Run. Think. Shoot. Live. Source. Black Mesa is the Half-Life 2 total conversion of the original Half-Life game. Utilizing the Source engine and its endless array of possibilities and powers, Black Mesa will throw you into the world that started the Half-Life continuum and introduced Gordon Freeman to the world as a gun-toting, bullet-dodging Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics.
A very good mod! It was everything I expected and a bit more.
The level design is arguably the mods best aspect, with voice acting and modelling following closely behind.
I can't express how much I enjoyed seeing how the game has not only been remade, but also brough to life in a way Valve never could have when the original was made. All the small scenes, even the inconsequential ones like the two scientists arguing below when you ride the tram. All these small things bring the mod to life, and I love it for it.
I also really enjoyed how the various locations had been given a purpose and logic that it missed in the original or that the original didn't get through because of the detail level required.
Voice actors were on overall ace. Sure they dropped the ball every now and then, but with the amount of work put into this, it's hard to perform 150 % all the way through. I especially like the work done by the guy who voiced the barneys, he was easily the best voice actor on the crew.
What I didn't like is the approach to the soldiers. It's been stated that they were made into over the top, cliche, B-movie jocks because they didn't want the player to sympathize with them. At the same time they were made cheesy. Cheesy enemies loose respect. Enemies without respect aren't dangerous.
On overall the voice over for the soldiers sound like a parody of the original or of any kind of voice the soldiers should've had. My mind keeps going to the flash artist EgoRaptor when he parodies marines and fanboys from various games.
I'm also not a big fan of the new zombie sounds. It sounds like the voice actor is trying his level best to strangle himself. And that is what I hear, not the zombie.
Lastly, a lot of the more emotional scenes were destroyed by the characters ragdolling. Example; The guard in the beginning reaching for the health station, then instantly ragdolling as he dies. It becomes slapstick.
All in all, awesome mod, with a few minor design faults.
Finally, after nearly half a decade in development, it's finally here.
I'll first congratulate the entire BMS team (Especially Cman2k + Raminator) on collaborating together for so long to produce Black Mesa: Source.
One thing is being a game developer is that you often know how thing's run under the hood of most games nowadays, removing the mystery and wonder of the game; but boy -- starting the mod, I was immediately swept away by the quality and detail put into each and every single map, model, animation and sound. It's as if a perfect musical conductor has tended to every corner of an old melody from years ago and has remastered it into perfection.
Story: Following Half-Life 1's plot to the absolute dot and rim; this mod has literally brought the kind of quality you would see out of Valve, I often times forgot I was playing a mod and not an actual game.
Gameplay: The game was well-balanced with the player capable of getting new weapons and enemies to combat simultaneously, level's didn't feel linear; allowing Gordan to come and deactivate a deadly turret on the path ahead, or find hidden batteries or ammunition in unexpected places. I was drowned in Half-Life Nostalgia.
Npc's were well balanced and surprisingly dynamic (especially allies) and did require more tactics and thought from the player as level's went on. Though playing on Hard, one of the biggest frustrating difficulties I'd run into multiple times were only HECU Grunts and the Helicopter.
Modelling/Art/Animation/Textures: Brilliant, totally brilliant. I did find however that some models and map area's had odd textures/Bump mapping that didn't look quite right when lit and refracted from they're surfaces, but otherwise looked beautiful.
Music/Audio: Voice acting was very well done, Xen creatures audio sounded sublime and matched well. The music wasn't the best honestly and oftentimes didn't fit the mood.
Mapping: Some clipping and a gaping hole once. Valve hire these guys. Kthx.
Really terrificly hi-def mod. I might go as far as saying it surpasses Portal2 for top visual quality in the Source engine.
I throughly approved of all the changes I noticed made to the original Half-life and actually wish they had gone further (nerfing some of the jumping puzzles for example). Mixing up when and where you got certain weapons kept things nicely fresh.
It would have been nice if they could have got some more voice actors involved. All the security guards sounding exactly the same was creeping me out...
I look forward to playing the Xen chapter(s) when they finally get around to releasing it.
Half-Life 2 was a great game, and we all know that. It's up there with all the other games by Valve such as Portal and it's 2010 sequel, TF2 and it's many, many hats, and... well, I think you get it now. Black Mesa Source, however, is an even better make of the origional Half Life, and it's arguably a lot better! Although the storyline remains muchly the same, the gameplay, thanks to the Source engine, is simply fantastic. The physics are greatly improved, with actual moving three-dimensional sprites replacing the plain animations of the heavily modified (and now discontinued) version of the Quake engine that was used by Valve. An then when you add in all the bits of comedy, and the constant thrills and action with all them aliens, you've got yourself a near perfect game. And by 'near perfect', well, I mean, the only reson this gets a BI9SCORE of 9 is because of the stupidly low jump height, and the many glitches found in the game. Also, it's rather hardware-dependant. I have to run the game with all of the settings on 'Low' for it to work at a good speed. But otherwise, good work, BMDT, keep up the good work. :D
What I will say is this, Black Mesa is one of the greatest mods out there, it looks, sounds and feels like a Valve game, but now you ask "If you are giving it praise, why are you giving it a 9/10?" I love this mod to death, but not everything legendary is perfect, 10 is a score you give to the game that is the first of it's kind, to that bright new IP, Black Mesa is neither of these, it is a REIMAGINING, not a new idea, not a new IP, a new look at one of the greatest games of it's time, it's not perfect, some of the gameplay and story has aged, but the heart of what made Half Life a great game is still intact, despite the updated graphics, or the new tech, or even some of the changes to streamline the story, some of these changes (such as the shortening of On A Rail) can be seen as an improvement, while others (the removal of surface tension) can be seen as a detriment, Black Mesa suffers from special edition syndrome, changes are applied to revise the story, at the cost of nostalgic elements that were part of the original, Black Mesa is great, but the team removed some of the things that were a nostalgic part of the original Half Life, but some of the changes I admire due to originality, it is a reimagining after all, but people should criticize it's flaws more, not just praise it's great parts.
What I say is, next time a sucessful remake comes out and blows your expectations, don't give it 10's all the time, feel free to criticse, because if you do, what made it great becomes more powerful.