Take a look at Industria, and youd be wary not to think of Half-Life. It features all of the continent''s futuristic cities, liminal mind trips into new dimensions, ambient sounds that linger to soak you into the world, and rogue scientists unraveling this new dystopia. And youre at the heart of it with your trusted axe and pistol, smashing boxes and scurrying about the streets without fearing robots. It is also far superior to its superficial aesthetics
With totalitarian control, the ideas of rebellion unthinkable and victory unsurmountable. Thats where it embraces but also breaks from its Half-Life influences. Youre not a scientist with a crowbar and a god complex, boosted by your superheroic anticsa leader who faces those unsurmountable odds and triumphs. Youre a person attempting to survive and find their husband, wading through the filth and the wreckage with a faceless voice, only to discover disappointment
The world of Half-Lifes is bleak. It''s like a pipe dream to dump the Combine and shut down Dr Breen. He then arrives on a train, the wrong guy in the right place, and he sparks hope in the cause, leading its troops to tear down the monuments to fascism while staging demonstrations in the streets. And along the way, you meet countless rebels who lend a hand. Industria is just you and an unknown man who''s trying to escape.
Half-Life is a technological marvel that pushes the FPS genre (and now VR) ahead with each launch, but its world is as fascinating as its physics and immersive finger-tracking gunfights. That''s what Ive been craving in a modern Half-Life, a game that leans into Earth under totalitarian control, is brought to its knees, the overlords literally towering above the masses, and picks apart its impact on those who are trapped at the bottom.
Industria gives us something. It brings us back to our 2004 stuttering regret. G-Man is replaced by a fluid lucid dream with a person dancing on a stage through a hallway in a mundane office. The triumph is gone, with a hollow victory in its place as we discover our husband only to stumble back into the hole.
Half-Life is more relevant now than Half-Life, a game in which fascism is toppled and democracy and community win. We get what we expected at the end of Industria, but it''s disappointing and cold, the victory almost immediately. The world is still apocalyptic, but the city is still lost to these robotic structures. It''s also connected to what the alt-right is today, and it''s more vital now than Half-Life, a game in which fascism
Maybe its because of our loss of hope over the years, but Half-Life was always a perfect mirror to our own reality. The Combine is a metaphor for fascisms sublime and unbeatable nature, the Metrocops is an alliance for neighbours, but ultimately we win. It takes Half-Life''s core message and unravels it, but it shows us how it reflects our own world. Industria gets that, even if it is less optimistic.