Black Mesa is a third-party remake of Half-Life in the Source engine (Half-Life 2) from developer Crowbar Collective. It follows Half Life’s Story through the Black Mesa Research Facility fairly closely with some changes to the level layouts. The game is currently in ‘Early Access’ and incomplete engine just before you teleport to an alien world called Xen. The developers have delayed the Xen level(s) numerous times, as they are working on a complete remake/redesign of the environment but recent updates hint that it might be coming soon.
As you trek across Black Mesa towards the Lambda Complex, You will notice there are some changes in not only the graphics but the level designs as well. The high poly models look great and the environments feel much more immersive in the Source engine. The audio quality is notably improved and Black Mesa even includes surround sound options. Some of the lack of challenge in the original has been removed through means of improving the enemy AI, aim and weapon damage making the game play differently than the original which many people would speed run through areas.
On the down side, the developers have promised multiple times to release Xen, the alien world, and missed their own deadlines multiple times leaving gamers who bought the game empty handed. On another note The Devs artificially increased the difficulty through methods such as reducing ammo capacity. The game is still incomplete at the time of writing this article; the Developers have been releasing updates lately, strengthening hope that Black Mesa will be finished in the not so distant future.
In closing, I feel that Black Mesa is a decent fan remake, but is missing a large portion of the game leaving you wanting more. Normally you might not give a developer much dissension for not having a finished product in early access, but in this situation the remake has been in development for over a decade. Given the price tag (currently $19.99) I would recommend picking this one up on SALE for gamers who would like to experience Half Life for the first time keeping in mind it is an unfinished product.
Check out my (in)complete stream of Black Mesa on YouTube below: