Half Life has been a formidable franchise. Paving the path for almost every single first person shooter to be created in its wake, players from around the world marvelled in its revolutionary graphics, its fantastic use of the source engine and modded it to create new platforms such as Counter Strike. Valve have made numerous Half Life titles with episodic structure, as well as a few spin-off games to keep the fans happy. The game series ended with an intense cliff hanger on Half Life 2: Episode 2, clearly indicating that Half Life 3 would roll around the corner and tie up loose ends.
That, of course, never happened.
Fans around the globe have been harking for a third instalment for almost a decade, but Valve have made it clear that they don’t intent on progressing the series any further. That’s when Royal Rudius Entertainment stepped in with a new game that looked to change the fan base forever. It’s trailers were created in Source Film Maker, allowing for intense scenes with ambient lighting and crazy attention to detail. Hunt Down the Freeman attempts to paint Half Life’s voiceless protagonist Gordon Freeman as a monster, killing people with no ounce of regret. The plot sounds fantastic from afar – it has potential to become something of a masterpiece.
When the game launched, players booted it up and watched these beautifully animated cut scenes setting up the plot. The characters’ voices fit well and the models themselves were well animated – but the actual game play was nothing short of embarrassing. Broken textures plagued the maps, terrible map design took the player straight out of the environment and, possibly worst of all, props and assets were stolen from other more talented developers, resulting in a smelting pot of random games crushed into one setting.
The dev team had little to no experience in making a game, most of the animations where done by one talented person whilst the rest of the team didn’t have a clue what was going on. They hired YouTubers as voice actors (Such as I Hate Everything and Keemstar) who had no idea who or what they were supposed to be doing and weren’t given context to their lines, only lines of broken English and terrible dialogue.
The game even goes so far as to give Hideo Kojima special thanks, famous developer for the Metal Gear series. With hundreds of blatant plot holes and one terrible twist, making sense of the game is incredibly difficult and nothing like a traditional Half Life game.
(Spoiler alert, for anyone who actually cares.) The plot starts with Gordon Freeman beating our protagonist, Mitchell Shepard, with a crow bar, leaving behind some very cool, recognisable scars on his face. Although it wasn’t actually Gordon Freeman, just one of his followers in a HEV suit. However, it couldn’t have been a follower, because Half Life lore explicitly outlines the fact that HEV suits were given to Black Mesa Scientists only.
The title even goes so far as to try and make sense of the G-man, a character deliberately shrouded in mystery, often seen watching over Mr Freeman in the original games. He directly tells the protagonist to kill Gordon (which just doesn’t make sense as it is). Not only is this a bad source of plot, it drops the veil of intrigue that kept the character so interesting in the first place, making him nothing more than just another character. HE ALSO SAYS BLACK MESA WRONG, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
The game currently sits at about £19 (or $21) but just one look at the steam page will drive you away instantly. Every single review tells a different story describing their terrible experience, from models to voice acting, from plot to the overall insult to the Half Life modding community and fan base.