The incredible new Half-Life-inspired survival game just got better

Over 25 years since the release of Half-life, and I feel like I know the Black Mesa lab better than my own hometown. The anomalous materials area, the blast pit, that horrible underground railway – between Gordon Freeman, G-Man and myself, we could sit back and hand draw the entire facility. This raises a question: during the resonance cascade, where would be the best place to hide and try to survive? A huge hit on Steam, a new survival game lets you test your subsistence skills in a parody of gaming’s most famous scientific facility, and it’s just gotten even better with a vital new update.

Abiotic Factor is like a cross between the original Half-Life, The Forest, and the classic low-poly aesthetic of the 90s. A survival game set in the bowels of a massive underground laboratory, it essentially presents you as the one of the hapless NPC scientists in Valve’s iconic shooter. Playing alone or with a team of friends, you must find a defensible corner of Not Black Mesa, scavenge supplies, and try to stay away from the alien creatures and government cleanup crews that are now invading the doomed facility . With a peak of over 21,000 concurrent players and a 97% positive rating, Abiotic Factor is currently one of Steam’s biggest hits, and now it’s bigger and better.

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The new Abiotic Factor update adds an essential feature in the form of walkie talkies. Until now, you could only communicate with the rest of your team via proximity chat, but long-range communications are finally possible – if you had fun with Lethal Company, roaming those galactic ruins while whispering carefully, then shouting, into your radio, Abiotic Factor now offers the same thrill.

All creatures you have captured, tamed, and turned into pets will now follow you devotedly. There are also two new quasi-quests: you must reactivate a faulty security shutter and recover the ID card of a missing scientist. New recipes are available, if you can gather the tools needed to cook, and the dreaded IS-0091 has been nerfed slightly so that it no longer appears as often.

In general, the GATE facility now appears to be a slightly safer place to establish your temporary residence. The full patch notes outline some additional microscopic tweaks and bug fixes, and you can try out the early access version of Abiotic Factor for yourself here.

Alternatively, if you’re a big Half-Life fan, you should also get the best FPS games, or perhaps relive the golden age of the PC with the best old games you can still run today.

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