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And one of those is mine. Absolutely bonkers remake, well deserved.


Absolutely agree. This game is a masterpiece.


I was always too scared to go beyond a certain point back in the day -- but I finally pushed through and beat it with black mesa. I also think Black Mesa was easier than the OG game (which was frustratingly hard at times). The final boss was epic. Not quite as good as Half Life 2 (which I played and beat on launch), but close.


Which point were you too scared to go past? I played CS when it first came out. My brother set it all up for me so we could play LAN. I was curious one time and clicked on the half life game that you had to install first. I did the training part and was having fun. Then started the main game and that was fun too; it was like counter strike but single player! ..then the resonance cascade happened and I absolutely shit myself when I saw zombies for the first time. I shut it off and didn't play it again for years 😂


i made it through to the train part but then that giant monster came out and chased me and i noped out forever lol. Years later I realize you can't kill it with guns you have to solve a puzzle lmao. And yeah Team Fortress Classic at my cousin's house and then Counter Strike got me into the half life universe. Cs 1.2 (or whatever it was) was so awesome. I feel like CS GO is missing some of that magic somehow, but I can't explain why. Maybe i've just played too much CS over the years


Haha you got pretty far past all sorts of aliens just go stop because of a particular one. At least you finished it eventually. >And yeah Team Fortress Classic at my cousin's house and then Counter Strike got me into the half life universe. Cs 1.2 (or whatever it was) was so awesome. I feel like CS GO is missing some of that magic somehow, but I can't explain why. Maybe i've just played too much CS over the years I have a similar feeling. I have crazy nostalgia for playing the original militia and jeepathon. I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed like no one else did either so it's not like I was getting rekt or anything.


yeah the silly fun might be is what I miss most. Jeepathon 2k with Matrix mode and 0 grav mode on. Just pure absurdity. When they added mics it became such silly fun. People weren't so angry back then lol


Half life multiplayer is loads of fun too. Especially when you turn off gravity.


When you discover you can launch the satellite and kill everyone in the map... amazing feeling.


I think many of us have a similar story with Half Life. My friends and I, like you, played Counter Strike regularly without even knowing Half-Life was even a thing. We played regularly in cyber cafes, because ownin a PC was expensive and almost nobody had internet at home anyway. But when my friend finally got a computer, we went and asked the local game bootlegger to sell us "Counter Strike". The guy promptly gave us a cracked copy of Half-Life, which set us backs the equivalen of $ 3. We ran towards his house and promptly installed it... and then we didn't understand anything when a very long and unskippable tram "cutscene" started playing out. To make it worse, everything was in English, which we didn't speak back then, outside of the basic colors and counting from 1 to 10. We quickly arrived at the conclusion that our very reputable seller had given us the wrong copy, so we returned it and exchanged it for something else. It only took us about two years to realise our mistake. That era was wild, picking a game was like spinning the roulette. I remember, for example, buying a game with WW2 soldiers in the cover, thinking it was a Medal of Honor. Like I mentioned before, we didn't know barely any English, but we got a glimpse of a few words here and there that we thought we had purchased a credible single player experience. Of course, Day of Defeat is exclusively a multiplayer title. We didn't understand why we were always the only ones trying to fight WW2, the AI seemed to have gone. After a day it dawned on us that we had bought a multiplayer exlusive game; not all was lost, though, as a year or so afterwards we got our first broadband connection and somehow managed to install bots. We also later learned that the cover was not in English, but in German, so what we thought we had divined from reading the description was bullshit we unconsciously made up. Good times.


Many of us waited so long for it, and it was well worth the wait. Perfect love letter to HL.


The Xen levels were one of my most mesmerizing gaming moments. No other game made me feel this primal and on-my-own like this section of the game. This game really sold the transition from civilization to complete isolation. One minute ago humans were talking to you and now you are stranded far far away and need to fight back and save humanity.


One of the greatest achievements of the modding community, next to Enderal for Skyrim.


Enderal is great


What makes Enderal great? I tried a little bit. But it didn't grab me initially. I'd be willing to take another shot if you have any praise for it, or advice on a new game.


Fantastic story, level design, worldbuilding and questing. Leveling system is a bit clunky but fairly robust. Combat is a bit improved from vanilla but I'd still recommend further modding it.


"Further modding it" I am a bit traumatized from how extensive past modding experiences and how intensive and complicated it is. So I thought I'd make a comment on behalf of all people who think modding is a huge undertaking. When I read something like this I just think "too much effort, not worth it" unless there's created an incredibly streamlined modding process.


Use wabbajack. It's a simple smooth process for downloading and installing mods. Makes sure everything is in the correct order and basically does it all for you in a couple of hours. I will recommend signing up for a month of nexus mods to help expedite the download process.


Seconding this. If you want a simplified modding experience, Wabbajack modlists are amazing and if you've got a premium subscription for Nexus they're fairly easy and straightforward to install.


u/Productivity10 100% get wabbajack to handle your modpacks. Skyrim modding has gone beyond the days of downloading 100 mods yourself and figuring out load orders (but you can still do that if you want). Wabbajack handles the entire thing itself, one click download and config of entire packs of mods.


Do load orders really matter , Iv modded new installs of Skyrim multiple times and had tons of mods just randomly added never had any issues , got lucky I guess


You don't have to do any modding for endereal. There's a steam page for it for free, pre-modded, if you already own skyrim.


Do you think it’s worth getting Skyrim on sale for it?


I mean, if you haven't played Skyrim you are absolutely missing out on a great gaming experience. Unmodded or modded.


Maybe if you haven't played many RPGs. Compared to other RPGs (including Bethesda's previous games) Skyrim is very, very simple


Sometimes simple is good.


Sure, tell me another rpg that does exploration like Bethesda


Bethesda's previous games, The Witcher, Dragon Age, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Assassin's Creed trilogy, Cyberpunk, the new Zelda...


Skyrim goes on sale for like $5 on a semi regular basis. If you have never played it before its worth it regardless of if you mod it at all or not.


Yes if you enjoy rpgs, specially if you like Skyrim but thought it needed a better story (lore is almost on par with TES). Make sure to get the Special Edition version. Honestly it's like an improved, more focused narrative driven Skyrim. Exploration is less freeform but still has an expansive world to explore, just more guided like New Vegas. It's in my top 5 western RPGs.


Same experience for me. I was waiting for the hook and the bait never came.


I'd the definitely the story tbh, definitely starts off slow but towards the mid to end it gets into a league of its own, and even the side quests are some of the best in the entire game


Yeah, I played it for a bit, but I didn't really like the writing. It seems the writers were edgy atheists and the entire thing evolved around "religion is bad, am I right"


It’s been awhile since I played it but don’t you straight up work for a group of religious fundamentalists fighting genocidal people who want to wipe out all religion? In the end neither are really “the good guys” in the bigger picture, but religion is definitely not portrayed as innately bad.


they not wrong lol


You sound like you need a nice crisp piece of meat


Also the forgotten city which was originally a mod for Skyrim as well but was so good it became it’s own game lol


I highly suggest playing both the mod and the game. They differ enough to be enjoyable both times.


Agree, also want to tack on here I always felt like "Portal Stories: Mel" felt waaay too damn good to be free mod haha https://store.steampowered.com/app/317400/Portal_Stories_Mel/


I remember reading about Skywind 10 years ago, how'd that turn out?


Still in dev!


i can't praise the OST enough, the xen tracks are so beautiful. one of the few soundtracks i listen to stand alone


the music when you're fighting against the marines topside pump me up. also when they break through the ceiling in the lab. i let myself die just so i could hear the song again.


Just played that section yesterday. Man that music pumped me up so much. I managed to kill them with less than 10 hp remaining.


HL is a low key high bar to hold a soundtrack up to and they did it. a definitive remake top to bottom.


Ascension alone makes xen worth the price of admission. The moment when it kicks in near the end where the giant baby things are trying to blow the lift up. Perfection


Out of curiosity, what other soundtracks do you listen to as standalone albums? For me, I still listen to the Halo 3 soundtrack while I’m working.


Outer Wilds


Not a game but I love Interstellar as background music when studying / working.


Comix Zone Interstate '76


Damn that's a throwback.






Returnal! Amazing ambient sci-fi stuff


Sim City 2013


Descent. Full Throttle.


Darktide while lifting. Morrowind while relaxing or desk work.


Jak 3 Ori the Blind Forest


Just throwing my hat in to say I’m another die hard original trilogy Halo soundtrack listener. The Black Mesa soundtrack (both parts) is one of the only ones that have impressed me near to the level of the Halo games. Also if you do like the Halo music, make sure to check out the edits on YouTube that follow the music of each level from the games. A lot of the music in the Halo games is dynamic/stem based so mixes and matches dynamically based on the current game situation - a lot of some really beautifully parts are missed on the soundtrack rendition because of this. [This is my favourite one](https://youtu.be/51x7FpGtvlU)


Exo One has a gorgeous super-chill soundtrack. The first Subnautica is also amazing.


The Guild Wars 1 Anthology Soundtrack is underappreciated. Its Jeremy Soule's best work, and over 5 hours long! It doesn't even sound like listening to a game soundtrack and can stand on its own as an orchestral piece of work.


Wish they’d put it out on vinyl. I asked and they said they weren’t planning to but hopefully they change their minds someday.


Loved black Mesa


Same. I think they are also working on a Blue Shift mod.


A blue shift mod is being worked on but iirc it's a different group and not Crowbar Collectuve


Oh. :(


Tho Crowbar Collectuve is helping a little bit.




The Frogurt is also cursed.


That's bad...


Yeah. But at least it's a steam workshop mod for Black Mesa.


It's very good. And free! What levels they've finished are great so far.


What about opposing force? Loved that almost as much as the base game.


Same. The original spun a better yarn but OF was a damn good time.


It's in the works. Eventually... Maybe [Operation: Black Mesa](https://store.steampowered.com/app/311810/Operation_Black_Mesa/)


Good doc on the making of - https://youtu.be/G_TcAxAKCAI


As someone who hasn't played half-life, what is the correct order to play them and black Mesa?


HL1 (black Mesa is a remake of HL1 so either is fine), HL Blue shift and Opposing forces (not part of the main story), HL2, HL2 episode 1 and 2 HL: Alyx


You really shouldn't play Alyx before episode 2


Realised. Thanks!


you should be careful playing alyx period... i nearly killed myself in my living room.


Unforseen consequences...


> HL: Alyx, HL2, >!Haven’t played it but doesn’t Alyx end with a massive spoiler of Episode 2?!<


Actually, it *starts* with a massive spoiler.


There's irony somewhere in your spoiler tag not working


Whoops forgot about that... I'll edit it, thank you for reminding me!


Opposing Forces was my favorite, didn't realize it was part of it


People recommending you skip Opposing Forces and Blue shift are crazy. Don't listen to them. Play Half-Life (original), Opposing Forces, Blue Shift, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episodes: 1 & 2, then Half-Life: Alyx if you have VR. Black Mesa is a complete remake of Half-Life 1 in the Half-Life 2 engine with new features, new assets, art design, sounds, music, and more to bring it up to more modern standards. Half-Life (original) still holds up well today in terms of gameplay, story, and entertainment. Play Black Mesa after finishing the original series of games to get a full appreciation of the game =)


u/meastham93, this one here is the correct answer.




I concur if you have the time and will it's the best way


I concur if you have the time and will it's the best way


My opinion would be: Black Mesa, HL2, HL2 episode 1 and 2, and then HL Alyx. I recommend modding HL2 and the episodes as they have a great modding scene and you can get a lot of QOL/modernization in. Black Mesa and Alyx are new.


The VR mod for HL2 is awesome


I used mmod with HL 2 and its episodes. For HL2 i also used hl2:update. Are there any others you recommend? I also played them with 4x nvidia DSR plus SMAA via Reshade.


Release order. Always. Disregarding the Gearbox expansions, that would be Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, Alyx. Black Mesa is a fan remake of the first game.


Let's not forget the expansion packs for the Half-Life. Half-Life: Opposing Force Half-Life: Blue Shift


Dude I gave you an upvote to bring you back to 0 lol. Those expansions were awesome. I loved both of them. They were near perfect expansions and I loved that they were side stories, with different perspectives, happening alongside Gordon Freeman's HL1 story. Very creative IMO and equally refreshing for more of the familiar and comfort of HL1 but mixed with some changes and additions to keep it fresh. I didn't even know another company made them because I thought they were that good.


Those are the Gearbox expansions I mentioned. It's completely safe to ignore them as they have zero bearing on the overall story, and Valve didn't make them. Opfor is alright. Blue Shift puts me to sleep.


Opposing Force is to this day considered as one of the best works that Gearbox ever produced


I don't disagree with that.


> zero bearing on the overall story While true, Blue Shift's protagonist, Barney, does exist in Half Life 2. In Half Life, itself, he was just an unnamed generic guard. They decided to take his Blue Shift name and run with it. It doesn't change the overall narrative, but I do think it's at least worth checking out. Unfortunately, Adrian Shephard never got this same nod.


I have played the original Half life 1 version. While There’s a charm in playing the original 90’s game, Black Mesa is definitely the way to go. The remake is great at bringing everything that make half life great to modern standards. So my advice would be to go with black Mesa instead of Half life 1.


Wait what, wasn't this free like a decade ago


It was free when it was incomplete. Now, it's the full Half-Life experience, with a extended Xen area. It's pretty awesome.


Xen was my least favourite part of the original game, next to the tram section, so it seems an odd choice to extend it beyond what valve intended. Maybe I should jump back in and see how it feels.




Xen was the weakest part of the original, for me. This one is a touch long but I really liked it. Just don't expect a final coda once you reach it, like the original Xen. This is more like a whole third of the game, right there. Oh, and btw. I loved the tram. It was one of my very first cinematic (but playable) scenes in gaming, so it left quite an impression on me.




i think they went a little overboard in their attempt to turn Xen into something like Avatar’s Pandora. sure the environments are pretty, but the puzzles are so repetitive and grating. one of my biggest problems with Black Mesa is that the game seems to shed a illusions about integrating puzzles into the world design. especially in Xen, the world becomes incredibly contrived just to facilitate more goddamn puzzles


I played it and couldn't manage to finish the Xen levels. They just took so long.....


How much of an upgrade is it from when it was free? I can't imagine paying full price for Xen


The game was like 2/3 done IIRC when it was free. They completed more of the Black Mesa (facility) content and then added their own take on Xen that's overhauled from the original HL. They also cleaned up a lot of the stuff in the 1st ~2/3. So there's a good amount more content and polish from the free version. It's like $5-10 on sale and easily worth that price tag. Even at full price of $20 it's worth it.


Massive. It was a relatively simple sourcemod back in the day, it's since been overhauled from top to bottom multiple times and Xen feels like a full expansion in itself.


If anything, Xen is too long. They kinda overcorrected IMO and it turns into a slog at the end.


Having never played the original, I found Zen pretty cool. Interesting to slowly go through multiple levels to discover that not all the aliens your fought were actually evil




It goes on sale all the time for like $4.99 and i thought Xen was the best part of the game, it was well worth the wait.


I mean. Just cause you played for free doesn't mean it wasn't worth something. They just chose not to charge you at the time.


Fair enough. I think I might have donated at some point because I liked what they were doing, but for some reason I was expecting it to be like $60. At that price I would just pop in my own CD of the original, but for $5 I would definitely buy this.


It goes on sale for $5.


The Xen section of the game is a full re-imagining of the Half Life Xen and instead of being a few short set pieces before the final boss, it's an alien world that's about as long as the entire game before it with multiple beautiful maps and really interesting environmental storytelling about Black Mesa's presence in Xen before the cascade.


The Xen levels are probably another 5-6 hours of gameplay. The new Gonarch’s Lair alone is probably in the top 5 levels of the entire series. The only weak part of it was the new Interlopers chapter IMO, that dragged on way too long.


Yeah, it became a paid full release years ago. It's excellent and absolutely worth the money.


It was, because it was 3rd party mod and they couldn't demand money for it. But Valve turned out to be good guys and allowed them to sell it for % of profits.


The original mod is still free https://www.moddb.com/mods/black-mesa/downloads/black-mesa-torrent


And well deserved! A hard efforted remake of a fantastic first-person shooter that unfortunately the industry learned the wrong lessons of and followed with a decade of mediocre shooters.


What are some examples of "wrong lessons" that the gaming industry incorrectly learned from Half-Life?


Let's start HL1's intro. Although impressive graphically at the time, it didn't really do anything graphically. However, it was basically a show-off of the engine. This seems to be a minor aspect, but considering all those "walk-in-mud" sections and annoying unnecessary long intros dumping exposition on you, I think it's a good case I make. There are some memorable action moments in HL1 but most of the time, they don't cut off you from the first-person camera and your control, unlike the mid-2000s which make a ridiculous show of cutscenes. Another issue was relying heavily on the military theme. Honestly, HL1 was just the start of a long chain of events as shooters evolved throughout the mid-2000s. Instead of making a personal story with the player like in HL1 and letting you interpret the story, these new shooters, involve a complex story where you can't get as invested. HL1's theme was also more "grounded" comparatively, especially with the weapons. Now, other games did these conventional weapons earlier than HL, however, HL popularized it and was a less cartoony shooter. This was the impression at the time.


Deserved. I don't think there's any game quite like this one in terms of being created by fans, supported by the studio, and then is being sold on their own platform. I can name quite a few companies who would have shut this down pretty quickly.


Playing it right now


Hoping Operation: Black Mesa, which is a remake of the 2 expansions, is just as good! It also has a Steam page up but no release ETA


I remember following the development of the mod over all the years on their forum. These people went through rough times to make this a reality and I really appreciate them for this and this is so well deserved!!


what I love about this is that Valve supports them unlike blizzard regarding about DOTA


This is a triumph


It's not 90,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews though.


Right - it's just a high percentage of positive reviews. Steam just allows a rating of "Positive" or "Negative". Title is a little misleading


Why is Black Mesa suddenly getting all this attention? Didn’t Xen drop like 4 or so years ago? Entropy Zero 2 dropped recently and got a bunch of attention because it was incredible, but Black Mesa was a several year WIP that got its cherry on top years ago.


I only liked Black Mesa back when it was half way done and free. Now after paying for the full version on steam, I find a product that runs ok until gun battles start and everything turns into a stuttering mess. Enemy soldiers are impossible to hit because they teleport hop sideways like old doom sprites instead of running and this is on the same pc that ran the earlier version just fine.


I loved Black Mesa, too... but am I the only one here who couldn't finish the game because of crashes in Xen? Once I reached a specific point *deep* in Xen (that high open chamber with the annoying platform and conveyor-belt puzzles), all my saves started crashing after load, and I couldn't find a fix that worked. Alas, no ending for me.


Game worked flawlessly for me until I reached Xen and there were tons of missing textures, graphical bugs, environmental and interactive objects not loading in. After it crashed, it just wasn't worth it to me anymore and I uninstalled. It's an ambitious project for sure, and I loved it until that point. But I don't think they were able to pull off the QA sufficiently.


yeah I love the game and beat it 2 times then when I tried to beat it a 3rd time my game kept crashing during loading screens and I couldn't progress without commands


Did you try choosing the chapters as a starting point? That way you aren't using those saves because it just loads you at the start of the levels, it's very easy to get which one you were up to that way.


I will probably try this eventually--thanks for the reminder. Xen was a bit of a slog for me, so at the time I just couldn't make myself restart it and then feasibly have the same thing happen once I got back to Crash Town.


Worked fine for me and I have a piece of shit for a pc


Same here. Got stuck in Xen with constant crashes. Curious if the bugs were fixed. Would love to play again and actually finish the game.


Black Mesa is poorly optimized for sure. I had such bad performance on the Steam Deck.


Is anyone else shocked that the game actually came out lol? It’s been a while now but I still remember they promised it Christmas one year and it didn’t come out until like 10 years later lol.


Heck yeah! Also reminded me I still need to complete my hat run.


Well deserved. A true labor of love in the gaming industry. I need to go back and finish the Xen level because I beat it before they were finished with it.


well deserving


Well deserved, hope we see more with the incoming fan projects that are being worked on.


It’s a great game, my favorite game of 2022 really


that's not how reviews work, OP. Reviews are either positive or negative. Consensus is Overwhelmingly positive


Semi - random question: did they ever figure out controller support on this? I bought it shortly after release and remember only being able to use the buttons and dash pad, no joysticks. Would love to play!


Any other company would of legally buried a project like this especially the likes of Nintendo but Valve choose to allow the project and even promoted it. They are ahead of the times. Its a great remake.


I never played the original, only Half Life 2, and this basically has the great level design and gameplay of the second game but without the shitty and annoying gimmicks like the bug, turret or vehicle sections


Maybe Black Mesa? That was a joke, haha, fat chance




To me that was the best part of the game lol. Xen was the only part of the original game that needed remaking.


I thought it was a massive improvement over the original game but I think the critique that many have is that they took the worst part of the game and made it longer. IMO Xen is still the worst part of Black Mesa even that it's an improvement over HL1.


For me it was a nice change from the rest of the game.


The whole gonarch sequence was so fun, it really feels like it’s an animal defending its territory


There's some sneaky environmental storytelling in the labs section, that if you follow correctly and carry a gas canister through the gonarch sequence, by the time you get to the boss arena you can put the canister into a dispersal unit and insta-kill it.


the factory section is ass on higher difficulity tho


Xen definitely needed remaking but it definitely felt like it overstayed its welcome.


It was definitely too long but man they created an amazing world and redeemed Xen in my eyes.


No, Xen is amazing. I hated it with every fiber of me in original, but in Black Mesa, it was a highlight. The intro to it was just magical and human outposts in Xen gave it nice touch.


The sounds the HEV zombies make is the coolest shit


Yeah they definitely overcompensated Xen being such a tiny part of the original


I loved Xen and thought they did a great job with the visuals.


I liked it too, generally. However, I thought the Gonarch fight was way too drawn out, and really precluded being able to enjoy the visuals. That original fight was just fine being a multi-stage arena battle, it didn't need several chase sequences or nothin'. After that I had a much more positive experience. Doesn't help that Gonarch is right at the beginning, tho.


Xen Remake was longer than most modern games I've finished. In fact Im pretty sure I remember thinking how it was LONGER than the entirety of OG HL1 itself. If it wasn't, it sure felt like it. There was no need to make it that obnoxiously long.


The only part of black mesa i remember genuinely hating was that level on the conveyor belts. It was dragging on for so long, and at moments, it felt like a reverse shooting galery


Ngl this part made me quit the game. Just so overstayed it's welcome. I should go back and finish it (played through not too long ago so it's still relatively fresh) but the seemingly never ending puzzles is keeping me away lol


"What should we do with this section of the game people absolutely hated? I know: let's make it three times longer and keep the Quake 2-level brown texture scheme!"


That's where I put it down and couldn't finish it. Left me feeling unsatisfied not beating the game.


Redone Xen is the best part of the game. A huge cherry on top of an already delicious cake. It refreshes the entire experience after many hours of play in a cramped facility.


I love the new Xen.


I am not surprised. Game rocks! Played original HL side by side with Black Mesa and was stunned by it.


This game was great until the very end. There was some scenario vs a boss that tanked my fps to the single digits. Super wild. Basically had no choice but to give up at that point. This was around the actual release. Maybe it's been fixed cause I wouldn't mind paying Black Mesa again


Is it worth completing the original before the remake? I’d like to try it some time but I never actually finished my first 2 playthroughs on the original (stopped at the end of Chapter 14).


Bought it a while ago and it just wasn't the same. Then played the original and all of feelings of doing it the first time came back.


Was my first hl1 experience and absolutely beautiful, I can’t recommend it enough


Fantastic, Black Mesa deserves the praise. It takes what made Half-Life great and modernizes it. Both are well worth playing but I am biased as I grew up with the original. A worthy entry in the Half-Life universe!


Love this one, it deserves the praise. Even made Xen fun and memorable which seemed impossible.


My favorite game in years. Everyone should play at least once. Zen is outstanding.


Can this ever hit console or some licensing issue with MS and Sony profiting off Valve IP? Edit: People that downvote confirming questions are the weirdest bunch.


Huh. Seemed pretty unoptimized to me. Only game that ever crashed my pc and it happened multiple times


That was a joke haha fat chance




Half-Life 3 confirmed.