Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Half-Life 2-ometer

With today being the 10th anniversary of the release of Half-Life 1, it seemed only appropriate to do this now. (Even though it's actually about Half-Life 2. Okay, I honestly had no idea about this anniversary, but the timing was too good to pass up doing this today.)

As I review first-person shooter games, I'm starting to notice something: I keep comparing them to Half-Life 2. And there's a good reason for that. Half-Life 2 is amazing. It's possibly the best first-person shooter ever made, and a lot of developers have taken notice, incorporating some of its innovations into their own games. Because of this, Half-Life 2 is often referred to as "the standard by which other FPS games are measured." Well, why not take that as literally as possible?

Ladies and gentlemen, this... is the Half-Life-2-ometer.


From now on, all FPSes will be ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being better than Half-Life 2 (and, by extension, the best FPS ever) and 1 being somewhere around Super Noah's Ark. Yes, Half-Life 2 does in fact rate only a 9 on the Half-Life-2-ometer. If a game achieves a rank of 10, it will then become a 9 on a new __________-ometer.

Here are more detailed descriptions of these rankings:

10: Better than Half-Life 2.
9: As good as Half-Life 2.
8: Almost as good as Half-Life 2, but missing some polish.
7: Has certain aspects that may actually trump Half-Life 2, but is outclassed by Half-Life 2 in other ways.
6: Coexists comfortably alongside Half-Life 2.
5: Wishes it were Half-Life 2, but it ain't.
4: Not even in the same league as Half-Life 2. Ripping off Half-Life 2 would be an improvement.
3: A first-person shooter that is both dumb and not fun.
2: A bad game, plain and simple.
1: The antithesis of Half-Life 2; it gets everything completely wrong.

Crysis, by the way, rates a 7. I may augment its review to reflect this later on.

And here are how some other FPSes stack up. Keep in mind that this is not a percentage-based system of any sort. There is no conversion rate between my 5-star system and my 10-point Half-Life 2-ometer. 8 points does not necessarily equal 4 stars. In fact, anything in the 7-10 range can possibly be 5 stars. So with that in mind...
  • Bioshock: 6
  • FEAR: 7
  • Far Cry: 6
  • Dark Forces: 8
  • Half-Life 1: 8
Hey, wait a second! Do I consider FEAR a better game than Bioshock? Strangely, no. However, its combat puts Half-Life 2's to shame, whereas nothing in Bioshock really puts Half-Life 2 to shame. So I gotta give it props for that. I told you this wasn't a particularly sensible system.

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