I’m sure many people would disagree with me, but I don’t find this mod too memorable. For one, it’s not decorated very well. There’s these large areas but they just don’t have stuff in/on them. Go buy some Combine posters please. The only part that didn’t feel this way was right before you “penetrate” the Citadel, that part was rather atmospheric. The lighting wasn’t too great in this mod either. Something else useless I noticed that has no impact on anything at all is that almost every corpse you find is burnt. How did everyone get burned so badly?
One good thing about the mod is that it’s kind of nonlinear. There’s only one path to progress but there’s optional places to go. I like that.
The first level, the coast, is the best level in Penetration in my opinion. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and design. There’s one weird part where some fast zombies appear (a lot of them) but the environment is wide open so they’re not even remotely a threat.
The city level, while more linear than most, is super fun. You fight all three types of zombies, all three types of Combine and a Gunship with fellow citizens. I love this level as well.
Remember how I said that the part towards the end at the entrance to the Citadel was awesome? While all that potential is wasted when you walk into it itself. First it shot poison gas at me and lagged my computer. Then Gordon took forever to wake up. Then they only gave me two weapons and pitted me against tons of Combine in a boring layout of hallways and corners. And I almost quit when I got into a room with about fifteen Elites. The Citadel in Penetration is the worst level I’ve played in HL2 so far. Ech.
So is Penetration worth playing? Well, the first two levels, yes. I would not recommend the last one. The ending isn’t satisfying anyway so you might as well just assume that after you get gassed in the Citadel that GMan takes Gordon back into cryostasis. I wouldn’t say to make time to play it like some awesome mods but if you have spare time go ahead.