Prospekt (Half-Life 2 mod) Review

Does it quench the Half-Life thirst the last 9 years has built up?


 

Half-Life 2 is a very old game. 12 years old, to be exact. It was a game that was released on the Source engine, an engine that Valve didn’t hesitate to release the source code (not sorry) for to the public. As with the nature of most PC games, mods were released. Moddb.com, at the time of writing, has 950 mods for Half-Life 2. That’s a hell of a lot of mods for such an old game. (It’s also worth noting that Prospekt is on that list). Prospekt was release on Steam, with the blessing of Valve. The only other game to be released through Steam that’s Half-Life related was Black Mesa: Source, which is a complete overhaul of the first game. This is the first Half-Life game released that’s based on continuing the Half-Life narrative.

 

So why this one?

 

After being in development for 18 months by one man, Prospekt was released on the 18th of February 2016 on Steam.  It takes place during the time frame of Half-Life 2, where Gordon Freeman is making his way through the prison Nova Prospekt. It’s meant as a follow on from Half-Life Opposing Force, where you play as the marine ‘Shephard’, who is sent into Black Mesa to clear the mess up. Although Freeman is not seen, or a direct scene discovered that takes place during the original Half-Life 2, we’re led to believe we’re there at the same time Freeman is. 

 

The mod starts in a very similar manner to Half-Life 2: Episode 1 as Gordon Freeman, where you’re awoken from some sort of stasis to jump back into action. The Vortigaunts have told you that the Freeman needs your help and you’re thrown into the mod. Other than that, unfortunately, the reason why Shephard is there is left untouched. There is so much in the way of back story that you some times fail to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. The mod is full of memories. Keeping to the form of having a speechless character, you’re cast back to conversations you heard and were a part of before the Black Mesa incident. These cast backs are nicely paced, filling in the patches between fights and puzzles without impeding upon them. They build up the story for the first game, and give you an interesting insight into what was going before the marines landed in Black Mesa. 

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In terms of story current though, that’s it. The Vortigaunts don’t show up again. The G-Man makes very spooky, split second appearances in your head. Freeman isn’t mentioned any further, neither is any other character from the Half-Life universe. You spend the whole 2/3 hours (more on that later) of the mod fighting the Combine, with a few guest appearances from the antlions. There are only a few glimpses of what your actual objective is, and it isn’t until the final chapter of the game that you realise what you’ve actually been doing. For a game in the Half-Life universe it fails to fill the narrative driven of us with much excitement. 

 

What the mod lacks in story, it tries to make up with game play. The beginning acts as the introductory stage, giving you puzzles and keeping you out of arms reach of any real danger. What’s odd is that most of the puzzles in the mod occur in the first 15/20 minutes or so, even before you pick up a gun. From here on out it’s mostly shooting, open door, shoot, run outside, shoot, go through teleport, shoot, etc. It doesn’t make up a whole lot of the mod. The enemies don’t vary, and as I described, the formula of the path you follow doesn’t either. This goes on thorough the couple of hours or so the mod lasts. This was never cited to be a long experience, story mods aren’t meant to be. But when you’re paying (£6.75 in my case) £7/8 on a mod, you expect something more out of it. I’ve seen people complete it in around the hour mark, if they’ve been rushing through it.

 

It’s not all bad though. Although it’s a very linear, straight forward walk/run through the mod, it’s a pretty one. Everything looks as polished as you would hope a decade old engine could run (this mod installs 11GB of data, including parts of Half-Life: Episode 1 and Episode 2). Some of maps looks incredible, and very well laid out. The open areas of the play through force you to think a bit about your approach as you find the Combine have the advantage most of the time. The only part that didn’t look quite so good, was the visit to Zen. The alien world doesn’t appear to have done very well since we last visited it.

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This brings me to my next point; things that shouldn’t of been included. The trip to Zen was not needed. We visit it in Half-Life 1 to kill the Nihilanth, who we believe, has been sending the aliens to Earth during the Resonance Cascade. In Prospekt we teleport there for a very brief period. The next would be the crowbar. The crowbar is Gordon Freeman’s weapon, not Shephard’s. Shephard’s is a wrench. The creator didn’t add any extra assets to the mod, and only used the ones Valve had within the previous games. The only indication we get that we’re playing as Shephard is the signature green on the HUD that we also got in Opposing Force.

 

Overall, the mod was a little disappointing. It was a great testament to what one man can do, but there is so much that could of built on to make this a stand out mod. Why this was chosen, over other, better mods is beyond me. It’s not worth the money you can pay for it. It gives you the feel of a Half-Life game, without the substance, depth or satisfaction of one.

 

Half-Life 3 definitely not confirmed.

 


Genre: FPS

Developer: Richard Seabrook

Publisher: Richard Seabrook

Platforms: PC


– Bean

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