A while ago The Orange Box was available for a discount price of € 9,99 on Steam. I quickly decided to buy it for such a bargain price, because I was interested in Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two. While Episode Two has got upgraded graphics, Episode One and of course the original Half-Life 2 now look quite outdated when it comes to graphics. Because I still remembered using the Cinematic mod to get improved graphics for Half-Life 2, I decided to check if a more recent version of that mod has been released since I played it for the last time a few years ago. That was indeed the case. The most recent version is 9.51, which is mostly easily downloaded with BitTorrent here, here and here. It’s a quite large download. Version 10 is being worked on according to the the news here and here (screenshots included).
This mod gives Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 and 2 a serious graphical upgrade, while also slightly altering the gameplay and replacing the music with more a cinematic soundtrack. You might not like the artistic license taken with the models, Alyx for example looks like Adriana Lima, but you have to admit that it’s very impressive work. According to the author himself, he has reached the limits of what is possible with the game, Half-Life 2 is almost five years old now. What’s even more impressive is that the mod’s creator has done all the work himself, if I’m correct. I have a lot of respect for people who can be so productive.