Confused on Steam Play and Proton? Be sure to check out our guide.

Black Mesa, the Valve approved Half-Life remake from Crowbar Collective leaves Early Access with a much more modern take on the classic first-person shooter.

Did Half-Life actually need such a re-imagining? Graphically it was dated but it held up quite well overall because it was ahead of its time in quite a few ways. However, I'm glad Black Mesa exists as it's absolutely incredible. Some of the artwork that went into this, especially the later Xen chapter, is truly mesmerising in its beauty.

YouTube Thumbnail
YouTube videos require cookies, you must accept their cookies to view. View cookie preferences.
Accept Cookies & Show   Direct Link

If you just wish to see iconic moment it all goes wrong in the updated visuals of Black Mesa, we have a video up on our YouTube.

The original Xen was a pretty controversial part of Half-Life too, a pain point for many but in Black Mesa it's just awesome. It's a completely different experience to the original and to the rest of the game which is exactly what it's supposed to be. It's prettier and most importantly—more exciting. Black Mesa as a whole is exactly what it set out to be and what I hoped it would be: a faithful update to an already good game but Crowbar managed to put in tons of improvements to pull in a fresh audience.

Even if you know Half-Life like the back of your hand, Black Mesa is still a crisp and different experience because some sections on Earth have been entirely re-done to flow better. Not only that, there's vast improvements to the enemy AI in all parts of the game that make the gameplay worth it.

It's not just the big graphical enhancements or the updated AI, it's the sum of all the little things included that just make it so lovely.

Personally, I only completed Half-Life and Half-Life 2 when they came to Linux so to me Black Mesa hasn't really felt as long as it might to others. That said—it has been fourteen years in the making! Crazy but a fair amount of that was simply done out of passion and not professionally like the actual job it became for the team at Crowbar Collective.

Technically, this is at least the second remake of the original Half-Life, since Valve themselves gave it the Source treatment with Half-Life: Source in 2004 which wasn't what a lot of fans had hoped for when it released. As a result, two teams began work on their own updated version which eventually merged into one team and one game with Black Mesa.

Feature Highlight:

  • Nineteen chapters of fighting through top-secret labs, running atop harsh desert landscapes, sneaking into abandoned railways, and leaping across dimensions
  • Mind-Blowing graphics and effects, never before seen on the Source Engine
  • Face off against an army of classic enemies, updated with new features and engaging AI
  • Wield an arsenal of military hardware, scientific prototypes, and the iconic crowbar through incredibly detailed environments
  • The all-new soundtrack and voice acting create a more immersive experience than ever before

There's also online multiplayer, Steam Workshop support and all the usual modern additions on Steam like trading cards and achievements.

With it now released, the 1.0 update went live and had plenty of massive improvements over the previously released Betas. Upgraded Earth artwork, big human AI improvements, the Vortigaunts got a juicy upgrade too making them more menacing, lots of optimizations and the list goes on. There's supposed to be a new UI to replace the traditional Source Engine boxes but the Linux version currently doesn't have it.

As they mentioned, this is not the end of the road. They said "it will never be a perfect game" but the "1.0 release is the best, most polished, and most fun version of the game yet". Sometime after release, they will be giving it a jokingly named free Definitive Edition update to polish up any rough spots and continued improvements to the Steam Workshop support.

Black Mesa is the ultimate way to relive the original Half-Life story, find it on Steam.

Our livestreamer, Sin, has never played through the series before so perhaps now might be a good time for her to jump in. Make sure you follow GamingOnLinux on Twitch to be notified whenever she's live. We don't have an exact date yet on when it will happen so stay tuned!

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
24 Likes
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG and Humble Store. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
The comments on this article are closed.
57 comments
Page: «6/6
  Go to:

Smoke39 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Smoke39
Quoting: kuhpunktI just find this hostility towards VR from some people so weird.
If someone doesn't find VR appealing, then making a game that only works in VR looks like an arbitrary and unnecessary barrier to entry. That's why people are hostile toward it. People feel like games are being kept from them for no good reason.

Being hostile isn't very mature. And people are stupid if they actually think that. As if they are owed a game...
Of course they aren't owed a game, but they're allowed to dislike a product, they're allowed to exress that dislike, and they're allowed to be frustrated when a franchise they're invested in is handled in a way they don't like.

And from where I'm sitting, you seem pretty hostile toward anyone who doesn't care for VR. Both sides have good reason to be emotionally invested in the issue.
Smoke39 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: stuffSome games only work on a Playstation, some only on an XBOX, some only on a Switch and some only on Windows. Why are people not as hostile against Breath of the Wild but instead consider buying a Switch just for that game?
If the next Half-Life game suddenly went console-exclusive after decades of the franchise being available on PC, I think a lot of people would actually be pretty pissed off.
t3g 7 Mar, 2020
How’s the performance on the native version? Some people had better performance in the past with the Windows version running Proton + D9VK.
Mountain Man 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: t3gHow’s the performance on the native version? Some people had better performance in the past with the Windows version running Proton + D9VK.
I've had some issues. The big outdoor firefight leading up to the missile launch was a stuttery mess but still playable. The game is smooth for the most part but certainly not as optimized as it should be. I've not tried it in Proton.
t3g 8 Mar, 2020
Quoting: Mountain Man
Quoting: t3gHow’s the performance on the native version? Some people had better performance in the past with the Windows version running Proton + D9VK.
I've had some issues. The big outdoor firefight leading up to the missile launch was a stuttery mess but still playable. The game is smooth for the most part but certainly not as optimized as it should be. I've not tried it in Proton.

Native vs Proton/D9VK:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V58bfGoOWTo
razing32 8 Mar, 2020
Wonder if they will tackle the expansions as well
That would be awesome :)
Liam Dawe 9 Mar, 2020
A bunch of comments have been removed. May I remind you having fights in our comments, calling each other names and so on is not acceptable.

Respect others. People are allowed to like VR, people are also allowed to dislike VR.


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 9 March 2020 at 10:50 pm UTC
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone with no article paywalls. We also don't have tons of adverts, there's also no tracking and we respect your privacy. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
The comments on this article are closed.
Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
Latest Forum Posts