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UPDATE, November 21, 2004: Adding more game demos and results, adding more graphics cards’ performance numbers, changing demo settings for canals 09 map, adding instant fps graphs for certain hardware, adding tweaked performance for certain ATI RADEON hardware, adding more comments, expanding conclusion section.

Years have passed since the Black Mesa drama ended and the alien invasion was stopped. The tight-lipped Gordon Freeman was hired by a secret agency and… was suspended until his authorities felt they needed him in a European city code-named City 17, ruled by a scientist with huge ambitions who had brought some beasts down from other planets and deployed armed gangs to impose his law over the land.

Mr. Freeman arrives into City 17’s pretty deserted train station along with a few other people. Just like the others, the hero of the Half-Life 2 game is ushered into a special room where the floor is stained with blood – to be asked a few questions. But unlike the others arriving, Gordon Freeman won’t be asked anything as he meets his old buddy, a guard from the Black Mesa Research Facility. This guy tells Gordon that he had also been sent into City 17 to save the planet from the alien storm once again.

  

A man sitting in the train station’s canteen warns Gordon Freeman against eating anything there lest he should lose his memory, like all the others in City 17.

  

People are few in the streets of this godforsaken city, but there are lots of guards, abandoned vehicles, rubbish. After spending a couple of minutes here, you clearly realize that this is a place of misery, horror, unhappiness and fear. Once Gordon gets out of the train station building and enters a house (he can enter only a few buildings, as they are usually either heavily guarded or closed), he finds himself in the midst of a raid of an armed police group who have come to capture inhabitants of the house along with Gordon (you do not know why you are being arrested – because of your accidental appearance in the building or because their raid aims exactly at your arrest). With no weapons, map or plan, Gordon rushes through the roofs and backrooms to avoid the pursuers…

Throughout the game you will have to fight your way through alien beasts, masked gunmen, zombies, etc; you will solve puzzles and collaborate with your allies from among the rebels in the town.

On the whole, you are sure to have a few exciting days playing Half-Life 2, but now let’s turn to some technology-related things concerning the game that Valve Software took more than 5 years to develop.

 
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