Valve’s Half-Life released in late 1998 for the PC, gathering over 50 Game of the Year awards along the way. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Valve released a new update that revitalizes the game.
But there was one important question. What is the best way to play Half-Life? The original game had a number of compatibility issues with new hardware; beyond that, it had a number of design elements (including the UI) baked-in to support lower resolution monitors. The source port version is notoriously buggy and not particularly representative of the original game. Black Mesa is an incredible achievement, a ground-up remake and expansion made by fans and crowned by the creators as an ideal way to play Half-Life, but it’s also manifestly not the original game.
With this anniversary update, a laundry list of fixes and new features have been incorporated into the game. This introduces the original experience in a way friendly to modern hardware.
New features include:
- Half-Life Uplink: The original, stand-alone mini-campaign shared via magazine demo discs and hardware manufactures.
- Four New Multiplayer Maps: Contamination, Pool Party, Disposal, and Rocket Frenzy. Unlike recent the Team Fortress 2 update, these maps were designed by Valve developers.
- Three Restored Multiplayer Maps: Double Cross, Rust Mill, and Xen DM from Half-Life: Further Data, an early boxed expansion for the game.
- Four Restored Multiplayer Skins: Ivan the Space Biker and Proto-Barney from the alpha builds, and a skeleton and Shannon Wheeler’s all-powerful Too Much Coffee Man from Half-Life: Further Data.
- Dozens of New Sprays from Half-Life: Further Data
- Nostalgic Nods: The original main menu artwork and Valve intro logo have been reintroduced.
Improvements and updates include, but are no means limited to:
- Widescreen Field of View
- Full Steam Deck Support
- Controller and Steam Networking Support
- UI Scaling for High Resolutions
Valve also released an hour-long documentary about the development of Half-Life.
The full list of changes can be found here. Half-Life is free on Steam until November 20.
Featured Image: Valve
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