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.
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.
Half-life: Blue Shift is a follow-up or a spinoff from the main Half-life game (the first one). It features the same Black Mesa research facility, and is built on the same engine as Half Life, so if you are familiar with the first Half-life you will not be surprised here, and the gameplay will be easy to get used to. Although it didn't feel as fascinating as the main Half-life game, it is a must-play for every Half-life franchise fan. Visually it seems dated now, and the gameplay reveals it's not a new game, but still it's fun and it expands the storyline, so whoever is interested in the Half-life universe shouldn't miss this one out.
Blue Shift ties in to the story of Half-Life, this time from the perspective of Barney Calhoun, one of the security guards at Black Mesa laboratory. The game is typically slow-starting to begin with, before the action picks up later on after a brief tutorial. The problem is that the action is never quite at the same level as you would have experienced before in the series, and if it ever does get to that point, the game is rather short with an even more anticlimactic ending. I have to say it is underwhelming, to say the least, compared to Half-Life, and even Opposing Force. There isn't much new in Blue Shift. Just more of the old that you would have seen in the aforementioned games. There might be a few new weapons, but this is mainly down to a high definition upgrade, which includes replaced weapon models, better character models, and indeed there are new character models introduced here too. If you're a fan of the series, you'll probably like this. There's enough tense gun battles to keep you occupied for a short while at least, as well as another trip to Xen. It's not a bad game, but it just ends too soon to be that memorable.
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