Methinks Valve blew it. They hyped up the big release on September 30th, then let us down just days in advance. Something about some hacker exploiting an Outlook bug and stealing sourcecode. Also, a very incomplete alpha was leaked, and the message that the build was from right before the release was supposed to take place. This led me to believe that Valve knew all along that they were going to push it back. It was all marketing- they might've just hoped to steal Doom3's thunder.
The money I set aside for Half-Life2 was used to buy Halo PC, which kept me busy for a few weeks. I decided to buy Far Cry, which is incredible. Only problem is, it has prompted me to save up for a new graphics card (I'll probably buy an NV40 this summer), which means that I'll probably wait a bit before I buy HL2. Sad part is, if the game gets bad reviews, and if my friends say they don't like it, I'm not buying it. Period.
All of the wonderful, innovative features that HL2 promised (physics, visuals, shaders, vehicles, AI, etc) have found their way into games that've been released already. MaxPayne2 sported the Havok ragdoll system last fall. Unreal2/Tournament 2003 sported Karma's ragdoll effects more than a year ago. Countless games have come out utilizing my card's pixel/vertex shader in ways I never thought possible.
Far Cry, unoriginal as it may have been, is especially welcome now considering that Doom3 and HL2, the two most anticipated FPS, are nowhere in sight. I'm still looking forward to Doom3 (at least id has always been truthful, "when it's done"), which may bring some nostalgia into the mix .HL1 was great in 1998, but Doom was the shit ten years ago- HL only entertained me rather than scared me, but there is something about Doom that made gave me andrenaline-induced nightmares- I want that feeling back.
I wonder if the people at Crytek were expecting this level of success with Far Cry. Or maybe that's why they released it now, knowing that they have beaten the heavy competition out the door. Or maybe it's because we were bored, and just sick and tired of broken promises.
To sum up my thoughts, I feel that there is nothing that Valve can do anymore to hype me up for HL2, short of releasing the game itself.
That said, I hope it kicks ass.
This comment was edited on Apr 8, 23:42.