Hunt Down The Freeman (Zero Punctuation)
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Hunt Down The Freeman (Zero Punctuation)

November 15, 2019


Sorry to fumble open an old wound like a frustrated
teenage cinemagoer on a fourth date, but what do we think actually happened to Half-Life
3? Was it just shunted down the priority list
because Team Fortress 2 needed some more fucking hats? Or knowing Valve, did they almost finish it
two or three times only to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch because they
weren’t 100% satisfied with the colour of the tomato sauce bottles in the 50’s diner
level? That is to say, knowing Valve from back when
they were game developers, and didn’t just spend all day sitting atop their dragon’s
hoard of plunder gently rubbing their scaly bellends with an emery board? With the epic and scintillating story of Half-life
that we all spent fifteen years getting invested in now it seems resigned to end on an unresolved
cliffhanger, fans of Half-Life may now turn to drastic means for the sake of some kind
of closure. Fan fiction, cosplay, allowing Valve to essentially
monopolise digital distribution for PC games, some of them might even do something as drastic
and self-destructive as pay actual money for Hunt Down The Freeman. But please, if you’re even considering it,
remember that there is always help out there, and failing that, morphine tablets. The staggering thing about Hunt Down The Freeman
is not that it exists, if we had to stop the presses every time someone made a shitty fan
game the presses wouldn’t be running long enough to print a fucking Bazooka Joe comic. The staggering thing is that this is a fan
game embellishing Valve’s story using Valve’s intellectual property being sold for actual
money on Valve’s own distribution network, and therefore carries an unspoken stamp of
endorsement. Despite being truly, madly, ovarian cystingly
bad on every imaginable level in ways that only bad fan games can be – the unique juxtaposition
of the professional art, assets and mechanics of the original game taken apart and reassembled
in the clumsiest way possible, like an art gallery’s storage room after an earthquake. It’s also fairly obviously nicked a lot of
its new content, weapons, and level architecture from asset stores and other mods, as again,
some of it looks competently made, but it’s all been dropped into the game with the care
and precision with which turds are placed on the bottom of a budgie cage. The kind of thing where you walk into an overlarge
room and there’s just twelve zombies arranged in a neat row because I guess the people in
this room were doing the fucking hokey cokey when the aliens invaded. Hunt Down The Freeman is also weirdly plot
heavy, interrupting its shitty levels regularly for elaborate Source Filmmaker cutscenes,
starring multiple intense soldier dudes who all look like they were created in the Mass
Effect character customisation screen with about 90% of the options removed, and sound
like they had that usual mod problem where every character has different audio quality
because the actors were recording with their personal headset mics they more commonly use
to swear at twelve year olds in Counter-Strike. As for the actual story, you are a soldier
bloke called Mitchell who was one of the soldier blokes sent into Black Mesa in the original
Half-Life to kill Gordon Freeman and all his scientist pals, but instead Gordon Freeman
kills all our pals and duffs us up with a crowbar, whereupon we swear revenge on his
orange ass. See, it’s not just that the plot only makes
sense if you know the plot of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, it’s also that it only makes
sense if we assume the main character also knows the plot of Half-Life and Half-Life
2. Why else would he solemnly swear epic revenge
upon someone who, to him, should just be one random pimply scientist committing the sin
of not wanting to be killed. In truth, Gordon Freeman is rather conspicuously
absent from a game with his name and indeed lovely marketable face all over its Steam
store page. There’s an in-game screenshot on there showing
his face that’s a flat out stinking lie. Mitchell gets embroiled in the 7 hour war
against the Combine, bridging the plot of Half-Life 1 and 2, just in case this didn’t
sound unmitigatedly galling enough yet. And what follows is a showcase of some of
the worst level design ever commercially sold, and in that I include every shitty asset flip
Steam game consisting of one flat square of grass texture with some trees dotted around
it, because in this case someone was actually trying. Environments are smashed randomly together
so half the ways to go are empty dead ends and nothing indicates the actual way forward. I spent ten minutes in a bunker with some
infinitely respawning friendly NPCs fighting off waves of infinitely respawning alien soldiers
that all resemble a three year old’s drawing of Mysterio from Spiderman, before I realised
I was supposed to get bored, wander off behind enemy lines and stumble into a nearby level
transition. The enemy placement seems to be inspired by
the placement of crumbs on my kitchen counter after I’ve made my special breaded chicken. With little consideration for the size of
the environments, so after a while I just ran past everyone like I was having severe
gastric problems at a wedding reception. There are also hazards that can only be bypassed
with abilites and items the game forgot to fucking tell you that you have. You only find out they added a prone ability,
because what Half-Life really needs is to be more like a fucking Call of Duty game,
he said with sarcasm leaking from the corners of his mouth like hastily stolen cake, when
you can’t get past a hole too small to enter and look up a walkthrough. You also need to use a mantling ability that
only bloody works if you’ve holstered your bloody guns. Unfortunately the game forgot to bind a key
to holster guns, and even after I bloody did it didn’t bloody work so I had to bloody noclip
through the problem. And once the precedent is set, it’s very tempting
to keep noclipping. Hm, I could spend twenty minutes searching
for the way out of this pitch black cave that I can’t navigate because the game only gave
me one flare and apparently I used it in the wrong place, or I could just open the console,
Kitty Pride my way out and have enough time to go out and steal some more cake. Still the plot chugs happily along through
its multiple breaking bugs and design fuckups. Mitchell ends up joining forces with the Combine
to take down Freeman, revenge for being self-defense bitchslapped now taking precedence over revenge
for, y’know, enslaving the human race, and the story eventually nonsenses its way to
thrillingly and climactically ripping off a line from the Dark Knight Rises. Twice. But Hunt Down The Freeman is about what to
expect from any game where half the developers are credited by their forum handles alone. The only reason I wanted to talk about it
is because of the depressing indictment of modern gaming it creates, not by itself but
by Valve’s apparent indifference to this waterfall of piss trickling down either side of its
legacy’s nose. Twenty years ago Half-Life was a focal point
in gaming’s ongoing development as an artistic narrative medium. The next few years saw a slew of titles that
combined triple-A game design with genuine emotional story, but what happened between
then and now? Why are the games routinely rewarded with
triple-A status and income exclusively lootbox-infested live service bullshit, games designed not
to inspire or stimulate our emotions, but to numb them, and hypnotise us into lab rats
mindlessly pawing the button that makes treats come out? While the games created with love and artistic
integrity drown beneath waves of bottom feeders like Hunt Down The Freeman that tear chunks
of rotten flesh from the corpses of Valve’s children as Valve itself, once habitual founders
of new ages of narrative gaming, merely waves them on, barely glancing up from their tax
paperwork? What happened to you? What happened to us? To the people we were supposed to become? I don’t know, but it’s probably safe to blame
John Romero.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. "Still, at least that's one fifth of this year's Bottom Five sorted." Yahtzee, you're not far off. The #1 Worst Game of 2018.

  2. The best part about the "mod problem" he mentions is that a lot of big name youtubers got convinced to be a part of this project. They were probably the only ones with the competent mics.

  3. I hate that this atrocity is wearing Valve's seal of approval yet the heartfelt "Another Metroid 2 remake" is completely shut down…

  4. Its the fault of the dutch prime minister rute!

    Or not idk dont ask me i am just trying to make you laugh while reading this and probobly failing.

  5. To be honest half life in essence was never that good a narrative in comparison to other games. It is the same nostalgia fogged glasses as always.

  6. To tie in with your point, ever play this game called Marathon?
    That game was so ahead of it's time, it'd be like playing that Half Life 3 idea that Honest Trailers had.

  7. Why are you noshing on destiny 2’s lootboxes? I personally think that they were well implemented so that you A.) aren’t locked behind a paywall for certain cosmetics (no one buys lootboxes) and B.) Have an incentive for spending more time in the game after you reach the level cap. Call me biased, but I just like the pretty colors in the space places.

  8. I don't want to play this game to find out, so someone please clarify. How does this game rips of a line from Dark Knight Rises? What actually happens? I'm expecting this to be something truly awful, but if this review is anything to go about, the entire game is a right of passage on how terrible games can be, ae, to the point where the game is so terrible you have to see it to believe it

  9. The guy I saw playing this had to use no clip cause there are more invisible walls in places that look completely open but oh well.

  10. Next Valve releases Artifact, a paid card game no one asked for, and it currently has less than 1 percent of its player base playing

  11. This game is so bad yatzhee didn't even notice he had night vision goggles. Not surprising, it doesn't tell you when you pick it up and it's used like a weapon because they probably couldn't program the damn thing like the flashlight.

  12. I can confirm that HL3 was not stopped for TF2. TF2 gets actual updates as much as people think HL3 will actually be released.

  13. Lore wise the soldiers do mention freeman in the first game so it isn't a stretch they would know who he was.

  14. Blaming John Romero here seems even funnier considering the E3 interview, and that Romero watches this videos.

  15. Half Life 3 is not possible and never will be made…all of the writers for the original Half Life games no longer work for Valve, so basically if they did make another Half Life it wouldn't be as immersive nor will it be well told as a story. The games are at a point where another sequel isn't possible at least in the sense that a good sequel is possible. If they for some reason DID make Half Life 3, there's almost no way it could be good.

  16. 2:08 I dunno about anyone else but I'd be absolutely happy to pay full price for this game if they replaced the protagonist with David Mitchell.

  17. This is exactly the reason why Epic needs to take over the PC gaming distribution market and force Valve to do something besides sit and make money off other people's games.

  18. The thing is the last thing half life fans want is alien 3 treatment, waiting for another installment then getting a trashy conclusion story's

  19. 1:40 To anyone who hasn't seen this game. Yahtzee means this literally. There are parts where zombies are just laid out in a straight line. Like the level designer got lazy and was like, "Eh just switch to place enemy tool and spam a line of zombies right here… There, done…" It's awful. Like someone from Gmod spawning in a bunch of zombies to fight cuz they're bored so they just spam a line of'em. We're talking THAT level of poor enemy placement.

  20. The ending was 100% on point.
    In hindsight, I guess this is partly why Yahtzee started the Dev Diary series, to inspire people to become indie developers and create good video games. Because Triple-A industry sure has stopped caring, even Valve who were once universally liked haven't released a god damn narrative game in years and have given themselves to hats and micropayments just as the other triple A big baddies.

  21. I've always said to myself that I'm not too worried about gaming's future. As long as people still give a shit, games can still be good.

    That doesn't make it any less heartbreaking that Valve has fallen from grace in the way that it did, and in doing so, paved the way for triple-A gaming to be lorded over by thinly veiled corporate penny-pinching.
    Please come back, Valve. We miss you.

  22. This is why you never praise a company, no matter how much you like them, they don’t like you. They like MONEY.

  23. @2:09 Oh if it was really David Mitchell I would play lol 😀 ! Finally connecting Peep Show and FPS, such a natural pairing lol

  24. No HL3 but instead we get this shitty fan made game and that's just more proof that we're living in the darkest timeline

  25. And that, boys and girls, is why I'm fine with the Epic Store cutting in on Valve's action. Complacency. (Though, yes, the Epic Store is a barebones piece of shit. But they have to start somewhere.)

  26. This game is so incompetent and pointless, that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Ride to Hell: Retribution and Hatred have Wikipedia pages. That is sad.

  27. In a way it is John Romero's fault. His massive fuckup cost Eidos the money that would've been used to save Looking Glass.

  28. What happened to you?
    What happened to us?
    To the people we were supposed to become
    Is that Shakespearian or some other play? Or have I just watched this too much and started replacing words elsewhere with this quote?

  29. That last bit of dialogue felt like a very genuine and emotional plea, only to be self-consciously end-capped with a joke, framing it as an afterthought, so as not to be preachy. Sort of like saying "haha just kidding" after you notice people staring at you.

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