Review by Captain Cube
"Half-Life: Rhapsody in Blue. Or something."
Yes, well, the title will make sense in a minute. Let's begin, shall we?
The first thing you will notice about the third game in the holy trinity of Half-Life single-player is blue. Lots of it. Whatever happened to the other half of the Red-Blue Shift for which the game is named? Actually, I guess that would be the result of blasting a grunt with the shotgun. Somehow, it works.
Blue Shift also comes with a Hi-Def package that enhances the audiovisual aspect of HL. The sub-machine gun is now a spiffy looking M4 assault rifle, and the new Glock is simply awesome. Best of all, the Hi-Def pack is available in all games using the orginal HL models, so you can check out the spiffy guns in OpFor or vanilla HL. This pack alone boosts the graphics up to a 9.
A few characters have new voice actors, and the assault rifle has a new sound fitting of its new graphics, as does the shotgun. Other than that, however, very little seems to have changed. The music is the same, the grunt's radio yells are the same, blah, blah, blah. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Blue Shift doesn't stray far from the tried-and-true formula of Half-Life. Like OpFor, it doesn't include some of HL's cooler weapons (crossbow, gluon, hivehand). Unlike OpFor, however, Blue Shift doesn't include new weapons, forcing you to rely on the assault rifle/shotgun that saw Gordon through about 3/4 of Half-Life. This makes Blue Shift feel somewhat like the Surface Tension chapter of Half-Life, sans landmines, helicopters, and about 6% of the fun.
Here is Blue Shift's biggest downfall. The game lasts only lasts about seven or eight missions, two of which are completely devoid of action. Add to this the lack of multiplayer and you have by far the least replayable Half-Life game.
A guy on the DooMworld forums has the following in his custom member title: "Make love not Half-Life expansion packs". After Blue Shift, I am almost inclined to agree. The game just isn't as fun as Half-Life, and its major redeeming feature--the Hi-Def pack--is available in the other two games as well. The only reason to get this is that it comes with the Platinum Edition. It's fun by itself, just not nearly as good as OpFor.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 12/17/04
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