While the response to the game content itself has been universally positive thus far - and we're certainly sold on it - Valve Software yesterday had to address the concerns of a rabble of rabid Half-Life 2 owners whose store-purchased copies were refusing to authenticate over the Internet.
Presumably shoppers who went after the physical game had hoped to be better off than those of us sucking the game direct from Valve's digital teat, but as it happened this wasn't the case. Instead, retail buyers, at least in Europe, discovered that not only had they been given a tacky reference card instead of a proper manual, but that the game wouldn't even load up.
However, Valve now claims to have solved the authentication issues. In an update to the official Steam website last night, the developer said the problems were "resolved," adding: "We appreciate your patience and hope everyone enjoys the game."
Reports of other bugs are rife on forums, but Valve is expected to address them in time and in any case it seems your mileage may vary. This writer's test machine hasn't thrown up any serious errors yet, while the only problem Kristan's experienced was a refusal to load up after he tinkered with Half-Life: Source; a problem which righted itself after he rebooted the PC.
In the meantime though, Valve's Erik Johnson has suggested one specific fix for people receiving the error "Map Version is 0, expecting 19" upon load-up. Apparently you should go to your \Steam\SteamApps folder, rename the file "sourcemodels.gcf" to something else and then relaunch the game. It will download the file in question again, but, says Johnson, it may be the most efficient fix if you want to get into the game any time soon.
As soon as we hear more on any Half-Life 2 related issues, we'll be sure to let you know. And for those of you already enjoying the game... It's a bit good, isn't it?