� Syriana | Main | Tuesday Fragments �

January 01, 2006

Going To Ravenholm

This holiday I have discovered why gamers have been raving over Half Life 2. It's a brilliant game. It's creepy. It's way interactive. It's puzzling and inventive. It's got a compelling storyline (so far) and it's got the best zombies ever. As a single player game, it's probably one of the all-time greats.

Now this is not news for most PC gamers, but this one has got me, a console gamer pretty excited. I cannot say with any surety that as a single player game I like it more than Halo2 but I understand how Halo's hype plays into the excitement of that game. I don't particularly like switching out characters so while that was an inventive part of Halo2, I find that it reduces rather than adds to the replayability for me, although it probalby make the game overall more exciting. However the puzzles on Half Life add some real spice to an action shooter, whereas Halo puzzles are just mazes.

I'm about 6 hours of play into this game, I guess, and what I estimate is about halfway through Ravenholm, which is by far the creepiest joint this side of Silent Hill. The

The navigation is pretty good and very consistent. It's not as smooth and realistic as Splinter Cell or any of the Tom Clancy shooters. In fact that I can't see my character in any way is something of a weird feeling to get used to. I see no hands when climbing ladders or swimming, and the reticle action on this game is pretty low. However the shooting action is first rate. Sound effects are top notch.

What makes this game world class are the graphics. The environments put together in Half Life 2 are absolutely superb. They have captured the industrial wasteland like no other game. There are only two that come close in showing this level and scale of depressing rust, one is Brute Force, the other is Chronicles of Riddick. There actually is one other that has this level of puzzles and inventive environments which was PsyOps: The Mindgate Conspiracy. But that game was so much fun and your character had so many different powers that you never feel quite as vulnerable as you do in Half Life 2.

Half Life has got great geek appeal. As much as I game, I am still surprised by the goodies I get in this shooter. So add me to the chorus of ravers for the Gravity Gun. Holy smokes is that a nice one. The indestructable sawblades are just splatterific. Launching one of those babies through a crowd of zombies is one of the unique experiences in all of violent gaming. The airboat with the gattling gun is also a very inventive piece of gaming. Nowhere under any circumstances have I face a more deadly helicopter. That is one of the most relentless foes ever. I put it right up there with the UAVs in the latest Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid 2. I'm sure there are more interesting goodies to come.

So there it is. I'll be in Ravenholm for a while.

Posted by mbowen at January 1, 2006 10:13 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: