Half Life 2 review in PC Gamer (and Vampire: Bloodlines)

In: Personal

16 Oct 2004

I went to get some DVD+Rs today (TDK 8X DVD+R RICOHJPNR02) and went to the magazine rack to look for the issue of PC Gamer with the exclusive review of Half-Life 2 (it was all over the web and even Slashdotted). And there it was calling out to me to buy it for SGD7 (SGD1 ≈ USD0.60). Well, I used to have a subscription to PC Gamer when I was a hardcore gamer a few years back, even though it cost ridiculously high compared to the USD1.99 per issue you can get in the US. Anyway, enough with the life story… Check out the PC Gamer December issue cover (at IGN.com).

Half-Life 2 logo

Just finished reading the review (it got 98%, if you don’t know by now), and damn I’d so like to get my hands on a copy of Half-Life 2 (no, it’s not out yet) to play with the Zero-Point Energy Gun (aka the Gravity Gun). And maybe shoot down some Striders.

The recommended system requirements are a little worrying though – the low end 3D card is an ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, which PC Gamer equated to be the same as a GeForce FX 5700 128MB. I only have a (now) crappy GeForce FX 5200 128MB. I do have a 3.0GHz HyperThreading processor, but that hardly helps when the graphics card is the bottleneck. Upgrade? Sigh.

And what’s more in this issue, there’s also a hands-on scoop on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. What a game this could turn out to be. To tell the truth, I’m marginally more excited about this game than Half-Life 2 (I am, first and foremost, a CRPG player). I thoroughly enjoyed the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption and even read the Vampire: The Masquerade novels. I mean, you get to play a vampire from 1 of 7 of Camarilla clans and experience the Vampire: The Masquerade world in its Source engine glory. What’s not to like?

The waiting is the hardest part. Please let them be released on November.

19 Responses to Half Life 2 review in PC Gamer (and Vampire: Bloodlines)


João Ribeiro

October 16th, 2004 at 1am

Hi. I’m currently running CS: Source in my cumputer, which is even lower-end than yours (P4 – 2.8GHz, 1 GB RAM, Geforce4 MX 440 – 64MB) and it’s running pretty smoothly.

Of course, some of the configurations are at the lowest setting, and I could get even a better FPS rate, but I don’t think your computer will have any trouble running HL2 at high settings.

I need to get a new graphics board, though.


Joost Schuur

October 16th, 2004 at 4am

You can buy it and even get to store (most of) it on your hard drive. You just can’t unlock it yet.

The cruelest words in gaming: “A locked copy of Half-Life 2 has now been downloaded to your computer.”



October 16th, 2004 at 4am

Counter-Strike: Source runs very well on an even smaller laptop with nice effects in a reasonable resolution. I think is was 1024×768 on a radeon with only 64 mb ram.


Cheah Chu Yeow

October 17th, 2004 at 9pm

João and Anders: Your comments are very encouraging. Looks like I may not have to plonk down money on a new graphics card then!



October 18th, 2004 at 5pm

I’m running CS:Source on my Athlon XP 2600+ and Radeon 9600 quite happily with all the detail turned up (at 800×600 mind). I get about 45fps in the video stress test.

Another chap in my house is running it on a GeForce 2 MX (!) and although it doesn’t look nearly as pretty it still runs well enough to be playable.



October 19th, 2004 at 6am

I run a 9600 Pro with 128mb memory and a 2.6 GHz HT Intel and 512 MB RAM. I run the game at 800*600 at default settings. (Whichever Valve thinks is right for your card) I belive everything is pretty much set to “medium” quality. CS:S runs from 45+ FPS on average, but in a heavy firefight things get sticky at 10-15 FPS.

So honestly, you could probably play the game. But certain key events may be a bit unjoyable due to the choppyness of the game.

(Anyways, besides you can find a 9800 XT card for aroudn $200)

I paid $130 for my 9600 Pro about 6 months ago or so and now I see it for anywhere from 70-100.



October 29th, 2004 at 7am

I have an 1.2ghz duron with 768ram and a radeon
9600 256mb and CS : source runs perfectly at about 40fps, maybe im just lucky :)



October 31st, 2004 at 7am

My PC is a mid-range system: 2.53 Ghz P4, 512MB of RDRAM, 9600 non-pro vid card.

Still, when I play CS Source, my FPS are in the mid 30s, which is perfectly playable for me. Often it’ll jump up into the 40s and 50s. This is with the vid settings on medium, and with the AA maxed out (at 6x)!

Thus, Source really seems to run well on older machines. When even a 9600 non-pro can run it with ease, you know you’ve got a versatile engine. Good job, Valve! :)



October 31st, 2004 at 7am

Oh yeah, and I’m running it at 1024×768. Looks and plays great on my 19″



November 2nd, 2004 at 12am

athlon 2 ghz radeon 9600 non pro on 1024 x 768 medium to high settings and I ran the stress test at 55fps. cs:source runs at 60fps lowest it will get in a big fire fight is 30.



November 2nd, 2004 at 3pm

CS:Source was made to run better than Half-Life 2. If you get 45fps in CS, dont expect to get 45 in HL2. The textures are not as detailed and there are much fewer interactive objects in CS:Source.



November 2nd, 2004 at 7pm

Video stresstest was running at about 87 FPS for me at 1024×768 resolution with all settings to maximum.
This was with Intel Pentium 4 Processor with 2600 Mhz, 2x256mb ddr sdram, GeForce 6800 GT 256 GDDR3.
The physics in the wood and in explosions though… man… it actually freezes for a little while there.
I mean if I’m in a room with like 25 things including wood and I throw an HE-Grenade.



November 10th, 2004 at 2pm

HL 2 better work fine as i just spent a HUGE amount on my new baby, got a FX53 /2 gig of high end ddr ram /radeon 9800 xt 256mb ddr- i am running everything i play on 1600 x 1200 with everything full blast and it runs fantastic! (even doom)- am looking at the new cards already though as they just kick butt over the best of the “old” cards- which are about 3 months old mind!



November 11th, 2004 at 6pm

Hey i got 3 gig prescott, 1 gig ram, 9800 pro, audigy 2.
think i’ll have a prob with hl2?



November 12th, 2004 at 6pm

I am looking forward to playing it on the move in my Dell 9100 laptop. 3.2Gig Prescott, 1Gig DDR 3200, 256Mb Mobility Radeon 9800 (X800 core!). Great for lanpartys!



November 16th, 2004 at 11pm

I went to purchase HL2 this morning and got a swift kick in the FJ. I have a high speed internet connection at work but nothing at home. Saleman said I cant play W/O a connection (!@#$%^&*)

Did not someone think of people like me when they designed the game? I understand you have to combat gaming piracy but what about people who dont have the Net? What do we do???



November 22nd, 2004 at 10am

I have Geforce 6800GT
Athlon 64 4000+ @ 2800Mhz
1GB Crucial Ballistix
2 X Hitachi 7200 160gb in raid 0 (applications)
1 X Hitachi 80GB for OS (XP/Gentoo)

Video stress test 119fps
Does this well? not really. Ive played the game 1/2 the way though and i get annoying pauses, when the game loads things AFTER the loading is done, these pasues last about a second or two. This also happens with 4 different versions of the graphics driver.

Also during intensive scenes the fps goes from
130ish to 20. So sometimes this game does not run smooth.

I use 1280X1024, max settings, 4X AS, AA off.

I also get wierd memory exception messages from time to time. (My memory tests fine and the pc does 3dmark 2003 loops for several hours).

Im also not overclocking the graphics card it gives very little fps gain.

CS source runs smooth as silk though.

I have also tested a 9800 pro card with only 128 mem,
and it runs out of graphics memory at those settings, at least the HL2 console says so.

However running it a medium textues and reflections set the simple it runs very smooth, better than my 6800GT in fact!, the low end fps is better and that is noticable.

This game is biased heavily towards ATI cards, so keep that in mind if you are upgrading .

I reccomend, 1GB mem, 9800 Pro, 2400Mhz+ p4 / althon.

So yes the specifcation is heavy, and i was disappointed not being able to do 1600X1200 at 2 X AA on my system.

Most likely a ATI X800 PE could do that with ease.



December 26th, 2004 at 6am

hi i got a g4orce mx with 64 mb. i got the demo for hl2. And it works fine but some pauses. I an wondering if i should get anew card for the full game.



January 12th, 2005 at 1am

Hi i have got geforce 5700ultra with ddr2 a gig of ram and a 3.2 athlon xp my card does bottle neck but i get 85fps on 1024×768