We all know of one of Valve's greatest creations ever - the Half-Life franchise, especially the second part of it. The game looked very good at it's time, had everything the community wanted, didn't lack in story, animations, audio or mechanics, which is what made it so good. However, in the end, it did get pretty boring, which is where mods come in. One of the best modifications for Half-Life 2, in my opinion, is Transmissions: Element 120, which is why I am going to be going over it today.
The modification features the player in a weird area with building and crates, wielding a gravity ball gun that allows you to jump buildings and survive falling from great heights. It harnesses the best and the worst things from Half-Life 2: the amazing atmosphere, the challenging puzzles, the immersive exploration and thoughtful map design, but it also doesn't change the slow and clunky combat and dated HUD and layout from the original base game.
The new features and, of course, the ability to control gravity, adds something new to the good old Valve title that Half Life 2 is. The map and level design are great, with you being able to either traverse it by walking on the ground or floating above buildings with your newly added weapon.
The storytelling via text instead of talking to characters or narrating is usually not good, however, this mod managed to do it in a way that works (and does so with success). The audio and the sounds are outstanding, which, coupled with the map design, create an atmosphere where you are on and not on edge, a sort of dead zone where it is tense but not exactly scary. It also is one of the few Half-Life 2 mods that encourages stealth and sometimes even requires it to advance. Scouting ahead and keeping an eye out with a sniper is useful and the well designed map is thoughtfully made like - as it gives you information even if you're not close up and personal with the enemies.
Best looking mod to ever come out, in my opinion
The game has stealth in the beginning and action at the end, with the middle being comparable to stuffing, where yes, it tastes good, but does best when it supports the next meal, which in this case would be the ending part (second dish). I am not going to reveal either of the dishes as the mod is only about two to three hours long and even tiny spoilers could ruin the immersion and reveal a big part of the story / plot. Bugs are very rare to encounter, the only time this happened to me was when a dead sniper glitched through a ceiling, allowing me to take his weapon that you're obviously not supposed to have during the playthrough. Another HUGE plus is that the mod is totally free if you have the base Half-Life 2, so that's also pretty handy. The visuals are stunningly good, the map looks better than official Valve maps, I would even dare to say, and the layout also isn't far behind.
The atmosphere is always kind of dark and gloomy, keeping it tense and spooky throughout. I have no complaints about the pacing or the game mechanics. The story is pretty interesting and the smooth and fluid animations add to that. Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about it other than that it could be longer, but I mean it's free, so what can you expect; after all, the self-published mod's developers only make money from making mods if people donate, which they hopefully do. The mod is certainly worth it even if it was paid, that wouldn't change my opinion about it.
Verdict: one, if not the best mod to ever come out for Half-Life 2. If you have the base game and have already gone through the main story, I highly encourage you to try this mod or some others, because there are tons of good ones around, you just have to find them.