Imagine, a Hollywood producer got his hands on the game. The result would be similar to what the Cinematic Mod is: a graphics blockbuster, redesigned to the typical game to movie adaption with an orchestral soundtrack and beautiful people everywhere.
Mod stands for Modification, either it is a Single Player Story modification a Multiplayer Modification or an improvement what so ever to the original game that fills more than one category (level design, texture, sound and models).
Other wise it would be call a texture pack, map pack, model pack ect...
But to actually re-imagine, re-make and re-mix elements to give a new fresh look and feel to an already existing game is no easy task.
The models in CINEMATIC MOD are simply the best models in terms of quality and realism that there are today, with the exception of the CRYSIS games.
That one person, is actually competing with a Video Game company in terms of overall graphic quality, is simply astonishing.
You might like, or not like the actual new feel and look of CINEMATIC MOD, but either way one thing cannot be criticized, the quality of work put into this mod.
From a designer's perspective, I give it an absolute 10 !
From a gamer's perspective, I also give it a 10, simply because I personally enjoy this new feel, look and sound for Half Life 2.
I do not think it is better or worse, but simply different and fresh, to me Half Life 2 remains one of the best games ever made, but this is Cinematic Mod for Half Life 2, and it's exactly what it feels like, a Cinematic Experience.
EDIT: Let me clarify, this is a GOOD REVIEW. Don't take the thing at the beginning as a bad review!
"DUDE THIS MOD IS TERRIBLE EVERYTHING LOOKS DIFFERENT AND STUFF!!!!!!!!!! THE WHOLE REASON IT IS SO BAD IS THAT IT IS SO GOOD!!!!!!!"
Basically, that's what all the idiots who think they rule the Internet are saying. Every SINGLE reason that a bunch of people hate it are the reasons that I love it. Just go read some of the 1/10 reviews and you'll see what I mean. Just PLEASE, the Internet has enough people flaming about how stupid and terrible things are, just like the news channel. We don't need ANY MORE of this stuff, so just stop. Also, someone seems to think that changing the game's maps to make it look better has nothing to do with "remaking HL2 with new graphics." I'm not going to tell you who, but their username initials are MF. So please, if you think the mod looks nice, clear out a nice 45 GB space on your hard disk for it, and hit download.
This ought to be renamed "Fakefactory's Pornographic Mod" because that is exactly what this is. The dirty 40something year old man who made this seems to have a peculiar obsession with Alyx and Adriana Lima, as with every iteration of this mod Alyx is turned even sluttier than in the previous version, and is guaranteed to have the face of Lima to complete the sluttiness. And not only was Alyx affected, Mossman and the female citizens/rebels also were "enhanced" by Fakefactory's definition. They have all been turned into some kind of street tramps. Basically, all of the women in this mod look like they were designed by a socially awkward 14 year old with a hormone-infested mind. And the male characters don't look much better either. They all had ****** "enhancements" that make them all look extremely out of place with the Half-Life 2 universe, and some of them look completely retarded. Also, this mod adds ironsights, possibly to cater to the COD fanboys who don't turn away from HL2 the second they see it. Why don't more people realize that ironsights are cliche as **** and done to death? Basically the only redeeming value of this mod is that the mapping is very well-done, and it must have taken a while to get the maps back in working condition after decompiling them; but even then, the god awful character models in the "full experience" completely nullify anything good that this mod has to offer.
After playing Hl2 around 15 times (including CM8 & 10) it was definitely worth playing it again with CM12. The effort put into making every scene look as beautiful as it does right now must have been extraordinary. Most HD-Mods simply concentrate on making some HD-Textures, but in CM12 you get new shaders, models, environment props and completely redesigned 3d-skyboxes, too. Just judging by the amount of content created this could have been a completely new game. Performance has been improved significantly in comparison to CM10 on my PC (hardware specs haven't changed) and I also love the Dynamic Music System, which sometimes makes me feel like I'm Batman :D However, thanks Fakefactory for providing this old experience in a new fancy coat for us.
Visually stunning with fantastic anamorphic lense flare effects found in games such as Battlefield 4 as well as a dark ambience evoking a STALKER like feel. Most of the male and combine models are great as are the weapon models. It also runs at 100fps + on my I5 3470 650GTX TI 8gb pc and also loads much faster then most mods of this size found in other games. The mod is also very easy to install and has several customizable features, such as Enabling the orchestral score that this mod has to offer or disabling Sweet.
The only reason I do not rate this a full 10/10 are a few bugbears I have, which include:
1) Altering the core gameplay (I.e: Movement speed, Slower Crowbar and a realistic sprint animation). I feel these detract from the fast paced nature of Half life 2 and serve only as a hindrance other then anything else.
2) (THESE ARE OPTIONAL) The female HD models, especially Alex Vance look like a bunch of barbie doll latino prostitutes out of an Anime.While the actual work on the models is fantastic, they are a jarring contrast to the dystopian world the author has conceived. Also The Pulse rifle is just an MP5 with a holo sight on it.
3) There are a few minor bugs such as blood not appearing, obstructions caused from alterations in the level and the occasional texture glitch.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this to any HL2 fan regardless of these grievances as they are probably fixable with some sort of cfg file, and the HD Models are optional anyway.
(Notes: This mod is enormousness, 9.6gb compressed 36.8gb uncompressed, but given the ridiculous texture quality, I would say its well worth it)