Take Your First Look at Black Mesa's Revamped Xen

Take Your First Look at Black Mesa's Revamped Xen

The Black Mesa team has finally revealed its first look into the long-in-development Xen chapter of the game.

Black Mesa has been a noble effort: an attempt to re-master the original, dated Half-Life in the Half-Life 2 source engine. The game was actually first released for free all the way back in 2012 (!) but was missing the final chapter: Xen. A lot has happened since then, including the mod going retail and getting various makeovers... but still no Xen. Now, the team has finally given us our first glimpse into the revamped chapter with the following screenshot:

image

Compare that to this image of the original Half-Life's Xen and you can maybe see what's causing the hold-up!

"The team remains, as always, hard at work on Xen! Currently our specific focus is on gameplay: crafting a fun and cohesive experience from start to finish," reads a post on the official Black Mesa forums. "We want our version of Xen to feel like it really belongs with the rest of the game in terms of mechanics, cohesion, and progression. But we also want to push the boundaries and explore this unique and varied setting; to build an experience that feels both fresh and familiar to players from all walks of Half-Life veterancy. While our Xen is certainly going to be gorgeous, we are first and foremost really committed to making sure that the gameplay works on every level."

While there is still no concrete release date for Xen, the team did state that "We will have more media for the community in the coming months, as well as more detailed updates as to how we are progressing."

Source: Black Mesa

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I eagerly await 2018 when they release the next screenshot.

Honestly, I really lost interest in Black Mesa. After tons of unneeded changes (including making the basic jumping utterly pointless and making every jump in the game require a crouch jump, making the MP5 burst-fire for no reason, giving out the basic crowbar WAY to late so you have to rely on an incredible slow NPC to kill the enemies in your way and completely changing some puzzles with no sensible explaination for these new solutions), several cosmetic features that are ugly and can't be turned off via console (like blood decals on view models), the delay of Xen is just a drop in the ocean for me for the reasons not to get it.
And after four years, I doubt Xen can fulfill anyones expectations at this point.

Bindal:
Honestly, I really lost interest in Black Mesa. After tons of unneeded changes (including making the basic jumping utterly pointless and making every jump in the game require a crouch jump, making the MP5 burst-fire for no reason, giving out the basic crowbar WAY to late so you have to rely on an incredible slow NPC to kill the enemies in your way and completely changing some puzzles with no sensible explaination for these new solutions), several cosmetic features that are ugly and can't be turned off via console (like blood decals on view models), the delay of Xen is just a drop in the ocean for me for the reasons not to get it.
And after four years, I doubt Xen can fulfill anyones expectations at this point.

I dunno about all of that. The jumping puzzles are way too few to really complain about them in my opinion, so the changes there meant very little to me. I also cannot think of a time where crouch jumping was necessary/convenient, except in that one area when the military assassins make their first appearance.

Crowbar replacement was a bit obnoxious, but you definitely didn't need the guard to help you, as you can easily sprint around the headcrab zombies.

They did change a bunch of puzzles, but I cannot think of anything that was outlandish in design. The only convoluted puzzle that I can think of, was in the original, as well, where you have to find out how to kill that Xen goliath (the ones that become uncommon enemies within actual Xen).

Ultimately, this is just a fan-project. Not sure why people are being so critical, when this is just a fun thing for the team to do, with a game that they have loved since its conception. It just seems weird that people would hold such weirdly high expectations for such a small development team that only started accepting money for their game over Steam recently, and up until that point, were developing the game completely out of their own pockets.

Seems a bit ungrateful, but that's just my personal opinion.

Crash_7:
I eagerly await 2018 when they release the next screenshot.

Which is still more progress then Ep 3 has made in 10 years.

GarouxBloodline:
Seems a bit ungrateful, but that's just my personal opinion.

Doesn't make them immune to critic - and when there are things to critizise, I will.
And there is a lot. Besides Black Mesa looking better, I have only downgrades compared to the original Half-Life.

Bindal:
Honestly, I really lost interest in Black Mesa. After tons of unneeded changes (including making the basic jumping utterly pointless and making every jump in the game require a crouch jump, making the MP5 burst-fire for no reason, giving out the basic crowbar WAY to late so you have to rely on an incredible slow NPC to kill the enemies in your way and completely changing some puzzles with no sensible explaination for these new solutions), several cosmetic features that are ugly and can't be turned off via console (like blood decals on view models), the delay of Xen is just a drop in the ocean for me for the reasons not to get it.
And after four years, I doubt Xen can fulfill anyones expectations at this point.

The late crowbar was a really good addition I feel. Instead of just bopping zombies in the face like always, you get to use the flares to burn them to death, and there were plenty of those to go around. Using physics items to solve your problems is one of the coolest things about the Source engine. Barnacles and barrels were in too. Also actually being able to see into the water to shoot the fish monster.

I liked the changes. My favorite is getting rid of On A Rail chapter maze entirely. It was mad tedious. I don't remember any of the other puzzles, but I don't remember not liking any of it.

Biggest complaint I had was the difficulty. HECU soldiers had some serious aimbots this time around, and the chopper is ludicrously oppressive, but a little gittin' gud solves that I suppose.

Bindal:

GarouxBloodline:
Seems a bit ungrateful, but that's just my personal opinion.

Doesn't make them immune to critic - and when there are things to critizise, I will.
And there is a lot. Besides Black Mesa looking better, I have only downgrades compared to the original Half-Life.

Doesn't make your criticism immune to criticism, neither. :P

It just seems to me that you're complaining for the sake of complaining, especially when a good portion of your criticism was over very very very minor parts of the game - less than 1% of the game.

Although, I do agree that they could have used more graphical options (at least, from the last time that I played the Steam version), and the burst-fire for the MP5 was a bit touchy, although it could be controlled, even more so if you use a mouse over a controller.

MHR:

Bindal:
Honestly, I really lost interest in Black Mesa. After tons of unneeded changes (including making the basic jumping utterly pointless and making every jump in the game require a crouch jump, making the MP5 burst-fire for no reason, giving out the basic crowbar WAY to late so you have to rely on an incredible slow NPC to kill the enemies in your way and completely changing some puzzles with no sensible explaination for these new solutions), several cosmetic features that are ugly and can't be turned off via console (like blood decals on view models), the delay of Xen is just a drop in the ocean for me for the reasons not to get it.
And after four years, I doubt Xen can fulfill anyones expectations at this point.

The late crowbar was a really good addition I feel. Instead of just bopping zombies in the face like always, you get to use the flares to burn them to death, and there were plenty of those to go around. Using physics items to solve your problems is one of the coolest things about the Source engine. Barnacles and barrels were in too. Also actually being able to see into the water to shoot the fish monster.

I liked the changes. My favorite is getting rid of On A Rail chapter maze entirely. It was mad tedious. I don't remember any of the other puzzles, but I don't remember not liking any of it.

Biggest complaint I had was the difficulty. HECU soldiers had some serious aimbots this time around, and the chopper is ludicrously oppressive, but a little gittin' gud solves that I suppose.

Oh, God, I actually did forget about the insane accuracy with all of the military enemies. Wasn't so bad until you're trying to sprint between bunkers during missile fire, and they insta-mow you down, knowing the exact moment you'll peek your head out from behind cover. xD

MHR:

Bindal:
Honestly, I really lost interest in Black Mesa. After tons of unneeded changes (including making the basic jumping utterly pointless and making every jump in the game require a crouch jump, making the MP5 burst-fire for no reason, giving out the basic crowbar WAY to late so you have to rely on an incredible slow NPC to kill the enemies in your way and completely changing some puzzles with no sensible explaination for these new solutions), several cosmetic features that are ugly and can't be turned off via console (like blood decals on view models), the delay of Xen is just a drop in the ocean for me for the reasons not to get it.
And after four years, I doubt Xen can fulfill anyones expectations at this point.

The late crowbar was a really good addition I feel. Instead of just bopping zombies in the face like always, you get to use the flares to burn them to death, and there were plenty of those to go around. Using physics items to solve your problems is one of the coolest things about the Source engine. Barnacles and barrels were in too. Also actually being able to see into the water to shoot the fish monster.

And I found that annoying and needlessly slowing things down.
When I replayed that section, I just spawned myself a crowbar via console and suddenly that section was A LOT more entertaining due it not being a massive amount of just "wait for enemy to die"

GarouxBloodline:

Bindal:

GarouxBloodline:
Seems a bit ungrateful, but that's just my personal opinion.

Doesn't make them immune to critic - and when there are things to critizise, I will.
And there is a lot. Besides Black Mesa looking better, I have only downgrades compared to the original Half-Life.

Doesn't make your criticism immune to criticism, neither. :P

It just seems to me that you're complaining for the sake of complaining, especially when a good portion of your criticism was over very very very minor parts of the game - less than 1% of the game.

Although, I do agree that they could have used more graphical options (at least, from the last time that I played the Steam version), and the burst-fire for the MP5 was a bit touchy, although it could be controlled, even more so if you use a mouse over a controller.

I wouldn't call "complete change to the original that stretch over the entire game" minor.
And no, you could not control "shoots at least 3 bullets" in any way. That was the annoying thing - I wanted to shoot ONE bullet, not THREE.
In the end, I found Black Mesa so unbearable, I couldn't play that far into it (I think I stopped near the end of Blast Pit) and then uninstalled it and played the original instead from start to finish in one setting just to wash out the bad taste Black Mesa left.

GarouxBloodline:

Seems a bit ungrateful, but that's just my personal opinion.

It's a paid product now, so there's nothing to be preemptively grateful for.

Near as I can recall, many of the critics of the time found Xen to be the most poorly considered and unsatisfying portion of the game. I didn't hate it, but I did feel like I was spending a lot of time bouncing around without a heckuva lot of control.

Bindal:

MHR:

Bindal:
Honestly, I really lost interest in Black Mesa. After tons of unneeded changes (including making the basic jumping utterly pointless and making every jump in the game require a crouch jump, making the MP5 burst-fire for no reason, giving out the basic crowbar WAY to late so you have to rely on an incredible slow NPC to kill the enemies in your way and completely changing some puzzles with no sensible explaination for these new solutions), several cosmetic features that are ugly and can't be turned off via console (like blood decals on view models), the delay of Xen is just a drop in the ocean for me for the reasons not to get it.
And after four years, I doubt Xen can fulfill anyones expectations at this point.

The late crowbar was a really good addition I feel. Instead of just bopping zombies in the face like always, you get to use the flares to burn them to death, and there were plenty of those to go around. Using physics items to solve your problems is one of the coolest things about the Source engine. Barnacles and barrels were in too. Also actually being able to see into the water to shoot the fish monster.

And I found that annoying and needlessly slowing things down.
When I replayed that section, I just spawned myself a crowbar via console and suddenly that section was A LOT more entertaining due it not being a massive amount of just "wait for enemy to die"

GarouxBloodline:

Bindal:

Doesn't make them immune to critic - and when there are things to critizise, I will.
And there is a lot. Besides Black Mesa looking better, I have only downgrades compared to the original Half-Life.

Doesn't make your criticism immune to criticism, neither. :P

It just seems to me that you're complaining for the sake of complaining, especially when a good portion of your criticism was over very very very minor parts of the game - less than 1% of the game.

Although, I do agree that they could have used more graphical options (at least, from the last time that I played the Steam version), and the burst-fire for the MP5 was a bit touchy, although it could be controlled, even more so if you use a mouse over a controller.

I wouldn't call "complete change to the original that stretch over the entire game" minor.
And no, you could not control "shoots at least 3 bullets" in any way. That was the annoying thing - I wanted to shoot ONE bullet, not THREE.
In the end, I found Black Mesa so unbearable, I couldn't play that far into it (I think I stopped near the end of Blast Pit) and then uninstalled it and played the original instead from start to finish in one setting just to wash out the bad taste Black Mesa left.

I'll have to load the game up, but I seem to recall that with a precision mouse, I was able to get away with single-shots. I could be wrong, though, as it has been a while since I've played the game.

As for the rest, that definitely can't be helped - everyone is entitled to their own perspective, and ultimately, if Black Mesa was not a fun game for you, then it's as simple as that.

 

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