Review by arkena

"Barney Calhoun, Black Mesa Guard"

Half-Life was one of the first FPS to propose a complex story, with graphics still angular but with the best 3D for 1998.

You were Gordon Freeman, a scientist turned hero for the Black Mesa staff, in a place where an alien invasion was happening, where Marines and Black Ops were the "cleaners". G-Man, mysterious man with a case, was monitoring you.

The game was a real success and an add-on was released in 1999. Opposing Force was shorter than HL (normal for an add-on) but with the return of the G-Man, with new weapons, new enemies. One big difference: you weren't Gordon. No, you were Adrian Shepard, corporal in the HECU, belonging to the famous Marines who were adversaries in HL. You were a Marine now but fortunately, you changed your mind: no more scientists or guards killings, as you can suppose that they'll be an useful help.

Blueshift is the last game for the first part of the HL universe, before HL2 and once again, you're returning into Black Mesa Hell. It's a stand-alone, where a lot of gamers tended to call it an add-on. You're Barney Calhoun, a guard, beginning your adventure before the incident triggered by Gordon. Three points of view for that part of the story... you can say that you've covered a lot.

Story is basic but... there was no G-Man on your path and, sorry but with HL2 already released at the time of the writing it's not a spoiler, well, you're escaping from Black Mesa.

But that's not the real surprise. BS could have been a good game if disappointment wasn't so present. The game had a big bug, meaning that you're obliged to download a patch: Flashlight wasn't working.

Other negative point is that you can't use the HEV device for protection... in total contradiction with Adrian Shepard, not belonging to Black Mesa, who can use it!

And last but not least, you had a poor choice of weapons. No crossbow, no Gauss, no Opposing Force weapons, just the minimum of weapons. Same goes for the enemies.

By chance, you had a goodie: HIGH DEFINITION PACK, improving graphics and making them less angular.

But Blueshift will be forever the worst game for the Black Mesa Era, even with a short trip to Xen.

Sound was the same as in Half-Life.

And for the gameplay, it didn't change.

STORY: 7/10 - I would have loved more G-Man for a better plot.

GAMEPLAY: 6/10 - It's HL, so it's good but the note is justified by the flashlight bug and the useless HEV devices.

GRAPHICS: 8/10 - You're playing with HD pack or with 1998 graphics... It doesn't change a bit, it's still good graphics

SOUND: 9/10 - I love the soundtrack for HL and even if I'm disappointed with the lack of new sounds or musics, I can't penalize the game for that

GAME LIFE: 6/10 - Shorter than Opposing Force....

FINAL: 6/10 - If Blueshift will be in my memories for the story, you can't denied the feeling of inachievment when the same developper was at the origin of Opposing Force. I can play the game with pleasure but the feeling of inachievment will be in my mind. It could have been a great game if it wasn't just for satisfying players who were waiting for HL2. Well, let's be happy to see that some fans proposed an alternative for BS, with a good integration in the saga: Azure Sheep.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/25/08

Game Release: Half-Life: Blue Shift (EU, 06/15/01)

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