A little over two years after it's release in November, 2004, mods for Valve's Half-Life 2 are finally coming into large scale betas and releases. While dozens of small mods have been available for HL2 since the days following it's release (mostly co-op or deathmatch mods with limited gameplay and graphical changes), the major mod teams have been working for the last two years modelling, milestoning, mapping, sound producing, web developing and innovating to produce the most unique and engaging mods.
Mods were incredibly important for the success of the original Half-Life. Upon purchasing Half-Life 1, players were presented with a huge amount of original and fun content from third party developers. After wading through the huge amount of unreleased, unsupported, uninteresting and uninspired mods listed on sites such as HL2 Mods and ModDB, I've created a list of 5 of the best HL2 mods that have been released so far.
1. Pirates, Vikings and Knights II
Pirates, Vikings and Knights for HL1 was a must-have mod. Featuring several classes per faction and a frantic, fun style of gameplay, you could jump into any match, pick and side and start fragging the other team to complete whatever odd objective the map required of your team. PVKII is just as fun as the original and includes a ton of custom graphical content, makes full use of the Source engine's graphics (including HDR) and includes a fairly intuitive melee system.
YouTube Gameplay Video by kemita (low res)
2. Iron Grip: The Oppression
Iron Grip, an FPS/RTS mix, sets a team of players who select from a set of "hero" classes, each with unique weapons and player model, against an RTS-style player, who uses upgradeable soldiers and vehicles, in a battle over various strategic points strewn across the mod's fairly large maps. The FPS players (as "heroes") can easily be overwhelmed by the RTS-player controlled forces and must work together to ambush enemy advances and assassinate the enemy Officer.
YouTube Gameplay Video by ModDB
3. Insect Infestation
Insect Infestation, or II, pits various insect factions against one another in a competition over resources to produce structures, upgrade available insect-forms and dominate the other insect team(s). While ants and termites are currently available, there are plans for a third faction which should include various other yard insects.
YouTube Gameplay Video by Furluge
4. The Hidden
The Hidden is one of the most suspenseful games I've ever played. One player, as The Hidden, is a super-enhanced killer armed with a knife, a couple of grenades, and Predator-like stealth. The opposing team is armed with various weapons and gadgets to either track down and kill The Hidden or survive. This game has been released for some time and is very polished.
YouTube Gameplay Video by GPAEZK
5. GoldenEye: Source
Based on the original Nintendo 64 version, GoldenEye: Source features updated graphics and physics while attempting to recreate the GoldenEye experience. Those who played the N64 version will feel at home in this game's near-perfect recreation of maps and weapons.
YouTube Trailer by the GoldenEye: Source Team
Honorable mentions (released):
Garry's Mod (Newest version is not free)
Look forward to these (unreleased):
World at War Mod
Science and Industry 2
If you think I missed any excellent HL2 mods that have been released, feel free to let me know in the comments section.
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