Playing Black Mesa beyond a certain point reminds me of a certain game that a friend and I used to call Jumping Jedis, because of its masochistic focus on leaping when cooler things could be easily had. Sure, it looks cool, and in general it can be fun, but only if you like to die a lot. We used to joke that the leading cause of death for Jedi must have been falling into pits.
The original Half-Life was not particularly difficult. Black Mesa is. The old-school crouch jump is back and ready to humble you. Be prepared to hit four keys simultaneously in order to pass certain areas. For a game of such length, it’s a bit ridiculous.
Also, the design is pretty, but like Jumping Jedis, not intuitive. I never got lost or stuck, really, in the old Half-Life, but here I’ve had to stop playing to consult the web to see where I’m supposed to go. Encouraging exploration is nice, but widening corridors a tad, making the jumps less brutal, and including a sign or two isn’t that hard. I must say, though, in the game’s defense, I haven’t found any game-stopping bugs.