Games that allow you freedom are always going to have more bugs than the old school platformer/shump/fighter/etc.... Game companies want to make more money = get game out faster, game devs want to make for more realistic worlds = more possibilities that aren't bug tested.
IMO, Half Life 2 performed fine for me and I really didn't see any bugs (bought the official Collectors Edition DVD version) that caught my eye. Definitely a MUST PLAY game thought, light years better than Doom3, its just plain damn cool. But I agree so many patches these days for everything (especially for EA games, which is why i will never pay for an EA game ever again ;)
_ _ - - = = Pr3tty F1y = = - - _ _