Half-Life 2 Xbox E3 2005 Hands-On

We take our very first hands-on look at the Xbox port of Half-Life 2.


We had the chance to sit down with the Xbox port of Half-Life 2 shortly before the floor opened up for the first day of E3. We're going to have more in-depth write-ups on the game later, but for now, we're going to be publishing our first impressions of the game, for your edification.

The demo on the show floor is very brief, unfortunately. You begin at the very beginning of the tram ride that starts the game, where you have a few scant minutes to walk around the train station before the demo ends. When you reach Barney in the security office, the demo ends and cycles back to the beginning. So, unfortunately, we don't have any news on loading screens, the length of the Xbox levels, whether or not they've been chopped up to fit the Xbox's RAM limitations, and so on. As we said, though, we'll be talking more about these details in our thorough write-ups later on.

Unfortunately, our first impressions of the game are that the graphics are noticeably rougher around the edges than they are on the PC version. The difference is much more obvious than that for, say, the Doom 3 port for the Xbox and its PC progenitor. There's a lot of noticeable aliasing around the edges of characters, and it does appear to be a bit darker, in terms of textures, than the original game. It still looks nice, of course. After all, it is recognizably Half-Life 2. But if you played the PC version, then you might want to hold out for word of new features before placing your preorder for the Xbox one.

Luckily, the physics that were the draw of the PC game do seem to be intact. You can still pick up luggage and throw it at the ominous Combine guards, with the same shocking results as in the former game. There seem to be fewer objects in the gameworld to manipulate in this version, however. For instance, we didn't notice the bevy of trash items and empty soda bottles that littered the ground in the train station in the PC version of the game.

It should be noted that these are only our first impressions of the game. We'll definitely be taking another look or looks at it later on in the show. So keep checking GameSpot for more info.

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