So far I’ve made it past the first few soldiers in the game and I must say, this mod shows some clear devotion by the development team.There are some departures from the original game, though some of them are quite entertaining. I particularly liked the flare section at the beginning that leads up to you getting your crowbar.
The game opens up the exact same way, barring a few (very) minor details during the opening sequence. The only major change I noticed was the orientation of the security desk at the front of your lab, but it certainly looks more modern, if that is what the team was shooting for. The updated graphics definitely make the game look less stale, but since the engine dates back to 2007, and so does the beginning of this mod, the graphics are a little above par compared to Half Life 2 and its Episodes. One thing I noticed that was a significant improvement on the original, however, was the dialog and other audio. While the various monster sounds remain the same, the mod does a lot better job with the dialog audio and I really love the music. Each piece sounds full and fits the emotion of the scene it is accompanying very well.
So far the guns fire almost exactly like they fired in Half Life 2, no surprise there. Right now I have the pistol, the SMG, and the Magnum revolver. The SMG is heavier, being military issue I suppose, so obviously it feels a lot heavier. It’s not quite the SMG from Half Life or Half Life 2, but I like it any way.
I noticed that you gain your pistol in a slightly different fashion in the mod than the original game, however. Instead of getting it from the dead security guard that you see attempting to crawl to the health dispenser, you get it from a security room that a thankful scientist unlocks for you. This requires some Houndeye killing with the crowbar, but it isn’t much of a challenge so there’s no real issue, just a deviation.
Another deviation is that the soldiers aren’t the bulky, sharpshooting behemoths I remember them being in the original. Luckily for me, since I’m not very good at First Person Shooters anymore, this means the game is quite a bit easier. I used to get steam rolled by the soldiers, even on easy, but now I’m running through them like they aren’t even there. Take that as you will.
All in all, I’d say right now that I am very impressed with the mod team. It took them a while, but they have done an excellent job so far. I will have a full review up by Monday. As the mod team would undoubtedly say, these things take time.
If you haven’t gotten the mod already, go to Black Mesa’s website and get it from a few easily accessible options. Remember, if you are torrenting the game, please seed. I would also highly recommend downloading the soundtrack, because it’s pretty good.