Half-Life 2 is one of the most anticipated video games ever. Its predecessor, Half-Life was released in 1999. That’s right, five years ago. At the time, it was recognized for the innovations that it brought to gaming, both for the technology and for its story telling abilities. Since then, Valve has been hard at work creating HL2.
Valve has also been working on Steam, a new game distribution platform that lets you buy and download games. With HL2, people were able to download it, but not play it, before the game was officially released. By getting all of the download and install process out of the way, anyone who bought it could start playing at midnight today (last night). Well, not quite at midnight. It did take about 10 minutes for the activation process to decrypt all of the files.
I stayed up to try it out. I don’t want to say too much because I haven’t really played very far into the game (it’s a bit like reviewing a movie after seeing only the first five minutes. The graphics are great, and I’m sure they would look even better on a high end video card like the Radeon X800. What I’m most impressed with is the mood that has been set. The game starts out in City 17, a very run-down and oppressed city that just begs to be liberated. I’m looking forward to spending my nights this week playing Half-Life 2. See you on the other side.