Poll: Challenging Half-Life's Praises


New member
Jul 9, 2011
"Of course now most FPS games have realistic physics, and real time semi-interactive scripted sequences are the rule rather than the exception, so someone who didn't play FPS games before the Modern Warfare days might not realize what it was about Half-life 1 and 2 that made them special at the time"

I disagree. I played Modern Warfare before playing Half life 2, and I found Half Life 2 better in every way. I think the story is lot better than 90% of FPS (The only FPS with better story than half life 2 are portal 1 and 2, Bioshock and System Shock 2) sure the story itself isn't all that great (with the exception of G-man), but the way the story is told and its characters are so interesting you end up forgetting this detail. Half life 2 may not have the best physics system ever made, but in half life 2 you actually use the physics for something. I prefer the set pieces and vehicle sections in Half life 2 over the ones in any game today, because they don't take control away from you or turn it into a on rail section. The environments and the art direction are hundreds of times better than the brown and gray realism of today. And the gameplay is just excellent; there is no denial on that.


New member
Jun 9, 2011
Half Life and Half Life 2 are still great.
I play them shits all the time. I love them.
I think the cure to this is manning the fuck up. You have an opinion, its just a valuable as my so don't act like it's better.

The Virgo

New member
Jul 21, 2011
necromanzer52 said:
I played all the half life games on the orange box in 2009 and found them very "meh".

I played the original half-life in 2011, and found it awesome. Make of that, what you will.
The original Half-Life sucked so much ass it wasn't even funny. I had to force myself to beat the game. And it was so padded, thinking about it makes me want to get carpal-tunnel syndrome.

*Sigh* ... Sorry about that. Just I find it incomprehensible that you would think the first Half-Life, which didn't even really have a story other than "Go to the surface, fight soldiers, go back under the surface, now go back up to the top, fight for 20 hours then go to Xen and fight for several more hours until you drool" while Half-Life 2 had some kind of flow and always introduced something different. Yeah, you spent about 8 levels using the airboat, but that was broke up now and again for puzzles or (if you felt like it) a little exploration. I enjoyed it when I got it back in 2007 and I still enjoy it today.

Oh well, to each his own.

joe-h2o said:
This sounds a lot like the "Jerry Seinfeld is not funny" trope.

In other words, calling out Seinfeld for cliches that are are old and tired, not realising that the show is so old it was the one to introduce many of them in the first place.
Yes! That's exactly it. That's like looking at DOOM 1 and saying that it's not very good. Or looking at PONG and saying it's too simple. If it wasn't for PONG, regardless of how simple it is, we might not have videogames. Yahtzee might be reviewing Books!

And besides, what DOES stand the test of time? Even the pyramids are dusty and worn out. I for one still enjoy Half-Life 2 after over three years since I first played it, but someone twenty years from now playing Call of Duty 13 will think Half-Life 2 was terrible. And then I will see if I can find a cryogenics place to freeze me for 100 years or until there are no more Call of Duty games! DX


New member
Jul 18, 2011
I had sudden flash-backs to critics calling out games for dull, military-issue guns.
Military issue guns are the best guns to use in games.

The weapons in UT were supposed to be military issue.

Soviet Heavy

New member
Jan 22, 2010
SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
Soviet Heavy said:
And again someone expects a game that was released eight years ago to hold up by modern standards. It was good for its time. If you play it with that in mind, you will enjoy it more than jumping into it expecting the end all game.
I never understood this standpoint. I can see that argument working for other games, but for Half Life? Considering the first Half Life is still one of the best, if not the absolute best shooter(s) around, it doesnt really hold up.
You seem to misunderstand me. I'm not criticizing Half Life, far from it. I love the game, and I hold it up as one of the best examples of story told through gameplay, even to this day.

I'm just saying that I always get annoyed when people come and complain about how the game that was made 8 years ago, made with a different mindset, is somehow not what they were expecting from the game when they bought it.


Apr 28, 2008
I think it deserves all the praise it gets even if you find it boring in 2012 (I still really like it, but to each their own).

It brought a ton of fresh stuff to the FPS genre, and for that it deserves priase.

You might find the ultima series nigh unplayable now but you can't say it doesn't deserve credit for what it did to evolve CRPGs.


New member
Feb 9, 2011
Swifty714 said:
Later on, in ravenhold, all I literally did was walk down a straight, narrow path, with zombies bathed in lights, alerting me to their presence from over 12 miles away with a hilariously badly recorded scream. I remmeber hearing critics say that that was the worst kind of horror!

Soon I found myself in yet another vehicle section, just following a path with the only real thing being done, was dodging mines and hopping out for the occasional road-block. A ruined city (No sarcasm needed from this, you get the idea by now) followed by a large bland, military complex, shooting the same enemy who was in endless supply.

You are the 'only freeman' who is able to save the world from an alien threat that has taken over the world. The human society has been crushed into just a resistance, their only allies being another alien race who believes that man should not be treated this way. However the aliens control-


You know what? I'll just stop there. The only thing 'unique' that Half-life plot brings to the table, is the 'Gman'. Which even then, is easily summed up with "He is an interstellar being, who can manipulate time and space, and uses mortals to do his biding."

I know that the story is presented well enough in the actual gameplay, but the story in question, and the gameplay, just are not as stellar, as so many critics claim them to be
You my friend, are incredibly picky.

1. Ravenholm, Half-life 2 is not a horror game, it is a FPS with a psuedo-horror section. It never tried to be horror, all it tried to do was create a more oppressive atmosphere then the rest of the game, using fear to create that oppression, and I would say it succeeded. It never actually tried to scare you.

2. The vehicle sections were hardly the samey vehicle sections that come shipped with every FPS these days.
*It let you drive and shoot at the same time, something which I haven't seen since Halo, and it did it in first person.
*There was total freedom, no linear pathways, no invisible walls, nobody to tell you where to go, just you, the open road, and a couple thousand antlions and zombies to shoot.
*The pit stops to clear road blocks were, in my book, a big plus. It wasn't just shooting guys to get them out of the way like in halo or COD, there was always an objective, and it was always exciting. Either hunt down some batteries to get something working again, or tiptoe across a dilapidated bridge. Not to mention, this is an excellent example of pacing out the driving sections between the rest of gameplay.
*Sit there and tell me that the vehicle section in EP2 wasn't one of the best ever. Besides Alyx being annoying.

3.I wouldn't call that an overused story, halo used something similar, unless you count the story as just having aliens in it halo is really the only one. Also, you do realize that half-life did it first right? Thats like saying that Elvis was unoriginal just because he did rock, sure a couple did it before him, but without a doubt he did it best. The story is delivered very well, and half life gets big points because it can do that without interrupting gameplay, and even more, weaving the gameplay in with the story.

4.The plain, military weapons, were part of the aesthetic, plus, the focus of half-life isn't the guns themselves, like say battlefield. They were plain, simple, and got the job don- well, except the crowbar, haven't seen one of those anywhere else. Oh and the crossbow was original, not to mention the bugbait and- wait a minute? You think the gravity gun was un-original? PLEASE tell me the last game you played, that had physics, and gave you a tool to mess around with the physics, THAT WAS ACTUALLY FUN. I'm not going even to ask you to tell me that sawing zombies in half with that thing isn't fun, because you can't.

More than anything it sounds to me like you've just gotten bored of it from playing it so many times, which is understandable, I love half-life 2, that doesn't mean I play it anymore. You don't read a book more than once, which means continued plays are only giving me gameplay, which is only half the game.


New member
Oct 5, 2011
I can usually decide whether or not a game is my cup of tea within the first few minutes. Half Life 2, however, quite happily trolled me for over 20 hours with moments of gaming and storytelling genius interspersed with dull, lifeless plodding and vehicle sections.

This game really did throw me. In the end, the best I can describe it is by saying that it contained some elements of an AAA-game and also many elements of a 4/10 game, often simultaneously. The opening 30 minutes were an interactive work of art. The rest of the game was inconsistent as all hell, and I'm a monkey's uncle if this wasn't a glaring fault that should have been obvious from launch. Why did no reviews at the time mention this? Emporer's New Clothes syndrome?

A lot of the game was very atmospheric - but then again, there were sections that just killed immersion completely. The dystopian elements were great, the sci-fi elements laughable. I never knew whether I was meant to be speeding through the scenery on the vehicles, or stopping to check every sewer and shack. Sometimes I'd try out-shooting enemies and get turned to Swiss cheese for my impudence - other times I'd play it safe, and realise in hindsight that I should have used the huge crate of rockets just around the corner to blow shizzle up Hollywood-style.

tl;dr: Playing Half Life 2 is like going pearl-diving in a sea of urine.


New member
Oct 26, 2011
Why do people make polls that don't have all real answers. It is like you don't want to know what people really think.

Anyways, not looking at the reviews and stuff, I like Half-Life, it is just a well made game. Very enjoyable.


Apr 23, 2020
United States
AdmiralMemo said:
castlewise said:
Off topic rant: That's why I don't think HL3 will ever come out. The formula is stale now, and I don't think Valve will release a game "that would have been good 5-10 years ago."
This is why Half Life 2: Episode 3 isn't coming out. They're making a Half Life 3, but I'm pretty sure their plan is to be as revolutionary to gaming as the first and second games were. The story-line will continue, but with completely new engines, etc.
If that's true, then I, (not a big fan of the series) will give the series one last chance to wow me...if it's on the 360 that is which I kinda doubt, VALVE seems to hate consoles and in particular XBL. It's a shame because when I bought the game I was honestly trying to enjoy it but it just didn't suck me in, I'm kinda hoping their next release changes that.


New member
Nov 10, 2009
In defense of your complaint of the story itself being quite standard I'll use a comparison to Lord of the Rings.

LOTR is just some guys walking for ages so they can climb up a mountain, drop a thing in a thing, and kill a generic evil overlord (Yawn).

It's not the basic story that is so good, it's how it's told and the characters involved. Hell, Alyx is consistently bought up as the prime example of a female character done well, and who doesn't love a bit of Barney (seriously, where was he in episode 2, I missed him.)

As an aside, just because most sewer levels suck doesn't mean that every time a player enters a sewer it's gonna be awful. Plus, they rather suited the underground railroad type thing the plot was going through.

But still, you may not have enjoyed it, which is fair enough. But my main point is that when people praise the story, it encompasses a lot of things.

Also, I feel I should point out that I think episode two blows half life 2 outta the water, in all aspects. Half life 2 was great, Half life 2: episode 2 was excellent (in my opinion at least.)


New member
Nov 10, 2009
SirBryghtside said:
SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
I never thought Half Life 2 was that impressive. It leaves a lot to be desired in almost all areas. Sure, the pacing is acceptable and it can get quite engaging at times, but overall, I view Half Life 2 as the weakest entry in the series.

God tier - Half Life, Blue Shift
Good tier - Half Life 2: Episode 1 and 2
Meh tier - Half Life 2
Why tier - Xen
Have you not played Opposing Force? I honestly prefer it to the first. I should probably rank mine, I guess:

God tier - Half-Life 2
Good tier - Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Half-Life: Opposing Force
Meh tier - Half-Life, Blue Shift, Episode 1
Why Tier - Still Xen :p
Ok, I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed Xen, I found it to be a pleasant, weird change of scenery. Then again, I was 9 when I first played it, so I probably wasn't the best judge. Still enjoyed it on replays though.

Spud of Doom

New member
Feb 24, 2011
Sup guys. I think I'm actually pretty qualified to comment on this topic.
I played through Half-Life for the first time in December 2011.

Here's what it does really well:
- Atmosphere is very strong in this game. You always feel like you are alone in a mysterious, hostile environment. Gman, radio sounds, etc.
- Mystery and storytelling. The way most of your story is told through the things you see and hear means they don't need to break the flow of the game with cutscenes or text, and dialog is only around at major events and when it makes sense.
- Pathfinding and exploration. While most of the game is very linear (Except for On A Rail, I guess) you don't often feel like you're being pushed to move in a certain direction against your will.
- Pacing and tension are pretty good. I think the scarcity of health and ammo made this one easier for the devs.
- Mechanically it's tight and generally still holds up well.
- The start is pretty good. They give you time to run around and get used to the controls and the feel of the game before you have any threat.

Here's what it isn't so good at:
- Variety of enemies. The aliens in particular are really, really samey by the end of the game. It's the same few enemies and most of the time they appear out of nowhere jfor shock value.
- Enemy AI is very weak, and it does stand out compared to newer games. It's weak to the point of making the game easier.
- Characters. The whole game basically has 1 character: Gman. Nobody else is developed at all really.
- Some of the weapons really aren't much use at all. I think I went the entire game without using the trip mines or the bug shooting thing, except to test them out.
- The sections with enemy "tanks" or similar. These were just really clumsy and felt so wrong in the game.
- Some of the plot points aren't explained very clearly. I remember having no idea why I did the whole thing with the rocket launch.

I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but I'll just edit those in later if I need to.


Elite Member
Aug 8, 2010
Don't people generally criticise that all FPS's are like this now, rather than the content itself?

It's like how the first time your character dies in Modern Warfare it's a genuine shock and quite original, but playing MW3 I was just trying to guess which level it was going to happen on. I didn't anticipate it being almost all of them. Spoilers, BTW.

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
Apr 4, 2020
In a day and age where FPS' have no sense of story, atmosphere, character, or pacing, this 8 year old game oddly enough feels like a breath of fresh air everytime I play it. And that's not the nostalgia speaking since I first played it when the Orange Box came out.


New member
Jun 16, 2011
You have to play Half-Life as though it was just released back in the time when fps cancer was not around.


New member
Sep 5, 2011
Half-Life is the series that does it BEST, and more importantly that did it FIRST.

Ex: That's why COD4 is considered a masterpiece whereas its sequels are considered crappy. COD4, MW2 and MW3 are all very similar, and the later games have slightly better graphics than COD4, but COD4 bests them because it was the first to combine all the elements that make a modern Call of Duty game. The sequels are just uninspired and therefore weaker games.

You can't blame Half-Life 2 for being "uninspired", it's all the other games that copied it!


The PC Master Elitist
Apr 25, 2011
Well here's my experience with the Half-Life series.

When I bought the orange box when it first came out, I had no idea what Half-Life was. I'd never even heard of Half-Life before this. I loved Half-Life 2 and all of its episodes. Then because it was so awesome I went and bought the original Half-Life including all of the Gearbox expansions. Now I've replayed Half-Life 2 about 5 times and I still think its exellecnt, Ive had way more fun with it then alot of other shooters Ive played and I am still amzing in how fun, involving and smooth everything is. Even now I have lots of trouble putting the game down. There are just so many rich details in the game.

Personally I still think that both Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are still some of the best fps out there.

Spud of Doom

New member
Feb 24, 2011
Aircross said:
You have to play Half-Life as though it was just released back in the time when fps cancer was not around.
Nope, nope, nope.
If anybody uses this argument on any game, I find it hard to take their stance seriously. A game should always be taken as it is, including strengths and weaknesses, even if they are related to the age of the game. Playing a game "as though it was just released" is an easy to way to just write off mistakes as due to aging. It's also basically conceding "new games are better than this."

V8 Ninja

New member
May 15, 2010
It depends.

If you're solely talking about Half-Life 2, then the game has held up marvelously well. While the gameplay and story aren't anything unique or special, it's all about how everything is presented. The player almost always feels like an active participant in the world and the world doesn't ever feel artificial to the point where it breaks the immense amount of immersion.

HOWEVER, if we're talking about the Half-Life series as a whole, I would say that the series doesn't quite live up to its original praise. The first Half-Life definitely shows its age and un-mastered presentation elements, while both of the expansion packs were honestly "OK" when compared to the official Valve games.