Yes, Half-Life 2 is great, as every other blog and messaging board in the known Internet emblazons. The game is very cool due to graphics, gameplay and physics modeling, but the combination of gravity gun, space zombies and circular saw blades took the coolness to a completely another level (if you don't have the game, check out the web browser version).
However, it's not completely, thoroughly, intrinsically great. Here are a few things that were disappointing to me:
- Sound design, especially guns
- Getting damage is not displayed obviously enough. It happens quite often that you notice the hit points have dropped by 60.
- The objects in the scenery seem to be either static or physically modelled. For example, wrecked cars can only sometimes be interacted with the gravity gun. Sometime they just function as platforms.
- Objects can be split to pieces only in predefined matter. This applies to wooden boxes, water melons and - sadly - zombies.
- The game contains less cute scientists than part one
That being said, everything else is very cool by default.
The worst thing about the entire game was getting to play it. I bought the retail version of the game, which had to be installed from dvd in quite the usual manner. The installation took quite a long time, which was ok - but that was only the beginning. The poor user had to wait through the following tedious phases:
- The normal installation program
- "Connecting with Steam"
- "Updating Steam platform"
- "Registering licence key with Steam"
- Decryption of game files
- Updating Half-Life 2 files
Heavy load is Valve's problem, not the customers. If we set aside the fact that electricity is more important than computer games - at least to most people - it would be like the electric company saying "I'm sorry, but we cannot deliver any electricity to you. We are maxed out because all the Finns are heating their saunas."