TL:DR? See Conclusion
NOTE 1: Related Content
Also see my:Half-Life: Opposing Force ReviewHalf-Life: Blue Shift ReviewBlack Mesa Review
NOTE 2: (MUST READ)
I review games to help fellow gamers decide whether they should purchase a game or not. With that said, although I consider Half-Life as a classical MASTERPIECE and possibly one of the greatest games of all time, I will still list down game mechanics from the past that some people may not enjoy today.
Think of it like this: everyone enjoys flying modern-day commercial jets like the 747, but it doesn't mean however that everyone would like to fly in a DC-3 built in the 1940s despite it being labeled as the 'most significant transport aircraft' in history.
Half-Life is a narrative-driven linear first-person shooter (FPS) action game and is the debut (and signature) title of Valve. Hailed as one of the greatest games of all time winning dozens of awards on release, Half-Life revolutionized the FPS genre in a way that no other title has done since Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. This game has since been the industry standard on how to make a perfect FPS game which combines realistic gameplay, fun puzzles mechanics, a narrative-driven single-player experience with fast-paced multiplayer action.
The game follows the story of Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist working for the Black Mesa Research Facility that is involved in Weapons Development, Research on Teleportation Technology and occasional cloning of a Security Guard named Barney Calhoun. When an experiment with an unknown alien crystal results in a catastrophic accident that opened a portal to an alien dimension named 'Xen', Gordon Freeman, wearing the H.E.V. Suit, must now travel across the entire Black Mesa facility to reach the Lambda Complex where he must enter a portal to Xen and kill the creature that is keeping the portal open for the alien invaders. Fight against Invading alien monsters and, at the same time, US Military operatives who are attempting to stop the invasion but is also trying to silence any surviving 'witnesses' of the Black Mesa incident.
LEGACY OF HALF-LIFE (PROS):
+ First FPS game to fully incorporate a Narrative-Driven story (as opposed to the industry standard of maze gallery shooters which was the Wolfenstein 3D / Doom mechanic)
+ Excellent level designs
+ Realistic combat mechanics (may be not as realistic now in 2015, but 17 years ago it was)
+ Fun puzzles
+ Great sound effects
+ First FPS game to incorporate scripted sequences for its level transitions rather than cut-scenes
+ Relatively advanced AI (back in 1998), with enemies actively dodging, tactically retreating and often times baiting you into an ambush.
+ Fun fast-paced multiplayer action that set the foundations for Counter-Strike which started as a mere mod of Half-Life
+ Mods; although Half-Life is not the first video game to be modded, it is the first to have several such mods become their own full games that still retain their Half-Life heritage
+ Challenging difficulty modes (but this is a given since most old-school shooters were challenging)
OLD GAME MECHANICS THAT NEW GENERATION OF GAMERS MAY NOT LIKE (CONS):
- Perpetual sprint with optional walking by pressing “Shift” (as opposed to today's standard which is the reverse)
- No objective tracker (players may forget what they were doing especially if they haven't played in a while)
- Melee weapon needs to be equipped rather than bound to a hotkey (though CS:GO players won't have a problem with this)
is the only word that best describes Half-Life in my opinion. Although some of its mechanics may not necessarily be applicable in today's (2015) standard, the same can still be considered as part of its charm, much like how most of us still enjoy watching old-school movies and TV shows.
The advent of Half-Life was a turning point in gaming history, most notably, the First-person shooter genre. Before this game, the only FPS standard to be followed was Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, with the first two being plotless maze shooters and Quake being the first to implement a backstory but still retained the maze-like levels. With Half-Life, developers saw a potential for FPS games to combine intense action and gunplay with effective narrative story-telling through leniar levels (which is heavily abused by some FPS games today) and realistic game mechanics (a title, which most people agree, was held by the Metal Gear Solid franchise, a third-person action game)
Let’s put this in an analogy: Wolfenstein 3D is the Wheel (basically invented the mainstream FPS genre), Doom is the Horse-Drawn Carriage (Doom made FPS games extremely popular, accessible and widespread), Quake is the Steam Engine (Quake bridge the gap between plotless maze shooters and plot driven FPS games Credit: Steam User RGX12 for pointing this out
) and Half-Life is the Ford Model T Car (Half-Life set the standard for modern day FPS games who's basic and essential features still survives today.)
TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY?MUST BUY AND MUST HAVE
. I, however, do recommend you purchase the Half-Life Anthology if you already have Half-Life 2 but if you don't have it, get Half-Life Complete.
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