Made by Gearbox Software and originally released in 2001 as an add-on to Half-Life, Blue Shift is a return to the Black Mesa Research Facility in which you play as Barney Calhoun, the security guard sidekick who helped Gordon out of so many sticky situations.
I love Half Life, and Oppising Force was also a great expansion, but this... While it's not a bad game per say, it adds nothing new, and in fact, you have fewer weapons to fight with then the first game. Hell, maybe even Counter Strike had more weapon variety then this one, and not much fewer enemies. The only saving grace in my opinion is the introduction of Barney, who become a great character in HL2, and is the only protagonist, that managed to escape from black mesa on his feet. HL is still a great game, and you can have fun with this expansion too....and i guess, it has more content, then most DLC nowadays.
This has always been my favourite of the three Half-Life games and I can't really put my finger on exactly why. I think it's the sense of realism. On your way to work, you see the outside of Black Mesa. You see your colleagues eating breakfast and getting their laundry. The door to your working section won't open. You go to a shooting gallery and a room with security cameras. You see the security guards' locker room. All the scientists have different personalities. All the small details in everyday life is here. Not to mention the elevator part. This is my favourite part in the whole series. It's terrifying and at the same time it feels more realistic than most things in the game, because it actually could happen in real life (except the aliens part, of course). What a way to start the game! The High Definition Pack was a nice addition in the original release as well, which deserves high points. The only things that bug me are the short length, the lack of new weapons and an overall grey mood that hangs over the game. It's hard to explain and I might be a minority on this, but the sense of fun in the first two games is lacking a bit. The over reliance on puzzles also makes the game seem more like hard work, rather than a pure fun action game. You literally have to work for your survival, which is more realistic, but it's a little overkill here for me. There's also a part in the second chapter where you actually can get stuck. There is a button you need to press to get an elevator with explosives down in another room (to blow your way into the next part of the game). If you miss this button, you can't go back. You have to load an earlier part of the game or start again from the beginning. It's very hard to miss this button, but still, this is quite unusual for a Half-Life game! I still love the game for its realism. However, in the end, there are more small problems with it than the first two, and with its short length, they are all the more noticeable. It may not be a great game, but it's still good, and even "just good" Half-Life games are a joy.
Blue Shift feels more like an after-thought than an expansion. It is short compared to its two brothers, doesn't introduce anything new with the exception of a few characters, a high definition pack (it's arguable if this should be considered part of the game itself or independent material tacked on for convinience) and an actual happy ending (for once; so far, it's the only time this happens). Fans looking for more of the same will be pleased, while those ready to experience different parts of the universe will most likely be disappointed. While the creators did have the common sense to not repeat previously seen maps, most of the interesting parts present in Blue Shift's predecessors are gone. Still, there are fortunately some redeeming factors, like the added variety for the alien environments in Xen and the satisfying gunplay (especially in the encounters with waves of HECU soldiers), as well as the aforementioned ending where you escape the facility along with a handful of lucky scientists (that aren't useless for a change, helping you in your escape), which sets a bit more light on the consequences of the Black Mesa incident (Barney doesn't get too much of a hard time from the G-man). It is recommended that if you're interested in this game, you should buy it in one of the half life collections available on the site, perhaps the valve complete pack (if you're looking for more than half life, which you should).
You play as Barney Calhoun, the security guard from Black Mesa. Canonically, the actual person you play as only briefly saw Gordon for a few moments during Half Life 1. He played a much larger role in the Half Life 2 series. The ending is kind of weak and the overall story is irrelevant to the grander picture of the Half Life saga. However, it's still a decent play through. New weapons, new characters, a new take on the events at Black Mesa. My biggest complaint is that they game is extremely short and can be beaten on your first playthrough in about 2-3 hours. It's still a solid game, go ahead & pick up the Half Life collection, spend an afternoon or a weekend on this game and thank me later.
Half-Life: Blue Shift is the second Half-Life expansion developed by Gearbox software. In this entry, you'll play as Gordon's beer-owing friend, Barney Calhoun, one of the many security guards working at the Black Mesa Research Facility, during the events of the original game. The gameplay remains largely similar to that of the original game, since weapons from Opposing Force are absent (and even some of the original game, as well). Another thing this game is lacking is the presence of the new enemies introduced in Opposing Force, the Black Ops and Race X (even the female Black Ops, seen in Half-Life, are missing; same goes for the "bosses" of Half-Life). Even then, the action is up to the standards of Half-Life. As far as environments go, once again we find ourselves exploring new areas of the Black Mesa Research Facility, including some of the early teleportation labs. Before the incident, we get to see the relationship between the science team and the security guards, which, in some cases, is not as good as the one seen in Half-Life. One of the disadvantages of this game, and the reason it's not getting a perfect score, is its length, and the lack of new elements. Even then, it's worth a shot if you're Half-Life fan, as it'll get you to know a bit more about Barney's time at Black Mesa.
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