Good Ol Barney Saves The Day
Gameplay in Blue Shift plays as pretty briskly, it feels like you'll pick up a new weapon every twenty minutes or so. Speaking of weapons, you'll pick up most weapons that Mr. Freeman did in the original, except for the crossbow, the almost cute little critters Snarks, and the Gauss Cannon along with a few others. While a bummer that the weapon count has been reduced, the game's speed never feels like you're missing a powerful gun, I mean, why would you need anything other than the trusty revolver? A good majority of the game is gunplay with a few pseudo puzzle thrown in the break up the pace, most of them being pretty forgetful, though there was one at the end that made me say "What!? How does that work!?" out loud.
You would expect a game this old to be butt ugly, but I was pleasently surprised that not everything was a blocky mess. Chacter models look alright, and their animations flow nicely. Not to say this is going to make your graphics card beg for mercy, but other than the almost complete lack of physics (We're so spoiled now-a-days), nothing really bothered me about the game's looks.
Sound in a first-person shooter usually comes down to one thing in particular, do the guns sound intimidating? I'm happy to say these do, whether you're popping off shot after shot with your SMG, or unleashing your laser-guided RPG, most things just sound like your brain says they should. Even when you bang your crowbar against objects, some are louder than others, which gave me a little smile. The few Half Life music pieces are here as well, and they provide a nice driving edge to the action. The only thing that really bothered me about the sound was how stiff some of the voice-acting sounded, but oh well, maybe the scientists were actually starting to become robots when I wasn't looking. My favorite thing about the sound is still the Vortigaunt's growl, it'll stop you dead in your tracks if you're not paying attention.
Being eight years old isn't all bad, sure the quality of graphics are always improving and characters are getting more and more believable due to better voice acting, but just like games today, they're mainly judged on the quality of the game itself. Running at $4.99 on Steam, I'd say it's definitely worthy of a purchase, especially if you don't have an amazing computer. Not only does it provide a good little side-story to the original Half Life, but the nature of the game itself isn't very common in today's market, after all, how many run and gun games can you name compared to cover-based shooters? Despite being only about four to six hours long, I'd recommend this to anyone that needs a quick diversion from Gears of War style based shooters.