Total Games Played
Played in 2024
Recently Played See More
Recently Reviewed See More
Still this is peak Final Fantasy writing, complete with loveable characters, story built tension and humor. Oh the humor! I love how they weren't afraid to even poke fun at themselves.
That said, I don't think I ever actually played anything but Counter Strike with friends! In '97, I rented FFVII and for a few years soaked up every JRPG I could find and had time to play. So, now in 2024, playing through Half-Life for the first time is a... challenge. I respect the absolute hell out of this game for what it did to the FPS genre and the larger impact it's had on narrative-driven games, but man... it's rough... Kudos must be given because I was able to run the original non-source version with little to no tweaking needed. Turn off the head-bob though; it's by far the most extreme case of it in any game I can think of.
Any visual media that's over two decades old will certainly show age, so you have to accept that. Visually, you see the limits pushed in some of these levels, especially some of the cliff-side ones. The character models, though few, do the job. But where the game does shine is the alien enemies. Lord, they did some good work on making nightmare fuel when they created these ones.
I think the No-Clip documentary on the creative process of Half-Life helps immensely to try and frame the release window around what it was like at the time. A fully connected game world was pretty much unheard of in 1998, and Half-Life succeeds in that quite well. If there weren't the chapter popups, then sometimes you wouldn't even realize you've started a new section. This is the big impact that Half-Life leaves on the gaming industry, narration through the character's eyes, in a complete package.
This game is freakin' HARD. I'm not kidding (or I'm bad, maybe a mix of both!) when I say that. I truly think there were more deaths than a Dark Souls playthrough. The combat is tight, but the human enemies must have five layers of kevlar on because they take a punch before they go down. There's a decent variety of weaponry, including alien and tech ones, and figuring out which to use versus which enemies is part of the puzzle.
Half-Life has a banger soundtrack, but sadly, we don't get enough of it! But these tracks really do not miss.
Speaking of puzzles, the game features countless platforming sections that act as the puzzles found in this title. Most were self-explanatory after a bit of tooling around, but a couple are downright wicked. Even though I was frustrated with a few, it's nice to mix up the combat that becomes a bit mundane after killing your 100th headcrab, and they are paced fairly well, though the later third of the game features some REALLY annoying ones.
I think I'll dive into Blue Shift and Opposing Force before continuing with Half-Life 2. I'm giving HL1 a 4/5 but can see how this was an "A+ Must Play" title back in '98.