Transmissions: Element 120

Vent-crawling, gravity-defying fun!

I almost didn’t pick this game up because someone out there tagged it as “horror”. While I don’t mind horror games, I prefer not to have my time wasted by petty jumpscares with no effort to build up any kind of atmosphere, but this game wasn’t that. I’d say it was creepy, but in the same way ALL Half-Life games are. Unnerving, for sure, but it never tries to exploit the player for a cheap thrill which I appreciate immensely. Instead, it uses the properties of light and dark in interesting ways as well as providing new mechanics not seen before in the Half-Life series. It’s short but sweet, exactly what a free mod like this should be.

That makes the two of us.

You follow the trail of a few people who came before you in the unknown location you inhabit. Learning more about them and the world as you push on. There are codes on walls you can scan with the suit zoom for information about potential threats and clipboards with letters detailing what was going on at the time of writing. It’s intriguing in a Left 4 Dead safe room graffiti kind of way. But the star of the mod comes in the shape of a different type of gravity gun, I’d say it’s a spoiler, but it’s plastered all over the STEAM store page, so… Yeah. The gravity gun is essentially an energy-based rocket jumper… And it’s awesome.

The height from a standard jump.

I don’t see how you’re supposed to be scared when you’re having too much fun being a slightly more scientific version of Soldier. The angle you fly depends on where you’re aiming, as can be expected, and you can also jump even higher by ducking and jumping as you fire. Unfortunately, you can’t pogo jump which made me slightly sad, but who cares?! I’m an eagle with a goddamn crowbar! You can use this to speed around giant spaces in seconds or to avoid enemies. Actually, you can even kill enemies with the shockwave it produces. It just takes a while to recharge, so I wouldn’t advise spamming shots.

NOW we’re in Half-Life.

Although obviously following a linear path, there are secrets you can find along the way with the correct platforming or gravity jumping. It’s a nice touch for those who take the time to explore the environment and ponder how they can manipulate it. There’s even an achievement tied to one secret in particular! Though I felt a tad foolish when I realised there was a much simpler solution than the one I took. Aw well. At least you still get the same “a-hah!” moment you get when you figure out how to reach the secrets. It’s very akin to finding the hidden resistance supply caches marked by the lambda in Half-Life 2.

Yeah, like that! (Also saw a flag with one.)

It may only last you a couple of hours, (and that’s with multiple runs) but it’s more than worth you’re time for a free mod. The scale of the game is pretty damn impressive, especially when you take into account how small the dev team is. It looks great, it plays great and don’t even try to make excuses, otherwise I’ll set these guys on you…

You’ve been warned.

SilverWolf

Don't worry... My articles are worse than my bite.

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