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

It s over ten years since Half-Life 2 was released. The other day I found myself arguing that there still hadn t been a first-person shooter released that was better. Then wondered if I was talking out of my hat. In an effort to learn whether Half-Life 2 is as great nay, as perfect as the version in my head, I ve replayed it, and realised there s so much I d forgotten.>

… [visit site to read more]

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

Zapping Combine soldiers with the supercharged gravity gun was a right lark, a fine moment in Half-Life 2. Today I’ve been larking around with a different type of turbo gravity gun in a new mod, and I think I prefer it. See, it lets me ‘rocketjump.’

HL2 mod Transmissions: Element 120 [official site] is a short singleplayer mod introducing a new zapgun. It blasts balls of concussive force that send enemies and physics objects flying (and its levels are heavy on blastable props) and, of course, you. Look down, jump then blast a ball, and go sailing through the air like a beautiful murderous butterfly.

… [visit site to read more]

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

a 620 wide image probably not the best way to demonstrate this stuff, eh?

Oho, ‘Half-Life 2: Update‘ is an extremely cheeky name for a mod. Write it on the internet and a few thousand ears will immediately prick up. “Is more Half-Life? Means Half-Life 3? Check file structure! One file will have a 3 in its name! Is Half-Life 3! Rabble rabble rabble!” So no, this is not an official Half-Life 2 update, but it has got the nod for a free standalone Steam release tomorrow.

Designed to take fuller advantage of what more recent updates to the Source engine can do, this apparently final version of the community-made mod includes graphical updates and ‘countless’ bug fixes, plus a new fan commentary mode. You’re probably going to want it. … [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 (Alice O'Connor)

What a cute little Citadel!

Way back when RPS was a wee bairn, Alec gurgled and waved his flabby babyfists at Half-Life 2: Wars, a mod turning Valve’s FPS into a Company of Heroes-ish RTS. Pistol squads facing off against headcrab zombies, breaking out RPGs to take down Combine gunships, and all that. Well, RPS has grown a lot since then, as has Alec, and so has HL2: Wars too. Having renamed itself Lambda Wars (it tried Spike but the other mods at school were merciless>), it’s matured over the years and is now available on Steam as a standalone game free for all. You don’t even need to own Half-Life.

… [visit site to read more]

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

In almost every strategy, management or sim game I play, I will immediately turn off the music which comes with the game in favour of my own. That means that Steam Music Player sounds like a good idea to me even if I long ago abandoned mp3s in favour of streaming. The built-in functionality, which lets you browse your music library and control playback from in-game using the Steam overlay, has just left beta after its initial announcement back in February.

To celebrate, Valve have made the soundtracks for some of their games freely available to those who own the associated games, including Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and its Episodes, Portal, Portal 2, and the Dota 2 documentary Free to Play.

… [visit site to read more]

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

I’m three columns into this series of Oculus Rift round-ups, and it’s telling that so far I haven’t covered anything that would fit the formalist description of a game. No, I’m not getting involved in anyone’s tiresome war about Proteus or Gone Home, but sticking to a more universal whipping boy – the first-gen Oculus’ issues with readable text, usable HUDs and motion sickness. Clearly VR still being the wild west plays a major role in keeping devs from making large-scale games for it, as does there being a limited install base for now, but the real problem is getting any of this stuff past experiment status. Let’s look at some of the games which try to regardless. … [visit site to read more]

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

Japan best country.

Every dog has its day, but can the same be said of mods? For every celebrated success story there are twice as many polished, lovingly crafted amateur works that never found the audience they deserve. NeoTokyo is one such example: a Half-Life 2 mod set in a near future Tokyo inspired by Ghost In The Shell. It had lush, detailed maps, a soundtrack of “brooding cyberpunk electronica” (Spotify, Bandcamp) that one listener (Alice) called “redonc”, and combat mechanics that one player (me) called “tops guns.”

Five years after its original release, NeoTokyo is now available as a standalone install via Steam. It’s still free and mostly unchanged since its last major update in January 2013, but hopefully this brings a new audience to the game. Perhaps every mod does have its day. Trailer below.

… [visit site to read more]

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

I don't have kids, but I do have a house full of kid's books.

Consider this your daily dose of nice. Artist Joey Spiotto, aka Joebot, draws films and videogames as the covers of children’s books. His game work includes imagined covers for Half-Life 2 (above, in part), Skyrim, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect and more. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Alyx Face-Poser settings have been  set to: The RockIt’s only taken 600 days and 14 people, but Half-Life 2 has finally been completed in under 1 hour and 28 minutes. The speedrun I’ve embedded below is the product of Source Runs team, and it reduces Valve’s opus to a dramatic, comedic relay of astonishing keyboard gymnastics. Each player passes off their best run through to the next, completing the game as a team. There are 200 segments covered in the same time it would take to watch Paranormal Activity. In fact, some might say what you’re about to see is parano – [*snip* We'll have none of that - segue Ed]. (more…)

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