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Sharky Extreme : Features March 1, 2005

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    E3 Report: Half Life 2
    By Dilip "Klashe" Trivedi :  May 20, 2003

    Half-Life Report: Part Two

    The game objects are also interactive, and at one point in the demo, Gordon is being pursued, and subsequently runs into a room, shuts the door, and pushes a table against it. All the objects that were set on the table wobbled and fell over from the impact. During a Strider (a hundred-foot tall monstrosity) attack, Gordon uses a weapon similar to a Gravity Gun, which can pick up objects and toss them a la The Force, to rip off a sign from a dilapidated building. Our erstwhile hero then chucked it directly at the Strider's torso, exploding into dozens of pieces and causing damage, or at the very least, pissing the big guy off.

    Half-Life 2's environments have also expanded, and no longer will you be confined to the Black Mesa facility. The alien presence has spread and starts decimating the surrounding area, which includes residential towns.

    Half Life 2 follows the adage that a sequel should do everything that the original did, only bigger. With a larger environment to work with, Valve decided to include drivable vehicles, and in the demo, Gordon is able to cruise around in a dune buggy, outside of a factory. This should provide for some radically different types of gameplay compared to the first Half-Life.

    As far as the AI goes, Valve follows along with its other enhancements and looks to make great strides here. One scene has Gordon leading a team of rebels on an assault through a city war zone. The rebels tell Gordon to run to the next waypoint and they even provide cover fire for him. Then, the rebels would do the same for each other, laying down round after round while NPCs ran to cover further up the road. The enemy AI was also on display, particularly how Gordon can manipulate enemies to do his bidding. Gordon can toss grenades full of alien scent and make aliens believe he is one of them, and command the aliens to attack or go on suicide runs.

    While the Half Life 2 demo played itself out, the game's beautiful graphics ran without a hitch on the Dell system. Framerates stayed constant for the most part, with only a slight hiccup when action got intense. Considering that the price and relative performance of that system will only drop between now and the time that Half Life 2 is released, it bodes pretty well for those wanting to run Half-Life 2 at acceptable levels.

    Only a few things need to be fleshed out before the Half Life 2 release. Obviously the first is gameplay and bug testing, but there's also the multiplayer aspect, which was not in any playable form (and no Valve employee would speak about it). Some of the single-player scripting still needs to be completed (another thing which Valve would not comment on). but even in its partially-completed state I feel that Half-Life 2 stands alone as the PC game of E3. By focusing on the tiny details of real-life, the game achieves levels of interactivity and immersion undreamed of by gamers. The graphics are top notch and should run well on modestly equipped systems. All in all, seeing Half-Life 2 on the last day of the show is the perfect way to end E3, with an exciting game that promises to revolutionize the industry.

    E3 in a Nutshell

    E3 tries to be everything to everyone in the industry and, for the most part, it succeeds. Gamers get a sneak peek at tomorrow's software, while the media gets to test drive new games on hotrod systems. Companies can make important contacts, developers can take part in demonstrations and discussions that bring them closer to the guy on the street, and executives can schmooze it up with potential partners and do the PR shuffle. Leaving E3, I'm left with a much better sense of the sheer breadth of the industry. As a gamer, it's easy to think of things in terms of PC's and console systems, how good a certain game will be, or will it hit the release date. The E3 show puts a face to the games we know and love, and allows the chance to interact with the people who really drive the gaming industry.

    With this being our final E3 report, we're once again signing off with a few more pics of those lovely ladies of E3.

    And this time we're definitely not forgetting about our female readership, and on the right is our own international man of mystery himself, along with Valve Developer, Ken Birdwell on the left:

    Page 1Behind the Half Life 2 Curtain
  • Page 2Half Life 2 Impressions

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