Eurogamer visit Valve to take a closer look at Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
"One thing that strikes us as we tunnel through the Antlion world is the amazing underwater effect - exactly like swimming with your eyes open. "It's our best-looking game ever, which is owed a lot to the fact that we're targeting a higher end this time," Speyrer explains. "PC hardware has moved ahead a lot since we shipped Half-Life 2 and we've tried to stay right on the cutting edge of that hardware. We still scale down - although we're dropping DirectX 7, we scale all the way down for Episode Two." Episode Two borrows elements of DirectX 10 for those whose hardware can take it, although it's not fully DX10-based like Crysis. Not that we're complaining - the overgrown, grassy hills and rundown buildings that pepper the landscape feel at home within the context of the decay witnessed in City 17, and seem to go on for miles. Different, but consistent. Other new effects include phong shading, which gives greater depth and "sheen" to characters, who remain expressive. We can't help giggling when Alyx rolls her eyes at Magnusson's pomp. Meanwhile those Antlion workers even qualify for their own bioluminescent shader effect. Who else but Valve would bother?"