The 1990s was an astonishing period for video games – an entire decade where it felt like a revolutionary vision of the future arrived every six months. Super Mario 64 made the third dimension an essential addition to platformers, Baldur’s Gate brought astonishing scope to RPGs, and Resident Evil turned a simple house into a terrifying interactive nightmare. These examples remain immortal classics, but also paved the way to a better future for their respectives series and genres.
But there’s one ’90s classic that has an unusual relationship with the future. Half-Life, the revolutionary first-person shooter created by just 30 people at the then newly-formed Valve Software, still feels like it's a generation ahead. Its surface may have aged with blocky textures, primitive lighting, and stilted animation, but Half-Life is a masterclass of level design, atmosphere, and immersive storytelling. And despite being so influential on the entire video game industry, on its 25th anniversary it remains a singular triumph.
It’s apt that Half-Life’s exhilarating campaign, which oscillates through energetic shootouts and tense discovery, starts on a rollercoaster. Sort of. The train that carries your protagonist, Dr. Gordon Freeman, to their day job as a scientist at the underground Black Mesa Research Facility is an automated tour of the locations that await you; the many stages upon which a continual supply of innovative encounters and clever level design will guide you to a literally extraterrestrial conclusion.
21st century FPS classics, like the original Modern Warfare and Titanfall 2, follow in these footsteps. Half-Life’s variety is the root of missions like 'Into The Abyss' and 'All Ghillied Up'. But even those brilliantly variedRead more on ign.com