Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Gaming Engines

Finished Halo 2 last week in a week of nightly playing. Although I did dig the game (I don’t have XBox Live), I wasn’t really impressed. The hype to me certainly wasn’t justitified, and I feel bad Bungie did “a lot of work” for that. I thought the character development was cool, the cut scenes were great, and the story only had a minor hole about Convenent’s being at war too much to really understand the Forerunner technology they are actually using. The ending didn’t bother me at all like it did others, but it was certainly a short game.

I attempted to play Half-Life 2 on Friday night since Brandy bought it, and although her comp could only run it in low mode pretty good, the loading times drove me nuts. So, I purchased, downloaded it all Friday night, and then started playing Saturday night. I finished it Sunday evening. It was a really great game, with great graphics, story, acting, and characters you really liked. You really felt like you were part of the story. The vehicles were a really nice change, although, the drive controls poorly compared to the ones in the Dessert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942. Either that, or the dune buggy has the lamest tire traction in the world. Considering I ran the game for about 4 hours straight Saturday, I was impressed with no memory leaks that I could detect, although they are well hidden on this machine. The large amount of sounds in the later levels did a number on me Sunday, though. Blue screened at least 5 times, but I have a pencil handy for a forced reboot, and she boots fast. I’m really thinking my sound card is tweaked weird cause it did it 3 times with Call of Duty.

My Alienware officially does not suck as I ran every setting as high as it would go including Antialiasing x6, and the Anistropic filtering x16, and 5.1 surround sound, high quality. Money well spent on an entertainment center. Only 2 places in the game where my framerate freaked out for a few seconds, but the game was still playable.

Still, beating it in 2 days is kind of harsh. What really blew me away, though, was there is no multiplayer. I hear it’s coming, but wtf dude. It’s just a given Half-Life related games are multiplayer by nature. How long did they work on Half-Life again?

Secondly, Steam is still not very impressive considering how long it’s been around. When purchasing a game, you really don’t know what your purchasing, and I’ve yet to find a way to “return merchandise”, not that I’ll be mad if I can’t, but I really have no need for the extra games I bought, which I thought Source meant the source files, not an updated engine version. It was clearly mentioned in the marketing that Source is the name of the engine, but I just assumed it was a marketing push for mod development. Too much too late.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Source offers since a lot of the mod community behind Half-Life is really strong and diverse.

As far as engines go, I still think Doom 3 has THE BEST quality I’ve seen so far, but the actual distance drawn is wayyyy small in comparison. Far Cry has THE BEST environment and distance engine I’ve seen, and the physics are good, but I don’t think the game took advantage of them like Half-Life 2 did. Half-Life 2, so far appears to be the most well-rounded, and easily customizable, but Far Cry has the coolest editor I’ve seen. It’s nice to know there are so many options nowadays.

This weekend I’m eager to sink my teeth into Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

One Reply to “Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Gaming Engines”

  1. I could not agree more on all of this.

    Doom got the best reactions out of me, ie jumping out of my chair and hiding
    under my bed, but it ran super-thin super-fast. It’s generally just room
    after room where one or two easily defeatable monsters spawn out of nowhere.
    After awhile, the scare factor is gone and it’s just a no-strategy bulletfest.

    Halo 2 = Halo 1 + dual weapons + ability to pull baddies off vehicles. While
    a good FPS for the xbox, I’m not sure if that says a whole lot.

    I just got Half-life 2, and I really like it the most of the 3, but
    disappointed if it is really that short. The physics are really neat,
    throwing an object into a pile of others is suprisingly entertaining. Little
    puzzles where you interact with picking objects up is a nice addition in a
    fps. As for multiplayer, Counterstrike: source looks really nice, too bad I
    get owned in it by 10 year olds. A Half-life2 multiplayer would be very nice
    or even a coop play against the pc would be really fun.

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