Not Bad, But Also Not Impressive
I've been waiting for Black Mesa for too long now and I had big expectations, some screenshots released years ago looked impressive. Maybe that's why now I'm a bit dissapointed. Or maybe after playing HL Source, HL2+ep1,2 it's hard to be impressed.
I've played a bit and I like it, I'm a big fan of the original game and I liked HL2 even more. But this doesn't have anything new, maybe if I didn't played HL Source a while ago... maybe...
I Like It.
It doesn't have the polish of a triple A game, but it was never going to. What it does do well is recapture the feel of HL1 whilst adding a few fun new features, such as the flares, and being able to have more than two NPC's in your squad.
It's also ridiculously fun to repeatedly bash a scientist round the head with a metal tray.
loved this. thought it could have easily passed for a commercial title, although it's been a long time since i played the original so i can't really gauge how much better this was, or what parts were different. either way it felt like playing a brand new game for the most part :)
one minor quibble was with the jump physics. they feel pretty clunky in source when compared to the quake engine, and some of the jumping puzzles felt frustrating as a result. i even gave up and noclipped through the blue laser room in surface tension, which marks the first time i have cheated in a half life game, ever. much to my annoyance. although there was one clear route through that section that was blocked by an invisible brush, which, imho, was enough to justify it. :P
also a bit gutted about the lack of xen.. was really looking forward to a modern take on it!
Are they levels all actually rebuilt? If not and it's the same levels just with some touchups, they're going to look very plain by todays standards.
Been playing - it's a re-build for sure. Very good infact! Sounds have all been re-done to a high standard too, which was a nice surprise. There is an extended dialogue.
Great Attention To Detail
It's awesome. The levels are very recognizable, even parts I didn't remember at all came back to memory. Faithful to the originals in terms of general layout and style, without looking dated or anything. I like the lighting in most areas, and there are many little things, subtle details, that enrich the levels. Textures, models, sounds - all pretty much top-notch. It's particularly amazing how closely the voices of the scientists and guards resemble to originals and the ones from HL2. Only letdown is the soldier chatter which sounds OTT and ridiculous. And the situational music is WAY too loud.
I like the gameplay overall, even though the crouch-jumping can become a bit tedious. And did they really have to replicate HL's shitty ladder physics? The combat reminds me of Quoth at times, as the enemies attack much faster (shorter reaction time) and seem to be designed with the idea that the player has to take at least some damage on almost every encounter, unless he resorts to corner-jerking. One gets used to it and there's usually enough supplies around, but certain situations (e.g. turret sectios or large open areas) become quite frustrating.
I even found a couple of easter eggs.
Oh, those bloody ladders. The thing that annoys me most about them is that they actually didn't replicate HL1's ladders (which I never had any trouble using) and they didn't just keep Source ladders, which are also fine. Instead, some twerp actually put time and effort in to designing some clunky dismount mechanism that usually sends you falling to your death or just keeps sucking you back on to the rungs. I died a lot thanks to ladders, especially during the silo tentacles. Goddamn you ladders.
Tip About Ladders
Press use key to attach/detach from ladders in a controlled manner.
weird, i didn't have any problems with the ladders... just look in the direction you want to go and press jump and you fly that way.
very faithful recreations (so far; only played the first few maps). over all, very cool.
ladders work fine for me. Agree jump physics are sort of odd, and that gruntspeak is a bit OTT. Neither has bothered me greatly however.
I do agree with Neg's opinions re the monster interactions - shortened times with the houndeyes and alien slaves so far have made them less than impressive to me. I like the bullsquid though - seems more intimidating, which is an improvement over the oddly weak version found in HL1.
Designs have so far (I'm half through office complex) been great, sticking to the originals but switching things up occasionally and providing some surprises. like the best kind of remix - not just repeating, but adding some good twists and fleshiong things out in a way that seems both natural and faithful to the original.
Highly reccomended. Hope Xen comes along, eventually.
I'm getting more used to the ladders now, but I still think they're poorly designed. I think if you have to press a button to do a proper dismount you should have to press the button to mount in the first place, because in the heat of the moment I don't want to have to think about how to get off a ladder without flying off a ledge to my death.
Grunt voices are like Aliens marines on steroids. It'd be okay if they had a bit more variety.
Still enjoying this immensely, though it's distracting me from my own projects at a very bad time. Stupid Black Mesa.
The Ichtysaur Is Completely Nerfed
I used to be terrified of them, now they die in two shots, are slow, and don't make any scary noises.
That's exactly how I remember HL1 ladders!
So far I haven't played much, but what I saw is very impressive. Maps are very detailed (I'd say over-detailed for the engine at some point), and I like the changes they made. Sadly I only have a laptop which overheats easily so I can only play a couple of hours daily.
Seriously, the hitscan enemies are just shit, often not fun at all. There are a couple areas and ambushes that took me like a dozen tries, because their attacks are so imba and unfair. Mind you, this is on Normal skill. Call me a noob, but this is just bad design. Realism, right... An effect you can also find in many other custom maps, e.g. for Doom and Quake - the notion that all players surely must be as skilled as those of the first hour. I'm all for a little challenge, but within reason.
I agree about the Ichtysaur.
Guess I will install https://sourceforge.net/projects/bmrebalance/
right away then.
Sounds like there might be too many itches to drive me up the wall.
Or Just Play On Easy
This Is Incredible
Seriously, Black Mesa has got to be the greatest fan-made add-on ever. Sure, it is based on a commercial game but all-around aural/visual work these guys have done is something to be commended. To complete and release an non-professional work of this scope without any glaring errors is a feat in itself.
Re-realization and streamlining of some chapters helps them greatly, while extra detailing really fleshes out the later ones - now all those featureless Surface Tension buildings have a real sense of place. Unfortunately, what was boring remains boring. This is mostly personal preference but (even though they serve a purpose in the chain of events and are nicely designed) no improvement can redeem Residue Processing or Lambda Core for me. It is somehow sad that this version had to end right at the end of the latter, any form of Xen would be much better.
By the way, I have actually enjoyed the faster combat more - the quicker reflection time of the monsters and dead-on accuracy of the marines make the fights more visceral than ever.
i actually thought the marines were easier to fight than in the original (if my memory serves correctly.. i remember them being a nightmare)
easy skill still offers a solid challenge. tough but rarely frustrating
Played More Of This
very impressed, especially with how consistent the quality is.
I just finished the game last night. Overall I'm quite impressed. There are a few balance issues that definitely need to be fixed, but they don't outshine the otherwise stellar job that the developers did in recreating the atmosphere of the original.
My only legitimate complaint is that it wasn't as long as the original. It was long enough (8-9 hours for me) but the idea of stripping gameplay just from the original horrifies me! D:
Played A Lot Of This...
...but I am useless at crouch-jump so reluctantly used noclip to get over two jumps that I just could not manage - one near the fish tank, and one where you have to use the barrels to raise the cat-walk.
Other than that, and considering I haven't played shooter games (including Quake) for about three years, I thought it was great. For me it is just like playing a new game because I really cannot remember the original.
I suspect it will take me more than 8 hours but I am enjoying it. The rocket gantry detail and eventual rocket launch were pretty cool, but the overall level of detail is splendid.
I've been playing this instead of working on my Quake map. Other than a couple of nit-picks, I think it's excellent. The biggest flaw is the poor implementation of jumping/crouch-jumping, or whatever you want to call it. It just sucks. It seems like in trying to emulate HL1, they went overboard. Freeman can't even step over a curb without having to jump, and anything over a foot seems to require the crouch jump contortion. I really don't recall HL1 being anywhere near this annoying and I know HL2 wasn't because it hasn't been that long since I played it and I think I'd remember if it was. If either of those games had such poor movement mechanics I would have trashed them after the first few maps. I just get tired of having to use noclip two or three times in every map.
With HL, the crouch jump was more just to get onto really high ledges where here it's necessary for most basic jumps. It ends up just being annoying.