Half life 2 wont launch stuck on validating
At this point the Internet is quite possibly melting as hundreds of thousands of devotees all around the world simultaneously stress Valve's servers to breaking point. It's truly a momentous, agonising wait as we cross fingers and toes that Valve hasn't screwed up and underestimated demand; we were fearful, but like something approaching the Space Shuttle launches of our youth over two decades past, we have lift off. As we rocket into the stratosphere we can just about make out the crimson faces of those left behind, venting furious, jealous, indignant anger at Valve for managing to mess up their dream journey, furious that even retail boxed copies fail to authenticate.
Once again he never speaks, you never see him (not even so much as a reflection) yet everyone greets him like the ultimate living legend. If he ever uttered a thing our hearts would probably stop with the shock, but somehow the game gets away with pulling the same silent narrative trick of the original, engaging you this time with characters of far greater emotional depth than any FPS has dared to venture.
Steam has just finished its file validation process for Half-Life 2; the tedious, heinous, torturous delays and drip feed of information is almost over. Six years since we finished the first wondrous, eternally memorable game. As if to deliver a cheeky nod about being in a new playground, Valve even drops one in the game's opening location, almost entirely pointlessly, other than to remind us all that's what this is all about.
The rising vapour from a half consumed cup of tea forms into an upside down Y in a circle, or at least that's what it looks like from the perspective of someone who's been up since 5.30 AM getting everything ready. Predictably it's awash with eager, like-minded souls, posting their progress with the validation (or lack of). If the devil is in the detail, then Half-Life 2 is Satan in a party hat, kicking back with a beer and engaging his fiendish accomplices in a toast to the future. The moment you start wandering the game's first locations a feeling of arriving somewhere special kicks in and barely lets go until the credits roll 13 chapters later.
Before we launch into a breakdown of what we mean by that, the overriding point is that it's fun all the way through.
Regardless of what we think of the art style, or the storyline or the weapons, or the physics or the myriad of issues surrounding the game, it's the most intensely enjoyable assault on the senses we've played this year. At the moment, it doesn't get any better than this.
That Half Life 2 looks more convincing, more understated, more realistic, more interactive and definitely more stylish than its peers yet manages it with far lower overheads is not only an impressive feat, but commercially a masterstroke.
Reports persist from amazed gamers with mid-range set ups that have been blown away by how well the game runs on their systems.
Even Doom III and its magnificent later levels were essentially a retread.
To an extent we'd have to agree; how much more money was earned as a result of slowing down the hackers we'll never know; but a hunch says it's a lot. 14 chapters, 18 or more hours (skill/approach dependent) of almost relentless, fat free entertainment that's the gaming equivalent of watching several blockbuster action movies back to back.