Sunday, February 14, 2010

Half Life 2: Deathmatch Review

After releasing Half Life 2 in 2004 alongside the famed Counter-Strike: Source, Valve Software threw fans two free multiplayer games. Both of them remakes of original GoldSrc games. Those being Half Life 2: Deathmatch and Day of Defeat Source.

There is a notable deficiency of internet reviews for games like this, but read on. This game is definitely worth a download for those with computers with low specs.


Half-Life 2: Deathmatch is a fast-paced online deathmatch multiplayer first-person shooter in the vein of Quake III. Using weapons from Half-Life 2, players are tasked with amassing kills in a variety of maps. Two maps are preinstalled, both based off areas in the Half-Life 2 single-player campaign. Thus, the community is responsible for developing the great majority of maps with the Source SDK.

Combat is very fast-paced. Players can run while shooting with minimal effect on accuracy. Thus, combat is radically different from more recent shooters like Call of Duty or M.A.G. Camping is a recipe for failure and constant movement is required for success. Thus, the gameplay evokes classic deathmatch arena shooters like Quake III. dm_killbox_final0009

The Community and Gameplay

Upon joining a game, I was warmly welcomed by the sever admins. In an age of homophobia and harassment in online gaming, this is a refreshing change. Community-made maps and modifications are very well done. A map named killbox_dm is particularly fun to play with and conducive to chaotic combat. Low-gravity mods can be found frequently and enhance the experience greatly.

One of the greatest concerns regarding Half-Life 2 Deathmatch is the use of the Gravity-Gun, a weapon that can pick up any physics object and fling it at an enemy to deal damage. The Gravity-Gun makes for good combat and takes a good deal of skill to master, one-hit kills using toilets, desks and cars are frequent occurrences. Despite this, the Gravity Gun is difficult to use effectively because it requires the player to slowly pick up an object. Thus, this gun will not be replacing other guns in the Half-Life 2 deathmatch arsenal.

Speaking of the arsenal, Half-Life 2 Deathmatch includes a wide variety of weapons, all from the single-player campaign. Upon spawning, the player starts off with a USP, sub-machinegun, crowbar and gravity-gun, none of which are that powerful. Spawning around the map are weapon and ammunition pickups. Such weapons include the classic SPAS-12, a crossbow with mounted sniper-scope, a revolver, plasma rifle and laser-guided RPG.  Most of the weapons have alternate-fire modes that can be triggered with the right-mouse button. For example, the SPAS-12 can trigger a powerful two-round burst, the SMG can fire a small grenade and the plasma rifle can fire a vaporizing orb of dark energy. Half-Life 2: Deathmatch’s arsenal might be small, but it holds a great deal of variety.dm_killbox_final0004

If there is any criticism to be held over Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, it is that it is shallow. Cover is virtually useless and combat usually becomes a run-n-gun affair. There is no deep character-customization system like those found in Battlefield or Call of Duty. No Steam-Achievements or stat-tracking are present. It is also limited to only two gametypes: deathmatch or team-deathmatch. This simplicity makes the game accessible and easy to pick up, but it also limits the game’s lasting value.


Half-Life 2: Deathmatch cannot compete with deeper shooters out there because of it’s lack of depth. But the fun combat, warm community and fantastic community-maps make this arena-shooter a fun throwback to Quake III. Plus, it’s free for both ATI and nVidia users.

The Good

  • Likeable Community
  • Great custom-maps
  • Accessible and fun gameplay
  • Varied Arsenal

The Bad

  • Shallow and limited
  • Only two game types


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