If you are reading these lines, I am doing the acclimatization in the nursery with the offspring. Alternatively, I hide behind the armchair while Fabi practices the art of self-sufficiency with spinach and katopü, bury highly explosive diaper mines in the garden or take part in secret pram races in the park with other fathers (just don’t tell Mom!). In short: I have two months of parental leave.
Since you shouldn’t break traditions you’ve grown fond of, I want to present you with a (hopefully) humorous book article every Friday in October and November, which you can use to end the evening or start the weekend. So I thought for a little while what I would like to write about for the next ten Fridays. wait, ten? Top 10? That fits! But what kind of ranking should it be?
Then I remembered how excited I was about Elden Ring this year. So excited that I made a mental note: The game definitely belongs in my personal top 10 best games of all time. But what exactly does my top 10 look like? After all, I’ve been playing for…oh my…about 35 years?! Oo The subsequent discussion process with myself was, as you can imagine, quite lengthy. But successful! Over the next few weeks you will find out which ten games made it into my top 10 and for what reason – this week I’ll tell you my place with number 5. Tell me and the other readers in the comments which game it’s from which reasons you ranked 5th.
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Karsten’s greeting from parental leave: 7th place in his top 10 best games ever
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Platz 5: Half-Life 2
Having played primarily on consoles for many years, the first generation of PC shooters pretty much passed me by. Sure, I once played a Doom or Quake with friends. However, there were no points of contact at all with important milestones such as Unreal, Deus Ex or System Shock. Instead, I gambled on the PlayStation 2 TimeSplitters and on the Nintendo 64 Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.
Maybe that’s why Half-Life 2 blew my mind even more in 2004 than all the PC gamers who played every shooter of the last decade. I didn’t know anything like that before. If I only think back to the atmospheric beginning: The stop at the City 17 train station, where my character is greeted by the soldiers of the totalitarian surveillance state. Everything feels so incredibly real, also thanks to the great graphics and physics engine.
Half-Life 2: That’s why we love the legendary shooter – video special
In general, I was immediately in the world. The developers omitted an intro, an outsourced tutorial, or cutscenes that showed events that happened in my character’s absence. I experience every single second from the ego perspective. mute, yes But still as part of the world where NPCs react directly. I was particularly impressed by how realistic characters like Alyx were implemented. Their facial expressions, the way their behavior changes over time. Great!
At the same time, Half-Life was extremely varied in terms of gameplay. The shooter gameplay works beautifully. But many situations could also be solved by the possible physics gimmicks. The fantastic Gravity Gun usually played a prominent role. From time to time I made myself comfortable in vehicles, solved physics puzzles, commanded computer-controlled soldiers or let “Dog” throw cars around.
It all worked so well, was so fun, so impressed me that no other story shooter (and I’ve played quite a few now) has surpassed Half-Life 2 in my perception. If I were to blame Valve, it would be that they never completed the subsequent trilogy. After all, there was a brilliant sign of life with Half-Life: Alyx about two and a half years ago, even if only for owners of certain VR glasses.