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Half-Life 2: Update breathes new life into City 17

Half-Life 2 was and remains one of the greatest shooters of its time, but as the game is now over 10 years old, it isn’t looking quite as impressive as it once did. With Valve seemingly uninterested in giving the game the remaster treatment as so many other developers are doing recently, fans have taken it upon themselves to do so.

The remaster, simply named Half-Life 2: Update, is freely downloadable for owners of the original game, and it became available on Steam yesterday. This Half-Life 2 mod “offers both longtime fans and first-time players the most visually advanced, stable, and fully featured version of Half-Life 2 to date in one free mod download,” according to its Steam page.

Developed by fans and lead by community member Filip Victor, the mod offers a slew of new features including High Dynamic Range Lighting, improved fog, and new particle effects. It also fixes a number of bugs — both visual and gameplay-related — that remained in the game after all these years.

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In addition to the cleaned-up visuals and squashed bugs, the mod also includes a Community Commentary Mode with voices of well-known YouTubers including Ross Scott from Freeman’s Mind, a series of videos that voiced the thoughts of the game’s silent protagonist.

One thing fans won’t have to worry about is changes to the gameplay. Victor said “While developing the update, I needed to make sure that no matter what I did, I was improving Half-Life 2‘s world without changing its iconic style, tone, or gameplay,” speaking to GameSpot. “Half-Life 2: Update shouldn’t be seen as a mod, but as a true update to what is already there.”

The download weighs in at 7 GB, which is nearly twice the size of the original game. While the system requirements are quite a bit more than the original game, if you are able to run Half-Life 2: Episode 1 or Half-Life 2: Episode 2, you should have no issues with this mod.

For a look at everything that has changed in Half-Life 2: Update, take a look at the comparison trailer below.