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10 Reasons Why Half Life 2 Is Still A Masterpiece

While we continue to wait patiently for Valve to finally announce Half Life 3, here are 10 reasons why Half Life 2 is still a gaming masterpiece.

Despite the fact that I€™ve been playing games for pretty much all of my life (a Sega Master System was placed in front of me at the age of three years old) there€™s only a rare few which I consider to be some of the greatest games ever made. For me it€™s not necessarily whether or not a game is polished or critically acclaimed, but often if they€™ve simply have had an emotional or personal impact on me - be it for what they represented at the time or the advances they made for the industry. One such game is Half Life 2 €“ Valve€™s ground-breaking epic which redefined first person shooters and introduced gamers to complex physics puzzles and truly immersive storytelling. It€™s a game which I hold very dearly and had an immense effect on me when I played it on PC back in 2004. To this day it remains one of the few games which I€™ll go back to play in its entirety every couple of years. However, as a recent article on What Culture pointed out, not everyone feels that way. That€™s fine of course - everyone has their own tastes when it comes to games, and there€™s valid criticisms to be made about Half Life 2, so it€™s not my intention to poo-poo anyone. Instead this is merely a different opinion from someone who does feel that Valve€™s critically acclaimed first person shooter lives up to its reputation as one of the greatest games ever made. Without further adieu, here are 10 reasons why Half Life 2 is still a masterpiece.

10. The Weapons

Something which can make or break a first person shooter is the selection of weapons on offer, and whether or not they€™re actually satisfying to use. If there€™s a limited selection of weapons, or if they don€™t feel suitably weighty and powerful, a first person shooter can fall at the first hurdle of actually being able to maintain 10 hours of nothing but shooting things in the face. In Half Life 2 all of the weapons are masterfully designed and incredibly satisfying to use. Gordon€™s trademark crowbar returns and it says a lot about the craftsmanship of Valve that they managed to turn a generic tool used by cliché burglars into one of gaming€™s most iconic weapons. Along with Gordon€™s classic crowbar, Half Life 2 features some of the most satisfying guns ever seen in a first person shooter. The basic pistol is poppy and pleasingly loud, while the Magnum delivers a mighty blow which can send enemies satisfying flying backwards. Machine guns are also pleasingly powerful and alternate fire modes include a devastating plasma ball. Best of all is the Crossbow - which can gruesomely pin enemies to walls and ceilings with a satisfying thwack noise - and the genius of the laser designated RPG, where players can move the rocket in mid-air by aiming the laser. And yes, there€™s a very special weapon which we€™ll come to later.
Contributor
Contributor

Cult horror enthusiast and obsessive videogame fanatic. Stephen considers Jaws to be the single greatest film of all-time and is still pining over the demise of Sega's Dreamcast. As well regularly writing articles for WhatCulture, Stephen also contributes reviews and features to Ginx TV.