Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of game previews or watching pre-release footage online. I guess, as a reviewer, I've always felt it was better to come into a game cold and experience it fresh on my first playthrough. Even when I'd attend E3 in years past, I was hesitant to spend too much time playing pre-release builds of games because I didn't want anything to spoil my experience with the full version.
That being said, I've broken my rule (albeit slightly) with Valve's Left 4 Dead. I don't think I've been this excited for a zombie game since Resident Evil 2—so when the intro movie appeared online on Halloween, I fought the urge to watch it. I made it through the weekend before finally caving. So, here it is—a few days late, but still very cool—the opening cinematic for Left 4 Dead.
Start practicing your headshots—the game hits retailers on November 18th.
Game Description: The Orange Box includes all the content of The Black Box for PC, plus the original Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One. Innovative games featured in The Orange Box include Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the second installment in Valve's episodic trilogy advances the award-winning story, leading the player to new locations outside of City 17, as well as the pioneering type of single-player action game Portal, which rewrites the rules for how players approach and manipulate their environment, and Team Fortress 2—an all-new version of the legendary title that spawned team based multiplayer action games with a daring new art style features the most advanced graphics of any Source-based game released to date.
Half-Life 2 was for me a little bit of a letdown. It was an epic game of grand scope with superlative storytelling, and I did think it was one of the best first-person shooters I'd ever played. But I couldn't help but be a bit bothered by the game's stubborn adherence to rather dated genre clichés-one man carrying a small arsenal, breaking open crates to find bullets and medicine, and the contrived placement of various weapons, exploding barrels, and magical crates of infinite ammo.
Shoot two portals onto a flat surface and walk through one to appear out the other. This reasonably straightforward game premise is destined to go down alongside "form horizontal lines to make blocks disappear" and "avoid missing ball for high score" as one of the most deviously, deceptively simple in the medium's history.
Half-Life 2, though I felt it was a bit overrated, was undeniably a major release and a massively influential game. Valve might be toiling away creating the next-generation Source engine, but they know a cash cow when they see one and Half-Life 2 has the fan following to keep them afloat while they work on their next big blockbuster. While the engine coders do their thing, we gamers will be getting our Half-Life fill with a series of short "episodes" that expand the series' plot a bit. Half-Life 2: Episode One is essentially just an expansion pack, but it's the first in what will be a series of episodic content that continues the story line that ended so abruptly in Half-Life 2.
I think that I'm impossible to please when it comes to video games. When I play a terrible game, I take an almost ecstatic glee in pointing out all the many, many ways in which the developers screwed up. When faced with a nearly perfect game, on the other hand, I start to nitpick, and search for tiny mistakes to grouse about, as if admitting that the existence of perfection somehow invalidated my worldview.
Anyone who reads GameCritics.com regularly will know that I'm not a big fan of first-person shooter (FPS) games. I don't hate them, but I don't think it's particularly fun to just run around and blast things, either. Most of the games tend to be very repetitious and unimaginative, and the genre has rarely captured my attention. Being the non-fragger that I am, I was particularly interested to check out Half-Life.
Trying to gauge which game was the first to blur the line between game and movie is a daunting task (and one sure to inspire more than a few arguments). However, the game that tends to stand out as one of the first to do it effectively is Half-Life—a classic PC game that is now making its debut on the PlayStation 2 gaming console.
Game Description:Half-Life features an integrated storyline with stunning visual effects and a huge, sprawling environment filled with aliens determined to hunt you down and kill you. You no longer just point and shoot—Half-Life is a dynamic, plot-driven, complex world where you need to play smart to survive. Monsters have a strong instinct for self-preservation. They will duck, jump, hide behind barriers to avoid gunfire, and even retreat if feeling threatened. Superior AI drives these behaviors and they are different for each species. Plus you can choose from 18 different weapons, ranging from a crowbar to laser-guided rockets.
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