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Michael Polletier
Ross Joseph Gardner

Michael Polletier
Ross Joseph Gardner

This free digital comic book is an homage to Valve's Half-Life universe that doesn't skimp on details or quality, and has me excited for future chapters.

Whenever I see 'free' or 'fan-made' I'm guilty of making the assumption that whatever the product is, it will probably be of poor quality. I'm not proud of it, but these are the hurdles that a project like Half-Life: A Place In The West have to face when someone like me checks it out. So to say that it surpasses expectations and delivers a high quality and satisfying experience should tell you something about this free/fan-made comic.

The story is compelling and hints at just enough to get you invested in its characters and wonder how their journey will play out. Think of this first chapter as a pilot episode where it establishes a tone and discusses a few possibilities, but only scratches the surface of its future potential.

Setting a story within an established universe could be a controversial decision, but the writing stays away from the fan-service that I was worried might creep in. There's no cameo from Gordon Freeman or the G-Man and I hope there never will be. Instead there is a fresh look at another part of the world and its inhabitants that simply builds on and deepens the existing fictional universe

To compliment this smart writing are panels of nicely drawn art that seems to sit nicely within the themes of the world. There's imagery that already exists in Half-Life, such as the towering citadels, or the design of certain aliens, but the art has a dark and dirty quality that really conveys the ordinary characters and their dystopian struggle.

I don't have much else to say about Half-Life: A Place In The West, but I wanted to write this post because I would love to see more in the future. This is one free fan project that holds up and delivers on quality.

At time of writing there is only a single chapter available, so it won't take you long to get through. However there is a free developers commentary that apparently goes for a couple of hours, so if you're truly invested you can extend the experience a bit. 

Head on over to steam and check it out - it's worth every penny