Black Mesa Việt Hã³A

Our Verdict

A unique remake that broadens the scope of the original và massively improves its final chapters.

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What is it? A fan-made Half-Life remake.Expect to lớn pay £15/$20Developer Crowbar CollectiveReviewed on RTX 2080 Super, Hãng sản xuất Intel i7-9700K, 16GB RAMLink Official site

One morning in the New Mexiteo desert, a 27-year-old theoretical physicist turns up late for work. The next thing he knows monsters are spilling out of portals from another world, turning his colleagues into lớn zombies, và generally making a mess of the top secret Blaông xã Mesa Research Facility. The Half-Life series is really just one long bad day at work, và Blaông xã Mesa is a Valve-approved, albeit entirely fan-made, chance to relive sầu Gordon Freeman"s disastrous morning—but with prettier visuals, combat & physics lifted from Half-Life 2, bigger levels, và other upgrades.

Black Mesa sticks closely lớn Half-Life in terms of structure. You take the tram into work, watch in horror as the resonance cascade floods the facility with aliens, dodge headcrabs in the office complex, clash with the HECU Marines, giảm giá khuyến mãi with giant tentacles in the blast pit, fight through a warzone on the surface, navigate the radioactive Lambda Vi xử lý Core, and finally visit Xen. But everything is huger, more detailed, và more dramatic, with production values approaching Half-Life 2, which breathes new life inlớn the Black Mesa Incident.

Some levels have sầu been remixed too, with redesigned, or in some cases completely new, puzzles & set-pieces. So even if you know Half-Life inside out, there"ll still be some surprises here. However, purists may question some of developer Crowbar Collective"s kiến thiết & aesthetic choices—& some things are so detached from the source material that it occasionally feels like an entirely new game. Blaông xã Mesa is not a 1:1 remake, so it"ll never feel as authentic as revisiting the original. But it"s a fresh, modern, and lovingly made take on a landmark moment in PC gaming.

Half-Life is still great, but feels increasingly stiff and dated as the years roll relentlessly on. But Blaông chồng Mesa being built on the foundations of Half-Life 2, borrowing its weapon handling and chaotic physics simulation, makes for a much more dynamic & engaging first-person shooter. And thanks khổng lồ an abundance of movable & breakable objects, & devilish traps that frequently cause explosive sầu chain reactions, the stricken research facility has never felt more reactive sầu, unpredictable, or dangerous.

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The stricken retìm kiếm facility has never felt more reactive, unpredictable, or dangerous.

But let"s talk about Xen, because this is where Blaông chồng Mesa makes its biggest statement. In the original Half-Life, Freeman"s arrival on Xen was, for most players, something of an anticlimax. It"s not as bad as people remember, but this otherworldly expanse of floating platforms, bizarre alien flora, và grubby textures is a low point for the game, with frustrating low-gravity platforming và a tedious trùm battle against a giant testicle. But after years in development & several delays, Black Mesa achieves the impossible và makes Xen one of the best parts of the game.

The new Xen is stunning lớn look at, và feels genuinely strange và otherworldly—as this cosmic place-between-places should. Shortly after teleporting there, Freeman finds himself gazing across a vista of weird floating creatures & a swirling, vivid nebula. Comparing both versions of Xen side by side, it"s almost comical how much of an improvement this is. What was once a rather lifeless, dreary place now sizzles with colour & detail, & the contrast between the comparatively banal computers, concrete, & vending machines of the facility has even more impact.


(Image credit: Crowbar Collective)

The new Xen levels loosely follow the original game in terms of theme và structure, but they"re also a radical departure. The platforming is more fun và dramatic, and there"s a lot more to lớn discover in terms of world-building và environmental storytelling. Some locations have sầu even been transformed entirely. In the Interloper chapter, Freeman encounters enslaved Vortigaunts in a factory-like cloning facility; however, in Blaông xã Mesa this section has been replaced by a bigger, much more evocative sầu new location that really highlights the true misery of the Vorts" tragic enslavement.

The fight with the Gonarch is vastly more exciting too, with some really incredible animation and visuals, which elevate Half-Life"s lamest trùm battle to lớn something quite extraordinary. And I"ll let you see the Nihilanth for yourself, but it"s safe khổng lồ say that the new version is an improvement over the big floating baby of old. Some meandering cấp độ design and slightly unnecessary puzzling aside, Xen is a triumph—both in terms of its confident, dazzling art direction, and how it finally gives us an ending to Freeman"s first adventure that doesn"t feel wildly inferior to lớn everything leading up to lớn it.

It"s amazing that something as elaborate và well made as Blachồng Mesa is, essentially, a tín đồ project. And doubly so that Valve sầu allowed them not just to lớn make it, but sell it on Steam too. This is a professionally made game, & arguably the best way to lớn experience the events of the Blaông xã Mesa Incident on a modern gaming PC. For some the original will always be the best version of Half-Life, but this is a superb reimagining that uses the underlying systems of Half-Life 2 khổng lồ great effect. Fighting through the Blachồng Mesa facility as it falls lớn pieces around you is every bit as thrilling as it was back in 1998, & now the story ends with a bang instead of a whimper.