Dark Interval is a restoration/revision mod that lets you play Half-Life 2 as it could have been: with custom maps, new voiced dialogue, new models and textures, all based on Valve's early concepts. The mod is released in episodes, the most recent being Dark Interval: Part I - an intro chapter to the bigger story.
Early access review
As a huge Half-life fan I always love to see projects like these: bringing old content to life! Dark Interval gives you a peek into 'what could have been' if Valve continued on the path of the earlier drafts of the HL2 scripts. I own the book 'Raising the Bar' and recognised quite a bit of the artwork in this MOD.
Let's cover the artwork first: many of the outside areas are really well done. I enjoy that gloomy industrial feeling the authors have created here. There is quite a lot of space around you (which is very unlike HL). A few of the highlights can also be found inside, but some of the inside areas could use some visual improvements. Pretty often corridors and rooms you pass through are just empty boxes with props in it and I've even encountered rooms with just 1 texture all around. Quite the eyesore on an otherwise well done job.
While I'm allowed to complain: It's DARK! I've set my screen to the optimal gamma settings but still I have to resort to the flashlight a LOT! The mod could really benefit from some extra light.
Then the gameplay.. or rather the lack thereof. Dark Interval feels more like a scenic tour than an actual game to me. There is hardly any action and storywise it's quite bland. A few vital NPC's (lacking proper choreographed scenes) tell you where to go but all other characters are mute and inactive. I did enjoy touring around for a while but once Barney told me the metropolice were on to me, I imagined the game would pick up the pace. Yet, the combine still stare at me as if I was a regular person. A few good chase scenes (like HL2 did in the residential areas) would be good.
As I said, areas often look nice, but lack the dynamics to be really convincing. I hoped to see more life (such as the combine military parade or the dementors going around burning stuff) in these maps! Add more puzzles, add more action!
One last thing you should REALLY adress are the transitions between areas. In 1998 Half-Life was one of the first 3D shooters to adapt a seamless game experience. Valve would never resort to 'fade to black' travel which you used frequently. In some cases I looked behind me and I couldn't even see where I originaly came from. It's really a sign of lazy design and doesn't do justice to an otherwise pretty well done MOD.
Highest Rated (18 agree) 10/10
As of date, this is the most complete and well-done take on the old storyline. In addition, despite being the beginning of the game, there is plenty to offer in terms of gameplay. I'm definitely looking forward to the next chapters
Apr 22 2017 by TheZealot