Black Mesa, As Told By Steam Reviews

Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
SteamedSteamedSteamed is dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s PC gaming service.

If you trace Black Mesa, the Half-Life fan remake to end all fan remakes, back to its origin as a mega-mod that rose from the ashes of two similar mods in 2005, it’s been in development for somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 years. Now, the labor of undying love for headcrabs is finally done. Do Steam users think it was worth the wait?

Advertisement

By and large, yes. Exuberantly so, in fact. For the most part, they’ve found the game to be exactly as advertised: a more modern (though still deeply old-school) re-imagining of Gordon Freeman’s completely regular day on the job at the Black Mesa Research Facility. Fans enjoy the improved graphics, tweaked levels, and against all odds, Xen, the long-maligned alien world you visit toward the end of the game. Well, most of them enjoy those things. Half-Life is a holy grail, after all, and a small handful of Steam users would rather that developer Crowbar Collective hadn’t tampered with it at all.

Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBlack Mesa/i, As Told By Steam Reviews

Recommended Stories

Advertisement

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I see they’re still railing on Xen’s platforming. I always felt that the criticism of the later levels was overblown. Granted, I was coming into it after playing Turok a year earlier, which has plenty of its own FPS platforming, and on a cumbersome N64 controller no less. So in a sense, I already had a warm-up for Xen.

In the years shortly thereafter, though, Kreedz Climbing became a popular mod for Half-Life, and the platforming there makes Xen seem like a cakewalk. I also played a lot of Action Half-Life (and still do — we’re few in number, but we play semi-regularly), where the long jump and John Woo-esque dives are essential to staying alive. This is all to say that FPS platforming may have felt awkward for some at first, but the skill ceiling is high, and once you get over the hump, it not only works fine, but it’s damn fun. So reading that scrutiny of FPS platforming at the end of Half-Life — well, it’s like that old review of Alien Resurrection on PSX, where Gamespot described the dual-analog controls as the game’s “most terrifying element.” A couple years later, and it would be the gold standard of FPS controls on console, prevailing to this day.

Which is to say, Xen had a hump, much like the first use of dual analog controls, or mouselook, or even moving from the plodding pace of Pitfall, to the spry Super Mario Bros. Granted, FPS platforming will never be as slick as 2D, but once you reach a proficient level of skill, it’s a grand ol’ time. So yeah, I’ll stick to defending Xen. Though maybe they could’ve eased new gamers into the platforming with a smoother difficulty curve.