It’s astounding to think that in a month which saw the release of Metal Gear Survive, something worse could be inflicted on another revered franchise. Hunt Down The Freeman is every bad cliche, every poor concept, every terrible design choice it is possible to make in a fan game. While only loosely connected to the Half-Life franchise, it somehow manages to get bare basics of style, story presentation and even mechanics utterly wrong. You could give a developer ten years, tell them to create the perfect bad game, and it would still fall short of the abomination we have here.
The story follows Mitchell McTotally-Not-Geralt-of-Rivia Shepard, as he attempts to hunt down Gordon Freeman for killing his squad and almost slaying him. After the G-Man opts to use him to hunt down and murder Gordon, he begins to stalk the hero of the Half-Life series and always seems to be one step behind him. Or at least that’s what the trailer would tell you. Unfortunately, the trailer is a lie. As are the screenshots, and any promotional information surrounding this game.
To start off with, this is nearly unplayable. On the day of its launch the game would repeatedly crash, and even following multiple patches it still retains multiple unfinished textures, missing assets and bugs which break the game. You can honestly lose your entire arsenal of weapons between loading screens if you are unlucky, leaving you with no way to fight back against the next mob of enemies. Many areas have also been lifted wholesale from other games, notably the infinitely better Black Mesa, but also Payday 2 and even Garry’s Mod. Yet, despite taking work from other sources, it somehow manages to completely misuse them; churning out large open levels with no sense of direction and invisible walls blocking your every path.
The gunplay itself is horrendous, something hardly helped by extremely poor hit detection and some of the worst sound design ever to be used in a game. Your combat knife uses the crowbar sound effect from Half-Life 2, and guns can even fall completely silent if you fire them for too long.
The few new enemies the game presents provoke laughter more than they do fear, as each is a badly mismatched combination of parts taken from cut Half-Life 2 enemies. The only time you will ever feel challenged by Hunt Down The Freeman is when it attempts to use volume as a replacement for good design. You will constantly find yourself in corridor fights, with next to no ammo and facing infinitely respawning hordes of zombies.
If you are desperate for a Half-Life fix, just go buy Black Mesa. The only thing of value you will find in this is a perfect example of how not to design games.
HUNT DOWN THE FREEMAN / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: ROYAL RUDIUS ENTERTAINMENT / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW