Reception and Legacy
|Computer Gaming World|
Half-Life's public reception was overwhelmingly positive in terms of reviews, acclaim and sales. As of November 16, 2004, eight million copies of the game had been sold, by 2008 9.3 million copies had been sold at retail. The game has won over 50 Game of the Year awards.
Half-Life was critically acclaimed, earning an overall score of 96 out of 100 on aggregate review website Metacritic. Computer Gaming World's Jeff Green said that the game "is not just one of the best games of the year. It's one of the best games of any year, an instant classic that is miles better than any of its immediate competition, and - in its single-player form - is the best shooter since the original Doom". IGN described it as "a tour de force in game design, the definitive single player game in a first person shooter". IGN has also respected the game as one of the most influential video games. GameSpot claimed that it was the "closest thing to a revolutionary step the genre has ever taken". GameSpot inducted Half-Life into their "Greatest Games of All Time" list in May 2007. In 2004, GameSpy held a Title Fight, in which readers voted on what they thought was the "greatest game of all time", and Half-Life was the overall winner of the survey. In the November 1999, October 2001, and April 2005 issues of PC Gamer, Half-Life was named "Best Game of All Time"/"Best PC Game Ever". GamesRadar also placed it in its list of 100 best games of all time. The popularity of the Half-Life series has led way to an array of side products and collectibles. Valve offers Half-Life-related products such as a plush vortigaunt, plush headcrab, posters, clothing, and mousepads.
The immersive gaming experience and interactive environment was cited by several reviewers as being revolutionary. Allgame said "It isn't everyday that you come across a game that totally revolutionizes an entire genre, but Half-Life has done just that". Hot Games commented on the realism of the game, and how the environment "all adds up to a totally immersive gaming experience that makes everything else look quite shoddy in comparison". Gamers Depot found the game engaging, stating that they have "yet to play a more immersive game period".
Despite the praise that the game has received, there have also been some complaints. The Electric Playground said that Half-Life was an "immersive and engaging entertainment experience", but said that this only lasted for the first half of the game, explaining that the game "peaked too soon".
Guinness World Records awarded Half-Life with the world record for "Best-Selling First-Person Shooter of All Time (PC)" in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008.
A short film based upon Half-Life entitled Half-Life: Uplink, was developed by Cruise Control, a British marketing agency, and was released on March 15, 1999. However, Sierra withdrew it from circulation, after itself and Valve had failed to resolve licensing issues with Cruise Control over the film. The critical reception of the film was very poor. The plot of the film was that a journalist infiltrates the Black Mesa Research Facility, trying to discover what has happened there.
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