Black Mesa: Xen Aims to Fix Half-Life 1’s Weakest Part

Many gamers consider Half-Life 2 to be Valve’s greatest achievement and one of the best games ever made. I, for one, have always preferred the original Half-Life. With no disrespect to Alyx, Dog, or the gravity gun, the mystery of the Black Mesa facility, the slow onion-peeling reveal of one weird layer after another, the mystery of the G-Man and, lest many forget, the two endings(!) that the original delivered always left a more lasting impression for me. But what knocks Half-Life 1 down a peg for a lot of folks – and this is hard to argue against – is a particular part of the campaign: Xen. The alien dimension is placed right near the end of Gordon Freeman’s Excellent Science Adventure, and it was…a let-down, for sure, after the GOAT-quality experience up until that point.

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