Here I am, a few hours after finishing POV and I'm still thinking about it. It's like when you see a good movie or read a good book...it stays with you. In the land of video games, these moments are few and far between. The interesting thing about POV is that it's not the newest offering from some developer. It's a mod...plain and simple. It's something a small team created using their resources and creativity.
The mod I'm speaking of is POV or Point of View. It was released May 2nd as a free add-on for Valve's Half Life. Much like the retail HL expansions, POV takes place during the alien invasion of the Black Mesa complex. This time...you play as Xonxt, an alien slave. Because you play as an alien, it forces you to approach things from a different perspective. No longer can you just pull out the BFG and slaughter your way to the end. Playing an alien takes skill and resourcefulness if you want to survive. POV also features an interesting story served up via an in-game journal. While this is nothing new, it fits perfectly with the style and mood of this mod. So, with those things in mind, head on out to http://halflife.multiplayer.it/pov/ and start the download while you finish this read.
Before jumping into the main game I want to mention the training level. Playing as a "Xenizen" is a big change from traditional HL and the training level helps you get used to the controls. While the training mission isn't as scripted as the one in HL, it's full of interesting stuff. Walk around the level and check out the various pieces of human equipment that the aliens have brought back. You will find doors, card readers, and other "training devices" scattered throughout the level. There is also a shooting range of sorts, so you can practice using your electricity and slave hands. The training mission, while no technical marvel, is fun and full of the creativity echoed throughout this mod. It’s also cool to get a good look at many of the aliens…without them trying to kill you.
POV starts you off as an "upgraded" version of the slave aliens. These are the guys from HL that warp-in and throw green electricity in your face. During the first minutes of the game you find yourself on Xen going about your daily business. Serving the overseers and of course the great Nihilanth. I won't go very deep into the plot because I don't want to spoil it for the masses. Suffice it to say that the humans show up and all hell breaks loose. From there the story takes you all over the place trying to recover an object of great importance. Perhaps the most interesting part of this quest is the way Xonxt’s "thoughts" are recorded into the journal. The story unfolds with the action, but also in the mind of your creature. It's an added feature that should have been in the original Half Life if you ask me. Another interesting addition is Kate from Azure Sheep (another free mod). POV was created by the same core team that did Azure Sheep and you will find JustBarn and Kate play a role in the ending.