Are the Half-Life expansions – namely, Blue Shift and Opposing Force – still worth playing in 2023? Let’s find out.
The revolutionary first-person shooter Half-Life was released way back in 1998. Its game mechanics and narrative were way ahead of their time. This landmark of gaming set the bar high for all FPS games to come. Because of the base game’s massive success, we got two expansions: Blue Shift and Opposing Force. Let’s briefly discuss each of these entries.
Half-Life: Blue Shift
Half-Life: Blue Shift was developed by Gearbox Software as an add-on for the original Half-Life. It’s available on Steam as a standalone expansion. While you might think something like this may be non-canon, it actually is. In Blue Shift, you play the fan-favorite character Barney Calhoun. You can actually see him at the beginning of the original game while you’re on the train. And in Blue Shift, you can see everyone’s favorite scientist, Gordon Freeman, on the train as it passes you. While many people consider this expansion to be the weak one, it’s still exceptional.
If you crave more of the exploration and really the experience of Half-Life, you should definitely play this. It’s very similar to the first game, except the story is obviously different. You can see another side of the chaos at the Black Mesa research facility by experiencing this. And it really makes the game feel non-linear and more expansive.
Half-Life: Opposing Force
As the name of the expansion implies, in this game you play as one of the soldiers that fight against the scientists and the individuals at the Black Mesa research facility. But it’s not simply “kill the scientists and capture Gordon Freeman.” Instead, it delves deep into the situation the soldiers were put into, and it reveals more information about the opposite side of the coin.
The weapons and equipment in Opposing Force are very different from those of Blue Shift and the original game. There are multiple guns and gear that are really fun to use. Because of how good and fun this expansion is, many players consider it to be the superior expansion. It’s also longer than Blue Shift, which was about five hours in length.
In conclusion, both these expansions are definitely worth playing even in 2023 if you’re a fan of the franchise.
The order to play the expansions
Obviously, you must finish the story of the first Half-Life game first. To be honest, the order you play the expansions does not matter that much. But many players, including me, like to play Blue Shift first and Opposing Force second. And that’s the way I recommend you play it.
On a Steam sale, you can buy all of the Half-Life games, the Portal games, and the expansions of Half-Life 1 and 2 for less than $10. Keep an eye out for sales!
Here’s the link for the bundle of all the Half-Life games plus the expansions: https://store.steampowered.com/bundle/231/HalfLife_Complete/