Black Mesa - Analysis
Unlike Half Life: Source , what comes to us now is a complete reissue of the original game. It's not just about putting in the old textures, tweaking the lighting, and raising the resolution. The work has gone into infinity of details, although Black Mesa maintains the original spirit very well. The same traps, moments of tension or situations in which it is difficult to know where to pull are present.
Working with environments borders on the unhealthy. Very detailed keypads, lightning bolts and totally new explosions, rooms that hardly fit one more element ... however, the result is not as homogeneous as one would expect. This type of detail shows that we are not dealing with a commercial game, but rather an initiative by amateurs. Once this is assumed, you just have to let yourself be carried away by the effort you show in the characters. Their stories, off-camera talks or what happens to them, suddenly, make us live a most interesting story. One that must be lived with attention and some relaxation, at least in the moments that allow it.
The animations, however, while improving the original are not up to scratch. Mechanical gestures and faces that waste available resources are common. This section shows quite well that finding a realistic result is only within the reach of very professional teams, with expensive resources and a very clear artistic direction. Still, it does.
You could think of a total transformation of Half Life, Black Mesa , follows a very specific line. Adapt the graphics, change the sound with the intention of improving the experience, but always with the impositions required by using an engine like Source. That is, many sensations remain and the way of playing is similar to the original. The pipes we climb are the same as a decade ago and the necessary jump is also. However, the inertia with which the screen moves is slightly different, as well as the default viewing angle or reactions to weapons.
Precisely, respect for the available weaponry is something that does not quite materialize. Given the harshness of Half Life's weapons , or how fast everything seemed to move, unequal attention has now been paid to elements such as the recoil of some of them. The effects of the shots are also not as complex as one would expect for a game made from scratch. Distances do not credibly influence. These details are overcome with how fun the formula remains, including the metal bar that is missed in other games.
The history of Black Mesa is the same one that dazzled us many years ago. The beginning of the game, imitated many times with respect, leads us back to facilities where something is not right. Non-playable characters, enemies, and our esteemed security guard rediscover why Half Life was captivating. The sensations of discovering, of using the few available resources or of feeling that everything is lost return. Although they are overshadowed in some cases with too simple stage designs for 2012. Although, precisely, that is the idea. Bring back the game that meant a before and after in first person shooters.