Review by solaris32
"The weakest of the Half-Life games, but more Half-Life is always good."
This is a standalone expansion of the original Half-Life, and the second and final expansion. I recommend everyone plays this first after Half-Life and before Opposing Force for various reasons I will explain. The ratings and my feelings of this expansion are gauged in relation to the first Half-Life.
You play as Barney Calhoun, security guard. You are actually the security guard you see banging on the door at the very beginning of Half-Life, pretty cool how it's all linked. You experience the events of the resonance cascade but at different parts of the facility. Your main goal is to escape with the scientists. The story actually isn't bad, but it ends kind of abruptly and feels like there should have been a little more.
These are the same graphics as the original Half-Life which is both good and bad. The good part is it all looks the same and this expansion came with an HD pack for all the original Half-Life games. The bad part is that when this game came out in 2001 the graphics were starting to look dated even for the time. This isn't a big deal to me as I enjoy the graphics (with the HD pack).
The sound is the same as Half-Life. Not changing the alien sounds is fine, but I would've liked some new voices for the guards and scientists. Although there is a new voice for a certain scientist, that's it.
The weapon system works the same as Half-Life but you get a fewer selection of weapons to play with and no new ones. This is very disappointing.
You see a return of nearly all of the enemies from Half-Life, but that's it. There is nothing new which is again disappointing.
LEVEL DESIGN: 10/10
This is the only part where this game lives up to Half-Life. The level design is very similar and the few puzzles and situations where you must figure out what to do are very fun. And you get to revisit my favorite level!
LENGTH AND REPLAYABILITY
This game is extremely short, clocking in at 2 hours, 2 and a half if you play on hard and take your time like I did. Still, it is fun to play as Barney and re-experiencing the levels in a future playthrough is certainly viable.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
The game is good and well made, but rushed and without any real new content. You should play this before Opposing Force because if you play it after you will be disappointed expecting this to at least be on the level of content of Opposing Force. If you liked Half-Life, this is still a must play.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/21/12
Game Release: Half-Life: Blue Shift (US, 10/06/04)
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