Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox, Android
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Developer: Valve
Genres: 3D Shooter / First-Person Shooter
Release Date: November 16, 2004
Game Modes: Singlepalyer / Multiplayer

Shooting Antlions with the trusty .357

The superlative sci-fi shooter.

Half-Life was groundbreaking in so many ways that it fundamentally changed what people expect from first-person shooters in particular, and action games in general. Half-Life 2, on the other hand, is merely a massive refinement of everything that was good in the first. As such, it’s impossible for it to have the monumental impact of the first game. It’s not about reinventing the genre with the sequel, but rather refining and complementing it.

Trusting Your Audience

Game developers are notoriously bad at trusting their audiences. We assume that every story detail, every control function, and every game mechanic has to be exhaustively explained for fear of alienating newcomers. Half-Life 2 has no linear tutorial, no narrator droning on about what you should or should not do. The game throws you right into the action and says, “Hey, you’re a smart guy. Do something in this situation. See that scary dude? He’s a guard. How do you know that? Well, he’s wearing a uniform, and he whacks you over the head if you bother him.”

And then the best moment in tutorial history happens – There’s a soda bottle on the floor. Motioning with his gun, the guard barks at you to pick it up and throw it in the trash. Text appears on the screen “Hit “E” to pick up objects. Hit “E” again to drop them.” Boom, you’ve learned how to interact with objects in Half-Life 2. The moment is not only an effective tutorial, it’s effective drama, effortlessly tying a menial task with a context that turns it into a powerful conflict. You not only learn that the world is interactive, you also discover that you are its bitch.

This is City 17, and the guards aren't friendly.

This is City 17, and the guards don’t look friendly.

This is because there’s quite a bit of Orwell in Half-Life 2, from the blue overalls to the oppressive surveillance and telescreens spewing speeches from some guy who looks like an English professor. Even under the strong jackboot of the state, Gordon has to pull through and find out what’s up. Where is City 17, exactly? It looks a hell of a lot like Prague, or any other major Eastern European city. Who are the Combine? Who’s the old dude in the turtleneck? Why does the coastline look like the Pacific Northwest? Is the whole world occupied, or just City 17? How come some of the aliens are your friends, and others want you dead? Moreover, who cares?

Revolutions And Stuff

A lot of things have changed with Half-Life 2, and whether you love or hate those changes is purely a matter of taste. But where the game shines it’s something to behold. Take the new Source engine and the fully interactive environments. Virtually no one has managed to integrate physics into gameplay as thoroughly, or make it as satisfying as it is in Half-Life 2. Everything that isn’t nailed down or weigh too much can be picked up and tossed around, and the puzzles you’ll face make direct use of simulated physics.

Valve, like every other developer, licensed the Havok physics engine for its game, but tweaked the numbers to make it more realistic. And eventually you find a little item called the Gravity Gun that lets you drag things to it and then launch them, turning random junk into deadly projectiles. You can also use it to blast heavy objects like furniture, wrecked vehicles, and old washing machines out of your way.

Shooting Variety

You end up doing a lot of things that are both familiar and novel to shooters, and there’s a great deal of variety to keep away any sense of boredom. When not shooting it out with the guards you’re speeding through an old canal using a rickety motor boat, or a buggy down a depressingly decrepit coastal highway. Or crawling through an abandoned town filled with zombies (the game’s token horror portion in Ravenholm) or having the girl sidekick helping you out storm the looming tower you see at the start.

1_1As the game progresses, things get more opaque. The final part of the game is drenched with a trippy Pink Floyd-y otherness that would only have been compromised by specifics. You can miss out on half of the great stuff if you’re looking in the wrong place, but when you catch something it’s more rewarding because you caught it. Spotted the ever elusive G-man in the distance eerily staring at you? Try to reach him and see what happens. Or maybe you’d like to enter that creepy abandoned house near Highway 17, and find the familiar scoped crossbow but also a new enemy.

If you haven’t tried Half-Life 2 yet then you definitely should. It might not be as epic or influential as the original game, and neither the story nor setting are quite as foreboding or memorable as the sleek sci-fi dungeon that was Black Mesa, but Half-Life 2 is nonetheless a superlative shooter with plenty of fun, action and variety to make it worth one’s while.

System Requirements: 1.2 GHz CPU, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB Video, Win 2000 / XP

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Tags: Half-Life 2 Full PC Game Review


  1. Anonymous User says:

    For WIndows 7 users, it won’t run properly please consider my words.

  2. Ellib says:

    Is it the episode 1 or 2 or its just half life 2 multiplayer without any storymode? does it has a story mode?

  3. LONEWOLF says:

    Hi, sir/ ma’am, should I extract this rar folder together or extract separately in the same folder?

    Thanks, regards (:

  4. Extract everything into one folder so all of the files are in the same place.

  5. Civo says:

    when i start the game it says “Unable to get IfileSystem interface from filesystem factory”. How to fix this or do i need some other program to run this game,im windows 7 user

  6. A says:

    wont run for win10 !!!!!

  7. Rimantas says:

    And it should not run on that terrible OS. Read system requirements.

  8. Tesla says:

    Civo, create a shortcut of hl2.exe
    Right click to shortcut ; Properties
    Into target box, add at the end : -steam
    It should work.

  9. YASH says:

    how to download this game.
    pls help me

  10. click the button

  11. halflife2noob says:


    Doesn’t work for me, i get the error that it’s not valid,
    no changes can be made in the targetbox at my end following your steps provided.

  12. halflife2noob says:

    EDIT @tesla

    it works!
    needed a [space] then ‘-steam’ after the ‘exe’
    it’s a great game so far, finally getting to play this!

  13. Tesla says:

    Nice to hear that.
    I spent years playing this game on Deathmatch mode but unilke HL1DM, I was not involved in clans. Btw, Half-life 2 solo is not as epic as Half-Life 1 in my opinion.

  14. Syrco says:

    Hi guys.
    I do the same steps like @Tesla but still i get the error that its not valid.
    I do “space” after .exe in target box. I have folder “steam”‘ but its empety. Somebody can help ?

  15. halflife2noob says:


    Unpack both rar-files in one folder
    install the game
    create a shortcut from HL2.exe
    go to properties and go to the target box where you can edit your file name
    and make it hl2.exe [space] -steam

    the “[space]” is literally a space as in space-bar, than it should work.

    i was so wanting to play this game back on 04 when it came out, but was under the understanding that you needed a steam account, as beeing a stuborn old school gamer i didn’t want to go and creat something new like a steam account so i just desided i wasn’t going to play the game, until now! Just finished it, and let me tel you, i can understand what all the fuss was about, and why they NEVER can go above the expectations from the fanbase if they create HL3..

    Really loved the game, finally got to play this gem!

  16. Joe FeelGooDZ says:

    how to change language ?

  17. Humam says:

    hi @halflife2noob

    could you explain what you meant with the last sentence “and why they never can….. create HL3”

    do you mean hl2 is so awesome that the fans want even more awesomeness from VALVE with HL3 ( which VALVE cannot afford ) or that it was not that great like hl1 as @Tesla has said ?

  18. Humam says:

    @old pc gaming

    the two links for part one and two in you first comments are broken , the files have been removed.

  19. Rimantas says:

    HL2 story was not finished. It really needs final episode. HL1 was fresh air when all FPS around were Doom clones, but HL2 touches player most of all games. Valve are ignorant and lazy morons, i don’t know what they are thinking.

  20. Anton says:

    Thief and System Shock came before half life and were better

  21. Rimantas says:

    System Shock have very problematic controls. But i will play it some day.

  22. Anton says:

    no it doesnt the interface is easy to get used to

  23. samuel says:

    im using win 10. after click the red button(download link), the link will direct me to the hlrip.iso. what is that?
    old pcgaming, plz help

  24. MyX says:

    Hi, OldPCGaming!
    Can you,please, upload Garry’s Mod on your site? I can’t find it anywhere!
    It was released about the same time HL2 was released too.
    Thanks for your time and for an awesome site!

  25. MyX says:

    Could you upload the episodes too?
    I really want to play them.

  26. miniman says:

    all i got is hlrip.iso file i need help piz wut do i do. sorry i cat spell good.

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