Never playing the original Half-Life, I had no idea what to expect out of Half-Life 2, the FPS that pretty much revolutionized how people look at the Single Player FPS experience. But I found it recently at my local Entertainmart for $10 and thought, why not give it a shot. The results are an amazing single player experience.
The story for Half-life 2 goes as such. You arrive off a train after the events of Black Mesa(stuff that happened in Half-Life, which I never played) and are brought into this city that is under control by a mysterious alien force known as the combine. Under Earths command by Roderick (a colleague from Black Mesa), City 17 is your new home. And it isn't much of one, constantly under military rule, starving people, and no freedom. You, as Gordon Freeman, lead the revolt against the combine to free the city and destroy the combine. Along the way you'll meet nostalgic friends from Black Mesa, along with new friends who will help take the combine down.
The Graphics are one word: beautiful. Everything in this game looks amazing. Valve really put a lot of work into everything. The environments look amazing, but where the graphics really shine are the people. The people are awesome to look at and are animated amazingly. It almost feels as if you're looking at real people. Everything in this game is gorgeous.
The enemies in the game are not very different, which is a complaint I have for the game. You have the combine soldiers, which are all the same except in appearance and the weapons they carry, but they all roughly attack you the same and seem to have the same intelligence. Then there are the Zombies and their bred, which all of them are retarded and can be taken out easily with the crowbar, except for the poison zombies, who can be quite the pests. The only enemies in this game that will give you a problem are the Striders, massive Combine At-AT's, and the choppers, which can be a royal pain to try and take out. Either than that though, the AI isn't that intelligent and you'll get sick of seeing the same enemies every five seconds.
The game also has what's known as the Gravity gun. It can pick up objects and fire them at people or set them down. Once you get this gun, bullets become a thing of the past if you have any idea how to use it effectively. The gun will also play a key in solving the physics puzzles in this game. The puzzles are challenging, but at sometimes so vague that you won't have a clue how to do them. Not to mention some of them are just flat out impossible in real life.
Overall, Half-Life 2 is an amazing single player FPS. It'll last you about 10 hours, which is a good for standard FPS's. It has enough difficulty to make it fun but not too easy and the graphics are top notch. The story is also one that will make you care about the characters and really interested in what's going on. Once you turn on the console, it's hard to turn it off.