E3: Half-Life 2 Xbox Hands-On
The Xbox version of Half-Life 2 is unfortunately pretty underwhelming at the moment. Here's why.
While Valve's highly touted Half-Life 2 was widely considered the best PC game of last year, the Xbox build on the floor was, in its current form, far from an adequate port. It comes as a surprise, especially considering the kind of top-tier shooters already developed for the console - but evidently, the hardware limitations of the Xbox may be too much to port one of the best games on the shelves today. Unless of course the optimisation team gets its ass into gear...
The environments are incredibly sharp and the game itself looks fairly accurate to its PC counterpart. However, it's obvious that the polygon counts have been lowered, and the transfer to a console has rendered some of the effects noticably less detailed. The worst factor is an incredibly inconsistent framerate that stutters as more enemies fill the screen. The slowdown is so bad that Half-Life 2 on Xbox currently seems more like a slideshow than a videogame.
Oddly enough, the most lauded feature of Half-Life 2 - its incredible physics engine complemented by an anti-gravity gun - seems to be scaled down for performance reasons. The anti-grav gun is still there, but there seem to be fewer objects to pick up in surrounding environments. It's especially disappointing, considered that this seems to have no bearing on improving the framerate.
The controls also need a bit of tweaking; with a weapon cycling function that seems too difficult in tense situations. The controls don't feel nearly as responsive as its PC brethren - a natural handicap given the new platform - but it's too significant of a dropoff to go unnoticed. Combined with a sluggish framerate, the game can come off as near unplayable, dependent on level and characters on screen, and this will be painfully noticable to anyone who's checked out the PC masterpiece.
The show build was unfortunately short, so there's not a real comparison to some of the more open environments to be seen in the PC version. Yet, the level design does look to be the same as the PC version (which is a good thing) judging by our brief time with the game.
With quite a bit of time to still prepare the Xbox version of Half-Life 2, there's hope that the game can be salvaged and hopefully, a somewhat decent framerate can be restored. However, those console purists and lower-end PC users waiting for a decent port of Half-Life 2 might have to wait a little longer - rumours of next-gen console versions still seem to persist.
Contributor, Kikizo Games
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
Half-Life 2 Xbox
Xbox gameplay footage (VU Games)
|0.19m||3MB||DF, SD, 30