Half-Life and Half-Life 2

Apr 18, 2011

I just finished the original Half-Life, after about 20 hours of gameplay according to Steam. It was spread over weeks and months though.

Half-Life is a highly renowned video game, originally released in 1998. I played the Source modification, which overloads the original game with better rendering and graphics, released in 2004. So the original concept is 13 years old, and the graphics are 7 years. Yet the game is perfectly playable and enjoyable today, a testimony to the producers’ vision and high production quality. It’s fittingly one of the highest rated games of the genre.

I actually played them backwards, starting with Half-Life 2, which was also released in 2004. The design of the original is a bit dated compared to HL2, with the original research facility levels becoming somewhat boring and repetitive, until you make it outside. But later stages of the game are lots of fun.

Still, HL2 is more advanced in design and gameplay, happening mostly in open space, with a great dystopian ambience.

An interesting feature of HL2 is that there is not a single case of teleporting, and all the stages are linearly connected. (Well, you do teleport back to previous locations a few times, but you can still see the linear connection.) Also interesting is that the main character, you, does not speak once in the series. The design story is really interesting, read it up in Wikipedia.

HL2 also took me about 20 hours of game time.

Next up: Portal 2, out this Tuesday April 19. I can already predict lots of time that I’ll waste in this game. The original Portal, again, was a brilliant idea and execution.