I tried to hold off buying the game until after the hype was over and the price came down. First of all, $55 is kinda pushing it. I know most games come out around $50. So why the $5 increase?
Do we get a nice hard-plastic protective jewel case to hold all 5 CDs in? no.
Do we get an extra-cool full-color manual in the box? no. Do we get a manual at all? no So why am I paying an additional $5 for a game that comes with less than most others?
Ok, so I got the game. Went to Best Buy with my older brother, who was ready to get it. Don't get me wrong, I was excited about the improved graphics and physics, just wasnt' chomping at the bit to get the game.
Finally, after a while, I get it installed - all 5 CDs worth. Then, I have to resetup my Steam account (*rant to come at a later date). Steam starts up, tries to authenticate with their overloaded servers, and eventually lets me play the game. The graphics are very nice. The animation is the best I've seen in a game, and the game physics are equally impressive. I could go on and on about the physics and graphics, but I'll just leave it at.
The gameplay is alot the same as HL1, but hey, it's a sequel - it should follow. I'm quite impressed. It's a fun game. I wasn't expecting anything to just floor me, which is why I was reluctant to buy into the hype.
So, if you haven't been swept up in the hype, you shouldn't be disappointed. If you lost sleep the night before the release because you were too excited - you were probably let down. Don't get caught up in hype again.
Overall, it is a fun game with alot of potential. We'll see how it all pans out.
update: Valve just released Half-Life 2 : Deathmatch. It's a relatively small download (about 25-30Mb) and only takes a couple of minutes to install.
In the multiplayer you get to use all the weapons from the game as well as the gravity gun. So, in addition to dodging bullets, you will also now be dodging urinals and exploding barrels. To install, just start up Steam and select to install the Deathmatch feature.
Havoc sez: The game doesn't live up to all the hype. The graphics are good, the gameplay is excellent, and it's fun interacting with various objects of the environment. You'll have loads of fun throwing beer cans at armed guards and smashing things with the crow bar. It's nothing that'll rock your world though. I just felt that Valve slapped the consumer in the face by incorporating Steam and rehashing Counter Strike as the multiplayer aspect of the game while charging an extra 5 dollars. If you hate Punkbuster and it's crappy project team, you will really hate Steam.
Notorious sez: I was somewhat bored with the game the first day, thought it was too much like the original, but the second day, it started to come into it's own. Specifically the Ravenholm chapter allowed for more creativity and and fresh gameplay. I still can't follow the plot for anything, but at least it gave me hope for some more originality than what I had first experienced. Btw, Steam worked fine for me, it was kind of annoying at first, but it saved my lazy fart-canister a trip to Best Buy.
Prez sez: My being wise and saving my money is preventing me from taking part in the discussion of the game play, for I have not bought this game. Although, it will allow me to complain about the $5.00 increase in the price. Other gaming companies will see the price increase, and their greed will make them hungry for more and release their games at $54.99 as well.
update: HL2 is available for only $49.99 on Newegg.com with free shipping. So everyone who bought it for $54.99 should print out the page on newegg showing the price and the free shipping, then take it to the place where you bought the game, and price match it. You're welcome.
Mackieman sez: You know, despite not being currently in possession of hardware that will allow me to enjoy this game, I gotta say that the new price point is a bit out there. Especially when you get nothing but the game for it. The special edition that comes with neeto swag is $80. More and more, PC games are starting to be priced like console games. And that's just not a cost burden I am willing to bare.