Half-Life 2 Remastered for Free on Steam

Valve-anointed mod renovates City 17 with improved lighting, enhanced visual detail, and numerous bug fixes.

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A comprehensive fan-made update for Half-Life 2, which makes sweeping changes to the 11-year-old game's visuals, has gone live on Steam.

The 7 GB update adds in subtle visual effects that essentially restore the look of Valve's seminal first-person shooter. Known simply as Half-Life 2: Update, the remaster is the product of three years' development from a team of modders, with the project sanctioned and supported by Valve.

According to promotional materials, Half-Life 2: Update delivers "improvements to lighting, special effects, increased world detail, countless bug fixes, and an original Community Commentary mode." A new trailer can be found below, while a comparison video is embedded above.

Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look at the updated game's visuals
Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look at the updated game's visuals

Project lead Filip Victor said the remaster brings Half-Life 2 to the same standards as its episodic sequels, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, and Half-Life 2: Episode 2, "and just a little bit beyond."

He said: “While developing the update, I needed to make sure that no matter what I did, I was improving Half-Life 2's world without changing its iconic style, tone, or gameplay."

“My goal is to create something that will draw new players to the Half-Life series, but not alienate long-time fans. Half-Life 2: Update shouldn't be seen as a mod, but as a true update to what is already there."

Along with major improvements to the visuals, Half-Life 2 adds an optional Community Commentary mode, which contains more than 100 in-game audio nodes that, when activated in-game, discuss the original Half-Life 2's development. These are voiced by some well-known YouTubers such as Caddicarus, Brutalmoose, Rice Pirate, ProJared, and Balrog the Master.

The Steam Store page for Half-Life 2: Update can be found here.

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