Half-Life 2 (Mac) full review

Incredible isn’t it? Nearly six years after Half-Life 2 was released for the PC, then the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, we’re finally able to play it on a Mac, thanks to Steam.  

It may be six years old – a quarter of a century in game years – but its innovative design and execution, combined with the scalable nature of the Source engine its built on, means it’ll be worth playing for years to come. Building on the success of the original Half-Life, which combined familiar first-person shooter action with adventure game dynamics, you are Gordon Freeman, fighting for survival in the fictional City 17. The original Half-Life had sequences where you were joined by AI characters in your quest. Half-Life 2 ramps this up, with gameplay that sees you fighting alongside a cast of virtual friends – some more disposable than others.

Elaborate and clever level design elevates Half-Life 2 way above the key-card collection and monster fragging dynamics that used to be the norm for 3D shooters. With outdoor and indoor maps that see you travelling on foot and in a number of groovy vehicles, Half-Life 2 compels you to keep going every step of the way. 

But the giant leap for gamers and gaming on its release was Half-Life 2’s way with story. As you advance through the game, you’re not merely moving from level to level, but from episode to episode. The narrative is immersive and involving in a way that few mainstream games ever are.

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