There’s an after and earlier than Half-Life in Valve’s historical past and the video-game business as an entire.
Before the 1998 debut, Valve was a small indie developer. After their profitable FPS hit, they grew to become the huge behemoth they’re immediately. Therefore, they modified the panorama without end by launching Steam, the most important video-game storefront.
You’ve most likely heard about Half-Life video games earlier than. If something, you noticed or performedHalf-Life: Alyx hailed as one of the best 2020 VR title. The factor is, they’re most likely more entries than you understand, together with a fantastic third-party remake.
Also, I couldn’t stress sufficient how good Half-Life video games are. Perhaps you already know this. But in case you’re a newcomer, give them a strive.
The Half-Life collection
Half-Life debuted in 1998 to introduce the various formulation within the collection. At the core, Valve’s franchise is an FPS expertise that depends on environmental storytelling, dynamic environments, and ranging situations.
The identify of the sport is because of the way it works. Players spend a part of the playthrough in underground areas and the remaining on floor areas.
Underground settings add horror components. Imagine a darkish sewer stuffed with dormant zombie-like aliens on the nook. You have a flashlight in your go well with, however it may possibly run out of vitality at any time.
Surface areas are totally different. It provides guns-blazing motion towards aliens, troopers, ships, automobiles, and all the things in between.
The next core component is the protagonist, Gordon Freeman. He begins as a scientist for the Black Mesa laboratory. A failed experiment opens up a portal to a different dimension, and also you’re one of many solely survivors.
Nevertheless, Gordon Freeman doesn’t converse. As the final word irony, he’s not free: he obeys all the things others inform him to do. His loyalties come into query often by the presence of the mysterious “G-Man,” a person in a go well with that comes and goes, able to using Freeman to do his bidding.
We’ll proceed exploring the plot as we undergo the collection. For now, it’s best to know it’s a narrative offree will, corruption, humanity, ethics, and enslavement set inside a human vs. alien warfare.
Either method, the following component we’re discussing is theHEVgo well with. It protects Freeman from environmental injury like poisonous wastes and grants HP and protect. Moreover, it comes with an AI voice and a myriad of sound results which are arduous to overlook.
Another core component is how the story comes by way of. Instead of ordinary cinematic cuts, the related plot factors come by way of scripted occasions. That additionally means the narrative flows by way of from starting to the tip, and the one loading screens join one chapter to the following.
Lastly, there’s the arsenal. It’s a large arsenal, with a mixture of melee weapons, pistols, assault rifles, sci-fi laser beams, and alien weapons. On PC, for instance, you carry weapons on numbers 1-to-9, just like Doom.
That mentioned, there’re no RPG components and no decisions. These are linear video games the place you go from A to B, and the problem is surviving.
Every Half-Life Game in Order by Release Date
Even although there’re solely three foremost Half-Life entries, the grand complete is 15 video games. On prime of the primary video games, there’re six expansions, two remasters, three spin-offs, and one related third-party remake.
Half – Life – 1998
The 1998 recreation debuted for Linux, Windows, and macOS. In 2002, it grew to become out there for PlayStation 2. Notably, Sierra Studios was the writer; Valve was nonetheless in its infancy.
Half-Life is an FPS title that mixes sci-fi, survival horror, and techno-thriller. By the latter time period, I imply its sturdy suspense is defined by science.
The plot follows Gordon Freeman, a Black Mesa researcher. Black Mesa is a secret underground lab in New Mexico; it’s impressed by Area 51 tales. Then, the sport takes concepts from Resident Evil, Doom, Quake, and The Mist novel by Stephen King.
The story begins on a daily workday. After a protracted introduction the place you get to see the services, you go about your duties, placed on the HEV go well with, and head on in direction of an experiment. However, Freeman by accident opens a portal to Xen, a parallel world populated by alien creatures. The most typical are the Vortigaunts, in any other case generally known as “slaves.”
An alien horde flooded Black Mesa and murdered the personnel. Freeman should open his method throughout rumble and corpses to flee the underground layer, return to the floor, and ask for assist.
Over time, although, he’ll understand he wants to shut the portal earlier than leaving for good, taking the silent hero straight to Xen for a closing battle.
Along the way in which, Gordon faces more and more difficult and scary conditions. Enemies embody alien creatures, Vortigaunts, and troopers erasing all proof of the accident.
The story goes throughout 18 chapters plus an epilogue. Every chapter is exceedingly totally different from the final. Often, every section requires you to finish a selected job on a linear stage. You might must backtrack a number of occasions to resolve a single massive puzzle.
Then, the actions you require to resolve these single puzzles embody discovering items, turning on switches, closing hatches, clearing paths, discovering allies, and related.
The story comes with environmental storytelling and by your allied scientists and guards. Even although the sport was a technological and graphical marvel, most NPCs have the identical character mannequin.
Lastly, the G-Man seldom seems mysteriously to watch Freeman’s actions. After Freeman’s closing battle in Xen by the tip of the sport, he comes back with a proposal to the protagonist.
Players might select to say no (dying) or accept. Accepting places Freeman in “hibernation” till G-Man requires his companies once more.
Half-Life: Opposing Force – 1999 (Expansion)
Opposing Force is the primary growth for Half-Life. It debuted in 1999 for Windows. Later on, it grew to become out there for Linux and macOSX.
Gearbox Software and Valve are the builders, and, notably, Gearbox Software is Borderlands‘ creator.
Opposing Force is a parallel story from the attitude of a U.S. Marine, an enemy faction throughout the authentic recreation.
The protagonist is Adrian Shephard, and his job is neutralizing the Black Mesa Research Facility after the alien invasion. However, he finds out a second alien race defeats the Marines and their Black Operations unit.
Despite his preliminary mission of erasing all proof and survivors, Shepard decides to ally himself with the survivor to defeat the “Race X” invasion. The G-Man additionally seems by the tip of the sport and takes Shepard away for additional “inspection.”
The title follows the identical gameplay mechanics as the primary recreation. U.S. Marines can help the participant with assist fireplace, therapeutic, or eradicating obstacles for novelties. Also, the sport introduces new enemies and weapons.
Half-Life: Blue Shift – 2001 (Expansion)
Blue Shift is the following growth of the sci-fi FPS. Valve and Gearbox Software launched it beneath Sierra On-Line for Windows in 2001.
The recreation returns to the unique setting and tells the story from the attitude of a Black Mesa safety guard. The protagonist is Barney Calhoun (beforehand seen on Half-Life 1).
Barney’s job is to guard the analysis personnel and gear. After the accident, he works with Dr. Rosenberg to evacuate the survivors.
The gameplay delivers the identical mechanics as earlier than whereas upgrading the graphics. Moreover, it has a much bigger emphasis on puzzles and fewer on the motion. Also, as within the earlier growth, different NPCs like guards and scientists can help.
Half-Life: Decay – 2001 (Expansion)
Decay is a PlayStation 2-only growth. It’s a 2001 co-op story mode that expands upon the Half-Life occasions.
The story comes by way of two flame Black Mesa scientists. Through split-screen gameplay, they undergo a collection of missions and puzzles to struggle towards the alien invasion. That mentioned, there’s no technique to play Decay as a single-player, and it’s additionally not out there on Steam.
In reality, gameplay requires good cooperation. For instance, one participant closes a hatch whereas the opposite defends a place. The recreation has many enemies and action-set items however restricted weaponry.
Also, it’s the one Half-Life recreation thus far to function remoted missions as an alternative of a single narrative. When gamers full a job, the sport grants a rating and opens up the following job. Even a particular reward permits customers to play Decay or Half-Life as a Vortigaunt.
That mentioned, the PlayStation 2 Half-Life model got here out with a PvP multiplayer mode. It opens a split-screen 1v1 expertise on a number of maps, each gamers using an HEV go well with. It was the primary Half-Life PvP recreation mode.
Half-Life: Source – 2004 (Remaster)
Half-Life: Source debuted in 2004 for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It upgrades the 1999 GotY recreation with Valve’s new engine, Source.
Thus, the sport comes as a digital remaster, with elevated efficiency, graphics, physics, sound results, and character fashions.
Half-Life 2 – 2004
Half-Life 2 debuted in 2004 for Windows, macOS X, Linux, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PS3. The sequel expands the unique mechanics 20 years after the earlier occasions.
Gordon Freeman awakens from his slumber. Soon, he discovers “The Combine,” a mess of allied alien races, have taken over the Earth. Players know The Combine because the Race X on Opposing Force.
He joins the resistance beneath Barney’s request and behind a struggle to keep off the alien invasion. Soon, Gordon Freeman meets an previous Black Mesa worker, Eli. Eli and his daughter Alyx change into Freeman’s prime allies towards the Combine.
The recreation ends when Gordon discovers a human plot to beat Earth with the assistance of the Combine. When he explodes an all-important base, the G-Man reappears and takes Gordon away.
As I mentioned, although, I can’t stress sufficient how good Half-Life 2 is. We’ve mentioned earlier than it might be one of the best recreation of all time.
Valve’s president Gabe Newell had the objective of redefining the FPS style. So, he centered on a physics system that enables gamers to work together with virtually something on this planet.
This works principally by way of the “Gravity Gun,” a weapon that may push and pull virtually something. You can use it for preventing, puzzle-solving, or having enjoyable. Secondly, the participant himself may choose up a number of issues on this planet, even rest room paper.
On prime of the nice physics engine, the sport additionally consists of tons of of NPC interactions. In reality, many segments within the recreation are about preventing alongside resistance gamers towards Combine troopers and machines.
Elsewhere, the sport retains its altering tempo. A horror chapter on an deserted metropolis might transition into an all-out battle on the freeway. Moreover, though linear, each stage provides the participant locations to probe for further ammo, well being, vitality, and sights.
That mentioned, it retains the HEV go well with with its mechanics and sound results. It additionally has environmental hazards, related weapons, and related efficiency. As the primary recreation within the collection, Half-Life 2 was additionally a marvel in visuals and mechanics.
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch – 2004 (Spin-off)
Deathmatch debuted in 2004 for Windows, Linux, and macOSX. It’s a multiplayer FPS inside the Half-Life 2 universe.
The recreation makes use of HL2’s physics to ship team-based PvP battles. The two teams are the Resistance and the Combine.
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast – 2005 (Expansion)
Lost Coast is a DLC that debuted in 2005 for Windows.
Valve’s authentic plan was to launch Lost Coast as a Half-Life 2 chapter. However, they launched it as a standalone tech showcase.
In essence, it introduces High Dynamic Range lighting to Valve’s Source engine, so gamers can merely discover the realm in first-person to bask within the visuals.
Half-Life 2: Episode One – 2006 (Expansion)
The first marketing campaign growth debuted in 2006 for Xbox, PlayStation 3, Windows, macOS X, and Linux. It upgraded the Source engine for even higher graphics and efficiency.
Gordon Freeman is back on City 17 alongside Alyx Vance. The two heroes should escape the realm earlier than an explosion consumes town.
This shorter recreation delivers the proper mixture of puzzles, horror, fast-paced motion, and storytelling of earlier entries. Moreover, it focuses on the connection between Alyx and her AI companion, Dog.
Lastly, the beforehand enslaved race -the Vortigaunts- made a comeback because the unexpected allies.
Half-Life Deathmatch: Source – 2006 (Remaster)
Deathmatch: Source debuted in 2006 for Windows, Linux, and macOSX. It recreates the PlayStation 2 split-screen PvP for PC.
The recreation got here with the Source engine. So, it is a remaster, identical to the Source model above.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2007 (Expansion)
Episode 2 debuted in 2007 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows, Linux, and macOSX.
Gordon Freeman travels to the mountains round City 17 to discover a resistance base. He’s touring alongside Alyx Vance. The journey consists of traversing varied automobiles for mounted fight and large motion set items.
Other than that, it retains the Half-Life system: FPS, puzzles, and scripted narrative. Nevertheless, it provides expansive areas, much less linear sequences, and exploration alternatives.
Episode 2 ended on a cliffhanger, although, and we’re not sure if Valve will conclude the story.
In essence, Alyx and Gordon flee City 17 and the bottom on totally different trains, proper earlier than a nuclear reactor explosion. The shockwave derails the prepare, and Gordon’s future is unknown.
Portal – 2007 (Spin-Off)
Portal debuted in 2007 for Windows, Xbox 460, and PlayStation 3. Fans first noticed it as a part of Valve’s The Orange Box bundle.
The recreation presents a collection of puzzles gamers should remedy using a teleporting gun. In essence, the weapon can open portals to journey throughout an enormous underground science facility.
The protagonist is Chell. An synthetic intelligence, GLaDOS, taunts her to finish the teleporting experiment by promising cake as a reward.
PSo, Portal thrives on a unusual forged of characters, a singular physics engine, and interacting with something within the atmosphere to resolve the sport.
Portal 2 – 2011 (Spin-Off)
Portal 2 debuted in 2011 for Windows, macOS X, PS3, and Xbox 360. It’s a direct sequel to Portal, and it additionally lives inside the Half-Life universe.
The recreation options related mechanics revolving across the Portal Gun.
Chell navigates the Aperture Science Enrichment Center throughout its reconstruction by GLaDOS. There’s additionally a co-op mode the place two gamers management two robots (Atlas and P-Body) throughout the lab.
Half-Life: Alyx – 2020
Alyx debuted in 2020. It’s a VR FPS for Windows, supporting any VR headset for PC.
It’s not a sequel to Episode Two, although. Instead, it units the occasions between Half-Life and Half-Life 2. The protagonist is Alyx Vance, and the mission is rescuing her father, Eli, from a Combine base.
The title gamers are just like earlier Half-Life entries, albeit with the restrictions of VR gameplay. Notably, traverse depends on pointing in direction of a path.
Either method, the Gravity Gun makes a return for an enormous interplay with the atmosphere. Similarly, Alyx’s palms can choose up virtually something.
Moreover, gamers require particular hand gestures for various interactions. This consists of reloading weapons, therapeutic up at well being stations, launching grenades, taking pictures, shifting, using the Gravity Gun, and so forth.
And as earlier than, the sport provides fight, exploration-survival horror, and puzzles on its linear path.
Half-Life: Alyx debuted to crucial and fan acclaim. Its narrative, appearing, graphics, ambiance, settings, sound results, and gameplay made it the primary VR hit.
Black Mesa – 2020 (Third-Party Remake)
There’re many third-party Half-Life mods, upgrades, ports, and whatnot. There’s none like Black Mesa, although, so we needed to take hits one significantly as a part of the Half-Life collection.
Black Mesa is a remake of the unique recreation. A gaggle of followers and builders created the title with out Valve’s assist however beneath Valve’s permission.
As earlier than, Gordon Freeman performs by way of the Black Mesa Research facility. The storyline follows a reimagining of the unique plot with new ranges, expanded areas, and elevated challenges.
In specific, the upgrades to the Xen ranges are completely large. They expanded the areas, added more enemies, particulars, and puzzles.
Everything comes along with attractive graphics, HD audio, and the identical sound results you keep in mind. It provides hours of authentic gameplay followers will love and the chance for newcomers to expertise Half-Life for the primary time in fashionable graphics.
Lastly, the title additionally consists of 10 maps in its multiplayer mode, plus Steam Workshop assist for mods.
Every Half-Life Game in Chronological Order
Half-Life – 1998
Half-Life: Opposing Force – 1999 (growth)
Half-Life: Blue Shift – 2001 (growth)
Half-Life: Decay – 2001 (growth)
Half-Life: Source – 2004 (remaster)
Half-Life 2 – 2004
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch – 2004 (spin-off)
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast – 2005 (growth)
Half-Life 2: Episode One – 2006 (growth)
Half-Life Deathmatch: Source – 2006 (remaster)
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2007 (growth)
Portal – 2007 (spin-off)
Portal 2 – 2011 (spin-off)
Half-Life: Alyx – 2020
Black Mesa – 2020 (third-party remake)
What Are the Half-Life Spin-off Series?
After Half-Life: Source launched the Source recreation engine, Valve took their possibilities on the multiplayer PvP section.
So, they launchedCounter-Strike in 2000 for Windows. It spanned a long-running collection with eight video games.
The different offspring is Valve’s Day of Defeat. Using the GoldSrc recreation engine, it debuted in 2003 for WIndows. It’s a multiplayer FPS set in WW2, nevertheless it has no sequel.
Do I Need to Play Half-Life Games in Order?
You don’t must play Half-Life to know Half-Life 2. However, you undoubtedly must play Half-Life 2 so as, and by that, I imply it’s episodes.
Then, contemplate Alyx as an choice for die-hard followers. Lastly, Half-Life’s expansions can be for these left hungry after taking part in the unique recreation.