the role of Gordon Freeman as he
battles to save the Earth from the evil Xen invaders. The aliens have
now spread all over the world and are set to take complete control of
The preview movies of this game look astounding; with near photo realistic
graphics and incredible sound effects, many of you will be expecting this
game to need a monster PC to play on. But, according to the developers,
Half Life 2 will run on a mere 700MHZ computer with a Direct X 6 compatible
graphics card. This all sounds very good but don’t expect HL2 to
look its best on anything less than a Geforce 4 graphics card and a 2GHZ
Of course HL2 will have multiplayer features with at least 32 players
being able to battle it out online at the same time.
The game is powered by Valve Software’s new "Source"
engine which will allow for some pretty fantastic special effects. Characters
faces will have individual moving muscles allowing for truly realistic
lip synching. Enemies will react differently to every single bullet you
fire into them, and there will be plenty of different weapons to choose
HL2 will feature a revolution in Enemy AI. Gone are the days when your
enemies would pace up and down on the same spot waiting for you to attack
them. Now the bad guys will be hunting you down. One of the preview movies
I have seen shows the player hiding behind a metal door in an alleyway.
But instead of waiting for you to show yourself the enemy uses a camera
built into his armour to track you down and then begins to smash his way
through the door to get to you, leaving you no time to plan an escape
Half Life 2 is a new generation of game featuring ultra realism and truly
Of course very few people have actually played HL2 yet, a playable demo
has not even been planned, but on the name alone this game is bound to
be a big hit this Christmas. Based on what we have seen so far I really
think HL2 is going to live up to the hype.