BONUS CONTENT: Immersion in Gaming: Believing the Fantasy

This is something that I’ve discussed in many of my reviews and discussions in the past but have never really explained. I thought this week I would delve into what immersion is, how it can be achieved as well as examples both good and bad.

Immersion is just that, how immersed into a game the player can be. Believing in the fantasy and feeling as though the player is really in the game. Be it racing at Le Mans or storming the beaches of Normandy or exploring the furthest reaches of space. The are also the type of games that leave an impact on the play both while they are playing and after they have walked away from it.

So what makes a game immersive? I think the most important characteristic for creating immersion is believability. You can have the best graphics, the best gameplay but it means nothing if the player doesn’t believe they are there. For example if a game’s frame rate drops to a level where the games movements suffer from lag or if bugs cause the game to act strangely such as objects clipping into each other or animations not working as they should, they break the fantasy being built up by the player causing players to disconnect with the game. The game also has to entice the player into the game, be that an expansive gaming world/universe dripping in lore, a gripping & engaging story, fluid & smooth gameplay or something completely different.

Now, how about some examples? An example of a game lacking in immersion is Fallout 3. The story drew you in and the gameplay was smooth but with the bugs and the creepy stare everyone gives the play when talking to them breaks any believability the game has. On the other hand, both Red Dead Redemption games oozed with immersion. Everything about the game was made to lure the player in and keep them there.

Immersion is what separates a good game from a great game but on the other hand it also won’t make a bad game into a good game. For example, icing a cake will make it taste better but icing a turd will still make it a turd.

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BONUS CONTENT: My PlayStation Wrap-Up 2020

With 2020 well as truly behind us. I’m going to look back at my PlayStation round up of 2020. A year where unlike most people who got to sit around at home and play video games. As a “key worker” I didn’t get this privilege, I instead went into work as usually helping make sure hospitals, care homes and the like were getting the equipment they needed to do the real work in saving lives. Anyway enough about that, lets look at my downtime.

That’s a new game about every week and a half
I have good taste. Some pretty excellent games if I do say so myself
That is a constant month of gaming (depending on the month)
I don’t play well with others.
Lets face it, who doesn’t love a lazy Saturday afternoon?
This would explain the mid week blues
I thought it would have been lower to be honest.
What!? No Platinum Trophies!? I’m ashamed of myself

And with that, that’s the end of the tour. If you would like to get your own you can sign up here. Just sign in to your PlayStation account before March 2nd, you can also redeem a few theme for your PS4 in doing so too.

If you like what you read and would like to support further pieces then feel free to subscribe to my Patreon or Buy me a Coffee. Your continued support will be most appreciated. Also for regular updates please like and follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

BONUS CONTENT: The Scalper Blight: How not to buy a PS5.

So long as there’s demand for something there will be someone somewhere who will try and make a profit off of it. This can be seen with the sheer number of PS5’s & XBox X/S series being sold on sites such as eBay & Facebook Marketplace by people in bulk. These scalpers are taking advantage of the high demand by shorting the supply even more by buying as many as possible in order to increase the “street price” by up to 3 times the sale price. It’s not a new concept, ask any festival goer and they will tell you all about scalpers, but what damage is this doing on the industry and how can we stop it? This is what I will look at answering today.

Scalping is when products are bought (usually but not exclusive to shares or tickets) in order to be quickly sold for a profit. This is usually done as in buying up products, especially in bulk, it will increase demand and as such increase the price people will be willing to pay. This is evident in the current situation surrounding the next-gen consoles. Scalping is not illegal but it is very much frowned upon by the general community as it seen as a way for those who have the capital to purchase several consoles to profit from those who don’t .

Now why is this such a bad thing? First and foremost, it means that there are less consoles available for people like you and me that want one to use and play on. This creates a greater demand and as such elevates prices as less PS5’s become available. Next is the effect on the manufacturer, now I can imagine at some point people will be thinking “If consoles are being sold, be them to ordinary users or scalpers Sony is still profiting from them aren’t they?”. Normally this would be true but in the case with games consoles it’s not. This is because consoles, especially at launch are sold at a loss to the manufacturer. The loss is offset by the sale of games, which is why you usually find consoles after release being bundled with several games and added products such as extra hardware or films. Given that each console in the hands of a scalper means that there is 1 less person buying games for that console, the more consoles being held in storage, the less games are being sold. In fact stats show that in Japan by the end of December PS5 games were being sold at a rate for 1 game for every 3 consoles sold. It’s true that these figures only included physical disks and not digital games but that still wouldn’t account for the dramatic short fall.

So what can be done to stop scalpers? The UK government is looking into measures to put measures in place to stop the inflation of prices of used hardware given the rise of not just private scalpers but even UK based second hand goods chain CEX started advertising PS5’s for up to £900 a console. In order to have the best chance of buying as many consoles as quickly as possible scalpers will tend to use buying bots that are programmed to wait in online queues and buy the consoles once the queues open or to. Each group of scalpers can have hundreds of these bots waiting in queues across many online retailers. Some retailers (although very little) are taking steps to counter scalpers. UK based video game retailer Game, have committed to fighting against scalpers after a twitter user bragged about managing to purchase over 2000 PS5’s from the retailer. Since then all pre-orders from game are subject to 1 unit per customer and all pre-orders are checked after order confirmation has been sent with the retailer having the right to cancel any suspicious orders.

What can we do as consumers against the scalper blight. Sadly, we can do very little. As mentioned before there isn’t any laws against scalping itself, although some online platforms won’t allow scalpers to use their services, as such the best thing to do is report these sellers removing their selling platforms. Apart from this the only other thing we can do is to not buy from scalpers. If the scalpers have no one to sell to they will stop what they are doing. I can imagine it’ll be hard for some people, especially if pressured by a child or loved one, but in the end these leeches prey on those pressures to make money. These people do not deserve your hard earned money. Do not let them win.

If you like what you read and would like to support further pieces then feel free to subscribe to my Patreon or Buy me a Coffee. Your continued support will be most appreciated. Also for regular updates please like and follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

BONUS CONTENT: Are game disks a dying breed?

In recent years we have seen an insurgence in digital media in most entertainment industries. Both the film & music industries are seeing more people making digital purchases compared to their physical counterpart. Video games are also following suit with the introduction of Steam back in 2003 and with consoles joining later with the introduction of the Xbox Games Store, Playstation Store & Nintendo Store. This growth came to a head in 2013 when digital game purchases overtook that of physical copies for the first time in history (54% Digital, 46% Physical). The most recent figure I can find comes from 2018 where it was believed that 83% of all games purchased were done digitally. Now the question is does this mean that there will be one day where the game disk will become a thing of the past? It’s the direction that the market seems to be going in but I still think we will still see video games on our shelves at least until the next generations of consoles.

The main advantage I see to physical games is in purchasing and cost. There are so many more places you can buy physical copies of games compared to it’s digital counterpart, the huge number of online and high street stores would take me an article of it’s own to dictate. This means people can shop around to get the best deal and save money, with digital games the player is very much at the mercy of the market. This is less true with PC games than consoles given the rising number of distribution platforms on PC such as Steam, Origin, Gog, Epic Games Store etc. Physical copies have another advantage in that they can be loaned to others and bought & sold on the used market. However, mainly with online multiplayer games a game bought used may require an online pass to be bought as well as the game disk in order to play. There is also the convenience that comes with buying digital games, you can buy a game and install it there and then. No having to go out to the store or waiting on deliveries, this is especially advantageous when it comes to new releases as some platforms allow for digital pre-orders to be installed and ready to play by the time of release.

Some digital providers sometimes offer games for free for a limited time. The Epic Game Store offers some games for free and EA’s Origin also did for a while. PSPlus subscribers as well allows players to purchase selected games for free and allow free play of them so long as they remain PSPlus subsribers. There is also an argument to be made that digital games have a longer shelf life due to damage and wear-and-tear to disks as games are swapped and age. However, there is a lifespan of digital games too depending on the digital vendor. Since your purchase will be registered to you via the provider, if that provider were to go out of business and their servers are shut down you would loose access to all the games you purchased and because you only purchased the right to play the games on the server as opposed to the game itself you wouldn’t be eligible for any kind of compensation.

I’m made a lot of mention as to how the different mediums effect the player but what about the developer? The rise of digital providers offers opportunities to indie developers to distribute their games to a greater audience than they could if they were restricted to having to sell their games using disks or cartridges which can be an expensive process to create. This however has caused it’s own problems, as the number of indie games available on the likes of Steam means that it’s becoming harder and harder to have your game stick out from the crowd. Doing some research, I have found that Steam has over 10,000 games as of Dec 2020 and with 40% of them in the Indie Genre it’s hard for a new developer to get their name out without a current fan base.

Personally I buy both physical copies and digital copies. I tend to shop around and try and get the best deal I can. This usually means buying physically copies of new releases and then waiting for sales for games that have been released for a while. Sadly given my current situation I don’t have the luxury to be able to buy every game I wish as soon as it’s release nor would I have the luxury of time to play them all if I did. This means I have to pick and choose my game purchases, as such I prefer buying physical copies of games as being able to shop around and the used game market helps me get as many games for the lowest price. Although if this wasn’t the case I would probably prefer digital copies due to the convenience of not having to go out or wait for delivery.

BONUS CONTENT: Ludo-Narrative Dissonance: Saying One Thing, Doing Another

Lets start with a definition for those who aren’t aware. Ludo-Narrative Dissonance was coined by the game designer Clint Hocking in a blog post in 2007. The term is used to describe the difference between the narrative told by a games story and the narrative of it’s gameplay. In his post Hocking singled out Bioshock where he explained that the narrated story demands the player be selfless but all the while the gameplay mechanics enforce a selfishness and the pursuit of power.

This was something I was thinking about as I wrote up my review for The Last of Us Part II. How Ellie would stab, shoot and blow up several people just so she could kill one person for killing another. Any kind of self-reflection would tell her that if it wasn’t for the camera crew following her around she would be the bad guy in this story. Abby by contrast is on a mission to kill someone who slaughtered her father as well as many others and succeeds in doing so without anyone else dying. This in contrast to the Ludo-Narrative consistency of the first game was one of the few things that rubbed me the wrong way about the game.

Another example that comes to me is that of the Tomb Raider remake. Again this was a game that I thoroughly enjoyed and had it not been for The Last of Us would have been my Game of the Year. There was a moment in the game where Lara kills her first person. You can see the terror in her and see the very moment that a piece of her soul breaks. This as a scene in isolation really brought depth to Lara’s character, However from that point on she starts gunning, stabbing, exploding people like it’s going out of fashion rendering her early breakdown almost meaningless.

The use of Ludo-Narrative Dissonance isn’t always something to avoid and if used properly can be a powerful story telling tool. To illustrate this lets look at Spec Ops: The Line where the use of ludo-narrative dissonance was a conscious choice. The actions of Walker are seen as a horrible warning to enforce the games message of “War is bad and you should feel ashamed for enjoying this game”. The game uses the hypocrisy of the playable character to reinforce the message of the story. This is how the Ludo-Narrative Dissonance differs from that in Spec Ops then it does in both The Last of Us Part II & Tomb Raider. Ellie & Lara never get that revelation that what they are doing is a bad thing, Walker on the other hand gets to the end of the game and it’s brought to light everything he’s done in the game and he realises his actions cannot be justified.

So to sum everything up, if your game is show signs of Ludo-Narrative Dissonance you can do one of 2 things. 1) Fix the inconsistencies by either adjusting the narrative or gameplay elements so that both elements go hand in hand; or 2) Highlight these difference in such a way that the contract makes the player question their in game choices and actions. The latter is more difficult to pull of but if managed successfully can make for a deeper gaming experience and give the player something to ponder once the gaming is done.

BONUS CONTENT: 5 Cult Games Worth Playing

We all get that once and a while. We find a gem of a game that we think is absolutely brilliant only for it not to get the recognition it deserves among the wider audience, be it due to mainstream critics who have missed the point of the game or the narrow demographic of the game itself. These are 5 games that I believe never got the credit they deserved, in no particular order.

Spec Ops: The Line:

This was a game that surprised me in a very good way. I originally went into it expecting a traditional modern 3rd person shooter, never to give the game a second thought after putting it do. Instead I’m still talking about it 8 years after it’s release. It’s story is nothing short of sublime and has yet to be topped by any shooter since. It’s obvious playing the game that the developers went into this game with a message to say, that war is not as black and white as previous games make it out to be. The game was let down a bit by it’s generic 3rd person gameplay style and it’s needlessly added bland multiplayer game but the strength of this game and one that gives it it’s cult following is it’s ability to put the gun in our hands then hold up the mirror to show us that there are no heroes in this story, just a different shade of grey.

Valkyria Chronicles:

Valkyria Chronicles was one of the first games I’d reviewed and it is one that has stuck with me since. The art style, the soundtrack, the gameplay, the story, there wasn’t all that many aspect of the game I didn’t enjoy. The lack of auto-save and the overabundance of unskipable cut scenes being the main two I can think of. Despite it’s mainly positive reviews the game never got the sales figures befitting of said reviews. I personally feel that this was because Sega didn’t have much faith in the game to be a success. With little to no marketing and being released within days of Fallout 3 and other major AAA titles doomed the game to be overlooked which given the quality of the game is more than a little unfair.

9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors:

I spoke about this briefly in my Zero Escape trilogy review. The game itself felt a little stop-start and the gameplay felt very one dimensional, but the solid story, well rounded characters and the fun and interesting puzzles kept the game from becoming stale. Since it’s initial release on the DS, the game has now been released on PS4 & PC making more accessible to new players.

Hogs of War:

If you can find a copy of this game I strongly suggest you play it. If I were to describe it in a couple of words it would be “absolutely nuts”. The voice acting as well as the voice over from the dearly departed Rik Mayall are absolutely side-splitting and adds to it’s endearing antics. The game is over 20 years old and sadly it shows it, feeling particularly out dated when compared to games from the time.

Grim Fandango:

I’m finding it hard to find the words to accurately describe Grim Fandango. It was a brilliant written, brilliantly executed story wrapped up in moments of drama and ludicrousness. Despite critical acclaim and a number of awards the game’s sales suffered due to the rise in popularity of more action based games at it’s time of release. This shift in the market meant that adventure games such as Grim Fandango & Monkey Island wouldn’t get the popularity I felt they deserved. A re-mastered version was released a few years ago to bring the experience to a new generation of gamers.

BONUS CONTENT: Looking Back at Resident Evil (PC, PSone)

.This week I thought I’d us this time to take you on a trip down memory lane, back to where my love for games really took hold. A time when there were no Caramel Freddos, instead there was the Taz. A simpler time, a time when I could spend every single spare moment playing video games and nobody would moan. One such game from that period, Resident Evil.

Resident Evil begins with an elite tasks force of the Racoon City Police Department known as the Special Tactics And Rescue Service (STARS). After a series of cannibalistic murders take place in the nearby Arklay Mountains. Initially Alpha team are sent in to investigate. The story then starts with Bravo team being sent in to find Alpha team and help in the investigation. Upon finding the remains of Alpha team’s helicopter the team is attacked by vicious undead dogs, their pilot flees leaving the rest of the team behind. The remaining members retreat to a near by mansion not knowing that this is where it all began.

First and foremost, I’m going to put it out there that Resident Evil has not aged well. It’s story and dialogue resembles that of a Z-movie and graphically is almost unplayable, but for it’s day the graphics were top of the class and it’s dialogue was… still really cheesy (which is also how I like my Jill Sandwiches). However; The one thing that it did do very well and still does is create atmosphere. This is achieved by the harrowing soundtrack and gameplay. This made it just as enjoyable for anyone watching the game as those playing the game. I’ve mentioned in my previous Resident Evil reviews that the less you see of an enemy the scarier it is, the anticipation of an enemy is the scariest part and Resident Evil does that really well, with periods of quiet between each zombie encounter, as a new player not knowing if an enemy is going to be waiting around the next corner can be pants wettingly terrifying. This was an aspect that made Mr X from RE2 far scarier than Nemesis in RE3.

Resident Evil was the defining moment for the Survival Horror genre. It certainly wasn’t the first given that ‘Sweet Home’ and ‘Alone in the Dark’ are both classed as Survival Horror games and were released in 1989 & 1992 respectively. Resident Evil just took what came before it and did it better than anyone else, carving the rules of the genre into stone. The feelings of isolation and powerlessness, limiting recourses and in doing so forcing the player to make judgement calls such as “Can I spare this ammo in taking down this zombie or should I try to avoid them?”. This de-emphasises combat in favour of strategy and thinking around a problem rather than running in guns blazing like most shooters before it.

To round everything off, Resident Evil was a Concorde moment for the genre, nothing would be the same again after it. It’s just a pity that the series itself couldn’t build upon the genre that it had so truly defined. Each subsequent sequel loosing a little more of the ambiance and the player feeling a little less hopeless as the games go on until we got to the monstrosity that was Resident Evil 6. Although the remakes of both Resident Evil & Resident Evil 2 have told me that Capcom still have it in them to deliver survival horror as it should be, only to have the Resident Evil 3 remake remind me that a leopard never changes it’s spots.

BONUS CONTENT: Looking Back at Final Fantasy X (PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSVITA, SWITCH, XBOX ONE)

With the release of the new Final Fantasy XVI trailer I can’t help but think about the series as a whole as well as my favourites of the series. I struggle to pick which is my favourite, that would be like picking a favourite child. I would never be happy carving a hierarchy into stone, solemnly decreeing that this is the definitive order and so shall it be for all time. I would probably make my list out of water as like water my opinions are fluid, constantly shifting from outside influences. Sure some titles will remain in familiar territory. Using the Premier League as a metaphor, FFXIII will always fall around the back of the pack and fight against relegation, FFXV despite soiling it’s underpants in the final third does enough to hover around mid-table with the likes of FFV, FFXII & FFIX, although the latter 2 do make it high enough now and again that they could qualify for the Europa League and the top spot is usually fought over by FFVII, FFVIII & todays subject matter FFX.

Final Fantasy X tells the story of Tidus (whom I always pronounced as Tie-dus, it was years later when I watched a making of documentary that it was pronounced Tee-dus), a young blitzball player from the large city of Zanarkand. His home is attacked by the gargantuan being known as Sin. After the attack, Tidus finds himself lost hundreds of miles from home. A chance encounter with the summoner Yuna and her guardians finds Tidus a way home.

The game really made you invest in and bond with the characters which makes the stories twist and the end that much more heart wrenching. As previously mentioned the world was also full, vibrant and rich, oozing with culture and lore. This is even before I mention blitzball which I spent more time playing than I care to remember. I would have loved blitzball to have been release as a FIFA-like spin off. Graphically too, FFX was a huge step up from the previous console generation and truly showed off the capabilities of the PS2 at the time.

Final Fantasy X may be a game that fights for the top spot but that doesn’t mean that it is without it’s flaws. It was the first Final Fantasy to ditch the world map for a series of smaller locations which made the world feel small and far too linear, not to the extent that XIII did but it was still an unwelcome change to the series. Also the sphere grid levelling system meant that because everyone can learn every skill & ability each character looses their unique feel in battle later in the game, with Overdrives and Yuna’s summon ability the only unique abilities left. This is not to mention some of the cringe worthy dialogue (The laughing scene in particular).

From the outset you can tell that Final Fantasy X is a very different breed from the Final Fantasy games that came before it. The use of voice overs, mo-cap & skeletal animation & 3D backgrounds being the most noticeable. This huge evolutionary leap is due in part to the series’ jump from the Playstation to the Playstation 2. The massive increase in hardware capability gave Square that unrestricted creative freedom to take the series away from the tried and tested Final Fantasy model. Although this does mean a few classic flavours of the series get left out in the cold, this however is the price of progress and whether you like it or not it’s happening. I brought up this same point in my Final Fantasy XIII review all those years ago and although I am for the evolution of the series and it’s modernising to introduce new players to the franchise I still yearn for some of the classic characteristics to come creeping back in, mainly a full explore-able world. We’ve not had one of them since FFIX. Imagine if Final Fantasy XVI comes with a modern fully rendered 3d world to get lost in, full of secret locations and optional cities and towns? If it does I think I will genuinely loose my shit.

BONUS CONTENT: Dungeons and Dragons and My New Perspective on Baldur’s Gate 2.

Despite the disadvantages that a global pandemic has on interacting with new people, I have been getting into Dungeons & Dragons. I have played a few sessions, even playing as Dungeon Master on some occasions and I have revelled in the experience, but what was I to do in the periods between? This is what drove me to revisiting Baldur’s Gate 2.

Baldur’s Gate 2 starts with the hero of the pervious game and a few companions captured by the elven mage Jon Irenicus in order to use his powers as a Bhaalspawn (A child of the God of Murder) for his own evil deeds. The player and his party must escape from Irenicus’s clutches and stop his horrible doings. Although between these two point a vast amount or very little can happen depending on the players actions.

I’ve never played the first Baldur’s Gate, opting to jump straight into the second instalment. I believe I first played Baldur’s Gate 2 in 2008/9 and I must admit I struggled in getting to grasps with the games lore and mechanics since I came in all fresh faced and bushy tailed. Although now coming back to it after a few D&D sessions I have a much clearer picture of the world and it’s workings (I originally didn’t get what the whole d4, d6, etc. thing was, I do now). To be fair I have been playing the Enhanced Edition recently which does have a few extra bits but for the most part it’s the same game.

My time learning how to play D&D has been a revelation in regards to my experience with Baldur’s Gate 2. The extra background knowledge meant I could properly tweak each party member to use specific gear and properly strategies combat so was no longer relying on blind luck and determination to get me through the game, this in term gave me a greater respect and appreciation of the game which is more than deserving of the critical acclaim it got at release all those years ago. The world is massive with so many side quests to do and different people to meet. The story is a true epic and with the Enhanced Editions graphical upgrade it doesn’t feel all that old despite turning 20 this year.

I’d defiantly call it a must play for any D&D or Western RPG fan, although since it has been out for the last 20 years I can imagine all D&D & Western RPG fans have already played it. It certainly makes me more excited about Baldur’s Gate 3 which has been on Early Access on Steam for a while now but at £50 for a game that’s not complete yet, it’s still a bit rich for my blood.

BONUS CONTENT: Looking back at Half-Life (PC, PS2)

In my Witcher 3 review I mentioned that there were people in some circles that regarded The Witcher 3 as “The greatest game of all time”. As much as I enjoyed the game I whole heatedly disagree with it being the greatest game of all time. Although this did lead me to asking myself what I thought the greatest game ever actually was. I came up with a lot of strong contenders, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Grand Theft Auto III, Silent Hill 2, Portal, but to name a few. I came up with Half-Life quite early on during my brain storming session and with each game that followed it, the less likely it seemed that I was going to be able to top it. So there you have it, Half-Life is the best game of all time and below I shall tell you why.

The story begins with our mute protagonist, physicist Gordon Freeman arriving late for work (I assume he couldn’t call it to work to let them know on account of him being a mute in the pre-email era) at the Black Mesa Research Facility. Once he finally arrives, a routine experiment on an other worldly material goes awry and causes gateways to another dimension to open spewing forth legions of alien creatures. It is up to Gordon and the other surviving members of Black Mesa to close the portals and save the world.

To me one of the reasons for Half-Life’s legacy is not so much the story but in the way it tells it. Previous 1st person shooters of the day (Doom, Duke Nukem 3D etc.) told a story not much further than, run down a corridor and shoot the things that are shooting you. This was not so much a story, but a brief followed by the game. Half-Life in contract had the story run through with the game, the world would develop as events escalated. Events witnessed by Gordon would drive the plot forward along with narrations by and between support characters.

Half-Life has immersion leaking out of it’s eyeballs. The game world, the narrative, the realism, everything about the game seemed like it was solely designed to draw in the player into a gaming experience never experienced before. The game abandoned the idea of levels for one continuous world, this made the world feel large in scope as in doing so it preserves the flow of the game. Guns and health would not hover aimlessly in mid air waiting for the player to pick it up. Health had to be gained by interacting with certain wall consoles, while guns and ammo were found either on dead soldiers/guards or found from armouries around the game. The world was interactive in ways never seen in previous FPS’s. One memorable example being at the beginning of the game where Gordon can interact with a microwave causing a casserole inside it to explode.

Even now, almost 22 years after it’s release it’s legacy stands with all the games that have come from it’s creation, both physically with the likes of Counter Strike, Team Fortress & Portal, as well as the countless number of games since that have been influenced by Half-Life’s innovation and narrative. Half-Life was the first great trail blazer that revolutionised the First Person Shooter and paved the way for others to push the boundaries out that little bit further. It was Issac Newton that said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. I believe that when it comes to video game innovation Half-Life is defiantly one of the giants in which the industry stands upon and because of this it is hard to deny that Half-Life is one of the greatest, if not the greatest video game of all time.