The perfect PC mods for Half Life 2

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Each different Monday, Dominic provides you a cause to mud off one among your outdated video games and dive into its mods with Modder Superior.

Half-Life 2 is almost fifteen years outdated now, and regardless of Valve’s sequel plans seemingly truly fizzling out, it doesn’t look a day over ten due to the efforts of modders. Likelihood is that Half-Life 2 and its expansions have been gathering mud in your Steam account for years now, so right here’s a fast refresher — principally centered on the previous 5 years — on what’s out there, single player-wise. Need to turbo-charge the unique sport, or ship Gordon Freeman on an entire new journey? We’ve acquired you coated each methods, plus a trio of Silent Hill-inspired spookfests. Beneath, a hand-picked basket of goodies, and a crowbar to open it.

Gordon Forgets How To Mod Half-Life 2

Plain old vanilla Half-Life 2. Who'd want that?

Whereas Half-Life 2 modding has been a continuing virtually because the day the sport launched, the sport’s code base has not been. Valve have up to date, tweaked, tuned and repacked it a half-dozen instances, breaking some older releases. Many of the mods beneath from the previous 5 years require the Supply SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer bundle, which you’ll find beneath the ‘Instruments’ header in your Steam library.

As soon as downloaded, proper click on on it, choose Properties, and choose ‘upcoming’ from the drop-down within the betas tab. This’ll decide you in to the newest construct. I imagine everybody will get entry to this at no cost, however some mods do require proudly owning the sport and (ideally) each expansions.

Whereas some Half-Life 2 mods are hosted on Steam and are only a click on away, putting in mods from elsewhere is a doddle. Simply find the place you’ve put in Steam in your PC (C:Program Information (x86)Steam by default), and in there, navigate to SteamSteamAppsSourceMods. That’s the place mods dwell. Unzip them there, ensuring every has their very own listing. If you happen to did every part proper, your freshly unpacked mod might be listed in your Steam library, identical as any freshly purchased sport. Simple.

Gordon Will get A Tune-Up

If you happen to’ve been away from Half-Life 2 for some time, likelihood is you’ll wish to play a little bit of the unique sport simply to heat up. Listed here are a number of methods again to Ravenholm that go a extra scenic route, or a bit of bit off the crushed monitor.

Half-Life 2: Replace by Filip Victor

Launched: March 2015
Obtain: Direct through Steam

If all you need is to potter across the outdated unique sport as you keep in mind, you possibly can’t go far fallacious with this unofficial (however Valve-endorsed) patch. It’s a mild remastering – barely higher lighting, some environmental results back-ported from the expansions, and a few outdated bugs and mapping errors smoothed over. It’s Half-Life 2 after a run by the automotive wash, and with a number of dents hammered out and painted over.

Half-Life 2: MMOD by Gunship Mark II

Launched: December 2018
Obtain: Mod DB

A current and in style launch, if Replace is only a cleaned-up model, MMod is Half-Life 2 taken right down to the storage for a full oil change, engine tune, and possibly a decal package. It’s a mostly-cosmetic suite of enhancements, however they add as much as a extra trendy feeling sport. Notoriously weedy-feeling weapons just like the SMG have some oomph to them, weapon unfold is rebalanced, and bullet weapons are actually quick projectiles as a substitute of instant-hit, making long-range gunfights really feel fairer.

Many of the fight tweaks are refined, however should you don’t like every of the modifications, virtually each function in MMod is totally optionally available. Better of all, it’s appropriate with all official Half-Life 2 releases, a number of semi-official ones, and even some main mods — together with Half Life 2 Replace.

You’ll find MMod compatibility patches for different stage packs and mods right here on Mod DB too. As soon as a compatibility patch is put in, you’ll discover it in your Steam library as a separate entry, usually with MMod within the title.

SMOD by Creators Unknown

Launched: 2004
Obtain: Mod DB
Video Credit score: “GameSnippetsUK” for the footage

If MMod is Half-Life 2 after an expert tune-up, then SMOD is the sport after changing the engine with an outsized dragster rig that doesn’t match beneath the hood and burns pure ethanol. It’s additionally vulnerable to catching on hearth, however you’ll have a good time till then. SMOD was developed by an nameless particular person (or collective) from Japan, with a request that folks simply do no matter they like with it. They did.

Probably the most secure and coherent construct I’ve discovered is a polished-up Model 10 hosted on Mod DB, and if there’s a greater model, I’d like to see it. It affords an unpredictable trip by Half-Life 2, with further (and generally new) enemies added to the world, plenty of new weapons, over-the-top results and bullet time. It’s unbalanced, it’s unstable, and it’s all very foolish. Additionally it is an vital a part of Half-Life 2 modding historical past, and one which I’m glad to see folks holding alive.

Gordon’s Large Adventures

There are an unlimited variety of single participant mods for Half-Life 2, however for now, right here’s a handful of brisker releases — proof that there’s life within the outdated HEV go well with but.

Entropy: Zero by “Breadman”

Launched: October 2017
Obtain: Direct through Steam

All cops are bastards, and Mix Metrocops are double bastards. And now you’re one, you git. Entropy: Zero places you within the sneakers of a Metrocop who enjoys his job just a bit an excessive amount of, particularly the civilian-brutalising half. Being the dangerous man, you get to casually waltz by Mix vitality shields, use a (prototype and inaccurate) pulse rifle, and even carry round Manhacks to deploy for fight and puzzle-solving functions. Oh, and also you’ve acquired cool blue hazy evening imaginative and prescient mode.

It does have weirdly uneven issue. On Regular mode primary insurgent troops don’t do a lot harm, except they shotgun you, which actually, actually hurts. Nonetheless, some good setpieces, and a shocking quantity of dialogue. Ensure you have subtitles turned on, ‘cos for some cause the mod crashes should you don’t.

There’s an MMod compatibility patch out there right here for Entropy: Zero however at current it disables a number of the mod’s neat results, just like the blue visor-vision changing your flashlight, and bypasses the Manhack stuff.

Cosmonaut by “Dolmo”

Launched: Could 2019
Obtain: Mod DB

A cosmonaut escapes from his station, proper into the center of the Mix occupation. What performs out from there feels virtually like an abridged model of Half-Life 2 and its expansions. There’s a gap scene the place you’re being walked by a Mix processing centre, an escape sequence, canals and a sewer stage, adopted by it opening up a bit of after getting the SMG. It’s properly paced, properly scripted stuff, even when it’s onerous to shake the sensation that it’s been completed earlier than, and it’s an astonishing piece of labor for only one mapper.

As Cosmonaut makes use of vanilla Half-Life 2 weapons and steadiness, I can’t see any cause to not use the MMod patch for it, too. Provides some good punch to these gunfights.

Downfall by “marnamal”

Launched: April 2017
Obtain: Direct through Steam

Brief however candy, that is the primary chapter in a deliberate collection of Episode 2 model ranges. If it had voice appearing, this might simply cross for an official Valve manufacturing, and delivers a superb 45 minutes or so of Ep2 model motion: a bit of little bit of driving, and lot of exploring pockets of buildings, dense with traps, secrets and techniques and optionally available routes.

The one actual criticism I can stage towards Downfall is its bizarrely big obtain, a part of its self-contained Steam distribution. There’s additionally an MMod compatibility patch for it, enhancing it additional. I’d advocate turning off Crepuscular Rays although – they get a bit glitchy.

Half-Life 2: Episode 3 – The Closure by Leon “Spymaps” Brinkmann

Launched: Model 2 on Could 2016
Obtain: Mod DB

Once more, the work of a single mapper, The Closure is on the far reverse finish of the size, i.e. you’d by no means mistake this for a Valve manufacturing. Its adherence to accepted Half-Life lore is questionable, it often breaks away from first-person perspective for cutscenes, and its borrowed Hollywood soundtrack is an order of magnitude too bombastic and loud. However…

… That is simply 5 or 6 hours of Half-Life 2, with some spectacular set piece fights. There are many alternatives to chop free with greater, extra explosive weapons, and it goes above and past on options, providing optionally available elevated enemy density (impartial of regular issue settings). There’s even an built-in trace system, providing a shortcut on puzzles should you get caught.

Whereas there’s an MMod compatibility patch for The Closure, it’s largely a matter of choice whether or not you utilize it, because it overwrites The Closure’s personal reskinned weapons and enemies.

The Gate 2 by Craig J. Beattie
I appreciate these Space Nazis dedication to their craft. That must have taken a tall ladder and at least three buckets of fresh blood to write.
Launched: August 2014
Obtain: Mod DB

“President Bush, the gray aliens, they watch whereas we kill one another!” – Actual precise voiced dialogue from The Gate 2.

It’s the sequel to Half-Life 1 mod The Gate, the place you performed as an American particular forces soldier despatched again in time to defeat the Nazis. One way or the other, it makes the unique appear mundane. There’s even dinosaurs.

The Gate 2 solely will get weirder over its 4+ hour run-time. The fight is Half-Life 2 commonplace for probably the most half, though there’s maybe too little well being, and a few areas hit you with an immediate Sport Over in case your suicidal squadmates die. Nonetheless, probably the most memorable factor right here is the story, which looks like a direct feed from the mind of a type of guys who believes that the pyramids had been UFO hangars.

Gordon’s Large Jam Session

Probably the greatest locations to be for recent Half-Life 2 lately is fan-site RunThinkShootLive, maintained by Phillip Marlowe. In addition to internet hosting a evaluation database of maps and mods for a number of video games, he organises annual Half-Life 2 map-jam competitions, full with prizes. Every year options 5 challenges, with a restricted time to supply a single stage to that theme. Philip then packs all of the maps up right into a single themed mod, simple to put in and play. Listed here are the massive releases of the previous three years.

The Hammer Cup 2016 by Varied Mappers

Launched: 2016
Obtain: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5

That includes ChasmVille, LiberationVille, BacktrackVille, TrapVille and AnyVilleVille. Whereas had been a number of map jams on RTSL besfore, the Hammer Cup 2016 was the place it hit the massive leagues. Some fascinating themes right here, beginning with chasms (and dropping issues into them), liberation, and artistic backtracking. This jam wrapped up with AnyVilleVille, which let the contributors choose any theme from any prior contest on the positioning. Of the final set, Citadel Siege could also be taking part in it a bit of secure, however is a superb, scenic Episode 2-style uphill battle.

As Hammer Cup maps play it straight, there’s little cause to not use MMod with them, and would you imagine that there’s a giant compatibility patch bundle proper right here?

The Hammer Cup 2017 by Varied Mappers

Launched: 2017
Obtain: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5

DefendVilleTwo, ToxicVille, BridgeVille, TeleportVille and FusionVille this time spherical – principally self-explanatory names, besides the final. FusionVille requested mappers to mix three of eight previous themes right into a single coherent stage. It resulted in some nice setpieces from skilled mappers, with rooftop chases, perilous bridge crossings and even a battle between transferring trains.

As soon as once more, there’s a helpful MMod compatibility patch bundle out there right here.

The Lambda Cup 2018 by Varied Mappers

Launched: 2018 to early 2019
Obtain: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5

Consisting of Coastville, GravityGunVilleTwo, BossVille, PhaseVille and ReplayVille, mappers had been allowed to make use of a pair of additional gimmicks on prime of Half-Life 2’s common goodies. There’s the Mechacrab, a more durable, cyborged up headcrab that works alongside Mix troops, and an improve for the gravity gun that enables it to freeze objects in mid-air, letting you construct floating platforms or maintain physics objects in place.

Of this cup, my favorite might be Chapter 4: PhaseVille, primarily based across the idea of a single map with three segments utilizing a special model of play and conclusion. One of many maps, Off-World Relocation by “XBLAH”, acquired a standalone and expanded launch right here.

As with the Hammer cups, there are MMod compatibility patches for all Lambda Cup entries. Seize them right here. As the one customized weapon on this collection is the gravity gun mod, I don’t suppose there’ll be any compatibility points, however mileage might fluctuate.

Gordon Goes To Silent Hill(s)

Apparently there’s a giant crossover between Half-Life 2 and Silent Hill followers. I even noticed a little bit of this within the secret story arc unlockable within the anarchic Garry’s Mod journey Jazztronauts. If you happen to’ve had sufficient of being Gordon Freeman: Hero Of The Riot for some time and are up for some scares, test our this trio of horror adventures.

Gray by Deppresick Workforce

Launched: August 2012
Obtain: Mod DB

Gray has some astonishingly detailed environments wrapped in bespoke textures. If I needed to stage a criticism at this, it’d be that it spends a map or two too lengthy in constructing as much as the beginning of fight, however what attractive maps they’re to discover. It’s a comparatively brief and candy mod — 2-Three hours, possibly — in your first time spherical, with puzzles taking on a big chunk of that. Fight is extra HL2 than Silent Hill, however that’s simply me nitpicking.

Impressively, there’s cause to play this by twice. Finishing it unlocks Laborious Mode, with some secrets and techniques of its personal and an prolonged ending.

Hellsound Desires by Damian Duda

Launched: November 2012
Obtain: Mod DB

What Hellsound Desires this one lacks in polish it makes up for in pacing. I’m not even positive there’s a narrative right here past spooky homes, police stations and, in fact, an asylum to discover, however they positive are haunted. Unpredictable traps and ghosts nip at your well being pool, and the participant is rarely properly armed till the ultimate act. Maybe extra of a funfair haunted home than a ghost story, nevertheless it’s constantly paced and dense with puzzles.

Alchemilla by White Noise Workforce

Launched: April 2015
Obtain: Mod DB

If Gray and Hellsound Desires are impressed by Silent Hill, then Alchemilla IS Silent Hill, proper right down to borrowing places within the city itself. It additionally pulls of some nice tips, with traditional fade out/fade in room transitions permitting them do to sudden jumps to the fleshy, barbed-wire-wrapped nightmare otherworld. It’s a brief however candy piece of ultra-polished horror. Not even survival horror, simply spooky. It’s purely narrative and puzzle-focused — strolling sim with puzzles, maybe — however proof that Silent Hill can nonetheless be scary with out monsters.

And on that traumatising observe, we’ve barely dipped a toe into the deep reservoir of Half-Life 2 adventures, nevertheless it must be sufficient to maintain you ravenous lot busy for per week or two. Whereas some mods nonetheless keep energetic multiplayer scenes, I opted to focus solely on the solo right here. If there’s something you recurrently play on-line and wish to invite me to, or a favorite map-set you wish to share, please do within the feedback beneath.

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