Half-Life 2 is a stone-cold classic. The Valve shooter that introduced City 17, Alyx Vance, and the iconic gravity gun still feels fresh and modern almost 20 years later, and is well worth your time, especially as we wait – and wait – for Half-Life 3. But if there’s one thing I would change about HL2, it’s the gunplay. Armed with his trusty crowbar and a slew of great-looking, imaginative weapons (the red-hot-rebar-firing crossbow will always be a favorite), Gordon Freeman nevertheless feels a bit rigid, a bit static. Now, a new mod for Half-Life 2 VR transforms gunplay in the Steam classic, making the entire FPS feel much more alive.
Half-Life 2 VR is a superb way to experience Valve’s iconic FPS. Created by the aptly-named Source VR Mod Team, it offers full headset and control support, as well as new and intuitive menu and reload options. But the shooting in Half-Life 2 could still do with a bit of livening up. Released in 2004, HL2 arguably feels a little plain compared to modern FPS games, so thank our benefactors for the new Half-Life 2 Unleashed.
Created by Vittorio Romeo, Unleashed is an enhancement or ‘fork’ of Half-Life 2 VR – a mod on top of a mod. It adds a variety of new combat options and interactions, including an extremely gratifying dual-wield system. You want two magnums? You got it. Akimbo shotguns? They’re yours. How about two gravity guns? Coming right up. You can even mix and match between Half-Life 2’s weapons, sporting an SMG in one hand and the crowbar in another.
Unleashed also adds a ‘universal melee system,’ meaning you can whack Combine soldiers – or anyone or anything else – using whatever you have in your hand. You can even punch. Remember that bullying little Civil Protection officer who tells you to pick up the can? Well now you can just whack him in the jaw. Especially when you’re dual-wielding the pistols, this is like playing Half-Life 2 as Max Payne. You can get Half-Life 2 Unleashed right here.
The creators of the new Half-Life 2 ray-traced version recently explained how they want to recapture the initial magic of the original game, as if you were playing back in 2004. We’ve also discovered a wonderful Half-Life and Doom crossover.
Alternatively, feed your Valve nostalgia with some of the other best old games. You might also want to know exactly what happened to Half-Life 3, which will definitely, definitely arrive someday, I swear.