Set in both the heart and outside of City 17, "The Citizen Returns" contains the final chapters of our citizen's story, as well as an updated version of Part II. The story takes place shortly after a failed assassination attempt on Dr. Breen leads to the first ever use of the Overwatch Broadcast system by The Resistance, represented by former garage owner Larry Soderstrom. The Combine forces decide to capture him and try to use his public repentance and execution as a means to appease the emergent rebellion. The Citizens of City 17 however have other ideas in mind. Larry is now a symbol for the rebellion and a key asset in a bigger plot to deal a fatal blow to the Combine and its grip on humankind...
I really enjoyed this mod, and it's a great example of good design overall. In particular, I like the small details put into this mod that makes it stand out in a positively quirky and memorable light.
The character of Larry will be a staple of this mod as the no-nonsense yet laid-back leader of a good majority of the mod. I highly recommend playing the first The Citizen first before playing this just so you can get Larry's full character.
This mod also serves as an interesting example of choices and consequences, where the player has more than one possible choice with particular situations, and the fact that NPCs react to certain things that the player does makes the consequences all the more enjoyable. Much like Random Quest from the same author, some sections of this have replay value and it's worth making a couple manual saves here and there to try all sorts of different paths.
That aside, the combat is a little sparse at points. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but most times there's not even enough time for the combat music to even play when it's suddenly halted due to lack of more enemies.
Puzzle design isn't particularly strong either as even the most challenging puzzle is hard due to physics issues than the actual puzzle being difficult. Others have complained about getting stuck at parts. I found it to be too easy, honestly.
Despite the large arsenal the player gets, I wouldn't consider this a run and gun mod. It's better than that, but it's not as focused on making large combat scenes as it is on character scenes.
Just like the prequel, I found this mod very enjoyable. I cannot put aside the minor issues I experienced though. Nevertheless, this mod made me feel almost in every way. From start to end, I really got myself into the shoes of the character I was playing and that is why I love it a lot. Even though I recognize it needs to be polished, I dare to say that this is, if not, one of the greatest mods I have ever tried. So if you are a good fan of Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and all of its series, especially what happens from Half-Life 2, I promise that you will not regret testing on this mod.
+ improved voice acting
+ level design
+ few slow motion effects
+ length (cca 2 - 3 hours)
- physics on boxes
Excellent sequel to The Citizen. Highly recommend to play. :)
The developers have choosen to expand on the subject of the urban warfare taking place in City 17: a happy choice that allowed to tell a complex, interesting story of some other heroes of the resistance without conflicting with the main events of HL2 or ending up being preposterous. In the main game you could only see the part of the conflict in the streets that Gordon Freeman found himself into and the story here convincingly tries to imagine how things could have gone in the meantime for the rebellion.
If the backstory is convincing enough, the same cannot be told for the actual narration: while being overall decent, the voice acting and the writing feel sometimes amateur-ish. Most of the small talk you make with the occasional guerrilla is pretty fun and usually works for the moment; on the other hand, the actors don't seem to give emphasis to the pivotal events and Larry reacts with the excitement of a stoner in the same deep and calm voice even in the middle of a fight.
The game has a good pace and it alternates well between exploration, easy puzzles and well concocted fights that can be challenging but never frustrating. Like in the previous chapter, the gameplay, if mostly retaining the feel of HL, introduces a few original ideas and that's much appreciated.
Visually, the mod is well made: the locations are detailed and interesting to explore.
Finally, the mod runs smoothly on Windows 10 and there seem to be only a few bugs that are easy to disregard.
Very recommended if you feel the inspiration to go back to play HL but you already played the regular games to death.
This was very visually impressive, the gameplay did seem more difficult than most most gameplay mods mainly because of a lack of HEV suit (therefore armor/batteries) but you fight with team mates for a fair bit in the beginning, and then when your on your on its quite tame for how much resistance you come up against. The mod clearly plays it safe difficulty wise, especially towards the end. The first third of the mod IMO is decent difficulty wise, but then it starts to feel a bit to complacent. Even the "horror level" ends up feeling to playing it safe when the superhuman zombie ends up walking around like its taking a casual stroll and not really interested in fighting :D
The story is pretty much what you expected if you've played the first, just a bunch of fluff that doesn't amount to anything. You win and all you have to say for it is the voice acting was unmemorable/uninteresting. If this is a revamped version of Citizen II than that one must have been even shorter/get disappointing faster.
This Citizen is definitely closer to what the first should have been, ie difficult fight, where only unity with the other resistance members can lead to victory, but it still ended up feeling way to flat during 2nd and 3rd parts and forgettable outside of the visuals.
This is a great work, a long episode with story and variety. Loved the amount and quality of voice actors and general NPC scripting, while it felt amateur it yet managed to be quite good and added lot of fun without relying on cheap tricks. Some maps were difficult to navigate, some design and gameplay choices questionable. But all in all the effort paid off. Found most of the staircases horribly vertical and some quests a bit annoying. Couldn´t save the guy at the plaza, i chosed to be undercover but I didnt know what to do. I remember some guy telling me instructions but I forgot about them past getting the combine suit.
part in casino is awful
The team behind this mod did some amazing work. This is one of the few jewels among all the HL2-Mods that I will remember.
This sequel improves on its prequel in almost every way.
The Citizen Returns continue your journey of your role in the Resistance, after the ending happened and you wake up in a field hospital to revolt against the Combine once more.
The story itself is much more realistic, you actually understand why and where you are going. Although, there are still some flaws in the story. On some occasions, it really feels like you run away from the Combine to find and join another group of the Resistance. This happens about 3-4 times in this 3-hours-long mod. A bit repetitive, really.
The mod also has 2 mission “sections.” One is rescuing a Rebel leader, another is storming a water processing plant. The former was my favorite section of the entire mod, as it offers you three different approaches to tackle. I love this, but sadly the second one is so linear it was very disappointing. An honorable mention to the part where you meet a woman in a hut in the middle of an acid lake. Like what someone else said in a review, this one manages to tell a small, sad story. Best part is it sticks with me.
There’s a new enemy you meet, albeit briefly. Basically, a very-hard-to-kill zombie who roams a casino. By the way, speaking of the casino, what’s the point of that place? It was weird to see rebels and Soldiers strung up and a radio message about suicide out of nowhere.
You also meet up with unique characters here and there, all of them have good voice acting. But that’s the opposite for the main characters. Larry is as emotionless as a character can get, his voice is so…blank. While he was supposed to sound like a gruff, determined Rebel leader, he instead sound extremely bored about the whole thing. Also, there are parts where you can mistake Larry for cooperating with the Combine. This left me confused about which side he’s on. Sarah, while her voice actress is a bit above Larry’s, still feels a bit flat. At the beginning of the game, you can hear her beg for her lover(?) to stay alive but the voice acting and the fact that this is supposed to introduce her makes me feel weird. I could only get behind the characters by ignoring the voice acting. I don’t think many can do the same.
The gameplay is your Half-Life 2 basic gameplay, but now without the HEV suit. Without armor, gameplay becomes more difficult as a result. The mod pushed it a bit too far by arming lots of Soldiers with AR2s and Elite Soldiers with shotguns. There’s also too little medkits per area to compensate this. Checkpoints are very far between too.
Map design is OK, in the early chapters, City 17 actually feels like a former urban district. You get to see a luxurious hotel, a stadium(?), the aforementioned casino, and an office complex. The processing plant at the end is also very interesting to look at too. However, some areas handle gameplay poorly too. Such as the square where you rescue a Resistance leader, it is so opened it was a who-shoots-first fest. There were also a few occasions where the signposting was not obvious.
I also want to talk about the mod’s overreliance on NPCs. On most occasions, you really have to rely on them to open doors or even as simply as to just progress. Should they get stuck, it’s a trip to the last quicksave. One example is, at the street fight early in the game, the RPG rebel might not destroy the APC and you have to reload the save to get him to do it right.
The Citizen Returns is an improvement over its prequel, but it’s still not that close for a great mod.
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Highest Rated (2 agree) 9/10
I really enjoyed this mod, and it's a great example of good design overall. In particular, I like the small details put into this mod that makes it stand out in a positively quirky and memorable light. The character of Larry will be a staple of this mod as the no-nonsense yet laid-back leader of a good majority of the mod. I highly recommend playing the first The Citizen first before playing this just so you can get Larry's full character. This mod also serves as an interesting example of choices…
Sep 19 2014 by thedeadcamper