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You Should Improbably Play This: Mission Improbable

There are a few Half-Life 2 mods that basically constitute The Further Adventures of Gordon Freeman. Sometimes these isolated chapters make me want to dive headfirst back into the unfinished trilogy, and sometimes they’re just a reminder of what Source did well. Other times, though, they manage to articulate More Half-Life 2 while at the same time having a strong whiff of first-order originality, served with their own own flourishes of design brilliance. Minerva was one such outing, and Mission Improbable is another.

The Mission, then, is a couple of hours of Half-Life 2, beautifully imagined, and expertly delivered. There’s a bit with a car. There’s a bit with a headcrab launcher. There’s a breathtaking bit with Combine architecture. It’s all there. The mod been made by a couple of chaps at DICE, one of whom we’ve talked to before, and posted about his creation, Whoopservatory. This particularly creation, released last month, is packed with custom assets, and has a palette and pace of its own. The exterior autumn scenes are quite beautiful, and it once again shows how well free mods of scripted shooters work when experts are at the controls.

As well as looking good, it contains some beautifully orchestrated set-pieces, and several good jokes. Yep, it’s got a sense of humour as well as a meticulous eye for detail. I feel, somehow, cynically, ashamedly, and perhaps inexplicably, like I shouldn’t be impressed by a HL2 mod. But I am, because it’s clear just how much time and attention has been put into it. And, like the game it originates from, I didn’t want to leave it until I was finished. It’s a fine, beautiful piece of work. You should almost certainly play it.

Thanks for Mr Yang for pointing this out to us.

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Jim Rossignol

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