You're right. That said, I think that it is fair to mention that the delay, because of the leak, was mainly what robbed Half LIfe 2 of its graphical crown. If Half Life 2 had released in its originally intended release window in Sept 2003 (along with the ATI 9600XT/9800XT Steam promotion) I believe that it would have held the graphical crown for at least 6 months until Far Cry came. I mean, the game got hacked and leaked basically a year before it's eventual release date and it was a pretty hardcore game, graphically speaking at the time of that leak.All of you guys keep saying stuff that is not "graphically well ahead of their time" that the threads title states. There is a difference between something being good and something being ahead of it's time.
If something is well ahead of it's time it should be years before anything matches it.
HL2 had great graphis but they were not ahead of their time. Unreal Tournament 2004 and Doom 3 were already out before HL2 and had better overall graphics. I wouldn't call something "ahead of it's time" when it's not even the best at the time.
I don't even know if I would say HL2 as a game overall was ahead of it's time. HL2 is an amazing game, one of the best of all time. It did everything well, but it didn't do anything other games didn't do soon after or even before it was released.
The other problem is that this was an era of immense graphical improvement year on year (I mean the $200 GeForce 6600GT released in 2004 and was faster than the $500 Radeon 9800XT in 2003, when has something like that happened in the last 10 years?) As a result, if any PC game was graphically ahead of its time in that era then it wouldn't be holding that crown for more than a couple of months. I think in 2003, a PC game being graphically ahead of its time by 6 months could be considered akin to a game being 2-3 years ahead of its time in 2023.
That being said, regardless of the reason, I agree that Half Life 2 cannot be called graphically ahead of its time with its Q4 2004 release date. There is just no way that it could compete with a game like Doom 3 by that point in time.