Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Quake III's Q3DM17

Level 28! No, the other kind of level. The type that you run around in, shooting people or jumping on their heads and that sort of thing. Adam, Alec, Alice and Graham gather to discuss their favourite levels and/or maps from across the vast length of PC gaming, including selections from Deus Ex, Call of Duty and Quake III. Someone even makes a case for Xen from Half-Life, and means it.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Gathering together the best shooters is no easy task, but if you’re looking for a new PC FPS to play, look no further.

Your favourite game is at number 51.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Now that the commercial version of Half-Life fan remake Black Mesa [official site] is out in Early Access form (and pretty great so far), what’ll happen to the original free mod?

Not that much, really – which is hardly a surprise. Developers Crowbar Collective haven’t given up on it, as they said they wouldn’t, but expect future updates to be more along the lines of bug fixes than big additions. The mod won’t see Xen, for starters. The older version of the Source engine the mod uses isn’t up to handling the pretty Xen they want to make, see, and they can’t change it.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Marsh Davies)

Alt-text is having a week off to recover from the election. Soz.

Each week Marsh Davies latches onto Early Access like a brain-eating alien parisitoid and slurps up any stories he can find. This week we re back in Black Mesa [official site] – the classy fan remake of Half-Life 1 in a hybrid version of the Source engine which was used for its sequels. An incomplete release of the project was made available on Steam for free last year, but the Early Access incarnation is a more polished, ongoing, funded development, with additional chapters planned, multiplayer, workshop integration and modding tools.>

If the past is another country, then it s one under constant mnemonic invasion from the present. This is doubly true of moments from a distant childhood, a time when experience was already enlarged so dramatically by the imagination, when the emotional significance of toys, or books, or games far exceeded their actual sophistication – and it is these responses which then endure in memory, rewriting the reality. 22 years of brain death has sneakily uprezzed my recollection of the original Syndicate, for example, transforming it into a glorious cyberpunk cityscape that its crude, mud-paletted pixels have never really deserved. So when I say Black Mesa is every bit as good as the Half-Life I remember playing 17 years ago, you ll understand that I m praising something much greater than an act of recreation.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

There is a peculiar irony to the impression people have of gaming. When videogames are lazily portrayed in the wider world, they inevitably show a soldier being shot through a gun scope. Hell, even within the highest enclave walls, people are wont to dismiss the poor taste of others by snarking, They d probably like it if it had a gun floating at the bottom of the screen. The first-person shooter is the most emblematic genre of gaming, and yet it s now the most under-served, under-developed, and rarest of mainstream releases. There are barely any new non-indie FPS games. And it s all Half-Life s fault.>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

If we acknowledge that many jokes have been made about the Half-Life series then may we, you and I, accept that there’s no need for us to crack any more and vow never to ever again ever?

The commercial version of Black Mesa [official site], the fan-made remake of Valve’s seminal Half-Life, arrived on Steam today at 14.99/$19.99. On Steam Early Access, to be precise, as it’s still missing the Xen chapters. While those are absent, present are new additions since the free mod release like Steam Workshop support and deathmatch on six classic HLDM maps.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

I always felt a little sorry for Fortress Forever [official site]. The folks behind the Source engine mod started in the long period when Valve had seemingly abandoned Team Fortress 2, with the goal of recreating Team Fortress Classic-y style class-based shooty shenanigans on a newer engine. Then Valve unexpectedly re-announced TF2, and Fortress Forever only beat it to release by one month before attention flocked to Valve’s shiny new thing.

Fortress Forever is a pretty dang different game, though, especially after years of Valve bolting new things onto TF2. If you fancy some good old-fashioned 2forting, it’s easier than ever, as the latest FF update brought it to Steam as a free standalone.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Better than kings - gods!

The leaked Half-Life 2 beta is an old, old story – and how it happened, and what happened next was documented masterfully by RPS chum Simon Parking a few years back – but a recent fan compilation of all the characters in it who never turned up in the finished article is fascinating. This is the Half-Life 2 that never was, and yet, to some extent, it does exist after all. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

You read the headline and the tea spurts from your mouth. “Have I pla–!?” Half-Life! The gall of it! To suggest that not every PC owner has already experienced Valve’s formative first-person shooter. The frivolity of it! To give space to those who have might enjoy reminiscing or celebrating a game long loved but no longer frequently discussed.

I know> – I’m just a mess about it myself.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

[Gordon Freeman: ]

Hold on a second, chums. Look at that screenshot again. That’s the opening scene of Half-Life with subtitles. Pretty important atmosphere-setting, isn’t it, that train ride narration? It makes Black Mesa seem so much bigger than us. Half-Life used an awful lot of speech to reveal what was going on, from our one-sided conversations with scientists to soldiers yelling at each other. Here I pull off an incredibly adept pull-back-and-reveal: those subtitles were added by a mod which only came out this year. A new version’s now out, with new ways to make this side accessible to folks who can’t or don’t want to hear it.

… [visit site to read more]

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