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Half-Life 2 (Pre-E3 2005)

Developer: Valve | Publisher: VU Games
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: First Person Shooter

Release Date: 11/16/04

While Microsoft was hoping to keep this title a secret until E3, it is now official. Valve is porting Half-Life 2 over to the Xbox. Yes, you read that right. We aren't talking about an Xbox 360 launch title- the target release date is for THIS AUGUST! For those of you unable to play this excellent title on PC, you have officially run out of excuses to avoid the greatness that HL2 any longer.

Set a few years after the conclusion of the original Half-Life, the sequel has the infamous Gordon Freeman being dropped off in a train going towards City 17. The world is much different than where you last left it and soon Gordon will find himself struggling to help mankind be freed from a race of aliens.

Players will find the complete Half-Life 2 game with no missing levels. Unfortunately, in order to keep the August release date, Valve was forced to remove the multiplayer modes of the game. But since HL2 is a much better single player game, I would rather see them hit a summer release date than be forced to release in the winter alongside the new Xbox 360 console.

While nothing specific was promised, we have been told that Valve is considering offering several different downloads for the Xbox version of Half-Life 2. Could this mean new levels or expansion packs for sale? I sure hope so.

The most amazing thing about Half-Life 2 on the Xbox is the fact that it is running on the Xbox. Visually, this title brought all PC's to their knees and forced gamers all around the globe to upgrade their processor, video card, and RAM just to be able to experience Half-Life 2. Those who had the horsepower were treated to some of the best graphics ever seen. While the Xbox version doesn't quite match that of a high end PC, there are very few differences between the two.

Specifically, some players may notice that some of the textures and visuals are not quite as detailed and the resolution are much lower due to the fact that this game is played on regular TV's instead of high resolution monitors. Valve also made sure that the game used a technology similar to what Rockstar used in Grand Theft Auto to stream the vast amounts of data off the disk in order to keep load times to a minimum.

The current build is not complete but already plays very well. The controls still need a little work and the framerate does not stay at a steady 30 FPS. Valve says that their fifteen man team has been working on the Xbox version for two and a half years and they should have all of these areas cleaned up by the August release date. Another thing that they plan to add to the Xbox version is improved lighting effects. This should be an attainable goal because all Xbox consoles have the same configurations--unlike PC's.

Another element Valve has tried to improve upon are the controls. Most players would agree that a mouse and keyboard are vastly superior to a controller due to the fact that a mouse and keyboard are much more precise. While the controls are still being fine-tuned, Valve promises that this game will control very well in the final build.

Everything we know and love about the 2004 Game of the Year will be on the Xbox this August. This title should be a huge hit and help ensure that a larger amount of gamers experience Half-Life 2 for themselves. With the extra cash this title is sure to bring in, hopefully Valve will hurry up and bring us an expansion to HL2 soon.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 05/12/05
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence
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Screenshots for Half-Life 2 (Pre-E3 2005)

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