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January 8, 2006

Beyond the Revision: A Review of Half-Life 2

Somewhere in a train station in City17 the game drops me off. I get the impression that this is more of a movie with credits scrolling down the screen. Armed with nothing, I look each detailed direction in the world the PC game Half-Life 2 (2004, Valve) has created. Armed guards line the inner bowels of the train station, their snarling commands can barely be understood. When I go to ask one of them what exactly is going on, they respond with several blows to the head. With no idea where I am or how I got here, I ask the people for clues with no such luck.

Guards congregate around the exits. My only shot is to make a run for it. Dodging blows, I come to a dim-lit corridor and find another human and learn some answers.

From here, it becomes clear: the name of the game is to save the world. The man directs me to a way out, and it is up to me to make it to Dr. Klienerís office. Along the way, with a scenic view of an industrial-European-style architecture dotted with Cyrillic symbols, Alyx Vance saves me from an attack by armed guards.

When we get to Klienerís office, I get a huge information dump, finding that the people of this planet are being over-run by aliens. The shockingly emotional and expressive faces look to me with a certain air of hope and pleading. It is here that I learn the scope of my mission. The scene is light and memorable with a strange headless creature causing chaos. From here, armed with only a crowbar, my character must use cunning and creative thinking to overcome challenges posed by the world around him.

Opportunities pop up here and there, such as the times when the guards run out of bullets. It is then you can crowbar them to death and steal their weapons. Once armed, it seems, arsenals of armed alien creatures come out from every direction. My nerves tense as they deliver their strikes and counter-strikes. After facing off helicopters and strange creatures with long tongues, I start to realize that this battle isnít going to be won easily. The tunnels are eerie and lit barely enough to see anything, but there are plenty of places to hide and I refuse to give up.

Posted by EvanReynolds at January 8, 2006 5:25 PM

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