This mod is weird. I feel like three different people made it. One good mapper, one lazy mapper and one horrid mapper. My favourite part was the beginning, taking place in a rainy City 17. This part has excellent atmosphere and feels very oppressive. Then you get to a car and drive through the rest of C17 then escape. Everything changes here. The mapping becomes more sloppy, having multiple edges of the world leading into nothing but the void of nothingness right there for you to walk/run/jump/drive off. A lot of maps seem empty and barren. Maybe it’s because I just played Union, Leon’s Mappack and The Sprucecape Mappack, but I really do think they could use more parts. There are cutscenes in this mod as well, some just regular cutscenes and some comic-style. I love the comic book style ones and I love how there’s sounds in the background of them (footsteps for example) to make them seem more realistic within the world. There is one, however, glaring issue with these. On about ten different occasions after the comics I couldn’t move. Couldn’t look around either. Not even noclip helped me, I was just cemented to the ground, frozen like a nudist in the snow. I don’t fully understand the story, but I know it’s an alternate Episode One (even though it came out BEFORE Ep1 did), and I guess Alyx and Eli were captured and Freeman has to go save them. Speaking of the Vances, they butchered their spelling. “Eli Vans” sounds like a car dealer.
At one point about halfway through the game you go to “Sio Prospekt”, a prison much like Nova. Then you go back to C17. This return to the city is easily the WORST part of the mod. Usually I like fighting Gunships and Striders but these battles had no strategy to them. It gives you one small safe zone from gunfire right across from the enemy and a box of infinite rockets right next to you. Then you go to an area that’s the worst offender of the “Edge of the World” syndrome. I counted at least four different ways to get to the void. Couldn’t they just have put a wall? What kind of city just ends like that? Must have been a nasty rebel attack! There are a few doors in this mod that don’t open, maker any sound when you try to open them or do the “locked” door handle animation. Pretty lazy if you ask me. But one thing that’s good about this mod is that there’s some places you don’t have to go but can, which, in my opinion, makes it more realistic and interesting. The custom skyboxes are really good too; unfortunately there’s a few invisible walls here and there that get a tad bit annoying. This mod is also pretty long, one of the longest ones I’ve reviewed so far, second only to DayHard and Minerva.
A later level is set in Ravenholm (an environment I love) but is unfortunately really short. It’s definitely the weakest Ravenholm level I’ve played so far. You can duck under one of the Combine forcefields in this level and it just leads to a wall. Pretty silly. Oh yeah, there’s also a random dancing Vort in the rebel base, have fun with that. There’s another brief return to the city and then you go into the “Combine Mothership”. Why not just make it a citadel? I don’t know, but this level is really fun! There’s some fun firefights with Overwatch Elites. Then apparently the “spy” from earlier betrayed everyone and killed Eli Vans. I honestly saw this plot twist coming. She’s basically a throwaway character and never does anything for the plot. You have to defeat her after she does some cheesy monologuing. She takes one or two pulse rifle bullets to the face and you’re done. Lamest final boss ever. The ending also seems rushed, you shoot a dead gunship and it destroys something, then “Alyx Vans” is free. The end.
At least play the first level. If you can’t stand the next ten or twenty minutes, you’ll probably hate the rest of the mod.