Half-Life 2

{{Game Infobox
|image=FileHL2 Gordon cover.jpg|250px
|name=HλLF-LIFE 2
|date=November 16, 2004
|genre=WikipediaFirst-person shooter|First-person shooter
|mode=WikipediaSingle-player video game|Single-player
|platform=WikipediaMicrosoft Windows|Microsoft Windows, WikipediaXbox|Xbox, WikipediaXbox 360|Xbox 360, WikipediaPlayStation 3|PlayStation 3, WikipediaMac OS X|Mac OS X, WikipediaLinux|Linux
|rating=WikipediaEntertainment Software Rating Board|ESRB M (Mature)
|distribution=WikipediaElectronic Arts|Electronic Arts, WikipediaSteam (software)|Steam
|system=1.7 WikipediaHertz|GHz WikipediaCentral processing unit|processor, 256 WikipediaMegabyte|MB WikipediaRandom-access memory|RAM, WikipediaDirectX|DirectX 8.1 level WikipediaVideo card|graphics card, Internet connection (Only for Steam)|Keyboard and WikipediaMouse (computing)|mouse, WikipediaXbox 360 Controller|Xbox 360 Controller, WikipediaPlayStation 3 accessories Controller, WikipediaDualShock 3|DualShock 3 Controller
|series=''Half-Life universe|Half-Life''
|writer=Marc Laidlaw
|composer=Kelly Bailey
|previous=''Half-Life Decay''
|next=''Half-Life 2 Lost Coast''

'''''Half-Life 2''''', stylized as '''''HλLF-LIFE2''''', is a wikipediaScience fiction|science fiction wikipediaFirst-person shooter|first-person shooter developed and published by Valve Corporation, and released on November 16, 2004,http//store.steampowered.com/app/220/ Half-Life 2 on Steam following an extended development period of five years. The game garnered near unanimous positive reviews and received critical acclaim, winning over 35 Game of the Year awards for 2005. It is included in ''The Orange Box'' for Xbox 360 and PC. 

The game uses the Source engine, which includes a heavily modified version of the WikipediaHavok physics engine|Havok physics engine.

{{Main|Half-Life 2 storyline}}

Taking place in and around City 17 sometime in the near future, ''Half-Life 2'' follows the scientist Gordon Freeman. Gordon is thrust into an unfamiliar environment in which the aftermath of the Black Mesa Incident has come to bear fully upon human society. Freeman is forced to battle against increasingly unfavorable odds in order to free Mankind from the Combine. In his struggle, he is joined by various allies, including fellow scientists, rebels, and friends (such as Alyx Vance) - all shocked to see him alive.

FileHL2 Alyx cover.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Alternate American cover, Alyx version.
FileHL2 G-Man cover.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Ditto, G-Man version.
FileHL2 series orange logo.svg|thumb|150px|right|The ''Half-Life 2'' series logo.
FileHL2 series favicon.svg|thumb|150px|right|The ''Half-Life 2'' series favicon.

* Gordon Freeman
* Alyx Vance
* Barney Calhoun
* Judith Mossman
* Eli Vance
* Isaac Kleiner
* Father Grigori
* Dog
* Wallace Breen
* The G-Man

* Antlion
* Antlion Guard
* Barnacle
* Fast Headcrab
* Fast Zombie
* Standard Headcrab|Headcrab
* Ichthyosaur
* Leech
* Poison Headcrab
* Poison Zombie
* Standard Zombie|Zombie

* City Scanner
* Civil Protection
* Combine Advisor
* Combine Dropship
* Combine Gunship
* Crab Synth
* Hopper Mine
* Hunter-Chopper
* Manhack
* Mortar Synth
* Overwatch Elite
* Overwatch Sniper
* Overwatch Soldier
* Rollermine
* Shield Scanner
* Strider

*'''Crowbar''' The most iconic weapon of the series; a simple melee weapon which can be used to attack enemies or break through obstacles to continue.
*'''Colt Python|.357 Magnum''' ('''Colt Python revolver''') Powerful and accurate, this gun will often kill enemies quickly at close range. However, the ammunition is scarce and it has a slower rate of fire.
*'''Pheropods|Bugbait''' Collected from an Antlion Guard, these pods can be thrown to release pheromones, attracting Antlions which will kill any enemies nearby.
*'''Resistance Crossbow|Crossbow''' Whilst the projectile fired is very powerful, it is slow moving and enemies will often move out of the way. The only sniper weapon featured in-game, the ammunition is less common, but it will usually kill smaller enemies in a single shot.
*'''Emplacement Gun''' Used by the Combine, this mounted pulse gun can be used to clear enemies quickly and efficiently, however it cannot be moved.
*'''Hopper Mine''' Mines that explode when a target goes too near. Their name is derived from the fact they launch into the air before landing and exploding.
*'''MK3A2 Grenade''' A standard grenade that explodes a few seconds after being thrown.
*'''MP7''' Fully automatic, this gun is used by both the Combine and the Resistance. It also has a secondary fire function that allows it to launch grenades.
*'''Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle''' ('''AR2''') A pulse rifle developed by the Combine. Its secondary fire launches an Energy Ball that destroys enemies instantly.
*'''Ravenholm traps''' Created by Father Grigori, these crafty traps can be used to kill zombies.
*'''Resistance RPG|RPG''' Fires a rocket-powered grenade that can be aimed using the attached laser. Effective for destroying airborne targets.
*'''Combine Sentry Gun|Sentry Gun''' Stationary automatic guns which destroy targets when they come near.
*'''Combine SPAS-12|SPAS-12''' A powerful, pump-action shotgun that fires pellets in a cone pattern.
*'''USP Match''' A semi-automatic 9mm handgun. The first ranged weapon acquired in the game.
*'''Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator''' ('''Gravity Gun''') Designed for handling hazardous materials, this weapon allows the user to pick up most objects, and optionally launch them into enemies.

The book ''Half-Life 2 Raising the Bar'',''Half-Life 2 Raising the Bar'' and, against the developer's will, the Half-Life 2 Beta|leaked Beta from 2003 and its numerous files, revealed many of the game's original settings and actions that were cut down or removed entirely from the final game. ''Half-Life 2'' was originally intended to be a far darker game with far grittier artwork where the Combine were more obviously draining the oceans for minerals and replacing the atmosphere with noxious, murky gases.

''Half-Life 2'' was also originally intended to be much more diverse in settings. Several City 17 levels at the start of the game and complete chapters from the second half of the game were completely removed and sometimes re-introduced in the subsequent ''Half-Life 2'' episodes.

For more information about the cut content, see the following more elaborate articles

*Half-Life 2 Beta|''Half-Life 2'' Beta
*Development of Half-Life 2|Development of ''Half-Life 2''
*Half-Life 2 original storyline|''Half-Life 2'' original storyline
*CategoryCut weapons|Weapons cut from ''Half-Life 2''

''Half-Life 2'' plays similarly to its predecessor. The player navigates through a linear set of levels, fighting off transhuman troops known as the Combine as well as hostile alien creatures. Puzzles and sequences involving vehicles are interspersed throughout the game, breaking up stretches of on-foot combat and exploration.

Since ''Half-Life 2'' is a first-person shooter, the gameworld is always presented from Gordon Freeman's perspective, and the player is implicitly asked to place themselves in Gordon's shoes. A heads-up display at the bottom of the screen shows the player's health, energy, and ammunition status, while a toggle screen shows available weapons at the top. Health and energy can be replenished by picking up Medkit 2|medical supplies and energy cells respectively, or by using wall-mounted Charger Chargers|health stations and Charger Chargers|charging devices.

The HEV Suit is a staple of ''Half-Life'', making another appearance as the ''Mark V'' iteration, upgraded from the ''Mark IV'' version from the original ''Half-Life''. The suit holds up to 100 Energy, which is depleted from damage, usually gunfire. The suit is recharged either by energy cells, or Charger Chargers|charging devices, found throughout the game.

The player defeats enemies with an assortment of TemplateWeapons|weapons. The game's available arsenal consists largely of modern-day weapons, primarily pistols and shotguns, though more elaborate weapons are available, such as a crossbow that shoots hot metal rods, and Bugbait|pheromone pods that summon and direct Antlions. The Source engine's physics capabilities extend into combat via a special device called the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator, or Gravity Gun. Using this device, the player can pick up objects and either launch them at enemies or hold them in place to create a makeshift shield. The Gravity Gun can also perform a variety of non-combat functions, such as grabbing out-of-reach supplies, forming bridges across gaps, and flipping overturned vehicles.

Many puzzles use the game's physics engine. For example, one puzzle requires the player to either turn a seesaw-like lever into a ramp by placing cinder blocks at one end, or to stack wooden crates to form a crude stairway. Puzzles are frequently solved with the Gravity Gun. One such puzzle has the player clear a highway by using the gravity gun to push numerous abandoned vehicles out of the way.


''Half-Life 2'''s public reception was overwhelmingly positive in terms of reviews, acclaim and sales. It was critically acclaimed for advances in computer animation, sound, narration, computer graphics, artificial intelligence (AI) and physics. When sales figures were last announced, 12 million were sold at retail on PC and Xbox.http//www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0228/technology-gabe-newell-videogames-valve-online-mayhem.html Half-Life 2 has sold 12 million as of February 2011 on Forbes The Steam sales have not been revealed, but they may be around 15 million including retail and Steam.http//www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21319 Analysis Valve's Lifetime Retail Sales For Half-Life, Counter-Strike Franchises by Chris Remo. Gamasutra.com The sales for ''Half-Life 2'' have been relatively steady since its release. If ''Half-Life 2'' eventually surpasses ''Half-Life'' in sales, it will take the title of the best-selling first-person shooter game to date. 

Roughly 25 percent of all ''Half-Life 2'' copies have been purchased using the Steam content delivery service; their exact number is between 750,000 and one million, depending on whether they are included in the figure of 6.5 million.http//www.steamreview.org/?p=16 Steam's Finances Overall, the ''Half-Life'' franchise, including ''wccounterstrike|Counter-Strike'' and ''wcdayofdefeat|Day of Defeat'', has seen over 20 million sales.http//steampowered.com/index.php?area=news&id=648 Valve Reveals New Details On Episode Two

===Critical response===
''Half-Life 2'' became and remains one of the most highly acclaimed video games in history. At least 35 Game of the Year awards were given to ''Half-Life 2'', and most major game reviewers gave ratings within the 90-100% range. ''Half-Life 2'' holds Metacritic's highest ranking and standing ("universal acclaim") among PC games with a score of 96, followed directly by ''Half-Life'' (also with a score of 96). ''Maximum PC'' awarded ''Half-Life 2'' an unprecedented 11 on their rating scale which peaks at 10, and named it the "best game ever made." 

Individual reviews were almost universally glowing. Sources such as GameSpy, ''The Cincinnati Enquirer'', and ''The New York Times'' have given perfect reviewing scores, and others such as ''PC Gamer'' and IGN gave near-perfect scores (it was one of only four games ever to get 96% from ''UK PC Gamer'', the best score they have ever awarded, and the game is only one of two games ever to get a near perfect score, 98%, from ''PC Gamer''), while the game became the fifth title to receive ''Edge'' magazine's ten-out-of-ten score. Critics who applauded the game cited the advanced graphics and physics along with the relatively low system requirements. 

Very few reviewers gave ''Half-Life 2'' lower than a nine out of ten rating. One such critic was Netjak, a reviewing website known for its relative harshness, which gave ''Half-Life 2'' a rating of 8.5. Several critics, including some that had given otherwise glowing reviews, complained about the required usage of Steam along with a difficult installation process.

''Half-Life 2'' earned over 35 Game of the Year awards, including Overall Game of the Year at IGN, GameSpot's Award for Best Shooter, GameSpot's Reader's Choice - PC Game of the Year Award, Game of the Year from The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, and "Best Game" with the Game Developers Choice Awards, where it was also given various awards for technology, characters, and writing. The game also had a strong showing at the 2004 WikipediaBAFTA Games Awards|BAFTA Games Awards, picking up 6 awards, more than any other game that night, with awards including "Best Game" and "Best Online Game."

====World records====
WikipediaGuinness World Records|Guinness World Records awarded ''Half-Life 2'' the world record for the "Highest Rated Shooter by ''PC Gamer'' Magazine" in the ''WikipediaGuinness World Records Gamer's Edition|Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2008''. Other records awarded to the game in the book include, "First Game to Feature a Gravity Gun" and "First PC Game to Feature Developer Commentary".

The popularity of ''Half-Life 2'' and the ''Half-Life'' series has led way to an array of side products and collectibles. Valve offers ''Half-Life''-related products such as plush Standard Headcrab|Headcrabs, posters, clothing, and mousepads.http//store.valvesoftware.com/ The Valve Store

===Source engine===
{{main|Source engine}}

FileHalf-Life 2 Dr Breen Office.jpg|right|thumb|250px|Doctor Breen's office at the top of the Citadel, showing the advanced lighting abilities of the Source engine
For ''Half-Life 2'', Valve Corporation|Valve developed a new game engine called the Source engine, which handles the game's visual, audio, and artificial intelligence elements. The Source engine comes packaged with a heavily modified version of the WikipediaHavok physics engine|Havok physics engine that allows for an extra dimension of interactivity in both single player and online environments.

Additionally, when coupled with WikipediaSteam (software)|Steam, the engine can be easily upgraded to include many new graphical technologies. One such example is Wikipediahigh dynamic range imaging|high dynamic range lighting, which Valve debuted as a free level called ''Half-Life 2 Lost Coast'', which functions as a playable tech demo for the new technology.

===Steam content delivery system===

Integral to ''Half-Life 2'' is the WikipediaSteam (content delivery)|Steam content delivery system developed by Valve Software. All ''Half-Life 2'' players are required to have Steam installed and a valid account in order to play. Steam allows customers to purchase games and other software straight from the developer and have it downloaded directly to their computer as well as receiving "micro updates." These updates also make hacking the game harder to do and has thus far been somewhat successful in staving off WikipediaCheating in online games|cheats and playability for users with WikipediaCopyright infringement of software|unauthorized copies. Steam can also be used for finding and playing multiplayer games through an integrated server browser and friends list, and game data can be backed up with a standard CD or DVD burner. Steam and a customer's purchased content can be downloaded onto any computer, as long as that account is only logged in at one location at a time.

The usage of Steam has not gone without controversy. Some users have reported numerous problems with Steam, sometimes being serious enough to prevent a reviewer from recommending a given title available on the service. In other cases, review scores have been lowered. Long download times, seemingly unnecessary updates, and verification checks are criticisms leveled by critics of the system's use for single player games such as ''Half-Life 2''. Whether or not a customer intends to use any multiplayer features, the computer the game was installed on must have Steam and an Internet connection to verify the transaction.

===Release and distribution===
A 1GB portion of ''Half-Life 2'' became available for pre-load through Steam on August 26, 2004. This meant that customers could begin to download encrypted game files to their computer before the game was released. When the game's release date arrived, customers were able to pay for the game through Steam, unlock the files on their hard drives and play the game immediately, without having to wait for the whole game to download. The pre-load period lasted for several weeks, with several subsequent portions of the game being made available, to ensure all customers had a chance to download the content before the game was released.

''Half-Life 2'' was simultaneously released through Steam, CD (most initial U.S. "bare-bones" retail copies), and on DVD in several editions. Through Steam, ''Half-Life 2'' had three packages that a customer could order. The basic version ("Bronze") includes only ''Half-Life 2'' and ''Counter-Strike Source'', whereas the "Silver" and "Gold" (collector's edition) versions also include ''Half-Life developments|Half-Life Source'' and ''Day of Defeat Source'' (ports of the original ''Half-Life'' and ''Day of Defeat'' mod to the new engine) as well as the right to download all previous games by Valve through Steam. The collector's edition/Gold version additionally includes merchandise such as a t-shirt, a strategy guide, and a CD containing the soundtrack used in ''Half-Life 2''. Both the disc and Steam version require Steam to be installed and active for play.

====Subsequent releases====
A demo version with the file size of a single-CD was later made available in December 2004 at the website of graphics card manufacturer ATI Technologies, who teamed up with Valve for the game. The demo contains part of the opening level of the game, and also part of the chapter ''Half-Life 2 storyline#"We Don't Go To Ravenholm..."|"We Don't Go To Ravenholm..."''. In September 2005, Electronic Arts distributed the ''Game of the Year'' edition of ''Half-Life 2''. Compared to the original CD-release of ''Half-Life 2'', the ''GOTY'' edition adds ''Half-Life Source''.

On December 22, 2005, Valve released a 64-bit version of the Source engine that takes advantage of AMD64 processor based systems running 64-bit version of Windows operating system. This update, delivered via Steam, enabled ''Half-Life 2'' and other Source-based games to run natively on AMD64 processors, bypassing the 32-bit emulator. Gabe Newell, one of the founders of Valve, stated that this is "an important step in the evolution of our game content and tools," and that the game benefits greatly from the update.{{cite web | url = http//www.steampowered.com/index.php?area=news&id=496 | title= VALVE UNVEILS 64-BIT SOURCE(TM) GAMING TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED IN CONJUNCTION WITH AMD | work = Steam Powered | accessdate = March 23, 2006}} The response to the release varied some users reported huge performance boosts, while technology site Techgage found several stability issues and no notable frame rate improvement.{{cite web | url = http//techgage.com/review.php?id=3889 | title= Review Half-Life 2 64-Bit - Reason to get excited? | work = Techgage | accessdate = March 23, 2006 }} 64-bit users have widely reported bizarre in-game errors including characters dropping dead, game script files not being pre-cached (i.e., loaded when first requested instead), map rules being bent by AI, and other glitches.

An Xbox port published by Electronic Arts was released on November 15, 2005. While subject to positive reception, critics cited its lack of multiplayer and frame-rate issues as problems, and the game received lower scores than its PC counterpart.

During Electronic Arts' summer press event on July 13, 2006, Gabe Newell announced that ''Half-Life 2'' will ship on next-generation consoles (specifically, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) including episodes ''Half-Life 2 Episode One|One'' and ''Half-Life 2 Episode Two|Two'', ''Team Fortress 2'', and ''Portal''. This five game package would later be known as ''The Orange Box'' and was shipped to PC and Xbox 360 on October 10, 2007. The PlayStation 3 version was delayed and finally shipped on December 11, 2007. There were reports Valve was having troubles with the PlayStation 3 hardware and it shows with bouts of slowdown that are not seen on the Xbox 360 or PC versions.

{{main|Half-Life 2 Lost Coast|Half-Life 2 Episode One|Half-Life 2 Episode Two|Half-Life 2 Episode Three}}

FileLostCoast.jpg|250px|right|thumb|''Half-Life 2 Lost Coast'', showcasing Valve's WikipediaHigh dynamic range rendering|HDR technology.

Since the release of ''Half-Life 2'', Valve has released an additional level and  two additional expansion sequels. The level, ''Half-Life 2 Lost Coast|Lost Coast'', takes place between the chapters ''Highway 17'' and ''Sandtraps'' and is primarily a showcase for high dynamic range imaging (HDR) technology. 


The sequels ''Half-Life 2 Episode One'' and ''Half-Life 2 Episode Two'' take place shortly after the events of ''Half-Life 2'', with the player once again taking on the role of Gordon Freeman and with Alyx Vance playing a more prominent role and expanding the mysteries surrounding the G-Man and the Vortigaunts. Additionally, one further episode is set to be released in the future, dubbed ''Half-Life 2 Episode Three|Episode Three''; being the last expansion, "in a trilogy".{{cite web | url = http//www.gamespot.com/pc/action/halflife2aftermath/news.html?sid=6151796l | title = Half-Life 2 Episode One gold, Two dated, Three announced | work = GameSpot | accessdate = May 25, 2006}} In an interview with Eurogamer, Gabe Newell revealed that the ''Half-Life 2'' episodes are essentially ''Half-Life 3''.{{cite web | url = http//www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=65345&page=1 | title = Interview - Opening the Valve | work = Eurogamer | accessdate = June 7, 2006 }} He reasons that rather than force fans to wait another six years for a full sequel, Valve would release the game in episodic installments. Newell admits that a more correct title for these episodes should have been "''Half-Life 3 Episode One''" and so forth, having referred to the episodes as ''Half-Life 3'' repeatedly through the interview.

Since the release of the Source engine Source SDK|SDK, a large number of mods have been developed by the ''Half-Life 2'' community. Mods vary in scale, from fan-created levels and weapons, to partial conversions such as ''Half-Life 2 Substance'' and ''Smod'' (which modify the storyline and gameplay of the pre-existing game), and Garry's Mod (which allow the player to experiment with the physics system in a sandbox mode), to total conversions such as ''Dystopia'' or ''Empires'', which transforms the game from a first-person shooter into a real-time strategy game. Some mods take place in the ''Half-Life'' universe; others in completely original settings; while some are tributes to other games, such as ''WikipediaGoldenEye Source|GoldenEye Source'', a recreation of ''WikipediaGoldenEye 007|GoldenEye 007'', or ''Resident Evil Twilight'', based on the ''Resident Evil'' series.


{{Main|Half-Life 2 soundtrack}}

{{Imagecat|Half-Life 2 images}}

== External links ==

=== Official ===
*{{Steam|url=220|text=Half-Life 2}}

=== Speedruns ===
* http//www.worldspace.nu/Speedrun_-_Half-Life_2_-_No_exploits_full_game_in_2hrs57min_hours_avi ''Half-Life 2'' speedrun speedrun video of the entire game without using shortcuts (030254).
* http//www.archive.org/details/HalfLife2_13657 ''Half-Life 2'' done quick speedrun video of the game finished as quickly as possible by using all possible shortcuts and exploits/tricks (014218). A http//www.worldspace.nu/Half-Life_2_Done_Quick_-_Tricks_Glitches_and_Outtakes_avi tricks, glitches and outtakes video is also available.
*http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV-AWxqYAgc/ Half-Life 2 DWaHMoV speedrun video of the game finished as quickly as possible by using all possible shortcuts and exploits/tricks (013225) An http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmxyrbPpBIg/ Audio Commentary video is also available.

=== General resources ===
* http//developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Main_Page Valve Developer Community; a wiki made by Valve to aid in the editing of ''Half-Life 2''.
* http//www.hl2files.com HL2Files for ''Half-Life 2'' modifications, maps, sound packs, videos and other downloads.
* http//games.moddb.com/61/Half-Life-2/ ''Half-Life 2'' mods and modding tutorials at Mod DB.
* http//www.SourceWiki.org sourceWiki for ''Half-Life 2'' mod developers.
* http//www.planethalflife.com/ Planet Half-Life a ''Half-Life/Half-Life 2''-related resource website including news, reviews, screenshots, etc.
* http//www.valvetime.net/ ValveTime.net Comprehensive ''Half-Life''/Steam centric website and large ''Half-Life 2'' community.
* http//www.hlfallout.net/ HLFallout.net Another popular ''Half-Life 2''/Steam fansite with news, reviews and screenshots


deHalf-Life 2
CategoryHalf-Life 2
CategoryThe Orange Box
CategoryXbox 360
CategoryPlayStation 3

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