This was almost as engrossing as Half-Life actually was. Of course, you can't beat God (Half-Life, in this case) if you're an angel (OF), God is God for a reason! And that's the stupidest analogy I've ever made up, but bear with me, games like Opposing Force are never easy to make justice in words. But what I mean is, even though this game can't beat Half-Life, it was incredible. I'm not going to lie; I found certain things a tiny, tiny tiny tiny bit more "WOOOAAHHH" than Half-Life, but y'know... HALF-LIFE, MAN.
Something that amazed me from the game is the fact I was actually busting my ♥♥♥ to save every grunt I encountered. I loathed these ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s in Half-Life and Blue Shift; I mean, they killed the poor scientists/security guards and actually enjoyed it! It was so sad! And I'm so used to killing them that every time I encountered a group of HECU marines, I'd panic and start shooting them. Then I'd be like "Oh. Right", and pressed the F9 key (my reload last save). At first I didn't mind and let them die, but dammit, they grew on me, to the point I'd truly be attempting to save them. I just felt fond of them. Except for the grunt that pushes the scientist when he's asking for Freeman when you're about to board the Osprey in which you're supposed to escape. That grunt I killed. ALSO, TWO GRUNTS ABANDONED ME IN CHAPTER 11 (The Package). I WENT TO EXPLORE A ROOM AND WHEN I GOT OUT THEY JUST DISAPPEARED. ♥♥♥♥♥.
Getting more serious now, something that really impressed me from Opposing Force besides the guns, the Race X and the new "puzzles", was the large-scale battles you can have at times. If you take care of your squad, you can have a group of at least four grunts with you. So when you encounter a lot of enemies, the fights are phenomenal! Sadly, this only happened once to me, I was barely able to get three grunts to follow me most of the time because some grunts were just too stubborn and stupid to follow me. This is the strongest flaw I encountered in the game; the grunts' AI is really stupid in the vast majority of the time. And they were also generally pretty useless in battle, and I'm not even counting the times I died because of friendly fire. However, there was one time in which I was able to have an epic Black Ops-Shock Troopers-HECU battle. Replayed it about four times just to repeat the breathtaking sequence. Unfortunately, it was hard to achieve and generally I spent too much time in the game trying to get everyone to follow me, which is simply precious game-time wasted. This is quite disappointing, in my opinion, since the rest of the game is of such extreme quality.
Being someone who's mostly played modern games, I have to say Opposing Force (as well as HL and BS) looks really good and its graphics are not bad at all for being a nearly twenty year old game. And even if the graphics were terrible (they're decent, in my opinion), the game would make up for it with its fantastic atmosphere, gameplay, battles, bosses, guns, ambiance and so forth. I also adored Gordon's direct and indirect appearances; his "employee of the month" photograph (was that his office?), his constant mention by the grunts and finally his Chapter 6 ("We Are Not Alone") direct appearance: where you actually see him. I seriously replayed that sequence seven times. I LOVE WHEN GAMES CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER SO DIRECTLY. Thinking that while you're still fighting your way through Black Mesa, Gordon is beating the crap out of Gonarch and everyone (or everything?) else. Opposing Force is, quite simply, a passionate application of creative design. I seriously cannot wait for Tripmine Studios' remake.
Definitely recommend the game. But as I also said on my BS review; only play it if you have played Half-Life. Otherwise, the game might feel dull to you and you won't understand the storyline, and won't be able to fan-girl over Gordon's appearances/mentions... well... if you're a crazy fan. Like me.