But I've got other things to say.
Firstly, I managed to finally perservere and finish HL2, but as I've already said in my previous entry, I hated it. To recap, here's a list of why I think that game was totally overrated. See December 4th's entry for anything I've forgotten.
-> It was genuinely boring and repetitive to play. How many times must I use the gravity gun to drag objects around to cross a swamp? Also, how many times must I meet the same enemies over and over again, and how many times must I kill everything in sight, and spend the next 10 minutes running backwards and forwards trying to find, in vain, what I'm supposed to do next?
I didn't feel involved or enthralled, it just felt so dull and predictable, and the story was never explained.
-> I kept on getting stuck on the scenery. And I couldn't go prone to hide from gunfire, why not? Also, you find yourself having to run along ledges barely wide enough to fit one foot on. You fall off and die. Repeatedly.
-> The AI stinks. The spider things you get to control keep on blocking you in. Your human controlled squadmates also block you in, follow you so closely that you can't get through doors, and just end up dancing round in circles going "Hey it's Freeman!" and "Sorry, Freeman! [notably without getting out of your way]". Also, they stand there shouting, rattling off an endless number of machine gun rounds, and kill absolutely nothing. What's the point of them "helping" you if you have to do everything yourself? Also, I walked in front of a combine, late in the game, and he didn't start shooting me at all.
-> The same old monsters kept on appearing again and again and again. I'm sick of headcrabs and those stupid toxic things that leave you with 1 health point.
-> You seemed to lose vast amounts of health doing absolutely anything, and spend your entire time looking for the next health pack.
-> The same goes for ammo. You'd think 20 accurately placed machine gun rounds through the head would kill, right? No, it would appear not. You find yourself without enough ammo for any gun.
-> The Windows key - why wasn't it trapped so it didn't respond when you hit it? I've got a top of the range machine, but it's a laptop. So naturally the Windows key is next to the control key for crouch. If you hit the Windows key by accident, you end up back on the desktop. By the time you've got the game back up again, you're dead. Even some of the amateur stuff in the Showcase here traps that and prevents it from happening, so why not Valve?
-> In short, I feel like I've just played through a bland, overhyped tech demo. Valve made a very wise choice releasing CS:Source separately, boxed and everything. Means you don't have to buy this tripe just to get access to a mod. Which really goes to show, a community mod is better and more fun than the actual game.
Most of my complaints aren't unique - I found many of the same issues reported on Amazon.co.uk reviews, and other user reviews of the game dotted around on the net. Even many Half Life fanboys, it would seem, haven't been taken in at all.
[Awaits the flames to rise]
Now I've got that out of my system, onto something else somewhat more important.
I've been mucking about with PHP, Java, and both Linux and Windows 2000 based Web services. Yep, sounds a great deal easier and more appealing than normal apps development, so I honestly feel like I'm going to pursue that route and see where it takes me.
OK, that's all, all the best for 2006 [smile]