Half-Life 2 Hits the Streets!

LillianH · November 16, 2004 7:14 pm

Graphic3111.jpg Half-Life ,2, the sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed PC titles in gaming history by Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games), hit retail outlets around the world today. The Company confirmed that Half-Life 2, developed by Valve Software, has gone gold with a planned retail street date of November 16, 2004. The countdown to the highly anticipated retail street date has ened, as VU Games completed plans and shipped versions of Half-Life 2 simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese. "Half-Life 2 has surpassed our expectations in every sense its high-quality graphics, ground-breaking physics and immersive first-person shooter gameplay set a new standard for PC action games," said Bruce Hack, CEO of VU Games. "Half-Life 2 will go down as one of the best-selling PC titles, and we are thrilled to deliver this ground-breaking title to the worldwide gaming community this fall." Hailed as "...the best game ever made" by PC Gamer, Half-Life 2 earned a top-rated review score of 98, the highest score bestowed by the magazine in more than six years. The game has received numerous accolades for its technical excellence, captivating story and addictive game play, including more than 10 awards and nominations at the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo. In addition to being named "Best PC Game" by 1up.com (Ziff Davis) and Gamespy.com, the title also received a "Technological Excellence on PC" award from IGN.com. CNNMoney.com stated that "Half-Life 2 will redefine what gamers expect from their games visually and the gameplay is a lot of fun as well." The global anticipation for Half-Life 2 reached unprecedented heights, as consumers around the world marked their calendars to buy the game today. The Half-Life 2 product will include Counter-Strike: Source. VU Games will also release a Half Life 2 Collectors Edition that will include Half-Life 2 in DVD-ROM format, Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life: Source, a free limited edition t-shirt, and a Half-Life 2 Prima strategy guide book. The original Half-Life game was launched in 1998 under VU Games Sierra Entertainment publishing label. It earned more than 50 game-of-the-year awards and has been heralded as one of the best PC first-person shooter games of all-time. About Half-Life and Half-Life 2 In 1998, Half-Life revolutionized the game industry with its combination of pounding action and continuous, immersive storytelling. Valves debut title was named "Best PC Game Ever" by PC Gamer and launched a franchise with more than eight million retails units sold worldwide. In 2004, Half-Life 2 will take the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original to new heights of realism and responsiveness. Half-Life 2 opens the door to a world where the players presence affects everything around him, from the physical environments to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies. The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist, Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted and its population dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people people he cares about are counting on him. The intense, real-time gameplay of Half-Life 2 is made possible only by Source, Valves new proprietary engine technology. Source provides major enhancements in the advanced facial animation system, physics, graphics and AI. Half-Life 2 will be available for the PC. About Vivendi Universal Games Headquartered in Los Angeles, VU Games is a leading global developer, publisher and distributor of multi-platform interactive entertainment. Its development studios and publishing labels include Blizzard Entertainment, Sierra Entertainment, Fox Interactive and Massive Entertainment. VU Games library of over 700 titles features multi-million unit selling properties such as Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo and World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment; Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon, Empire Earth, Leisure Suit Larry, Tribes and Ground Control. # # #

Article Comments

SeigMancer ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

Although half life 2 is an AMAZING game, completely stunning, its hard to describe it in words. Its almost like playing in a movie. There were a few setbacks, first off, the game requires you to have an internet connection. You can install the game, and "attempt" to open it, but your cd-key needs to be verified by them, and it makes you download patches to unlock the game. Without an internet connection you wasted your money. because theres no way to play it without one. Sure many people have internet, but many also cant afford it, or use it from work. There was quite a bit of problems on the first day, My cd key had to get authenticated but failed. So for about 8 hours I could play, but only if i was online. Eventually the problems were fixed. secondly it does require a heafty computer to run, if you are at 1.8ghz (amd1800+) or over and at least a an ATI 9600 (nvidia FX5700+) you should be okay. Aside from the chaos of cd-key activiation the game is brilliant. I highly recommend it for everyone who is a fan of action/adventure. The graphics are most impressive, but the sound by far stands out. my 2 cents.

chocky ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

Looks like a really good game with great physics, i want to know has anyone found anything out about Zelda which is coming out in 2005. The graphics look absolutly incredible if you have any info contact me on chubbychocky@hotmail.com Nick

DominiqueB ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

Tedious installation procedures. Bar none the most amazing graphics I have seen in a game. The level of details in the characters is very impressive.

Luthoricas ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

Once you have your cd-key and patches, please tell me you don't -still- need to have an internet connection? (If you do, I wasted my money!)

visualgirl ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

Got my copy!!! and a copy of the collector's edition, too!

AristaProductionLab ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

XSI/Softimage has a real cool deal for all of the HL2 folks!! http://www.softimage.com/products/EXP/HL2/ "Be sure you check out there "XSI/HL2 awesome tutorials",as well as there free software for HL2 offer"!!!! Regards.

Robo2010 ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 17 November 2004

I have HL2, and I am totally amazed at the story line. Also physics that is on it. Totally amazing. Have to be patients when installing.

markdc ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 18 November 2004

HL2 raises the bar for all video games. You can see from the screen shots how beautiful the graphics are, but what really sets it apart is it's use of physics. Everything in the game reacts as it would in the real world. You can pick up, throw, push, roll, etc. It's amazing. The detail of the environments is unmatched. The whole autorization thing was a pain because it didn't work properly at first. Hopefully they will improve it. Requiring a internet connection is a terrible idea.

kirisute ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 18 November 2004

Steam authorisation and dowenloading of extra files take about 3 hours on 56k! be warned! its an insult to pay for a game and have to wait to play it...because of the problem alot of people bought the game and could not even play it till the day after! some are still trying! if you can get the game registered and all the downloading done..you DONT need an internet connection to play from there...you can run Steam in an offline mode which will allow you to play the game without an internet connection

danceman67 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 18 November 2004

Most amazing game (in every aspect) I've ever played, and I've played hundreds..I should get a life, maybe... asp1vip, you asked if you still need an internet connection once it's all installed and registered. You don't. (Tried it last night with my internet unplugged, worked fine).

agiel ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 18 November 2004

Amazing yeah... when it works. The first 2 times I played, I ended up with a frozen PC that I had to restart. The 3rd attempt was better, even though I had some sound glitches. The 4th attempt ended up with a messed up menu and a broken level with 'floating' buildings above a nice blue void. I have a good PC, recent video card and drivers, plenty of memory. I can run Doom III and Farcry with no problem... but this.... this is a disappointment so far.

majister ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 18 November 2004

i finished the game allready nice freeze frame at the end with u know who

promajo ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

very strange that a game topic appears here any ways, the most or at least one of the most anticipated game of 2004 (or should it be 2003 when it should be originally released), worth a buy there should be a patch available for he who doesn't have internet, but I didn't care to verify because I have internet, don't know if it's legitimate but owning a game legally and not be able to play it because you don't have internet ... sucks

Andrew_C ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

Amazing graphically, probably better than Doom3 and as good as Far Cry. Unfortunately it feels as scripted as Doom3. Gameplay not as good as the origional. Far Cry and Half Life are far better overall.

Luthoricas ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

PART I: Thank goodness you can play offline -after- you've got your Steam account set up, and your files unlocked, and your key registered, and Steam platform updated, and, and, my gosh that was the longest install process I have ever gone through!! * A word to the wise, it would be worth your effort to go through and make sure your drivers - especially video driver - are all up to date with the latest. Steam let me know that my video driver wasn't. And definitely make sure you have at least Directx9. ** Gateway computer owners!! -- Might want to check Gateways update site to download new video drivers!! I only know for sure about my NVidia GeForce2 MX200 that I have, but it was a Very Rude awakening to discover that the "latest" video driver from NVidia's site WAS NOT the driver that would work on my Gateway computer -- Thank Goodness I'd set a restore point!! After 3 and a half hours of downloading at 56k (including one dropped connection compliments of my daughters new puppy), I finally reached the point where Steam said it was ready to play. The opening menu was impressive in its quality, but I had some odd jumpiness where it kept showing my desktop then popping back to the game menu. I'd seen this before with two previous games. It was solved by switching my desktop resolution to the same resolution the game was trying to run at (1024xwhatever). After that, the opening "Wake up" speech was jumpy and the voice didn't synch with his mouth. As soon as I was to the point in the game where my Freeman character could move, I took one step forward and boom, it froze. I've never seen my WinXP lock up that hard. (insert odyssey to update my video driver here and refer back to my "word to the wise").

Luthoricas ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

PART II: With an up-to-date video driver I was now able to get the game to at least play, but wow was it jumpy and voices didn't match up to character actions. Now, my system is not the beefy machine some full-time gamers may have, so after some initial FRUSTRATING testing and re-testing of settings, I discovered the HalfLife2 menu Options -> Video -> Advanced settings that worked best for my computer. Basically, with a 1.4ghz machine, 512k of RAM, and a NVidia GeForce2 card I had to have all the game's video settings no higher than "medium". And still I couldn't get the voices to match the characters movements (it was like one of those old japanese movies dubbed into english where the lips are moving, moving, moving, words are heard, lips move some more. Finally, I found that the "wait for video sync"(?) option set to enabled. Or was it "vertical sync wait" ? -- whatever, it's in the bottom right corner of the Video -> Advanced settings and setting it to "wait" did the trick. Now there are slight jumps from time to time as the action stops for just a moment to let the voice catch up with the person talking. All in all, this was the most arduous and lengthy install I have ever done for any computer program ever. I called it a night and went to bed. This was probably a good thing as it let me cool down before actually getting into the game to -play- the game. Honestly, if one more thing the night before had gone wrong, or taken longer, or caused me more frustration, I think I would have shipped the game back and asked for my money back.

Luthoricas ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

PART III: This morning I started up the game in offline mode. Within five minutes after stepping off the train in City17 I'm hooked. Even with all my reduced settings and the occasional jumpy-pauses (mostly when people talk or the action gets Really Fast - as in the teleporter) I am surprised at the incredible rendering, awesome textures, and shear depth of the scenery. I mean the sky actually looks like it goes on far away into the distance. The skyline itself with all the buildings is awesome. There are birds flying around, and plausibly realisticly flying at that! It was incredible to see dirt spray coming up where bullets had missed their target, or chips of mortar flying off the walls. I have found the AI to be fairly intelligent. My only criticism is that eventually even opponents who duck back wounded will come back into a firing position, rather than hole up somewhere and stay under cover like a smart person would. Also, opponents will duck under cover to reload, and they will wait for buddies to show up before coming back at you. At medium to close ranges opponents will actually move out of your line of fire if you aim at them and they can see you, so don't take to long to pull the trigger or they will duck out of the way! What I've played so far has been a wild and fast-paced ride, with incredibly detailed graphics and effects. The character modelling and animation is as good as the rumor-mill said it was going to be. What an introduction to City17 of the future!

Luthoricas ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

PART IV: My Summary- HalfLife2 does make up for the arduous and lengthy install. Just plan on spending a lot of time installing it. If you don't have a really beefy system, plan on spending some time tweaking the game settings as well. Thank goodness there is an offline mode. I think if I'd known these things up front, I wouldn't have been as upset as I was the evening I installed it. I was on the fence about returning it, and one more problem or delay would've had me pack it away and ship it back. Now that I'm finally playing it, you'd have to pry it out of my cold, dead, encounter-suited hands!

Becco_UK ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

I'll stick with Halo 2 for my chunky XBox! Best wishes to the Half Life 2 players though.

dutch143 ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 19 November 2004

Let me put some fears to rest (and maybe create one or two) regarding the internet requirement. It IS a requirement to unlock the game. And no I'm not happy about that. Even Microsoft figured out how to register a cd via telephone and automated calling. Anyway, Once the game is "updated" - which I think means Steam has verified your cd - you can play the game without an internet connection. The instruction card that comes with the game attempts to explain how - but it leaves the issue lacking. After you log onto Steam and create an account, EXIT Steam. Don't log off and exit from the website, just right click on the Steam icon in your system tray and select exit. To play offline: First disconnect from the internet! You need to do this or the game will connect to Steam, by default. Only if disconnected, you will be presented with an option to play offline. Select it and you can play. Now some observations: (1)You can't play from the Half Life 2 menu (the one that boots from the cd) - at least I can't. You need to start Steam and select to play the game from the games menu. The game will then load. (2) It takes quite a while to load the game. If you see everything go black for some time - don't worry (right away) it's loading. Then the game will display an out of focus picture (you may get a "loading message" at this time - you may not). Don't fret - it's still loading. Go downstairs, grab a beer, some nuts, feed the dog and when you come back you will be ready to play. (3) Loading the game and loading levels within the game take a LOT longer than the original game so be prepared. Even on a suped-up Alienware P4 3.2GHz, 2G RAM and RAID hard drives it still takes some time. (4) I have experienced some crashes during play so save often until a patch comes. (5) Update your video drivers. Valve knows their stuff when it comes to engineering games - they need to stay out of the game verification field though... I hope this helps.

spedler ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 20 November 2004

Agree with everyone regarding gameplay and graphics - knocks Doom 3 for six! Also agree regarding appalling installation/verification procedure. Bad enough if you have broadband but must be truly dreadful if you are on dialup. The MS system is more or less painless and AFAIK no-one has cracked that, so why the tedious rigmarole when all you want to do is load and play?

mcgarrett ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 20 November 2004

When is Half-Life gonna be full? ;)