1.7GHz (3GHz Recommended)
512MB RAM (1GB recommended)
DX8 level graphics (DX9 recommended)
Internet connection required
Half-Life 2:Episode 2 is the second in a trilogy telling the story of the aftermath of Half-Life 2. There’s a portal being opened up by the enemy and Alyx (from the previous games) has the data needed to close it. The enemy is aware of this and will try its utmost to eliminate you and Alyx. You resume the role of Gordon Freeman with Alyx close by for the majority of the time. Although she’s not invincible, she’s very handy to have around. You still get to solve many obstacles on your own though. Many other characters from the previous games will be there as well (Dog, Dr. Kleiner, Dr. Magnusson, G-Man). Game Play
The majority of the game is a first person shooter and your objective is to bring this data safely to a lab to stop the portal and save the planet. Although the lab is not very far, there will be many traps and roadblocks to make it difficult for you. Fortunately there are refugee bases and weapon caches to aide you. You won't be walking around and blasting guns ALL the time, there are some car driving scenes to offer some game play variety. As you progress in the game your car will get upgraded a couple times. You'll be fighting against aliens, big bugs, and combine soldiers. There are some tough bosses to defeat as well. The story is good and will engulf you, and the ending will trigger emotions. The game play itself is pretty linear, but action packed. There's little room and not much time for exploring. You'll be using your trusty gravity gun to help you get past obstacles and to manipulate the environment around you.
What’s included with Episode 2?
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 is a stand-alone title; you don’t need Half-Life 2 to play it. It's highly recommended that you play Half-life 2 and Episode 1 to understand the continuing storyline. So for $30 or less you get about seven hours of single player action. The best way to get Episode 2 is with the Orange Box, as you get Team Fortress 2 along with “giftable” copies of Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 if you already own them. Are there new weapons or enemies?
There are some new enemies, vehicles, and weapons in this game. Hunters are a formidable foe and in groups they are extremely tough. In the ending levels you’ll be given a great new way to destroy striders but you’ll also have many of them to destroy, so it won’t be an easy task. You get to drive and race in a “new” vehicle as well; it is mission critical, so don’t let it get destroyed. Achievements
As you play this game you can unlock various achievements. I’m not sure of the rewards other than adding enhanced game play and bragging rights. Some of the achievements include running over X number of enemies with the car, killing a combine with his own grenade, propelling yourself as a rocket, beating dog in a race and more. Some of the achievements will be met through the storyline but many of them you’ll really have to work for.
The graphics are still some of the best on the market. The character models look extremely life-like. The maps are gorgeous and the scenery is very pretty in the wooded levels. There are some caves and caverns to explore too. The enemy models are gory and scary looking. The object manipulation and gravity effect is very realistic, and the physics engine is superb. All in all, the graphics will not disappoint if your system can handle it. Sound
The voice acting is great in this game, and every character has a unique voice. Each weapon has its own sound effect. When manipulating objects the noises are very realistic. When entering certain areas techno music kicks in, often catching me off guard. It usually indicates something big is about to happen. I didn’t notice any light and fluffy background music. Appropriateness
This game has lots of blood and gore though most of it is in self-defense.
-4 for violence
-2.5 for blood spray
-2.5 for gruesome details
There is language and blasphemy too.
PG13 language –4
Using God’s name in vain –5
On a positive note there is no sexual content other than Alyx’s dad wanting grandkids from you and Alyx. Alyx is dressed modestly, which is good. I didn’t see any occult references, just aliens and combines. Stability
I ran into a very annoying glitch that affects ATI users. There must be a bad texture that causes the game to crash to desktop when seen by the player. I experienced this with multiple drivers and the only way I was able to get past it was to walk backwards looking another direction. I hope this gets patched soon as it’s very frustrating. Final Thoughts
This game is really fun if you don’t mind the violence and language. The final battles are pretty challenging. The game play is pretty short but it’s a good deal if you get the Orange Box bundle. ATI users be warned and save early and often after you escape the guardian.
Game Play 17/20
Final Score 76%