Holds up very, very well nearly 25 years later.
Considering how influential Half-Life (1998) is, it was fun seeing it as a crossroad between modern day FPS and the Doom/Quake-style shooters that came before it. Despite a few shaky design choices here and there (crouch-jumping, some of the late game Xen levels), the ambition here absolutely is bursting at the seams, and it's a joy to play.
The environmental storytelling is great, the set-pieces are top notch and the weapons are really satisfying to use. It also varies things up as much as it can, and doesn't stick to one mood for too long (which definitely helped keep my attention); it can go from survival horror, to guns-blazing action, to an otherworldly sci-fi vibe. It keeps things fresh! And it makes for a fun, adventurous experience.
(Also, Half-Life easily clears Half-Life 2 in pretty much every relevant way, but regardless...!!!)
Reviewed on May 14, 2023