Half-Life 2: Short Stories is a team working on a group of modifications that take place in the same realm. A lot of the focus is on the story and gameplay, new innovative set pieces and puzzles. After the release of the first episode of Human Error, the team is planning to release more episodes and expand the characters and the world.
This is probably one of the most on the fence mods I've played so far, its got everything you'd expect for a winner. Its got a good setting, good concept, some great scenes, and new enemies, new combat elements, but it ends up feeling lacking by the end. First lets start with the good. Story is pretty decent for what we've gotten, its got charm, good voice acting, except for the song at the end (Phillip barlowe BLUEAGHHH!) characters that you can care about. And when I say good concept, you get to play as the combine but instead of something bland they give us human like personality. Apparently the civil protection employ citizens who are willing to work for the combine without needing to lose their "instincts" and become mindless drones who take orders. We instead got a rag tag bunch of ruffians, you as usual the faceless/voiceless protagonist and a tough minded gal, Phillip as the punching bag, and the egotistical one who blames everyone else for his blunders. Hard not to get into it. We even got some memorable out of story lines "I need to get laid" the tough gal snarks, and my favourite "you don't stop, your like a robot" which gave me a wry smile seeing as its a reference to our expectation as to what we thought the mod was going to be like. We aren't all mindless drones. Unforuntely the level design doesn't ever get great, its alot of corridors sectioned off into little manhack puzzles (using them to knock out the generators that the rebels have taken over, in order to powerdown the forcefields), realistic obviously for a university but not great to play. The first section in the streets was as expected, the 3rd section with defending the base, and last base is basically what people should have been expecting.
This is a multiplayer/coop mod first, singleplayer second. So naturally base defense is what your really in for mostly. It ends rather abruptly giving us scene that didn't really add much to the story. Whats worse is that its been 5 years and it still isn't finished & from what I hear, not going to be.
Its moderately long but it still feels like the potential for something really great was here. Level design and story possibilities, are just left to the imagination I guess.