You can all go to hell. I mean it most sincerely.

RSS Reviews  (0 - 10 of 35)

Half Life: Somatic

Mod review

This was decent. The mapping is a little simple, but not in an unpleasant way. Has its charm - although almost ascetic at times, it has interesting elements, and a lot of items in it are brush based, you can see there was effort going into it.

Gameplay was pretty simple and straightforward. With just basic enemy variety and desolate placement of the few enemies that it had.

It's not often that I see mods use Lost Coast content and concept, but maybe this didn't do enough with it to be more captivating.

The progression from outside to inside to underground to back to topside, that was both alright and didn't make much sense, which is so often in standalone SP maps that it's not even a complaint, just an observation. Like, why would there be an underground Combine base hidden under a normal looking church? But it also didn't shock me, because lots of mods did that. It's almost like a tradition now, or stereotype maybe.

In terms of bugs, there's only few, the refractive glass can get a bit glitchy but it's an engine limitation, and there's an areaportal underground that's placed in front of the door and when closed it cuts out.

If I had a few suggestions, it would be to maybe add some detail props on the landscape (like the whole open grassy area in around the church), that way you can keep it flat and open but it won't look too empty. The interior was a little bare but decent, I'd say the underground passages could be made more narrow as it is often seen in old buildings like that. Also having some soundscapes would help the atmosphere, like some wind and rustling outside, crumbling cement and plaster sounds inside, metal stress and air humming underground, etc.

The mod kept it short and didn't frustrate me one bit, there was some interesting design going, not everything being just rectangular and boring.

So because it didn't bore me, wasn't throwing waves of enemies, and was visually decent, I'd rate it 7 out of 10.


Half-Life 2 Beta Minimalist Mod

Mod review - 11 agree - 5 disagree

This is the true beta mod. This year, 2019, twenty years since Half-Life 2 entered development, is when we finally can grasp the full extent of the original storyline. Start to finish. Gman to Consul. Alpha to Omega.
The one compromise that proved vital for this to become reality, is making it all... minimalistic. And there is no way to make it any *less*, any more minimal.
I shall respect this masterpiece the only way I see proper - by giving it the minimal mark, of 1/10. This time - only this once - it is the highest mark, the deservedly highest mark.


Rock 24

Mod review

Revisited this mod for the first time in many, many years. First time I played it when it was newly released, now was the second time.

It still holds up, although the gameplay is a bit clumsy, for example how often the interactive items are not at all distinguished from just generic props - computer consoles, valves and such.

Good level design and mapping for its time, nowadays it certainly would be possible to redux it - increase shadows resolution, add HDR, better reflections, all that. Oh, and it would be nice to have closed captions.

But even still it holds up. I rate it 8 out of 10.



Mod review

Half-Life: Anti-Climax

Mod review - 2 agree - 2 disagree

Great mod. With some very minor polish it can, for real, be officially added into Half-Life as a bonus campaign. For "bad" ending.

Couldn't complete it on Very Hard yet, but then again.

Also, yes, it is better than Echoes, better as continuation/closue for HL1, better in visual design, better in stability, smarter.


The Closure

Mod review - 3 agree - 1 disagree

It's special. It's not aggressively bad, it's actually not *even* bad, not how many people wanna paint it.

Some way mediocre mods get a free pass and some bad ones become so influential, but this one got mostly hated.

It's become default to not like this mod.

And while I played more and more other dubious mods, I realised that what good content Closure has, was overshadowed by it being too "non-canon", and flashy visuals and obnoxious advertisement pay off better than effort and volume put into content. Meaning that, like I said, other mods may be just worse or more shallow but they'll get free pass and The Closure won't.

Well, what the hell. I think it's a reasonable 8/10. The "half-life feel" is overrated anyway.


Half-Life : Echoes

Mod review - 14 agree - 16 disagree

First of all, it should be called Half-Life: Colours, because there's. SO. MANY. COLOURS. Often just solid colours, like this room will be all red, this all green, this all purple. But let's get to reviewing.

I'll use 10 as base, add and subtract points based on what the mod does or does not do well.

What it does well:
- Scenery. It’s one of the most complex mods out there, levels-wise and script-wise. Speaking of which,

- Scripted scenes/events/sequences. These vary from story promoting bits with characters, to epic battle sequences, but it also reuses quite a lot of dialogue/animations from HL1 and the add-ons.

- The terrifying feel of the catastrophe in the first hours after the Incident. Everything's going down in flames (sometimes literally), just terrifying.

- Model and texture work's not bad, though a lot of it is reused from HL2, which is somewhat distracting.

What it DOES NOT do well.
- Level progression. You are CONSTANTLY guided towards your single viable path, with ever-present GREEN LIGHTS. You're in a vent? The right branch will always be lit with green lights, the others with red. Hallways will have either a running light, or doorway light, or a bunch of light-sticks spread through them. Speaking of, they're also everywhere, even where they have no place. At every control you have to operate, every vent to get in, every supply crate. It's not like the levels have guidance lighting that makes sense, but rather that the developer put a green light everywhere you need to go; even during scripted scenes when you run away from or towards something, you'll have a green light. It does not trust you to use your own brain. No need to figure out the levels, memorise them, understand your surroundings, just quickly find a green light and run towards it. Because of it, the game is COMPLETELY linear. It takes your hand and never once lets go. It requires minimal thinking & input from the player: just press W, jump, crouch and press the 'use' button when needed.

- Optimisation, 2nd biggest issue. The old engine just cannot handle it. It crashes even with increased edicts, you have to set it to twice its normal (increased) value - 4096 - to avoid most crashes, but even then it feels like it's gonna have a stroke every now and then, especially during the grand final battle. FPS drops even below 20 at times. There's no imaginable reality where a computer from 2018 cannot handle a GldSrc mod. Even standing in some seemingly simple hallway and looking in the general way of heavily detailed scenery, will kill your fps. Then it throws enemies at you and you have to fight them with laggy, fps-dependent input. It's just not worth it when it can't run adequately.

- Enemy placement. In Half-Life, you have to stay aware and if you're paying attention, you can often predict where the enemies are, or at least when to be extra careful. Doesn't help at all here. Turrets don't have their trigger beams (ok, they do in that ONE level, but most don't), almost all spawns happen from portaling the aliens in front of you, there's no subtlety in this. For the first hour or so the game tries to be a survival horror - you’ve very limited ability to fight off enemies, and have to evade them, but then it drops that and goes all shooting gallery on you. It's relentless and is generally less smart than HL1. It also loves to punish the player for exploration. It's like the Cat Mario of Half-Life where you have to die and reload a bunch of times, memorise the plan, then execute it, instead of being aware and thinking fast. Tiresome, not very fun.

- Colouring, visual design. I mentioned that the levels are very complex. Very impressive brushwork, obviously took many hours to build. But this is diminished by poor lighting and high contrast coloured lights that hurt your eyes and won't let you appreciate the levels. It's like Doom 3, but with buckets of luminescent paint spilled into it.

- Space compression. The levels are HUGE, with HUGE lifts, HUGE corridors, HUGE platforms, and it takes a lot of time to get across them. It's sometimes better to leave things compact and contained.

- Making sense of environment. HL1 is VERY good at establishing these different segments of the vast research facility, that are all connected, but have their individual flavour. The research labs are obviously different from maintenance areas, the offices are their own thing, the secret labs are their own things, the decommissioned silos, etc. This mod doesn't do that quite as well. It's all kinda same looking and blends together and the same elements are reused constantly, I just couldn't keep track of where I'm, I just hunt for the next green light.

My overall mark I'm giving it is... 6 out of 10. I applaud the author for his impressive command over the level editor, but the visual design, level flow, optimisation, all need a lot of work.



Mod review - 3 agree

How come I haven't rated it yet? Anyway, quite simply, it's 10 out of 10. It's just your pure, uncut, masterfully recreated beta contained as an Ep2 mod, real easy to install, play, and get a lot of enjoynment out of. I recommend!


Half-Life: Caged

Mod review - 1 agree - 3 disagree

It turned out to not be worth it.

It's a pretty mod with visuals of a game made in 2003, I guess that's impressive for a platform from 1998. But while it is pretty, you can't say it's smart or really fun. It doesn't have a story, no explanation for why we're in the cell, why we have the HEV suit, and thus it comes down to being a shooting gallery. With some pretty bad spots, balance/enemy wise.

Ends with your typical "shoot down a helicopter", but if you're too good it spawns another heli.

Essentially, it's a jail escape mod, and we had *a lot* of those. It's also pretty short.

If you weren't bombarded in the news by A MOD FROM VALVE DEVELOPER you wouldn't know about it. And it wouldn't matter to most.

It's not bad in the sense of how *bad* mods are bad, but it's definitely overrated.

Edit: but ALSO, and I entirely forgot that part, it has a built-in Steam store thingy with items - basically useless microtransactions. In a Half-Life 1 mod. Only ever allowed to exist like this because "former Valve employee". Oh, no, you don't. This is why it should get a 1 out of 10.


Half-Life 2: Unforeseen Circumstances Episode One

Mod review - 1 agree - 1 disagree

It's pretty awful. I'm giving it a 3 and that's generous of me.

There's no indication of where to go, what to do, you have to stumble your way through short yet tiresome levels, in the end, spoiler, there's an awful helicopter sequence in a large open area, you have to find stupid ladder to climb onto the wall, the ladder is in one of the pipes that\s laying half-buried in the dirt, once I climbed on top it crashed.

What a waste of my life.

Hopefully the author improves because there's SOME, SOME VERY LITTLE charm occasionally on the levels.

Oh, and if you start the first level and couldn't get through the fence with the crates stuck in it, try restarting, hilariously enough on second try it launched another script that broke the fence.

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