SUITABLE CANDIDATES SELECTED FOR EVALUATION. OBSERVATION OF CANDIDATE #12 AUTHORIZED.
Echoes is a visually stunning and very well done MOD. It'll give you a new outlook on the events of Black Mesa, although the creator takes some liberties with the canon of Half-Life. Some enemies that were cut from HL's development are reintroduced and play a part in the story, such as Mr. Friendly and the Kingpin. There is also a lot of foreshadowing to the events of HL2. Sometimes these events strike me as a bit odd but it doesn't ruin the gameplay.
As said, the brushwork and texture usage is excellent. It mostly uses textures from the never released Nightwatch mod, but throws in a few old HL textures in there as well. Sometimes this is quite noticable (like the vending machine) and it would have been better to also use new textures for those.
The maps are very spacious and even in the distance there are lots of details to find. Lighting and other effects are also very well done, although coloured lights were overused in my opinion. They can be very effective to create a certain atmosphere or visual effect but in some places they were used so much that it started to look unrealistic. Especially the parts where the pink fleshy stuff shows up.
The authors' take on Black Mesa is a bit different from the original. It's darker and grittier and so is the gameplay. Sometimes it's closer to a horror than an action, but there is enough variation in gameplay to enjoy this mod, if horror isn't your thing.
What really stands out for me is are the sequences with the Garg. Especially when it's wrecking or using the environment to throw stuff at you. I've made maps for HL for years and I know how hard it is to get effects right and look realistic in this engine.
I've played this on the hard mode and I sure got what I asked for. It's quite a bit more difficult than HL's hard mode and you'll face far more enemies at a time. Also at the start, supplies are hard to come by, so sometimes it's better to run and avoid combat, which I thought was quite nice.
The use of NPCs is really good. Black Mesa looks very lively and there is tons of stuff going on. Even after the accident, you can see groups of employees trying to make their way out. Here's a little personal disappointment: when I saw those groups, I was really looking forward to join up with such a group, since I've never seen that in any HL mod before. Sadly, most of the time you venture through the facilities by yourself.
So, this is definatly a must-play for HL fans and if you played it, do another round later on, because there are lots of little fun things and secrets to discover when you look for them!
Highest Rated (37 agree) 10/10
A modern day masterpiece and a mod of the year. Thank you for letting us play through your vision of Black Mesa incident through a different perspective. Perfectly crafted, directed and executed, seeing that someone utilizes the engine to this extent just warms my heart and reminds me of how truly awesome half-life community is. It was a huge, indescribable pleasure to play through this, and we're all as a community can't thank you enough for all your effort and time you put into this awesome project…
Aug 10 2018 by Gunship_Mark_II