First Look – Half-Life 2 on the Mac
Earlier today Valve released Half-Life 2 onto the Mac. That’s right, it only took 6 years, 5 months and 21 days before Mac users actually got to play one of the best first person shooters ever made and yes, I am one of those Mac users. Now like most people I have already played my fair share of Gordon’s first trek through City 17 but that was over 5 years ago on an outdated PC, even by 2005′s standards. Today I’m rocking a pretty hefty Quad-Core MacPro with all the fixings and thanks to Valve, now a computer that can run games without burning out my video card.
First off let’s talk the sweet stuff, the pretty moving pictures. It’s actually a true testament to Valve’s prowess to see how well HL2 has held up for over half a decade. Now video cards for Macs generally lend themselves to video editing based programs more than videogames because let’s be honest, Macs typically are not usually in the same sentence as gaming. My current rig is running with the ATI Radeon HD 4870, so for gaming purposes and HL2, yeah it’ll do.
From what you can tell, character models don’t exactly hold up that well even though I’m running the video settings nearly at max. But let’s be honest, for such an old title it doesn’t look half bad. Overall the game in motion is pretty smooth, there are the occasional frame rate hiccups but overall they’re forgivable. Keep in mind that the game is still a blast to play and it took a little extra effort to pull myself away from the screen to write about what I just did, stupid dream jobs.
I’m not going to sweat the small stuff here, everything sounded great and my ears we’re left relatively unscathed.
Ah, the bane of my Half-Life 2 experience. Move into a new section of the game and BAM! Loading. Oops, I forgot some ammo over there, let me just go back and…LOADING. This has always been the one thing that truly takes me out of the Half-Life 2 experience. But I digress, the load times are not nearly as long as the old days; when my computer was better suited for nightlight duty, rather than a competent machine that could run Command & Conquer Generals. In short, load times suck but they are spread out far enough to keep you from running for a quick bathroom break.
Yay, my favorite part. Running HL2 on my Mac is nothing short of bliss. What does that entail exactly? Well for one, if I accidentally Command Tab (Alt Tab for you PC cavemen out there /sarcasm) out of the game my system will not freak the f**k out. I was easily switching between 2 to 3 different applications without the game ever taking a dive. This may not be the case with older computers like my MacBook Pro at home (circa 2007), but at least my work computer will allow for some great Half-Life 2 breaks this week.
And there you have it, Mac owners can finally feel less pathetic when arguing on the internet. Though if you’re arguing on the internet you should already feel plenty pathetic.