Hunt Down The Freeman

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"Hunt Down The Freeman is the worst thing ever made by another human being. It's an insult to first-person shooters, it's an insult to Half-Life 2, but most importantly, it's an insult to the Half-Life 2 modding community, unabashedly stealing assets from other, more talented people to palm off as its own."


Hunt Down The Freeman
Hunt Down the Freeman.jpg
Valve still won't make Half-Life 3? Maybe they'll sell this instead? Makes sense.
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
Release Date: Demo
September 7, 2016
Full version
February 23, 2018
Game Engine: Source
Developer: Royal Rudius Entertainment
Publisher: Royal Rudius Entertainment


Hunt Down The Freeman is a fanmade Half-Life 2 game that was developed and published by Royal Rudius Entertainment and released on Steam on February 23, 2018. It was originally released as demo on September 7, 2016.

Why It Sucks

  1. It had an awful development cycle with 5 delays in a short time-span.[1] The developers on the Half-Life subreddit stated that the fifth one was done as a publicity stunt.
    • According to some developers who have worked on the game[2], the development of Hunt Down The Freeman was a huge mess from the start. Berkan "Frank" Denizyaran, the director of the game, not had any previous experience in directing a game and often times during development, teams were left unorganized and with no direction.
  2. A weak plot with a very absurd plot twist at the end and awful writing. It tries way too hard to be edgy and serious (and sometimes even funny). The plot is about a HECU Marine named Mitchell Shepard, brother of other HECU Marine Adrian Shephard (the protagonist of the Opposing Force expansion for the original Half-LifeAGW game), trying to get revenge on who was believed to be Gordon Freeman, who killed his squad. The twist at the end reveals that it's one of Mitchell's followers (a former Black Ops member named Adam) disguised as Gordon who knocked him out and killed his entire squad. Also, it rips off some elements from the Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain, with further proofs being that former series director, Hideo Kojima, is listed in the credits under "Special Thanks", one of the tracks is even similar to Phantom Pain's Sins Of The Father track, and Mitchell with hair has an odd resemblence to young Revolver Ocelot from the same game.
  3. The storyline is also filled with plot holes. Here are a some notable examples:
    • Just after the Seven Hour War, various graffiti tags related to the Resistance can be seen in some places, which makes zero sense since while the Resistance was formed shortly after the war, it couldn't have been formed right after the end of it.
    • The G-Man gives Mitchell a task to hunt down Gordon, which turns out to be a ploy to orchestrate a setup in order to distract the attention of the Combine from Gordon to Mitchell. This makes zero sense, given the fact that Gordon was a top priority for the Combine and they also had to deal with the upcoming citizen uprising (one of the many aspects that the game seemingly ignores about the Half-Life lore), which was a much more important thing. G-Man's character is also less mysterious than he was in the original games.
    • Even though Mitchell is Adrian's brother, Mitchell doesn't even seem to show much concern about him throughout the game. The fact about them being brothers also leaves a bad taste in the fans' mouths because it's an obvious parasitism on Adrian's popularity within the community.
    • Adam is revealed to be a participant in G-Man's ploy, but it is never explained why he did that and how did he acquire an HEV suit and use it without any prior training. (Adam does make an attempt to explain things to Mitchell, but Mitchell just guns him down.)
    • Boston Joe warns Mitchell not to use any firearms due to a gas leak that can blow everything up but goes against zombies with a shotgun himself, something that Mitchell himself pointed out (In fact, the player themselves can use firearms freely). This makes the whole gas leak deal absolutely pointless. What is also odd is that these headcrab zombies turn out to be zombified Black Mesa scientists. How did they end up there?
    • Boris and Mitchell call each other "old friends" even though they only met once 17 years ago and also despite the fact that Mitchell ruined Boris's life back then.
    • Mitchell barely even reacts to Sasha being killed by Adam and doesn't seem to care, as she is never mentioned again.
      • Mitchell and Sasha recognize each other despite the fact that they very briefly met each other 17 years earlier, once again.
    • In the end, after killing Adam for scarring his face, Mitchell, for whatever reason, knows about the Borealis and tells everyone on the ship to set a course for it. The ending obviously serves as sequel bait, never mind the fact this is sometime around the initial City 17 Uprising before the Resistance even knew of the Borealis' existence in Half-Life 2: Episode TwoAGW.
  4. Our "villain protagonist", Mitchell Shephard, is an extremely unlikeable, whiny, edgy and selfish jerk. In addition, his primary motivation for going after Gordon Freeman is not to avenge his marine buddies, Gordon for unintentionally causing the resonance cascade and killing the Nihilanth that led to the occupation of the Earth by the Combine, or attempt to get answers about that what happened to Adrian, but instead for... "fucking up his face".
  5. The game features excessive swearing (something that every Valve game deliberately avoids, except for some minor swear words, but they aren't excessive. Barney Calhoun, at one point in Half-Life 2 says "fuck", but it is cannot be heard in the game due to structure collapsing) in an attempt to make the game seem more serious and mature, but it fails epically.
  6. The game itself doesn't understand how the lore of the Half-Life universe works and has several inaccuracies (e.g. Antlions appearing in snow maps, despite the fact that they are insectoid aliens and prefer living in warm climates just like its real-life counterparts, and the Immolator, a weapon wielded by the Cremator, an enemy that was cut from Half-Life 2, shoots normal fire instead of the plasma-like substance it shot originally).
  7. The gameplay is generic, uninspired and is full of cheap difficulty as it often pits the player against hordes of enemies with little to no ammo or health pickups.
  8. Occasionally the enemies' guns consist of a giant ERROR sign that appears over their faces where the guns should be.
  9. The majority of the assets are stolen; some are bought, and some of them traced from other Valve properties, and none of them mesh well together. Some of the levels even completely recycle maps from Half-Life 2.
  10. Many locations like Albuquerque look nothing like their real-life counterparts. They instead look like generic cities or other locations due to the maps being traced from Garry's Mod.
  11. The level design is downright awful. Many levels are large, open areas that give little direction as to where to go and what to do. Levels also have invisible walls placed oddly and abundantly around them, which can often make them very confusing to navigate. Some invisible walls even prevent players from progressing further, forcing them to use the "noclip" console command to continue.
    • Some parts of the maps are pointlessly long. It is believed that the time-consuming maps are intended to be made to purposely inflate playtime in an attempt to prevent people from refunding the game. The parkour system is also slow and hard to control, seemingly for the same reason.
      • The parkour system isn't properly explained either, particularly in the tutorial level added in a patch.
  12. The only new "enemies" that appear in a few levels are badly mismatched versions of two cut HL2 enemies (Combine Synth Elite Soldiers and Alien Assassins) that come out as hilariously trashed with them being easily killed and incremated without explanation as they die. The Synth Soldiers are basically reskinned and rescaled Combine Soldiers that disintegrate upon death, too.
    • Some enemies are impossible to kill (because of the poor placement), such as the snipers in the Arctic levels. These snipers also have a laughable and impossibly large range.
    • The Resistance members don't have any variety that they had in the Half-Life games. You always encounter the same guy in a black jacket with a beanie and an orange bandana (who is modelled after one of the appearances for the Resistance members that never went past the concept art stage).
  13. The game includes pre-rendered cutscenes and the levels that are heavily disjointed from each other, which completely contradict the seamless, immersive designs of the Half-Life games that have been the core signature of the franchise.
  14. The cutscenes themselves are of rather poor quality, with mediocre animations that look like something out of an amateur Source Filmmaker short on YouTube. Unfortunately, these cutscenes still manage to be the highlight of the game. Worse yet, at launch, some cutscenes wouldn't even trigger at all because they weren't even added to the game. They were made by a talented SFM YouTuber named Deremix Productions, who later made a video showcasing the cutscenes, and to add insult to injury, they were in better quality than the ones that were shipped with the game. He later made a comment that the ones that shipped with the game were the old, unfinished, and temporary cutscenes, proving once again at how rushed the game was.
  15. Awful voice acting that ranges from mediocre to horrendous. The main protagonist, Mitchell, is the most notable example of bad acting in the game despite his actor, Mick "Ricepirate" Lauer's best efforts (who is a professional voice actor), along with the G-Man, who mispronounces Black Mesa ("Black Messah") on several occasions and comes off as a poor impression of his original voice actor, Michael Shapiro (again, despite his efforts). The game's cast also has a lot of YouTubers in it, but they are not helping much. For example, Alexander "I Hate Everything" Horton plays as an important minor character (named Nick) whom he voices in his native British accent, which can confuse people (even IHE said they should've hired an American voice actor instead in his rant on the game) since his character is an Asian-American member of the New Mexico National Guard. And worst of all, Keemstar, of all people (a bigger known YouTuber infamous for sending a lynch mob after an old man he falsely accused of paedophilia, cyberbullying and racial slurs), has a voice acting role in the game as the President of the United States.
    • It's worth mentioning that the YouTubers and other voice actors were only asked by the developers to record lines that the developers sent them without letting them know that it was meant for the game and/or without proper context. As a result, none of them even knew the game even existed until its release.
  16. The laughably awful dialogue that along with the voice acting makes the writing even worse (e.g. "YOU FUCKED UP MY FACE!" (which became one of the most mocked lines in the entire game), "Where is Gordon, where's Freeman?!", "Hero, huh? You're talking to a villain, my dear... ", "My mother is dead." etc.). Also worth noting that almost all of the G-Man's lines are not even original, but they are just a rehash of the things he said in the Half-Life games.
  17. The weapon sound design is horrendous. Several examples include the Knife reusing Half-Life 2's crowbar's sounds, the silenced MP5 sounding like a pop gun, and the shotguns sounding unimpactful.
  18. The mod cost $25 at launch before the developers later reduced the price to $23 and later gave it a 15% discount in an attempt to make the game not look overpriced. It was eventually reduced to around $20 by mid-March 2018.
  19. The game advertises itself with a 14-hour playtime, but it can be completed around 4-5 hours if you know where you are supposed to go, manage to get past its bugs/glitches or using cheats.
    • In the levels that take place during the Seven Hour War, enemies come in hordes. You aren't meant to actually fight these enemies. Instead, you have to go to a very obscure part of the map. This often manifests itself as poorly lit alleys or back streets.
  20. The game's size is 60 GB, with uncompressed 4K textures, high polygon models, and uncompressed cutscenes taking up most of the disk space, causing the game to crash, have constant FPS drops or make the loading time go up to 1-2 minutes (Most games that have 4K texture packs tend to have them as free optional downloads, as 4K textures tend to take up a significant amount of space).
  21. Mediocre graphics, even if it was filled with 4K textures.
  22. The game was absolutely broken at launch, with it being plagued with bugs, glitches and missing textures on some levels.[3]
  23. The HUD looks very generic at worst, without even making it cool or unique like other mods.
  24. Speaking of models, many of them look bad and odd. One example besides the new "enemies" and Mitchell is during near the end of the first act, which has Colonel Cue, who looks like a teenager with a fake moustache. This mostly stems from the human models being made in Fuse, which causes them to clash with the universe's aesthetic.
  25. Some new weapons, like the Scorpion SMG and the double-barreled shotgun, look out of place within the Half-Life universe.
  26. There are some elements of false advertising. For example, various screenshots and the game's trailer clearly show Gordon attacking Mitchell, while in-game it's just Adam in an HEV suit with a helmet, who is believed to be Gordon. In fact, the game has nothing to do with Gordon Freeman, at all. He only appears as a small cameo in one ending (seven of him, in fact) and he's mentioned a few times, but other than those instances, there's literally nothing the game has to do with Gordon at all.
  27. Many voice actors and developers have yet to be paid if they ever get paid at all.
  28. The game doesn't bother to tell you what to do in missions at all. For example, in one mission, players must get a knife, which is right behind them.
  29. The actual game somehow ended up being even worse than the scrapped version that, while also being of poor quality, had at least some interesting elements (e.g. Gordon actually played an important role in the plot, Mitchell was going to interact with other Half-Life characters like Father Grigori and Eli, and he was somehow able to view the memories of deceased people, which were seemingly supposed to alter his views on things, such as showing Mitchell that Gordon is not as bad as he thinks).

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some cutscenes are actually good due to Source Filmmaker having some benefits, and nearly strayed the game from being too boring.
  2. Some of the map designs are decent enough, especially the Black Mesa level.
  3. The weapon animations look nice due to the team having an actual animator working on them.
  4. While still lazily done, it has at least some headcrab zombie variety, unlike the Half-Life 2 games themselves and majority of mods for them. These new zombies being Black Mesa scientists, hospital doctors (who share models with zombie scientists) and surgeons (though only one appears during gameplay as a torso variant, plenty appear in the cutscene that introduces Nick) and New Mexico national guards.
  5. The soundtrack is pretty decent.

Reception

The game had massive hype during its announcement, but many people were also criticizing the game's demo, noticing the stolen assets and the fact that the story is weak, the voice acting is horrendous, and the gameplay is lacking.

The game was universally panned and received heavy backlash even before release, with the developers being involved in asset flipping and lying to their fanbase. It received a "Mostly Negative" rating with only 23% of the 421 user reviews (as of March 16th, 2018) being positive, while some reviews praised its use of the Source Filmmaker cutscenes, the rest of the reviews lambasted the game due to its unfinished state, the lacking gameplay, bland and forgettable storyline, stereotypical and unlikeable characters, traced assets etc.

Gmanlives harshly criticized the game for similar reasons and called it, as quoted, an insult to both Half-Life 2 and its modding community, and recommended everyone to avoid buying the game at all costs.

Tyler McVicker(ValveNewsNetwork) did a stream of the game on Twitch and was very negative about it, describing how this "game" is disrespectful to anyone who calls themselves a Half-Life fan.

On Half-Life Subreddit, YouTube and forums like then-active Facepunch, the game itself became a subject of numerous parodies and memes due to its atrociously low production values, terrible voice acting and dialogue. Many Half-Life fans consider this game to be the worst Half-Life mod/fan-game or one of the worst games of all time.

On another note, comparing this "game" to Half-Life: Before, FakeFactory's Cinematic Mod and Half-Life: Prospekt makes three of those games/mods look decent at best.

Darklordjadow1 compared the game to a badly written fanfiction in his two-part review.

DX featured it on his Worst Games of the Decade saying that "the story is a 14-year-olds fanfiction realized in video game form". He then declared it the worst Indie Game saying, "There has never been a game more telling of Steam's complete apathy towards quality control than HDTF. There are many great Indie games out there HDTF is not only not one of them. It is undoubtedly the worst of them."

Similiar to Darklordjadow1 and DX, ESCalation compared the storyline to a poorly written fanfiction.

Controversy and developer's response to criticism

The developers were involved with several scandals, such as constantly delaying the game as a publicity stunt which ended up annoying fans, the implications that devs approved their game on Steam Greenlight through bots,[4] stealing assets from other developers,[5] and lying about the demo being made by a separate team when it was obvious Royal Rudius developed the demo themselves. Also, the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the game barely reached its goal, yet the game was still developed anyways.[6] Also, it should be mentioned that the developers try to block any form of criticism, and censor any allegations of stolen assets on their Discord server and Steam group.[7] One of the voice actors, Keemstar, also made a name for himself by harassing and bullying people and sending people to do it, including the aforementioned false paedophilia claims. On February 26th, the developers made a news post on the game's Steam forum, [8] where they put some blame on old team and community for "lies and harassment", while using excuses such as "accidentally releasing the old version of the mod".

While Berkan "Frank" Denizyaran himself has never responded to the criticism, a few developers of the studio, most notably Terry and Se7enanimator (sound designer and later the first-person weapons animator who both worked on Hunt Down the Freeman) have admitted on the Half-Life Subreddit that the game was bad, while mostly blaming on Frank's lack of skill at directing the game and organizing teams.

Videos

Trivia

  • Originally, Hunt Down The Freeman started out as an SFM mini-series before later becoming a fan-game.
  • The majority of the cast are voiced by several YouTube personalities, most notably Vincent Cyr, Sky Williams, Pyrocynical, Colossal is Crazy, and the aforementioned Keemstar, RicePirate, and I Hate Everything.
    • As revealed in I Hate Everything's video about his involvement in the game, he explained that he joined the project because he wanted to get more recognition outside of his own channel and because Colossal is Crazy asked him if he wanted to join. I Hate Everything eventually came to regret this decision once he became aware of the game's quality and how the project was managed.
  • Bolloxed, a YouTuber known for his playthroughs of Half-Life games/mods, claims that he had donated $50,000 to fund the development of the game and he's defending the game in order to get his money back. Whether it's true or not is still up to debate.
  • The face model of Mitchell Shephard has an uncanny resemblance to Geralt of Rivia, the main protagonist of the The Witcher franchise, and James McAvoy, a Scottish actor known for his role as the young Charles "Professor X" Xavier in the X-Men reboot franchise.
    • TV Tropes' description of Mitchell says: "Early on, he looks a bit like John Wick with even more noticeable scars. Later on, he becomes an Expy of Venom Snake, with him rescuing orphaned children, having a base in the ocean and being a heavily-scarred melancholic commander."
  • One person found out that the character models of young Mitchell and Adrian have nude textures which lack privates, much like a Barbie/Ken doll. These models were made with the software MakeHuman, a program designed for prototyping photo-realistic humanoids, which auto-generates a naked texture for its characters, though the models lack genitalia. The devs were clearly unaware of this and removed them from the game after they were reported.[9]
  • Ironically enough, Half-Life's expansion pack Opposing Force advertised playing as a HECU Marine who is on a mission to eliminate Gordon Freeman similar to Hunt Down The Freeman. While we do get to play as a HECU Marine, the plot primarily focuses on stopping the invasion of the Race X aliens and Freeman is seen only once, jumping through the portal to Xen before disappearing (attempting to follow Freeman results in an automatic Game Over).
    • However, it does make sense since Opposing Force's protagonist, Adrian Shephard, was actually tasked with eliminating Gordon Freeman, but without any knowledge about it. The commander of his squad was killed before he could update Adrian's squad about their mission.
    • It is also worth pointing out that this game's protagonist, Mitchell, and Adrian, the protagonist of Opposing Force, are in the same operation, yet different section. Funnily enough, both Mitchell and Adrian are revealed to be brothers.
  • As TV Tropes pointed out in the Counterpart Comparision section, Hunt Down The Freeman has several similarities to other media:
    • The entire premise of the game is very similar to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Both of these games feature heavily-scarred melancholic commanders who make their base in the ocean (an oil rig in Solid Gear series, while in Hunt Down the Freeman it's a mostly functional cargo ship), their followers wear balaclavas, they rescue children orphaned by war, they escape from a hospital at the beginning of the game, their primary motivation is vengeance, and there is a scene in which they head towards the sunset as their followers assemble in formations behind them.
    • The game is essentially the antithesis of Half-Life: Full Life Consequences. While Full Life Consequences is a parody fanfiction and doesn't take itself seriously, Hunt Down The Freeman is a fangame that tries to be as serious as possible (and fails miserably). In addition, the protagonists are related to certain protagonists from the official series who have a personal beef with Gordon Freeman (John Freeman is revealed to be Gordon's brother at the very start, while Mitchell Shepard is revealed to be Adrian's brother at the end).

Comments


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Maxkatzur

14 months ago
Score 4
Ummm, will you add category about games reviewed by Jarek The Gaming Dragon?
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HawkeyeSolo

11 months ago
Score 1
Top 3 worst games of the decade.
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SpazJR61

11 months ago
Score 0
Hunt Down The Freeman: Sonic '06 of the Half-Life mods
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Demon Horse

11 months ago
Score 0
The Aliens are coming! We've been compromised!
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SpazJR61

11 months ago
Score 0
Literally Mitchell Shephard is father of Infinite from Sonic Forces.
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Markoman

8 months ago
Score 0
I can say they dropped the price and made a achievement where is says about refund.
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SpazJR61

7 months ago
Score 1
YOU BETRAYED ME!
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SpazJR61

7 months ago
Score 1
YOU USED ME!
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SpazJR61

7 months ago
Score 1
YOU FUCKED UP MY FACE
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SpazJR61

7 months ago
Score 1
You have my permission to die! *shots*
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Paprika

6 months ago
Score 2
BLACK MESSAH
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Mr. Dready

6 months ago
Score 0
This is not just the worst Half Life 2 mod, but the worst mod ever created! in my eyes.
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SpazJR61

6 months ago
Score 1
This is not only the worst mod ever made, this is one of the worst games of all time.
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Mr. Dready

6 months ago
Score 0
@SpazJR61 You're Goddamn Right!
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HawkeyeSolo

6 months ago
Score 1
"There has never been a game more fulfilling of Steam's complete apathy towards quality control more than HDTF"
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SpazJR61

4 months ago
Score 0
or being a huge embarrassment of the all of the fanmade video games.
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Manintidywhities

3 months ago
Score 0
It now sells for 10$(1?$ if it's a Steam seasonal sale), as of this writing. But even at that reduced price, that is still too much for what this "game" is and for what it's worth
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Mr. Dready

2 months ago
Score 0
Counter Strike: Nexon Studio is stupid, but that is at least free this however costs money.
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SpazJR61

21 days ago
Score 0
This game is so comically terrible, it can make you laugh.
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ItMeansNothing

21 days ago
Score 1

When you fuck up his face

MyFaceIsFcked.png
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Demon Horse

7 days ago
Score 0
That is terrifying.
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TerWebz

9 hours 21 minutes ago
Score 0
"It really just makes you FEEL like Gordon Freeman!"

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