XB • VU Games • October 2005
Targets Acquired: On the keyboard-and-mouse side of gaming, few games get bigger praise or more hype than Half-Life 2. The thrilling PC first-person shooter killed with realistic environments, even more realistic physics, and a tense story line about a group of human rebels fighting back an alien infestation on Earth. Expect the Xbox game to be just as good, with a downgrade only in graphics.
Know Your Enemy: You won’t find any Nazis here—only several aliens who are quite unhappy to see a free human running amok. “Half-Life 2 contains a variety of enemies,” says Doug Lombardi, director of marketing at Valve, the developer behind the series, “from the very agile Combine soldiers, to the pesky headcrabs, to the large and lethal striders.” Of course, these aliens have the smarts you’d expect: They find cover, they find help, they know how to flush you out of hiding with a well-thrown grenade. But they also know their own game better than you. “The A.I. in the game is wired to the physics simulation system,” says Lombardi. “So a zombie on the attack knows it can use the objects in the world. If you launch a barrel at one, it can throw it back at you.”
The Most Dangerous Game: This war of the worlds is for lone soldiers only. So while you won’t find any multiplayer modes here, the developers don’t feel they’re necessary. “Humans are infinitely more unpredictable than even the most advanced piece of code,” says Lombardi, “but it’s impossible to re-create the epic battles such as the ones at the end of Half-Life 2 in multiplayer.”
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.