Half-life vs Opposing Force vs Blue Shift vs Decay. Discuss the games!

    • Half-life vs Opposing Force vs Blue Shift vs Decay. Discuss the games!

      So I wanted to create this thread to help generate discussion of HL1 and its spinoff titles. Compare and contrast what each game did and how they differed. What things did they do well or not so well. And why do we prefer x over y and so on.

      First off I'll say out of all the games I think HL1 had some of the best pacing (Except for maybe On A Rail) No level seem to drag on for too long and the environments and situations continued to be varied enough to keep things fresh and interesting. I feel the high point of the game is Questionable Ethics and Surface Tension. QE's nonlinearity of the map and opportunities to have npc teamwork while Surface Tension had a lot of great action and excellent set pieces. Lead to me replaying those chapters quite often.

      I think hl1 does have some weakness's while HL1 does a great job of setting things up and establishing things. I think at times its a bit too vague on its storytelling relying too much on the player filling the blanks on trying to understand what is going on in the greater story or what Freeman is supposed to be even doing. (most egredgious is the whole plot about launching the rocket. It took till my second or third playthrough to understand why I went there to launch a rocket in the first place.) They also provide the Gluon Gun way too late in the game as I never found a reason (or had enough ammo) to use it.

      I will freely admit out of all of these games I played hl1 the most. (but mostly the ps2 port lol)

      Opposing Force I feel is the most interesting and the most ambitious. It has the best some best weapons (Displacer, Desert Eagle, Shock Roach, and Sniper Rifle.) and a great use of a rarely used enemy (Black Ops) as well as a great new foe (Race X) it also has some great moments such as the opening, ending, revisiting the Dam and witnessing Freeman in the lambda core. I think the two best levels in this game are Welcome to Black Mesa and Vicarious Reality with the latter being one of my favorites all across hl 1. There was just something about these two levels that really nailed it out of the park. Whether it's the massive scale and exploration of the biodome complex or the great pacing and areas of Welcome to Black Mesa. (med bay, crash site, hl1 tram areas, Otis, first Race X encounter, getting the pipe wrench, knife, and both pistols etc) The darker tone of the game and the ost really stood out to me too.


      But, perhaps because I haven't played in years, I feel it has left the least impression on me sadly. It's a shame as Opfor is what attracted me to the franchise in the first place. I think part of the problem is the lack of set pieces or story moments. Most of the plot occurs either near the start of the game or near the end. With most of the plot in between is just Adrian trying to get from point a to b while fighting either black ops or race x with not much of a overarching goal from what I remember. I kinda feel that Missing in Action and Friendly Fire are some of weakest. With very little that is memorable of either chapter. (sure Friendly Fire is the first time you have a squad and fight the black ops but there's not much in the level itself to make it standout. ) Foxtrot Uniform is a great level but is very compacted and linear which I kinda feels works against what level was aiming for.

      I do feel that these can all be certainly fixed or improved in this remake.


      Blue Shift got a lot of flack when it originally came out but I rather loved it. I think it probably had some of the best world building of the HL1 games and had the best story telling. With clear cut goals and characters and clear reasons why you should be doing various stuff. I really love the "Old Labs" and the lore around it. It's story writing is certainly different from HL1's and Opfor's but I tend to like it. I think the best level of this particular game is Captive Freight, I just really loved the combat, locations, and the overall environment of this chapter.

      I think its biggest drawback is the lack of new content and length and a missed opportunity to fight the opfor grunts in addition to the regular hl1 hgrunts.


      Decay is my least favorite of the HL1 games. With its restrictive co-op conventions (game over if one person dies and no check points) and it doubling the damage on everything. That said it does have some neat ideas and locations. It just feels all so unfinished and disconnected from everything and the fact it ends on a HAPPY ENDING really takes the cake. (especially since we know Gina dies later and what happens to Black Mesa and Earth.) Maybe if game was more polished for release on the ps2 or something it might be looked back better. But honestly while I respect it and for some of the things it did do (like explaining how the military got contacted or the cool ominous shot of the first troops arriving overhead or visiting the dorms where Freeman lives at!) but I tend to forget about it or pretend its non canon.
    • I agree. HL had great pacing. On a rail was the worst chapter so far and I enjoyed even Xen much more. HL2 was a bit worse and I think generaly missions you spend in vehicle are too long and boring and rather.... empty.

      I share your opinion about Op4 too and Blue shift. I really like Blue Shift for it´s level design, story and even gameplay wasn´t boring (for me). Xen in Blue Shift was really fun to me. I cannot denie it´s lacking new content, on the other hand, it is one of those games that proved me the quantity < quality. The content was perfectly balanced for the lenght of the game (yes, it was too short). The problem regarding is the fact I remember it being sold for AAA game price and Opposing Force, with more new content had normal price you would expect for such an expansion pack (but I´m not sure if that pricing was either only in my country or everywhere).

      Decay is great, but it´s annoying to play it alone and even more annoying is that it´s hard to find someone to play with. I´m happy it got ported to PC too, that´s one think I will never forgive to Gearbox. Decay has nice level design, I would even say the levels have nice details and geometry and it stands out compared to other HL1 games. The big bummer is that level transitions are not smooth and missions are not seamlessly connected as we are used to from any other Half-Life game. That´s one of these things that also makes it feel like it was finished in hurry. Oh and I like the intro to Hazard Course :).
    • Yeah it had a higher price here in the states too. I think Gearbox tried to justify the higher price because they revamped all the models with the HD pack and had a stand alone version of opposing force bundled with Blue Shift (as oppose to the original opposing force requiring you had Hl1 installed) But the problem was Azure Sheep came out a few months before Blue Shift and kinda made Blue Shift look bad in comparison.
    • Summerset Banjo wrote:

      Yeah it had a higher price here in the states too. I think Gearbox tried to justify the higher price because they revamped all the models with the HD pack and had a stand alone version of opposing force bundled with Blue Shift (as oppose to the original opposing force requiring you had Hl1 installed) But the problem was Azure Sheep came out a few months before Blue Shift and kinda made Blue Shift look bad in comparison.
      That´s possible. However, even in that case I would expect price to be lower. It looks like they put Blue Shift for the same price as Opposing Force and then on the top of that, they charged you for HD pack/multiplayer. While Blue Shift should have been cheaper. So ideal price for that would still be aproximately the price of Opposing Force, not more.

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