Half-Life has become one of the most critically acclaimed video game franchises ever, and is a testament to the survival horror genre. With amazing graphics, a compelling story, and truly terrifying game play, it's no wonder that Half-Life 2 was even more successful than its predecessor.
The story of Half-Life takes place at the Black Mesa Research Facility. There, Gordon Freeman, along with the other scientists, accidentally cause a dimensional rip that opens a portal to another world called Xen. The creatures from Xen start invading Black Mesa and killing everybody, and Gordon Freeman has to escape. Half Life 2 follows Gordon Freeman again, a couple of decades after the first game, where Freeman awakens from stasis to find the creatures from the first game have taken control over the entire planet, and Gordon has to join the resistance to help take it back.
Fans have been waiting for some kind of Half-Life merchandise for a very long time, and now NECA brings you the very first Half-Life action figure ever made. Join me as I take a closer look and see if the Half-Life 2 Gordon Freeman action figure was worth the wait.
Check out more hi-res images for this figure in our GALLERY
Dr. Freeman comes in the standard NECA blister packaging that we've all gotten used to over the years. Everything is perfectly displayed in the packaging so you know exactly what you're getting. The figure and all of the accessories are displayed in plain view, and you have the Half-Life 2 logo at the top, with Gordon Freeman's name on the front in front of art from the video game. The back of the packaging has the logo from the game, and a bio for Dr. Gordon Freeman, giving enough explanation of his character for anyone who might be unfamiliar with him. Like all of NECA's packaging before, it's simple, but it gets the job done.
I truly think this is one of the best looking figure NECA has ever produced. I was amazed when I first saw it in hand, and was even more so after opening it. Even by NECA's already high standards, they've really outdone themselves. The body looks fantastic, with the intricate chain mail sculpted incredibly well, and the armor of the suit looking just as it does from the game. Whether it was rendered by hand or with 3D printing, it's equally impressive. To give it character, the armor has the appropriate cuts and nicks all throughout to show that he's seen a battle or two. The panel lines are all neat and precise, and really I can't find anything wrong with the sculpt of the body at all. The Black Mesa insignia on his chest looks great as well, and that brings us to the head.
The head sculpt is impeccable, and looks just like Gordon Freeman from the video game. He has just the right expression on his face for a neutral or fighting pose. The hair and beard have realistic texturing to mimic individual hair strands, and the coolest part has to be the glasses. Naturally for something like this the glasses would have to be separate pieces, and the case is the same here. The glasses are separately molded in clear resin, with the frames painted on and glued to either side of his head. They look incredibly awesome and match the game perfectly. More action figures need glasses by the way, because there's just not enough of them. We need more glasses wearing characters who know how to kick butt.
The paint is equally impressive as the sculpt. Everything is accurate to the game, with the slightly dulled color palette, and the gray and orange color scheme. By the way, the color scheme of his suit always reminded me of the design of the old Newgrounds site. Hopefully now that you've read this, you can't unsee it. Anyway, all the lines are smooth. I inspected the figure for a good long while and really couldn't find any bleeding or any real mistakes. The suit itself is topped with washes to help bring out the sculpt, and some dry-brushing as well to help give it a weathered look. It's just the right amount of weathering too, which is never easy to pull off.
The paint in the head is nice and clean too. The hair and flesh tone end where they need to, and the color of his beard leads into the flesh tone nicely as well. The eyes are evenly painted on as well, something that can easily get messed up with action figures. Basically, this figure has a great paint job, is what I'm trying to get at.
Gordon Freeman has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows, ball joints wrists, a floating ab joint, v-cut hips with a t-hinge, thigh rotators, swivel-hinged knees, and ball jointed ankles. This is the one area where the figure isn't quite up to par. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the figure has terrible articulation, but it could have a better range of motion. The neck joint has a very good range, and the arms are ok too. Like I said, he has swivel-hinged elbows, but they can't be bend incredibly far. His ab joint allows for him to turn left and right, and lean forward and backward for a pretty good amount.
The area that is strange is his hips. He has the v-cut hips, however he also has the t-hinge as well that allow for his legs to be spread outward. If you try to maneuver his legs into a sitting position, they will go outward due to the v-cut, but it's not terribly bad since he also has the thigh rotators, which I initially didn't even know about. They're hidden well under his armor. So he has a good amount of articulation that allows for a lot of posing, but the range of some of it could be better, and I've never been a fan of the v-cut hips, even though it's not as bad here as it normally is.
Dr. Freeman comes with a slew of character appropriate accessories, each one better than the last. He comes with alternate hands, a pheropod, his crowbar, the gravity gun, and a headcrab!
The pheropod looks awesome, and appropriately disgusting. It's supposed to be an organ from a species of creatures that have been attacking everybody and used as a repellant, so you'd expect it to look gross, and it does. The crowbar looks fantastic. The grip is painted red, and the entire thing is dry brushed silver to give it weathering that really does make it look real. This is possibly the single most used weapon in the whole game, and certainly his most iconic so it's awesome to have it done so well. The gravity gun, no surprise, also looks really good and just like it came out of the game, with the right paint job and realistic weathering. He also comes with different sets of hands. He has one hand to hold his crowbar, an open hand to hold the pheropod, and two hands that hold the grips of the gravity gun.
The single coolest accessory though, and honestly one that I'm surprised it came with, is the headcrab. These guys are probably the biggest nuisance in the whole game, being that they jump onto peoples' heads and kill them and turn them into zombies. It's surprising that with everything else this figure comes with, this is also included and it's so well done. First of all, the front legs are articulated, and you can turn them on a ball joint which is awesome. This thing looks horrifying, which is entirely appropriate. Flip it over and look at the underside, and you see it's teeth and a giant gaping hole to fit your face into. Did I mention these guys are creepy?
Anyway, the paint job on the headcrap is phenomenal. It's almost a pale flesh tone, but it varies, which makes it look real. You can even see the faintest vein detail as if it were just underneath the skin. Amazing attention to detail. The legs, and the underside, are painted to look like it's covered in blood, which isn't surprising given all the faces these things love eating. Now I don't know if this was an intended feature or not, but I found out that you can pry out the "mouth" of the head crab and it makes more room inside the body. This is awesome, because now it allows you to pop it onto the head of any action figure you want and essentially make your own headcrab zombie for Gordon Freeman to fight. Again, I don't know if this was intended by NECA, but it pops out fairly easily and pops back in with no problems at all. And with it out of the way, it sits awesomely on just about any figure's head on a 6-7" scale. Just look at how cool it is in the photos! I don't see how they could have given this figure better accessories.
This figure is insanely fun. Just looking him over to catch all the detail is great, but being able to pose him, and having so many different weapons to choose from, is just awesome. Not to mention the headcrab accessory so you can make your own zombie. That's just icing that really pushes this figure into the "insanely fun" category. I think even people who aren't fans of the game would be hard pressed not to find this a fun figure on its own.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR -
No real quality control issues here, but something you want to watch out for is his glasses. They are glued to the sides of his head, but they're not plugged in or anything. They just sit on his head glued in place, but I managed to cause one of his earpieces to become unglued by barely moving it. I didn't break them, so don't worry about that happening easily, but just be careful that you don't unknowingly remove the glasses from his head, because I suspect once that happens they could easily get lost to the action figure accessory gods.
It should come as no surprise, but I think this is a truly great figure. Maybe even amazing. The quality level with this figure is above and beyond even what we're used to seeing from NECA. They really pulled out all the stops with Gordon Freeman. They knew the type of fan base Half Life has, and that this was the first Half Life action figure ever, and they clearly wanted to do it right and they have. The sculpt is impeccable and the paint job is near perfect, if not outright perfect with the amount of weathering on it to really help sell the sculpt. The accessories he comes with are perfect for the character and really add to the value of the figure, especially with the headcrab.
The only area this figure falls even a little short in is the articulation. With as much as it has, the range could have been better, and no matter how well it's done, I just can't get over my dislike of the v-cut hips. Still, none of this takes away from just how fun and cool this figure is. If you're a fan of the Half-Life games, you won't be disappointed at all with this figure. Heck, I'd even recommend people who aren't fans of the game to pick this up. If you're just a fan of NECA figures and they're incredibly high quality, then you'll love this figure just for that alone. If you're not a fan of NECA's figures, then...well then I don't even know why you're reading this. So overall, this is a really great action figure.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5 / 5