When the original Half-Life appeared in 1998, gamers hailed it as the most gripping and realistic first-person shooter ever. Half-Life 2 is the long-awaited next chapter in the saga of Gordon Freeman and the alien menace from Black Mesa. It brings back the heart-pounding gameplay and engrossing storytelling of its predecessor, and its graphics set a new standard. The textures have never been better. The details are crisp and clear; allowing the characters to express subtle emotion. You'll need a modern DirectX 9 graphics card to take advantage of all the eye candy, but the game scales down surprisingly well for older systems. The sound also is extraordinary. Playing with headphones is as nerve-racking as watching a good movie thriller. You'll cringe as zombies clamber up a drainpipe to your rooftop position, or helicopter gunfire slams into the earth all around you. If you're a fan of first-person shooters and your system can hack it, download this game. It's that simple.
By taking the suspense, challenge, and visceral charge of the original Half-Life and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, Half-Life 2 opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him or her, from the physical environment to the behaviors and even the emotions of both friends and enemies. The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa--and a lot of people he cares about are counting on him.
The demo takes players through some of the early levels of the game and later transports them to the area of the game known as Ravenholm.