The Citizen Returns

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

23rd June 2014

Set in both the heart and outside of City 17, “The Citizen Returns” contains the final chapters of our citizen’s story, as well as an updated version of Part II.

The story takes place shortly after a failed assassination attempt on Dr. Breen leads to the first ever use of the Overwatch Broadcast system by The Resistance, represented by former garage
owner Larry Soderstrom Jr.

The Combine forces decide to capture him and try to use his public repentance and execution as a means to appease the emergent rebellion.

The Citizens of City 17 however have other ideas in mind. Larry is now a symbol for the rebellion and a key asset in a bigger plot to deal a fatal blow to the Combine and its grip on humankind…

Basic Details
  • Title: The Citizen Returns
  • File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-the-citizen-returns.7z
  • Size : 397MB
  • Author: Chris “Playbus” Fox and Jose “Kasperg” Ameyugo
  • Date Released: 23 June 2014
MapTap Users

I have remove this option because with a file this big, it is much better to download it to your HDD and install it from there.

Download Options

Download to your HDD [397MB]

You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.

Installation Instructions
  • Copy the The Citizen Returns folder into your SourceMods folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • The Citizen Returns should now be listed in your Library tab.

If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.


Sweet is a HALL of FAME entry

Custom Grid View Icon

The file above comes with 5 custom grid view icons. To use it, select “Grid View” in Steam (top right corner). Make sure you have saved the image to a location on your computer – you can’t use it from the compressed archive directly. Right click on “The Citizen Returns” and select “Set Custom Image”. Then browse to where you saved the image and choose it. Then click “Set Image” and that’s it.

Of course, you can create your own custom image if you prefer.

Subtitle instructions

The text below is taken from the readme file
Enable subtitles in the Options>Audio menu. If they are not being displayed in your language (if available), you can use a console command to force the engine to display a particular language.
That would be: cc_lang english , cc_lang german, cc_lang french or cc_lang spanish.

Easter Eggs

The text below is taken from the readme file
The first 16 maps contain a few notes or letters that trigger a little scene in the 17th map if you find them all. Due to technical issues we were unable to fix, you must use the USE button to read them, and the USE button again to stop reading. It’s important that you are facing the note or letter in question for this to work, as it works like a regular button.


The text below is taken from the readme file
All content in The Citizen Returns is either original Half Life 2 content (both modified and unmodified), or is custom content and derivative work created and/or performed entirely by the artists below.

Custom Textures (including modified HL2 textures) by Jose Ameyugo, Chris Fox, Amanda Horan and Dennis Glowacki.

Custom Models by Jose Ameyugo, Amanda Horan and Dennis Glowacki

Voice Acting by Anne Fox, Jason Fielding, Chris Fox, David Maylia, Cayetana Ameyugo, Jose Ameyugo, Eric Soderstrom Jr., Mike Hillard, Tony Newton, Phillip Marlowe, James Archibald, Andy Morris and William McMahon.

Custom Music by Kevin McLeod.


The text below is taken from the readme file
We have tried to optimize this mod as much as possible, using VIS-blocking techniques, prop fade distance, occluders and areaportals. However, there was a significant downgrade in the Source Engine since the release of Part II which causes some visual problems. We have done our best to minimize them, but fixing them completely would require redoing some of the map layouts from scratch.

-Several “too many vertex format changes in frame…” will appear in the game console at times.
-Disappearing brushes in sp_streetwar and sp_presquare.
-Some reflective textures like windows having no specularity at all. Most notably in sp_square (this was a needed adjustment to alleviate the problems mentioned above).

General performance for the mod meets the requirements that HL2 Ep2 itself has. Some low frame rates on low-end systems can take place in sp_square, but most systems will have no trouble with the mod at all.


The text below is taken from the readme file
Playthroughs and reviews of The Citizen Part II over the past three years were useful to improve the mod, but this time we also had a lot of serious testing done, including the input from the Beta Testers Collective.

Why was the mod delayed for so long?

Engine updates that broke the mod several times, lack of motivation and big changes in our lives are probably to blame. Also, we admit this mod was overly ambitious and we ended up depending on a lot of factors (and people) to put it all together. The basic story and the 17 maps themselves already existed by the end of 2008 in some form or another.

When we released The Citizen Part II in 2010, this is what the mod was supposed to be like, plus a few more choices and multiple endings that we had to cut out. There was never a separate “Part III” mod, so to speak


The playthrough below is provided by Custom Gamer.
See more of his playthroughs on this site: VP: Custom Gamer


Coming Soon

Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Play It Later
Play It Now!

20 recommendations, average score: 4.2 (out of 5), standard deviation: 1.36 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 31 comment(s) with meta review data.

Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 26 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 7 Hours, 14 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 30 Mins by Repus
Longest: 45 Hours by
Total Time Played: 224 Hours, 5 Mins
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  1. Phillip's Favourite

    Okay, I have cheated, by adding this non-review and for that I am sorry.

    I will update this comment with the correct play time once I finish it.

    As soon as I finish Black Guard (Coming to the site soon – see the sidebar) I will Live Stream my playthrough of the mod and post the videos and screenshots.

    1. Repus

      Jesus Christ!
      Why, why so many mappers actually think that players require stories to play mods and that there MUST BE a long, long LONG boring and pointless introduction that cannot be skipped accompanied by dull and depressing music? I couldn’t wait for this stupid intro scene to end, why the hell is it SO-O-O-O long and so boring? Is the rest of the gameplay going to be such?
      What a drag! Next mod, please!

  2. Kasperg

    You have an extra “s” in the title. The CitizenS Returns

    1. Fixed. Sorry about that. Was just a simple typo.

  3. Ok, so from what I’m understanding this contains the full story, and I don’t have to go back and play the old parts to understand what’s going on, right?

    1. That’s correct. This is the full mod and no other previous experience of the other mods is necessary. It contains updated versions of the two previously released mods.

    2. Kasperg

      This mod replaces “The Citizen Part II” as a sequel to “The Citizen”. It has improved versions of those 9 maps and 8 more new maps.
      The only thing one really needs to remember from “The Citizen” is the fact that Larry made a small announcement on the Overwatch Broadcast in favor of the rebellion.
      This mod picks up after those events.

  4. Only played 45 mins of this so far and not very impressed unfortunately.

    Voice acting is horrible (sorry Phillip!) but there are lots of very good voice actors out there willing to help for free.

    The level design isn’t very interesting. Huge areas are wasted on big empty spaces which is a shame because the mapping quality is quite good. The player spends virtually no time in these maps and very little happens.

    I think my major problem is the amount of control the mod makers are trying to exert here. The whole double intro passing out thing is just annoying and I was getting rather angry just wanting the game to let me actually play.
    Also, you really don’t need to patronise me and continually tell me what to do that’s no fun at all. Good level design doesn’t require instructions, the player will find their way if you build your levels right.

    I’m currently stuck at the strider section (who appears to be ignoring me completely for some reason, was this really beta tested???) and have now quit for the moment. I may not go back to it…

    Overall a rather dull submission…
    Final analysis…

    Just because it’s long, and looks nice, doesn’t make it any fun to play unfortunately…

    1. Maybe?

      Just played more of this… some of the mapping is shockingly bad.
      Everything seems to be made out of brushes…
      The level design got more and more frustration and irrational.
      The casino looks like a map from the original counterstrike. No Counterstrike Source… the old counterstrike. Just horrible..

      Quicksaves are almost non-existent

      you basically just move from one NPC scripted bit of exposition to the next.

      THIS IS NOT A GAME!! there is no game here. Its just Machinema with movable point of view…

  5. JG
    Play It Later

    This mod is somewhat difficult to review. On one hand, it’s clear that a massive amount of effort went into it. Packed to the gills with custom assets and lengthy maps, you don’t really want to criticize it too harshly. But at the same time, the devil is in the details. Do you overlook issues simply because there’s so much content, or do you judge it the same way you would a standalone map?

    I think the answer is somewhat relative. If you get through a mod, and you find it wasn’t fun but the authors really seemed like they were trying and it just didn’t work, that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, they seem preoccupied with visuals at the expense of gameplay, which comes across as a complete afterthought, then pendulum swings the other way.

    The first half of this mod revisits The Citizen: Part 2. There is some improvement – irritating parts like finding the correct door after you leave the bank couldn’t be more obvious now. But sadly, many of the flaws from the original draft still persist here. There are no surprises here for anyone who played the mod already.

    The second half takes us to new territory, although it suffers from many of the same issues that plague the Citizen saga in general. The story attempts to ramp up the stakes, but the concept is silly and my investment in the characters was non-existent by that point.

    Three things about this mod bring it to Play It Later territory for me.

    The first is that the mod puts a lot of faith in its NPCs and their performances and it expects you to be fully invested in their melodramatic story. But the voice acting is still mostly terrible and the sheer amount of exposition, escorting and waiting absolutely destroys the pacing of this mod. Autosaves, for whatever reason, are also few and far between. Save often, or else you’ll be forced to go through these high school drama rehearsals over and over again.

    The second concerns the amount of dodgy physics and gameplay. The mod features an inordinate number of stacking puzzles and they often involve custom props with glitchy physics that refuse to hold still. This should have been caught in testing. Other gameplay issues abound. One custom enemy was completely immune to weapons fire despite being vulnerable earlier. Combat often feels like an afterthought, with no difficulty curve and a strange tendency to use AR2 troops against poorly armed players and rebels. NPCs frequently boss you around and outright tell you the solutions rather than allowing you to explore and learn things for yourself. And the gameplay can be extremely heavy-handed when you do things it doesn’t want you to do (which, in conjunction with the autosave problem…).

    Third, and maybe most of all, the mod clearly puts visuals and style above gameplay. It loves to show off. Massive areas are pretty to look at, but contain no meaningful gameplay. Arenas feel crafted to showcase massive set-pieces rather than tactical encounters. The Faceposing work is still dubious at best. Architectural styles are cobbled together in a haphazard way. Custom textures may keep things fresh, but change so frequently that the overall picture is wildly inconsistent. Towing one NPC with the Airboat was virtually unplayable in parts.

    And at some point, this prioritization toward visuals above all else starts to take its toll and create a negative impression.

    There is one part, however, that perfectly encapsulates what the mod should have been. It’s the fishing hut in the middle of the toxic lake. You’ll know it when you see it. This bit was perhaps the only time I cared – when the visuals, choreography and gameplay all worked together to tell a sad little story. I wanted to breathe that moment in (toxic fumes aside) and hoped the rest of the mod would be like that. It wasn’t, but if there was ever a moment I could point to and say “More of this, please,” it would be that one.

    So, in conclusion. If you liked the Citizen saga and could see past all of its quirks, you’re going to love this mod. If, on the other hand, you wanted to see some improvement in anything other than the visuals, you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s worth playing, but the sheer number of odd little issues that should have been fixed make it feel like the authors gave up and released what they had, and as such, I don’t feel I could give this a Play It Now.

  6. grabbie

    There appears to be a game breaking bug in the “Out on a Wing” section right as it begins. You get to the point before the locked gate and the scripted event never happens. This is because only three out of the four characters appear when the game loads the section. All four are present walking down the stairs prior to the loading screen.

    Since my quick save is right in front of the steps, I tried racing down the stairs and forced the load screen before they could all finish walking down. This allows the 4th character to appear and the game to continue. Not sure why this is happening but wanted to bring it to your attention.

    Great to see this released.

    1. Kasperg

      It’s a rare bug that has happened once or twice to me. Considering I’ve made the map transition well over 200 times, It is indeed rare.

      However, I made sure (I should’ve put this in the readme) that all of the maps start with the needed NPCs if you just load that level in particular. You won’t have the weapons and ammo though if you do it this way.

  7. Ade

    What can I say to all, yes this was tested but only once, to our disappointment, as most authors that come to us have some mod in late stages and only look for game breaking bugs and don’t even offer us a 2nd playthrough to see if any fixes were implemented, they are only rushing for a release. This was the case, and for such a large mod it was a mistake, obviously. Plus the instructions pdf appeared to have us look for more than just game breaking bugs and yet the author refused to fix things to that deepest level of detail mentioned in the file. Authors not using our feedback is a risk for us and a right of them specified in the contract, but most players really have no idea about that.
    From the reviews this obviously gives us a bad name and in the future some teams might not come to us for help and that saddens me. It’s time Phillip and I sat down and decided about those ‘BTC tested’ and ‘BTC approved’ badges as this just won’t do.

    1. Kasperg

      So, did you replay the whole thing again or are you just guessing by the reviews? 😀

      Dozens, if not hundreds of the things the BTC testers pointed out have been fixed for this version.
      I had already told Phillip I was hesitant about having extensive playtesting done since I really wanted to release this mod, after having it parked for 3 and a half years.
      I’m sorry you feel your efforts were wasted.

      Still, you’re not the author of the mod. Complaining that something that we’ve put thousands of hours of work into somehow gives you a bad reputation feels a bit odd to hear. It’s the BTC mission to help improve mods, not the other way around.

      1. Ade

        You’ve put thousands of work but with barely any testing, that’s never a good idea.
        And you simply agreed with me that you wanted to release as quickly as possible, which doesn’t leave much room for improvement after we come in, renders PART of our work useless (like I said, at least don’t ask for all of that stuff to be tested if in the end you won’t fix em, as you yourself stated in the forum, no need to replay to know that), and yes gives us a bad name if an author screams ‘was this even tested at all???’ (no need to replay to know that either because everyone will assume it was thoroughly tested)……. Now I’m wondering how many ‘BTC Tested but not Approved’ mods he had played and asked himself the same thing, considering he hasn’t used us in the last N maps of his.

        And this is not about improving our reputation, otherwise I would be hunting for all the big names, take no small projects, and would’ve never agreed for instance to test Underhell simply as Ade and not involve the BTC. You are wrong, sir. But there’s a big gap from improving a reputation to ruining one. And if this hurts us, it means we won’t be able to help OTHER mods in the future. This is all we really want. To ‘make mods better’.

        1. Saying we did ‘barely any testing’ is just your opinion. There are 7 playtesters credited before the BTC testers and they found their share of issues for Part II back in the day. I’ve also seen several playthroughs on the mod on Youtube that have helped a great deal and prompted a lot of changes.

          I’m curious. What issues did I not fix, besides the ones I said I couldn’t (the notes for example)? I’m asking again. Have you played this final version to the end and seen all the changes I made after the BTC feedback?

          I insist. The notion that I left something unfixed or buggy just to spite the BTC and give them a bad reputation is completely absurd.

          I did what your site suggested. Profited from the feedback and paired it against other testers/players’ judgment and my own to produce a version of the mod that is much better than before it fell into the hands of your team. I don’t see why it’s such a drama.

          1. Ade

            I’m not willing to paste from the forum even tho the mod is now released, it is still not for the public to read. It is all there if you’re so curious. Plus you admitting in several places you won’t fix all the findings, but only prioritize them. Plus me insisting on at least 1 more playthrough for checking if the fixes were ok and for game breaking bugs.

            I’m done with ‘the drama’.

            1. I’m not curious about what I said weeks or months ago. I know what we discussed and I think it’s irrelevant compared to the fact that you haven’t played this version but are assuming I didn’t apply the fixes your team suggested. I applied most of them. And the very few I didn’t, I had my reasons not to. Another playthrough wouldn’t have helped much at this point.

              I don’t see how this is so hard to accept. You state in your site you want to be credited no matter what. Maybe that’s the issue here. I’ll gladly remove you from the credits if you think being associated with this mod is detrimental to the BTC and brings shame upon you and the rest of the team 😀

            2. JG

              I agree, part of the issue is that the BTC would like credit for testing even if that feedback wasn’t implemented, and the BTC’s presence in the credits is naturally interpreted as “Well, the BTC must have tested this, so why didn’t they find these really obvious issues?” To that end, there probably needs to be some kind of final “seal of approval” process.

    2. No amount of testing and feedback could have fixed the issues in my opinion. There’s just a general lack of understanding of what makes for fun gameplay in this mod. Poor level design is replaced with endless dull exposition and its band aid that just doesn’t do the job unfortunately..
      Its a shame as there is so much talent on display here. If this team ever find a good gameplay/level designer then we could see something really special in future.

      I would reccomend the team lead produce some small, simple HL2 maps and release them to the community. Forget the bells and whistles of custom assets and voice acting and just focus on designing some fun levels. No story needed.

      1. Mega Sean 45

        I on the other hand find story to be the most important part of mods. Most of these mods I play, it’s just fighting and fighting, same environments, no story, but if there is story, it’s not very original. This mod has lots of original mapping styles and stories in here which makes it unique to the other mods. To make the best mod ever, I hope for the stories and personality of it’s characters are unique and filled with different emotions. Just because the Combine took over, doesn’t mean EVERYONE has to be miserable and angry. If sitting inside and playing video games is not against Combine law, then I have no need to join the Resistance! XD

  8. This reply is as good for Jason as it is for Jim Patridge.

    It’s a very unpopular thing to say by a modder, but I admit (and Chris Fox probably has a similar opinion) that HL2 combat bores me to tears and has done so since about the middle of my first HL2:Ep1 playthrough. No amount of “tactical variation” helps with that.

    It is true we do have more fun creating custom assets and stories with voice acting than figuring out how to make 9-year old combat gameplay feel “fun” again. For us, it just isn’t. The current HL2 mod we’re working on has no Combine soldiers, to be truthful (it’s not set in the HL2 universe either).

    Obviously this way of seeing things translates into the mod and clashes with a lot of players’ expectations. But then again, this is a mod(ification). The point of mods is to experiment, bring something new or different to the table. Those ‘run of the mill’ HL2 maps with perfect HL2 gameplay are not my cup of tea. Neither for mapping nor playing them.

    1. Totally understand where you are coming from and totally understand that you were gunning for a different style of game play.

      The Stanley Parable is a good example of a hl2 mod that takes the assets and re-uses them with a completely different game play approach that works really well and is much fun to play.

      It didn’t matter what my expectations were about the game. The game taught me the new mechanics in a calm, measured way with a wry sense of humour and as a result I loved the experience.

      The problems I encountered with the Citizen is that the game just isn’t any fun to play.

      Being told precisely what to do and then doing it isn’t fun. The fun needs to be built into one or both of the following areas:

      Working out what to do
      Executing what needed to be done

      In this mod there’s not much fun in either of those things, most of the time unfortunately.

      At certain points the mod excels, I like the scene where i was on a rooftop and had to intervene in an execution. I was too late to save the girl unfortunately but its a very small moment of game play that puts the power into the players hands for a change and this is what is missing for the rest of the experience.

      Just out of interest, what games influenced your choices? What game’s style were you attempting to emulate?

      1. It’s a difficult question to answer right now. The inception of these maps dates back to the last months of 2007 (right after we released The Citizen) and first half of 2008. We were probably aiming to reproduce much of what people liked about the first Citizen mod (custom scenery while set in the HL2 universe, lots of scripted events and choreographed scenes), minus the really bad aspects such as the frequent loading intervals, very short maps and unforgiving combat. We improved on the voice acting, but of course being there so much of it in this mod (probably in the top 3 HL2 mods of all time in terms of amount), the flaws are also much more evident.

        As for game style… The point is we didn’t really want a definite game style. There are maps in this mod where you’ll need to explore. Other times you’ll be fighting soldiers in more linear maps, and other times you’ll just feel like a regular citizen should, just a cog wheel in the big schemes of the rebellion, listening to other rebels and their plans.
        I’m not sure there’s a game I could say we were trying to emulate. I can enjoy the old Final Fantasy games as much as the next Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry. No particular bias towards the amount of combat, downtime etc. I’m guessing I could even enjoy a game taking place in an empty museum as long as it kept my eyes interested.

        In any case, the place where you said you were stuck was the 4th of 17 maps. There might be something you enjoy more in the later levels!

        1. Thanks!

          I’ll muscle through it to get to the later levels.

    2. JG

      I’d find the “Combat bores me to tears” remark easier to digest if it looked like you put some effort into it instead of having Combine sprint single file into a room to get shot over and over again. You speak as though there is no nuance to it and that’s fundamentally wrong.

      There are many ways to spice up combat. An ai_standoff can work wonders and requires relatively little effort to implement. I use my enemies the same way you Facepose your characters – these are my actors. When they take cover, break down doors, breach a room, or lob grenades – it’s all about giving them character. Anything but the single file sprint!

      Lastly, I really don’t appreciate you criticizing mods without custom assets as “run of the mill.” You made the same dismissive comments back when The Citizen 2 released. I have not criticized your use of custom assets. I have criticized your choice to prioritize them above all else.

      1. Actually, the fact that HL2 combat bores me, is more than enough reason for me to not put in the same effort as in other parts of the creative process. If I actually enjoyed it, I’d put more effort into it. Isn’t it obvious?

        We used plenty of ai_scripted_schedule and ai_assault entities in the maps, but the single file effect that happens in some of them probably does give a bad impression. Perhaps our nodegraphs could have been more spread out.

        My problem with HL2 combat isn’t related to it being spiced up or to the movements of the actual soldiers. I’d say it has more to do with the actual player weapons, the ragdoll effects, the weapons the soldiers use etc.
        It’s not just that I’m bored by combat in my mods. I’ve been long tired of it since the HL2 episodes came out. No custom mod has changed my mind, although I did enjoy a particular shooting exchange in the kitchen area of the first Mission Improbable map. But it was because there were pans and things carefully placed in the middle. Not because of the actual Combine soldiers and their strategies.
        They could hide in barrels or flank me like velociraptors and I still wouldn’t find them particularly fun to shoot. It’s been almost 10 years…

        That said, I don’t criticize mods for not having a lot of custom assets. I think they can be well done (Minerva offered some great custom areas without custom assets) and deserve praise for achieving their goal.
        Sadly, that goal they set themselves most of the time (replicating HL2 situations in standard HL2 locations) is something I no longer truly enjoy. A perfect example is your old Powerstation 17 map. One can’t argue against how well crafted it is. Specially the escalation of combat. But did I experience anything new when playing or did it just feel like a HL2 demo? That’s much a criticism as it is a compliment.

        I applaud those who strive to make maps or mods that mimic the retail games, but I have a copy of those already. I need something different. Location, characters, story etc.

        1. JG

          I’ve got an entity that’s going to change your life: ai_standoff.

          I’ve got another one for you: ai_battle_line.

          POW! A double shot of awesomeness! Two entities that are some of the best kept secrets in HL2 design. One even comes with a free pigeon! Now, go forth and make fun combat!

          1. I’ll give them a try. Do they work for all NPCs or just Combine soldiers?
            Random Quest II won’t have any Combine foes so I’m wondering if it can be used with rebels.

            1. JG

              Rebels should work. I’ve used it with Metropolice and Combine Soldiers and I’ve got to say, it really changed the way the combat feels and how I thought about it.

              The thing is, their usefulness isn’t super apparent from Valve’s description. They make it sound like it’s all about having one side fight another side. And that’s one use for it, but really, you should think of it as the “How to force NPCs to use cover” system. You’ll see the Combine do things you never even knew they could. It makes the game feel a bit like Gears of War, with the Combine tactically running from cover point to cover point (defined by info_node_hint). You’ll see animations and behaviors you didn’t even know they had.

              The best part is that it’s pretty simple to set up. If you figured out the Assault system, you’ll have absolutely no problem figuring this out. All you need are those two entities and a few info_node_hints (with Low or Medium Cover set – try Low first) scattered where you’d like them to take cover.

              True, it’s not going to make their reactions to getting killed any more spectacular, but it goes a long way to make them seem like wily, intelligent foes rather than cannon fodder. 🙂

          2. Karl

            For those who want to know what you guys are talking about with the ai_standoff discussion:

            (Not criticizing the discussion, just giving a general FYI.)

  9. Maybe?

    I think taking into account Kaspergs response the trouble with this mod is that the puzzles, the combat and most of the traditional gameplay was an after thought. There are a lot of cool elements, I like the level of player choice available in some areas but the mod seems to do a lot to artificially restrict the player, putting them in invisible boxes in some cases. Where this mod shined most was when you were away from NPC companions and exploring the beautiful environments. Navigation of the environments mostly felt very satisfying though this being the strong point of the mod it’s a shame there wasn’t more to acknowledge player exploration.

    NPC companions were another strong focus but I felt they talked a lot and communicated little of immediate relevance, I think if the modders wanted to really flesh out their characters some of this dialogue should have been prompted by the player rather than being forced upon the player. At one point I lost my AI companion only to find him looking mournfully over the devastated city spouting a soliloquy about it. I think this sort of thing would be more welcome if the player had to press the use key to prompt them, as it is when you use the use key the characters tend to scold you for it which makes me dislike them more.

    The voice acting for the key characters wasn’t great, delivery was often flat. Larry’s actor is the worst, not because he is necessarily a bad actor but how he delivers the lines it doesn’t convey any emotion, there is no intonation and as such his lines tend to fall flat which with a clearly character focused mod is exactly what you don’t want.

    I’m not sure if the new characters had custom heads (I think they may have) but often I wasn’t even sure which characters I was encountering. I think if the modders had done more to visually distinguish key characters from the red shirts I may have had an easier time relating to them.

    I’m not saying this motherload of dialogue should have been cut but I think it should have been reserved for players who were actually interested because for me it detracted from the experience.

    As I mentioned more traditional game play elements felt shoe horned in I think this was really telling by the frequency of crate stacking puzzles with the custom physics props being a bit glitchy this often didn’t work especially well.

    I can see kind of what this mod was going for and I like that the mod was trying new things. The huge number of new assets look awesome but judging on gameplay it wasn’t quite there. There are moments where this mod is absolutely awesome but the shoehorned gameplay, the arbitrary restrictions and the largely tedious NPC interactions really brought this mod down for me. The little details, the drunk guy in the store, the lady on the pontoon house thing, the notes and visuals in general are all fantastic! But in the gameplay and with NPC’s on the main path this mod sadly falls short for me.

    It’s enjoyable enough in places but it isn’t all it perhaps could have been

    I look forward to their next release but if they learn anything from this mod I think they need to reconsider how they approach NPC dialogue and implementation to gameplay as well as designing around what makes the mod great opposed to throwing some random puzzles in because they think they ought to.

  10. DaZ

    The Good :

    1) Beautiful maps. Some of the best looking I’ve seen in quite a while. The new assets are high quality and I was frequently impressed by the lighting in areas. The thought of seeing the next area is what kept me going towards the end (more on that later)

    2) When it shines, it really shines. Unfortunately I only had this feeling once or twice during my play through but there are certain moments or scenes that were utterly fantastic. The lady living in the makeshift house in the radioactive canal lake was the high point for me. If the rest of the mod had given the player the kind of agency I felt in that small segment I would have been rating this a Play it now!

    The Bad :

    1) The “characters” that I had to endure through the entire mod. I wanted to kill every single one of them almost as soon as I met them. They were all totally unlike-able and my heart sank whenever they turned up. Frequently during my playthrough I was left just waiting in a room for the npc’s to catch up so that they could open a simple door for me or press a button that I for some reason could not press.

    2) The gameplay (specifically combat) felt very unbalanced and almost thrown in as an afterthought. There was a severe lack of health pick ups for long stretches of time and enemies felt too powerful too early on when the player had little to defend themselves with. Combine soldiers would march single file in straight lines into my shotgun barrel. I was very frustrated that at the beginning of the mod the combine soldiers with AR2 rifles would not drop them when killed.

    3) The mod is waaaaay too hand holdy. What I mean by this is that everything you do is explained to you in advance. The puzzles, the way to progress in the level, and even huge diatribes on what particular set piece is coming up soon (hi town square execution). Even when on the airboat with captain yawn strapped in behind you, he is calling out where to go in a completely linear section! “Turn right!” he shouts, the only way to go is right…. why would he say that? This brings me neatly onto…

    4) Lack of exploration and rewards for doing so. The maps, for the most part, are entirely linear with very few hidden supply caches and side areas. It’s such a shame as the levels are so beautiful and I really wanted to explore every nook and cranny but it became very clear, very early that there was just no point in doing so 🙁

    In closing, when the mod takes it’s vice like grip off the player and let’s them do things it is good and infrequently great. The entirely thing is dragged down however by the sub par characters, unrewarding level structures and it’s insistence on ramming exposition and story down your throat after it fails to make it interesting. It does look beautiful though!

    1. JG

      Watched your stream – it was very enjoyable. Especially the angry faced lady. 🙂

      I echo that remark about the AR2 enemies not dropping AR2s. I played on Normal and got wrecked by these more than once, but especially in the parking garage sequence. If there was health, it was not easy to find. One of the things I noticed, which may have been a conscientious effort to serve the fiction, was the lack of suit batteries. As a result, it’s pretty easy to get crippled by enemies (or stray explosives) with no way of digging yourself out of the hole other than dying and starting over.

      1. The parking garage sequence is a clear example of a player choice going against the facts. It’s a no-win situation (you are told to “Run for your life”, the rebels are quickly outnumbered) and one can go through that area without taking a hit at all.
        We do not trap players in that area in any way. The path out of there is even highlighted by a potent spotlight now. Staying to fight is an option you still have as a player, but so is jumping off the cliffs in Lost Coast 😀

        (Batteries are gone to accommodate the fact that there’s no HEV suit and the player is not God-like Freeman taking on the whole Combine army by himself)

  11. ikar

    Very mixed impressions of this.

    On the one hand mod completed, finally! It is quite beautiful, but some things make me upset:
    excessive linearity, is not always adequate trigger scripts
    Some parts of the map / mission failed to pass, especially the head of rescue one of the key characters:
    Either you will use a sniper against a variety of opponents at once,
    or stealth-action to fully open, is daylight totally flat area
    or the use of diversion, and not one of the options I can’t complete.

    very strange translation of the texts in Russian language (without which part of the storyline lost) – a lot of mistakes / typos
    (I wrote about it before, when a person does not know language adequately, and uses it, it always looks strange for a native speaker, just about like this my messages in English :))
    Someone tried to translate some of the files, but not very well, visible machine translation

    Notes do not always respond to touch, or not cleaned for a long time
    also, these notes have problems with lighting effect (to bright)
    No text of these notes, and translate text in a not very clear picture is hard
    + I do not fully understand the spoken language (not time to translate all)

    because I had Russian language subtitles switched on, it worked very strange:
    instead show author’s subtitles, there is appear random from the original game(s), and a couple of times getting out a big chunk of text from the original game, it occupy almost the whole screen, and not cleaned a few minutes (fortunately at this point there were no battles)

    maybe I’ll try to translate subtitles,
    it would be nice to get the text notes as text
    and to clarify the title of Chapter “The Citizen Returns Chapter 3 _Title” “One of Our Own” what it means: ~”our men” as “ally | tribesman | collaborator | comrade-in-arms
    ” or something else “ownership | owner”

    I probably should to try again to understand what is more pluses or minuses are beautiful and interesting episodes, but there are problems

    PS: spoiler don’t work correctly?

    1. Subtitles for Russian are still in progress but weren’t included or advertised for this release. You should’ve triggered the English version of the closecaptions with the console command “cc_lang english”, as the readme suggests.

      The few bits that show up in Russian could be part of a placeholder valve_russian.txt file I included in the folder for a possible later update. If you delete that, It might show properly in English.

  12. Personal Favourite

    Another year, another… no, wait, this time, THIS IS IT, Citizen has finally returned, oh damn I’m so happy about it, and even, even if I understand that people will be a little angry about the fact that there are many talking/scripted sequences, for me it’s the very soul of that Citizen, a “low-level” Gordon Freeman doing some stuff against the Combine, missions with significant impact to help the people, but you’ll never hear about it because Gordon is already in the place kicking ass…
    I especially liked that well-designed rebel base, the fight against the sniper on the streets… The sequences in airboat were a little disappointing, though, I didn’t understand what the hell was going on with the last part, searching for enemies and not shooting that scanner, and watching then helplessly my friends dying again and again…
    I really liked that idea of destroying the Breen drink factory, pure genius!! And doing several endings was great, too. In the end I was so satisfied, it was just pure happiness to finally see the end of this story, a bittersweet ending, but no Gman in the place, just the Resistance doing its job, losing some members, and going back to the fight.

    Yeah… Was WORTH THE WAIT.

    1. There were multiple endings? Are you referring to the hidden letter bonus or am I missing some depth here?

      1. There are two proper possible endings to the mod (meaning they trigger the credits).
        It’s not related to the letters bonus but actually to a decision you can make in the next to last map.

  13. Personal Favourite

    Ok let me get this out of the way: I’m biased. OK, there I said it.
    Short review: I found the Citizen Returns to be immersive, polished, fun, and nearly professionally made. The fun factor far outweighs the little imperfections you find in any fan made project. There is a lot of voice acting, of various quality, and character animations, something some mods completely lack. It tells a story, and that story makes sense. The environments are very well built. It has a fun sense of humor that I enjoyed. There is a lot of content. 10 / 10 will play again to try to find some of the easter eggs. A worthy effort.

    Much longer review:
    Here’s some of the things I liked about it. It brings you back to City 17 and lets you help the rebels. It brings back the familiar mix of FPS and puzzle solving that made HL2 so fun. There’s a lot of content. It took quite a while to play when I was just trying to beat it straight up. When I went back to play again and try to find all the little details and explore more, it took even longer. The locations are gorgeous. There are little side details, some little touches I think are worthy of a director from a movie. If you try to find all the easter eggs it significantly adds to the replay value.

    In its best moments it’s like playing Half Life 2 again – looking around on a map shows you were you are going, even if it’s going to take a while to get there. Some elements of it are there to give you a hint about how to do something that’s coming up – such as standing on a ledge to make a jump, or give you a hint as to solve a puzzle that you have not come up against yet.

    In one way it’s better than HL2 and that is, I never got really, truly stuck where I didn’t know what to do, or it took a frustratingly long time to solve a puzzle – that did happen to me in HL2. Usually you can see where you are trying to go or figure out what you need to do, even if you are having trouble figuring out how to do it.

    Does it have a few flaws? Of course it does. It’s a fan made product. The voice acting is inconsistent. This was not made by a professional company paying people, it was made by fans. There’s a lot of voice acting. I like that. Some mods have no voice acting whatsoever – I would rather play a mod that does have it. Yes there’s some bugs. At one point I ran into a strider that went nuts and didn’t attack me. But on two play throughs, I have to say there are very few bugs.

    I, too found that I wished the auto save kicked in more often. Unfortunately it’s made that way to keep certain parts of it from breaking. I felt the same way about HL2 – in this one way it’s too faithful to the original. In this case if it was not done this way, players would see more bugs. The makers didn’t have a choice in this.

    It’s less “on rails” than HL2 is at two different points in the mod. If I said what those two ways were it would be giving spoilers. In this one way this mod is an improvement on HL2 – neither of those two things are found in the original!

    I found the combat to be tough but fair. Yes I had to refight a couple of fights some times, but never to the point of frustration. My first time through I was trying to beat it, not quickly, but in a reasonable time. My guy’s health did stay kind of low throughout most of the game. I felt like this was a deliberate choice on the part of the map makers, to help create the feeling of tension for the player, and I didn’t mind.

    My second time through I explored a lot more, and not surprisingly really, there are health packs and recharge stations hidden here and there. If you are one of those kinds of players who only ever plays games to beat them as quickly as possible, you will miss them – blaming the people who made the map for playing this way doesn’t make any sense. I will admit I think I’m pretty good at HL2 – I’ve beaten it on hard mode. People with less experience than that may find this mod harder than I did. In terms of difficulty to beat, I’d say it was not too hard and not too easy, so medium difficulty.

    One of the many things I liked about this mod is, a first time player can play it, understand what’s going on, and beat it. But it’s rewarding to play again. In this one way it’s almost just as good as HL2.

    Are there a lot of mods out there with: This much content, this much voice acting, this many characters, tells a coherent story, and has such detailed, good looking environments? An addictive mix of combat and puzzle solving nearly worthy of the original game? Clearly lots and lots of effort put into it?
    Because I don’t think there are. In my less than humble opinion this is one of the best mods ever made.

    1. JG

      And that’s exactly why I prefaced my review with “it’s difficult to review a mod like this.” 🙂

      Because yes, it is packed full of custom content. The sheer volume of work on display is obvious and no one can take that away from the authors. I would never dream of having to juggle around that many Faceposer scenes or organize that many custom props and lines of dialog. I realize how much work it takes to do these things, even more so when the underlying engine coughs up a lung every couple years.

      Not to mention the fact that we aren’t paying anything for all these years of effort. We are, fundamentally, complaining about something that’s free.

      But I feel many level designers – including myself – are perpetual students of our craft. We constantly seek to get better at what we do, and in order to accomplish this, we need to hear what’s wrong just as much as what’s right. We can review the feedback and glean what we need from it. We inevitably won’t agree with all of it. I think what’s important, however, is that you don’t say as much. You just nod and move on. We’re not here to attack the mod or its authors – we’re just trying to provide advice.

      Also, it’s nice to meet the real Larry Soderstrom. I hope our Benefactors didn’t hurt you too badly. 🙂

      1. Imagine the ordeal if I tell you that since July 2010, all the voice acting we added had to be manually lip-synched due to Faceposer/Windows 7 SpeechAPI incompatibilities!! 😀

        1. JG

          Varsity made a plug-in a while ago that partially fixed those issues:

          I haven’t had issues with it, but I’m fully aware it’s one of those things where sometimes you get lucky and it works, and other times the line refuses to extract no matter what you do.

          1. Varsity’s fixes (or anyone else’s for that matter) have never worked for me. It crashed with all kinds of DLLs and SDK launchers.
            And this happened in my Win7 32 desktop, Win 7 64 latop and Win 7 64 desktop computer. We tried to run Faceposer on an XP virtual machine but we weren’t lucky with that either.

      2. Eh, they are bad, but I’m also unusually tough : ) To the point of being bullet resistant actually. I think that’s why the resistance tried so hard to get me back – not for my leadership abilities, but so that in the even of a firefight, some of them could take cover behind me : )

    2. I think this review is quite telling.
      I’m assuming that Larry was involved in the making of the mod. If so then this review explains the entire problem with the team that created it. It would appear that you are incapable of taking a truly critical eye to your work.

      There’s a great rule in creative arts that says “your work is only as good as the best idea you threw out of it”. I get the feeling that you didn’t throw anything out.

      You guys were all so busy slapping each other on the backs that you seem to have missed completely that the mod is slow, boring and no fun to play.

      The poor reviews on this site aren’t the result of us “missing the point”. They’re due to poor game design and a lack of self awareness on your part.

      I wish it wasn’t the case. To spend 4 years on a project only to be told it’s less than great is upsetting for everyone but unless you guys learn to self review and be your own harshest critic your work will not improve.

      You’ve put your work out in the public for us to comment on. So we’re telling you what we think. Take it on the chin, learn and go do better next time!

      1. Your assumptions are not accurate. Larry’s involvement in the mod doesn’t go beyond his voice acting recordings in key moments of 2008, 2010 and 2014. He hadn’t played the mod until it was finished.

        I don’t care much for what you think are rules in creative arts (I make the art for free, I set the rules I want to follow and the criteria I want to meet), but even if we accept it, there were quite a few areas that we completely modified or totally scrapped ( oi62.tinypic dot com/2i06780.jpg ), as well as discarded voice acting and scenes that are still visible in the mod folders and subtitle files. So yes, you’re wrong again.

        The mod being “slow, boring and no fun to play” is nothing more than your opinion. Granted, some people will share it, but others won’t. You speak is if it was objective truth, but it isn’t. That doesn’t mean it’s flawless in any way, of course!
        It seems like you’re saying “Anyone who actually enjoys this mod is stupid and knows nothing about gaming.” And that exudes arrogance and bitterness in equal parts.

        If someone (even if it was just 20 people), enjoys the mod and has a fun time (which so far it seems to be the case), we fulfilled our secondary goal. And nothing you say can change that. Our primary goal was to have fun creating the mod. It was tough, yes, but also a very fulfilling process. Getting your friends to record some lines and then seeing their faces light up when a videogame character speaks those lines, is priceless.

        The poor reviews can also be a result of some player’s standard expectations clashing with what is a non-standard mod in both scope and game design approach. What I mean is, the mod could be better, yes. But you don’t want it to be better. You want it to be different. This is where you miss the point.

        So basically, take it on the chin and move on while some of us enjoy the process and some actually enjoy the mod (which seems to upset you).
        I’m fine with objective criticism that I can incorporate into my work (this mod is leagues above The Citizen thanks to the reviews I’ve read over the years), but I very well know I can’t please everyone. Until people start paying me for my maps, the #1 person that has to be pleased with what I do is me 🙂

      2. ^Didn’t mean to come across as offensive though. All the reviews (both good and bad) raise valid points and we can’t really say anyone is lying.

        The download file is the same for everyone. The content is the same. We haven’t given the people who enjoyed it a different mod.
        What you say makes it seem like the positive things are just subjective matters (you imply those opinions are flawed since they differ from yours) but all of the bad is supposedly objective and irrefutable. I don’t think it’s as white or black as you want it to be.
        In any case, this release is better than The Citizen Part II which was better than The Citizen which ultimately means we do listen to criticism and improve on our work. Just never at the expense of not enjoying the process to cater to a select few who want near-retail quality for free.

        1. The opinions I express are my own.

          I’ve had quite a lot of bad reviews of my work. Each one stung but I’ve never argued with the reviewers. I’ve asked for clarification on what they didn’t like and what didn’t work for them and judged each of thier comments accordingly. Sometimes, as you say its down to personal preference, however there are generally held views of what makes good game and level design and what makes bad level design. I’ve spent the last ten years studying these views and applied them to my own work.

          Play test early, play test often – with people from outside of your dev team.

          A good example is the recent Ville competition. I came up with a gameplay concept that I loved! I replayed it over and over and thought I was really onto something. I then handed it to Daz who hated it instantly! I then scrapped everything I’d built and started from scratch even though I disagreed. As a result I built a map that most people seem to be enjoying.

          I guess it comes down to the age old issue of “who are you mapping for?”
          If you’re mapping to please yourself then you can’t expect to release your work and for other people to like it.

          The only way to be sure of releasing something others will enjoy is via play testing.

          The mod has great visuals and the lip synching work is truely impressive (Ive never had the patience to get it working personally) but without good gameplay you may as well have just made a machinma movie.

          I didn’t take any offense at your reply by the way and love the fact you’re so passionate about your work…

        2. I don’t think the positive reviews are any more or less flawed than negative ones but I think perhaps the 5 star rating system isn’t quite as telling as the actual review. There are elements that you do exceedingly well, the visuals are mostly amazing, there is a huge amount of custom content a bunch of fresh new environments and some interesting set pieces I think there is little argument that you do all of these aspects very well the opinions tend to split about how important these aspects are in the context of the mod as a whole and to what extent this redeems what is wrong with the mod or visa versa. There is genuinely good gameplay, I loved exploring some of the environments but I think at times the layout was confusing and how some puzzles were integrated into the level design simply didn’t give players the opportunity to be engaged by them. I think the worst example of this was the fuse puzzle 3 seconds and the puzzles done there is not the opportunity to be engaged. NPC’s do actively slow the player down every now and again they will stop to have long dialogues which may well appeal to some people but if you’re not engaged in what people are saying then there isn’t a whole bunch to do.

          I think it’s a fair enough sticking to a specific audience because you can’t please everyone but equally I wouldn’t dismiss negative reviews as just not the target audience even the entirely subjective ones may be revealing.

          1. I do agree with you.
            Sometimes reviews (not just for mods but games) want to carry along a message of “truth” that is neither helpful to other players or developers.
            An example would be “I didn’t have fun with this, meaning no-one else will.” or “I felt this task was boring, so everyone has to find it boring.”

            In a way, I perfectly see where these come from. There has been a brand of game-design advocates for a few years now that actually focus ON game design above the actual result or experience, reducing it to a “this is right” or “this is wrong” criteria that doesn’t take into account the different (rather infinite) types of gameplay approaches and players.
            Of course there are things we consider good practice, but none of that is a magical formula that will always work.
            Some people solve a puzzle straight away and other players can run around in a map for a half hour before finding a vent-shaft. Yes. This happens with retail games too!

            Console games suffer the most from this game-y syndrome, and all third person games and even first person games now have lengthy mandatory tutorial sections and display button prompts for basic actions even when you’re 20 hours into a game. Absolutely unbelievable.

            Valve themselves hindered’ Half-life for me with their achievements, reminding me every step of the way of Ep2 that I was playing a game instead of being Gordon Freeman. Their dev commentary modes are insightful but I ultimately decided to skip them because they came out as preachy and spoke of a design philosophy based on fear. Fear of doing anything that would frustrate a player and not want them to complete their map.

            For someone who spent his teens stuck in some of the Tomb Raider leves for up to three hours (56K internet made walkthroughs less handy), this brand of factory-line gameplay conventions isn’t truly necessary.

            1. JG

              All we want to do is provide advice. You can either take it or leave it. But please, don’t argue over every little thing that sounds negative to you. If we didn’t “get” what you were attempting to accomplish, it’s not entirely our fault.

              1. You are right, of course.
                We can’t blame anyone for not “getting” what we were trying to accomplish, but just the same no-one can blame us for not accomplishing what they in particular would’ve preferred from our work. At least I see it that way.

                Mapping is a difficult craft, but giving useful mapping advice is sometimes harder.
                Imagine trying to convince our dear Leon Brinkmann to do a one-map mod. 😀

            2. “For someone who spent his teens stuck in some of the Tomb Raider leves for up to three hours (56K internet made walkthroughs less handy), this brand of factory-line gameplay conventions isn’t truly necessary.”
              I’m curious about this statement. Are you saying you enjoyed the three hours on a level? I’m not suggesting enjoying that is bad, I’m just curious what you’re implying about your design philosophy.

              1. Kasperg

                Well, being stuck in those huge levels had its share of frustration, but figuring out the actual puzzles and finding the way forward (those first Tomb Raider games had very non-linear and honeycombed level structures sometimes) was immensely satisfying, as far as I can remember.
                I thought Tomb Raider Anniversary was a huge step back in level design compared to the original, even if textures, models and sounds were leagues better than the first game. It had this museum feel I didn’t really enjoy.

                Now, I’m pretty sure none of the levels in The Citizen Returns can lead to such moments of frustration. We don’t have many obscure levers opening doors a mile away like Tomb Raider did.
                What I meant really was that I don’t think a hand-holding or permanent tutorial (teaching you a mechanism and then combining it progressively with other things) is the ONLY way to do level design. Sure, I understand how it’s important from a commercial point of view, but downloading, installing and playing a mod tells me a player can deal with a bit more.
                In any case, The Citizen Returns added a lot of small changes since Part II for the fans of more directed (or even spotlighted) gameplay navigation.

  14. Play It Now!

    Before I even get started, a message to the authors.
    I haven’t played much of anything for quite a while but I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Citizen Returns’. I don’t play with the intention of nitpicking the minutiae of a mod, map or game as I’m not qualified to do so, I play purely for fun and enjoyment.

    After playing the original two parts I was curious to see how it went on and I wasn’t disappointed despite some of the comments on here. Rather than go into the details of the mod as others have done I’ll ask one question “WTF was an Antlion Guard doing there?”.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not a mapper or modder, I play for fun it’s as simple as that!

    1. JG

      Yeeeah, that wasn’t the greatest arena in the world for an Antlion Guard battle. To be honest, I was too afraid to shoot the explosive barrels – which seems like what they intended for me to do – because I felt like everything was in such close proximity. 🙂

    2. The antlion came out of a burrow. Perhaps it could’ve been more obvious.
      The barrels can be even used to lure the antlion into charging against them, but it takes some careful planning including sprinting.

      In any case, it’s an extremely easy battle if you go into the second room and just use the grenades.

      1. The question was “WTF was an Antlion Guard doing there?”. Not how easy it was to kill/defeat it.
        Where were the other antlions it was guarding?
        I realise it is only a game, but I do like a little bit of logic!

        1. Nothing prevents their tunnel system to extend beyond into areas the player couldn’t reach at that moment.
          The way I see it, the antlion guard was routinely passing through one of the many tunnels in the coastline areas and felt/heard the human presence or just the boat approaching.

          I don’t think we needed to forcefully introduce antlions to justify the presence of the guard. It’s been years since I replayed those parts of the official games so my logic can be wrong.

          1. Please stop being so defensive, I enjoyed the Mod.

            As I said earlier I enjoyed it, I gave it a Play it Now for crying out loud, can’t I have an opinion?

            1. I wasn’t being defensive…
              I thought you had a question about the antlion guard showing up in that area and I only told you my reasoning behind it in case you were interested.

              I never took your thoughts on the matter as an attack. Far from it. I love to question the logistics of these things in games too (for example, the existence of vehicles inside warehouses that wouldn’t fit through the doors etc) 🙂

  15. Hi. This is not a review of the mod, but I would like to know how you can play Half-Life 2 Episode Two AND mods. I can play Half-Life 2 just fine, but the Mods won’t work. I tried to install Comatose, but it didn’t work. So, I would like to know if you, Phillip can please help me with this problem.

    1. Well, there could be many reasons, but Comatose is quite an old mod and you should try to install a recent one first. Try installing The Citizen Returns and if you have issues or problems, post them here and I will try to help.

  16. I’m really enjoying this mod – and finding it hard to understand much of the criticism, as it seems an excellent piece of work to me (including the voice acting) – but I seem to have hit a bug.

    When you jump on the cart to escape from the water treatment plant, I always die during the ride. I have tried ducking down, standing up, doing it in god mode, but always end up back at the “jump in the cart!” moment. Can anyone help?

    1. Kasperg

      First (and I’m only asking becasue this actually happened during playtesting), are you sure you died? Sarah screams when the explosion occurs, but the next map will load regardless. Maybe you’re loading the saved game before that happens.

      If that’s not the case, go back to the autosave right when the radiation doors open and Sarah starts the escape. It’s possible you have taken too long to get to the carts and the countdown catches up with you before the cart reaches the long stretch of tunnel.
      If you saved before getting on the carts with bad timing, you’ll die over and over again.

      1. Many thanks for such a quick answer – I’ll try going back to the autosave.

        1. It worked! I must have been too slow to follow Sarah the first time (her cry of “watch out!” was occurring after the screen had already gone blank). I am into the next map now so all is well.

          The transition was a little flaky though – I fell backwards out of the cart and watched it disappear down a long straight tunnel. Nevertheless, I came round in the next map 🙂

  17. Play It Now!

    Ah – the next map was the end and credits! Very good work and thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of subtle humour too.

  18. Personal Favourite

    I read a lot of negative stuff about this mod and was frankly not so keen to start playing, having had a world of trouble finishing “The Citizen”. Not the modder’s fault I just happened to start it during Valves first update!
    I was unimpressed with the ending of “The Citizen 2” because I couldn’t get through it without cheating!
    This version played smoothly, just a minor noclip to get out of the ice rink, not the first time I had to do that! I enjoyed playing it more than previously and got through the final plaza scene using the explosive option, having failed numerous times as the sniper! It was very immersive and the characters seem quite genuine. So the voice acting ‘s a little creaky to start, for the most part its great!
    The final part of this mod series has the full flavour of the previous parts and follows a pretty descent storyline. There are some wicked action pieces, one quite shocking when a particularly nasty member of the antlion family is literally in-yer-face! Where I am always the one to scout ahead!
    Puzzles were interesting, the battery-for-the-boat being a nice one along with the climb on a wobbly box with a wobblier blue barrel on top. I had to repeat that one!
    The rebel base with the boat bay was very well designed with a multilevel spiral stair being a visual treat and easy to negotiate even carrying a battery.
    The river ride out was very nice and natural feeling, curved rock formation and shimmering glassy water! I for one wouldn’t want to be sitting in the airboats trailer!
    The ending was great and completed an interesting side story in the Half-Life saga with a big bang and a mine car ride! At least it’s safe to drink the water!
    I had no problems with this mod and loved every minute. On the subject of NPCs I had now issuses, in fact at one point, low on ammo and health, I got lost after opening a silo door and found that my NPC comrades had killed those pesky combine for me!

    1. JG

      I do feel bad for Larry in the back of the Airboat. If my driving didn’t kill him, the chemical burns from the back splash probably would! XD

      1. You can find an unused sound called larry_airboat_crash.wav you might like 😀

        We didn’t include it because there wasn’t an output from the airboat we could trigger it with. But the idea was there.

        1. Good old Larry! He probably was shielded by the invisible barrier that protected old Freeman’s head and face, the part not covered by his hazard suit!:)

    2. Looking back through my screenshots I noticed the “Fix It Felix JR” video game consol. Nice nod!
      As with all the book titles, some modders speed a lot of time adding witty and interesting titles to back ground books.
      Ah that was Fallingliquid! Of course!
      Nice use of posters in the exterior areas too. One of the things that really impressed me in “G-String”

    3. Just finished part 2’s multiple missions.
      Sniper: This is easy if you wait for Larry to actually appear. Some complained about bossy NPC’s. I should have just listened to mine!

      Explosive: Sneak up behind inept combine, place bomb bam! Now run as your mates cover you.

      Undercover: Sneaky, sneaky not catchy monkey! Found the suit on the table, not flat like before. Should have had it hanging upright to confuse players! And then, just for fun, if they shoot the suit in panic, have a friendly NPC shoot the player saying. “Look at those bullet holes, Zombine!” Ha, ha!
      Can you imagine the venom in those reviews!
      I like standing in the plaza waiting to help Larry, starring at the sunny sky with my red eye.

  19. Mega Sean 45


    Loved it! It was awesome! I expected that from the new Part 3! I really liked the colors of the walls in the buildings from the trainstation and the plant! There’s a few bugs in the part 2 remake. The player didn’t wake up from bed in the second level, he was already up, and when Sarah was crouching down to hack the power boxes, she didn’t stay crouched like she used to, also the keypad in the first level that Sarah tried and Larry shot was kinda bugged because it took them a while to get to it; I had to push them towards it. One more bug that’s been going on since the original part 2: the bald medic from the second level keeps turning into a regular rebel in level 3, unless that was your intention? Well… it didn’t really make sense to have a medic that doesn’t even give you health.

    Now part 3 it was awesome! Not much battles like I’m used to because most mods I play have bigger battles, but it was relaxing. Before going inside that rebel base, I had 5% health from that battle with those combines, and I didn’t get health until 3 levels later. I had to survive a battle with a bunch of combine guards until I was able to get health. Luckily, I had lots of SMG ‘nades and dark energy balls. I expected more in that base besides troops. Wherever Manhacks used to be in the mod, there was none, no turrets, no high security, who’s in charge of security in that water planet, combine-trained monkeys? Wait… combine-trained monkeys?! That would be awesome! XD

    Story-wise: I was wondering where Argento was when I first saw Sarah. It’s a shame though, I liked him. Did his voice actor not want to play anymore or something? I expected Sarah since she’s your sister, and she has a wonderful voice, brah! It would’ve been nice to have her sing again. :3 I’ve always wanted to see an HL mod that was a musical, that’s what I’m planning on once I start making mods. Before criticalizing the reactor, I was really hoping Sarah wouldn’t blow ALL of them up, but seeing Larry sacrificing himself was expecting, counting I play alot of games and watch lots of shows that do that. All the coolest characters do that, but as she was starting the countdown and we were waiting for the lift, I said to myself: “Why couldn’t you send up the lift BEFORE starting the countdown?” It was nice seeing the guy from the casino in here, but what happened the reskinned Odessa guy, or the dude Phil here voiced?

    Anyways, that’s all I gotta say! Love the series and the mod! I hope you make another one some day! Thanks for giving us this series that happened by accident! 😛

    1. Combine trained monkeys, now that is a great idea!
      It could address the combine soldiers inability to follow players up ladders, or crates.
      But they wouldn’t by throwing grenades! 🙁

      1. JG

        Come back after you play System Shock 2. Then we’ll talk about cybernetically-enhanced lab monkeys. 🙂

        1. Have not played SS2 in an age!
          And a couple of PC’s ago!

    2. Most of the bugs you mentioned are the result of the engine porting we had to do, from AppID 215 (no longer exists) to AppID 420 (Ep2). For some reason, NPCs have a harder time navigating the nodes they had no previous problems with, and a lot of animation transitions are sudden and/or jerky. It looks bad sometimes, but it’s better than leaving the mod dead and unfinished. I actually had to go through all the scripted sequences in the mod and change their parameters and triggering so they actually worked for this engine version.

      As for Jameson appearing as a rebel instead of a medic in the third map, this is one of those unexplained occasional bugs we just accepted as unfix-able. I’ve seen it happen three or four times in all my playthroughs (which were a lot), but for the last two months or so, it no longer happened. I think you’re the first to report this since we released, so no idea!

      1. Vic

        Are the missing weapon and flashlight icons a part of these engine porting bugs? I can swear there’s a way to fix it, especially since you’re technically running it on EP2’s content branch.

  20. Hec
    Personal Favourite

    This last and seemingly final release of The Citizen mod saga is simply a wonderful piece of modding. Perfect to close the cycle of what I consider a classic series of mods.
    There are many things I liked about the whole saga, I mean by that the 3 releases, but maybe the one that really stands out is its originality both in plot terms and specific ideas of the developers that actually were done inside the whole saga.

    Let me start about the plot; what it makes it brilliant and a classic, is the fact that it show us the resistance rebels doing huge things, I mean, those guys aren’t there just to beat some traitors metro cops, but to attempt big things, big, big hits that make the CMB a big pain in their butts!! and that’s just great inside the HL2 Universe, you know, this divisions of the resistance are trying to murder Breen in the first act, then they fail in that objective so in the 2nd part (here in this release mixed with the 3d) CMB are pretty pissed off and wants to capture the black guy, intellectual and material leader of the rebel operation, they did, so your goal is to get him free again, and there it happens one of the more memorable scenes in HL2 modding history, you can choose between 3 options to attempt the rescue, sniping, explosives or undercover, and that very part of the mod makes the whole saga worthy, as is pretty deep and actually here in this release I was able to feel the whole CMB rage, I mean, they are pretty pissed of for the fact the resistance blow their plans away, so here we can see how actually the CMB deploy a whole entire division of soldiers for crush the rebels, the combat was pretty intense and one of my favorites inside HL2 mods of all time, I mean it was so rude combat I killed easily more than 20 CMB, and I left when I decided to escape only with “1” points of health and very scarce pistol rounds!!!!! Boy, some say HL2 combat is boring, but in my opinion I just love it, is so rude almost body to body, so intense and I just loved the fact the mod let you decide what to do in that section, I mean is absolutely up to you to escape to the next maps or stand there and fight a while all of those merciless CMB bastards, maybe if the developers would have added some hunters in that section would have been just perfect.

    Then the 3rd and final act of the Citizen’s Saga, comes out where the black resistance leader plans another big hit to the CMB, an operation to destroy the Breen’s private run water reserve, yeah that’s just brilliant and classic, you know as in the original HL2 beta plans, where you have to destroy the “respirator” industrial plant that make the earth’s air slowly non breathable, here in The Citizen Returns, we have to blow up the drinkable water plant that the CMB use to poison the human population. My point in here is simple, that idea was actually implemented and sometimes many mods abandon HL2 universe related ideas to implement, because they are quite hard to design and make, here TCR team, took the risk and make a simple but beautiful map, and ended the whole saga in a very emotional way and with 2 possible ending solutions, which I only say I choose the one that implied less impact for the rebel resistance, and is also my favorite ending, also at the end where you are at the beach is pretty relaxing after the whole difficult combat mayhem to see a beautiful sunset and feeling great to beat the CMB’s Arses.

    Now apart from that plot I tried to summarize, another thing I loved from this release and the whole saga are the mapping details and those times where we can actually play as an undercover CMB. The maps are clearly influenced by Kasperg, and the casino is one of my whole favorite places where I been playing in any mod ever, especially that Casino part is very, eerie, kind of spooky, and mysterious, once you’re into the casino part, you can release that things are not quite right, and that strange mysterious deformed creature, which I can not tell if is a man or a ghost just rule the place!! I mean not even the CMB escaped alive from there, that kind of shocked me because is original and very, few strict HL2 universe mods implement that kind of scary details, and also is like a pause offered to the gamer into the combat and progression of the mod which is a cool detail.

    Also I have to say the fact Kasperg is developing this mod is a warranty of cool mapping, because he’s one of the best mappers for HL, to show that I just say I loved his HL1 mods, and the beautiful Falling Water mod-map is just outstanding. As for Chris Fox’s work I don’t know more of his work but I’ll play the credit recommendation of his work, and I can bet is good.

    As for the past comments in this forum I can see there are many rivalry between modders and the only thing I can say, is that the best option in here is to respect each modder, as their methods of work and results are completely different from each other so is just good to see pluralism in HL modding scene, and I am telling you this from a pure and simple humble gamer perspective, so I really see kind of stupid some rumpus discussions between modders, and I can tell you, I honestly see some of the expressed arguments maybe motivated from the pure human envy, so is pointless to carry on that kind of discussions. So I make my vote here to respect everybody’s opinion and just try to learn for the feedback points the more as it’s possible.

    About Voice acting I can only say I liked it, and I consider very out of the point to demand a one million percent professional quality voice acting, to me was good enough to get involved into the cut scenes and the whole plot of the mod and I appreciate that, also is nice to hear Phillip’s voice inside a character of any mod, it always makes me thing the obvious, I think: that is the guy’s voice which runs the PP site which always share us some of the greatest mods available in HL world, he loves HL the much as I do so, I don’t know that makes me feel right.

    Yeah combat is quite hard in this whole mod, and that can upset some clumsy gamers, but the whole progression is worthy so my advice is to be patient and just enjoy the environment, one of the things I liked the most from this mod, is the fact of being a pure rebel, as some commenter in this forum said once, the fact to not to see GMAN involved is nice, well we can actually see the G-man in here once, but I guess he had the minimum incidence to the plot.

    Finally I just let the authors note about the one and only bug I had playing this release; that bug happened at the time we end the hockey stadium battle, and the rebels walk to the next map downstairs, if you play fool in exploring the hockey stadium searching for ammo or health, and then you reach the rebels in the next map loading, you miss the trigger scene where one rebel enters the Box Office and opens the gate from the hockey stadium exit. Also in the down points for the whole mod I guess sometimes is difficult to find health stations, as battles are hard you have to be warn in this mod combat is kind of difficult so you have to aim and shoot your targets in a very precise way.

    In conclusion this was a great mod, I loved it and consider it as a classic must play also because I guess there are fewer and fewer mods like this, so HL2 Universe oriented in these days, they make me feel like I am playing an old school mod, I mean as there are many HL1 mods where you play in the classic BM scenario, here we are in City 17, and actually feels like we are in there, also your actions are important to the story you are discovering inside the mod, I just liked that, is like as much as I loved the Human Error mod originality, I love this mod for the fact of offering us a close encounter with the resistance and show us how a bunch of human rebels attempt to make big hits to our CMB malefactor oppressors, I know that’s a simple point but is nice to see it implemented so deeply in a mod like this.

    Wow I have written a very long review, and I kind of apologize for that, but I guess this is the only way which I can express feedback, and the only thing I can offer to a mod that I have enjoyed so much, from a humble gamer’s perspective.

    1. Ade

      Can you please explain your understanding of the word ‘rude’? You use it more than once but doesn’t fit and it’s hard to follow those sentences.
      Also, nice word twist there with ‘malefactor’.

      1. Hec

        Yeah, I meant tough, hard, crude very, very tough, hardcore combat.

        I apologize as English is not my native language; is Spanish (So sometimes my brain does the nasty trick of thinking first in Spanish words and then just finds the wrong vocabulary in English) and sometimes I just write the reviews fast and just the way the words come at once, and by rude I didn’t meant “grosero” or “rudo”, those are the meaning of “rude” in Spanish, which involves an offensive connotation as it is in English I guess. You can translate the Spanish “grosero” or “rudo” words in the Google translator to see what I mean.

        And because I just couldn’t edit my reviews properly because a failure in this comments page I wasn’t able to correct it, as I normally do when I write a comment every time I play it and review here in PP.

  21. Play It Later

    This is the only version of ‘The citizen’ I have played, and to be honest, I didn’t know of the existence of the earlier mods. I don’t really know where to start with this one, so I’ll just start with I enjoyed with the mod, and then move on to what I disliked. I’ve also read some of the reviews, and the authors response, so I’ll be commentating on that too.

    A lot of people are saying they think the maps are gorgeous. While I wouldn’t say they are ugly, by no means, I’d like to bring up another view. It looks realistic. I don’t mean in terms of aesthetics or graphics, but in terms of how the world was built. The city is done in a way that resembles an old European town, filled with cable car lines (and cable cars), small, deteriorate houses and open plazas. In most mods it makes no sense why this street or that one exists, or why this hallway leads to this area, but I can’t recall a single moment in ‘The Citizen Returns’ where I felt that. This is a major mark for me. I strive for realism above almost everything, and things like this are very much lacking in other mods.

    There is also a really good variety in the environments. From the ice ring, to the open plaza in front of the church, to the waterways that lead the water out of the city, every new area felt fresh and engaging. From the beginning of the mod I excepted to see city street after city street, but suddenly finding myself inside of a casino was a great feeling that not many mods achieve.

    The story was also good. While it’s presentation might not have been very good in my eyes, the fact that it was there, it was somewhat detailed, and that it made sense made up for the rest of it.

    Unfortunately, that’s mostly what I enjoyed from the mod, and the things I have against it quickly outnumber them.

    To start off with the gameplay, the combat was boring. The author describes HL2’s combat as boring from the get-go, but I strongly disagree. To me it is still one of the best FPS’s combat out there. It’s fluid, it’s fast and it’s responsive. Unfortunately, the mod did not set up any sort of fun combat scenes. Most of them being a stream of combine rushing at the player, or the worst of all, an antlion guard in an area where it can move about as much as a cockroach inside a tin can.

    There is also no exploration. At all. Every pick up stands in front of the player, or slightly to the side. The fact that there are no battery pick ups just increases the problem even further. The reason for this is that the player is not Gordon Freeman, and hence, he does not have the HEV suit. To me this is one of the most idiotic excuses to cut a major mechanic of the game.
    If we take a look at this from a lore perspective, we see many other plot holes that were not addressed, such as why a combine base uses a human built elevator and clearly has English written signs all over the inside, or why there is an antlion guard so close to city 17’s limits long before the uprising begins. My point is that, a very minor plot hole is not an excuse to cut out a crucial mechanic of gameplay.

    And now the worst part of the mod for me. The characters.
    Quickly addressing the voice-acting, it was just horrible, especially Larry (Sorry to the person who voiced him). The only one I found reasonable was Phillip’s first character, which I think fit his voice quite well. Most of us are mappers and modders here, and I bet not one of us can do a good job voice-acting, but finding someone to do it for free, with a reasonable microphone and experience is not that hard if you try looking for them. But I can excuse all of it. What I can’t excuse is the way the characters act in game. The player is almost never alone, and I guess many people will disagree with me, but I really don’t like having companions in Half-Life. Alyx was just a pain in the back side to carry around during the episodes, and so is every companion in every mod for HL2. In the case of ‘The citizen’, they were slow, boring, and unlike the only positive side to Alyx, they didn’t really serve for some sort of comic relief. Half-Life 2, to me, is best played alone. Just you, a shotgun and a whole lot of combine to shoot.

    Apart from what I said above I also found quite a lot of bugs and problems, such as the rebels being able to pass through a combine force-field in the ice ring, or the strider, who even after shooting at me, continues along with his patrol schedule and completely ignores me.

    To conclude, the mod itself is definitely worth playing, but I just feel like there is quite a lot of potential that just wasn’t met.

    1. Thanks for playing!
      There’s a couple of things I’d like to comment on.

      -I don’t describe HL2’s combat as boring. What I said is “I” find it boring after all these years. To argue against that, you’d have to be inside my head I think. I don’t find it engaging no matter how they soldiers move. I rolled my eyes when the fantastic encounter with the Ep2 Advisor in the barn was followed by a flow of random soldiers. That’s just MY opinion.

      -There is exploration in this mod. You might mean we didn’t place a superfluous item in each of the corners of the maps the player could go to. That’s true. But there are still several places, easter egg letters and power-ups outside the main path. Off the top of my head, the bottom floor of the fish market-base (the room with bunk-beds and fridges) serves no purpose to the story, same for the whole “Cafe de Unie” building before the rescue mission. After leaving the station after Larry has been rescued, you can proceed to the left or go to the right for some extra goodies. So “no exploration at all” might be an exaggeration.
      I do agree that for so many maps, there could be more side areas. We deleted a few because of rendering problems and disappearing brushes. I would’ve loved to make the maps even bigger.

      Regarding the batteries and exploration as a “crucial part of gameplay”, I think it’s safe to say that a mod can decide to modify those things as well as any other. I can understand the confusion of something that looks a lot like HL2 not playing exactly as HL2 though. We can be “guilty” of that in way.

      I really appreciate your thoughts on the way things were built! We did put a lot of thought into it. In a way, it dictates the final result. Our story emerged from what we wanted to build (not contradicting the previous story), and our gameplay emerged from that story and had to be contained in those maps when they were pretty much completely built. This is what hurts the mod for some players, no doubt. But that was the workflow, I have no shame in admitting it.

  22. Personal Favourite

    I thought it was a great large piece of work! Would I have rated it a PF a few years back when high class mods were coming out all the time? Possibly not, but for right now, its what I think.
    I have read everyone’s comments and agree with some of the nit picking but wasn’t bothered by others. The only things that bugged me were the interruptions of the pace or flow of the game, perhaps caused by trigger points being too narrowly defined, and also the delays before something happens. I was of two minds about the excessive chatter, on one hand it was over the top, on the other, helped make the story.
    I hope there are more sequels to come. The ending opens the door for that, what happens when they get into the boat and depart?

    1. No sequel is planned. We have been working on and off on another mod for the past three years, but that’s Random Quest II.

      The Citizen Returns was in development for 3 years, dead for the next 3 and finally “resurrected” in these last 5 months or so. I wanted to finish this story for good and release it, but have no plans on revisiting the story and the characters. At least for the time being.

  23. I’m having a game-breaking bug in the map “sp_postsquare”. The NPC Larry keeps getting stuck and won’t follow me to the map-change. Anyone know what the name of the next map is?

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s “sp_canal1” or something along those lines. But that will also give you another bug where you won’t spawn with anything (suit included). It also happens when selecting a chapter other than the first one which is really weird, and I don’t really know how it wasn’t found during beta testing. (Unless it was found, and like others said the author didn’t fix it.)

      1. Thanks, that looks to be the right one. Having to spawn in supplies is a bit of a PITA, especially since that kind of trigger can be thrown together in about ten minutes in Hammer.

      2. This wasn’t reported during playtesting. I’m guessing Larry’s sequences worked for all of the testers or, if they found a bug, decided to solve the issue in the map where it was happening instead of loading up the next one.

        I’m not sure what this “spawn supplies” trigger is. As a player, you transition from one map to the next with the items (and easter eggs, for that matter) that you have collected up until then. Loading a map by itself is a way to say “I want to start from scratch”, in which case “Impulse 101” is your friend.

        1. That’s true, but in Valve games if you load one of the later chapters you start with roughly the right amount of supplies. It’s done using a logic_auto that fires outputs if the map is not loaded by a level transition.

          1. That’s true.
            We didn’t really respect the traditional chapter structure in this mod. Even though there are 5 chapters listed in the title screen, their names never show up in-game (as opposed to the individual sections which do) and they aren’t really the significant “boundaries” that the HL2 chapters were in terms of locations or story-wise.

          2. JG

            There’s actually a whole prefab that pretty much does this for you. You just need to remove the components you don’t want the player to have.

            I find it rather strange that something like this wouldn’t have been placed. Surely each level was constructed on its own and needed its own player start and armaments at some point?

            1. A player start yes, but weapons?

              We had a keybind for Impulse 101 and testing combat was just a matter of using only the weapons we knew would be available.

              I also had a keybind to kill all npc_combine* entities, but that shouldn’t really surprise you after everything that has been said 😀

                1. Not surprisingly, I don’t have that entity available in my Hammer config for The Citizen Returns (or Ep2 for that matter). Difficult to even research what an entity does if I can’t even use it…

                  In fact, I have absolutely no prefabs available. I’m using the half-life2.fgd from the ‘common’ folder. I do remember having prefabs back in 2005-2008 at least.

                  I guess Valve’s juggling of the engines, folders and configs has taken its toll in more than one area for us.

                  1. JG

                    As The_Blazer pointed out in the CombinationVille thread, the Prefabs are part of the original Source SDK (not 2013) which you can still download. Apparently, I had done that at some point.

        2. “Impulse 101” gives the player weapons they might not have had access to by that point, or that the player should not have at all (bugbait for example). Replaying your mod for example, I wanted to try out the different ways to save Larry, but I didn’t want to start all the way from the beginning of the mod. Starting at a later chapter I need to cheat to be able to play.

          1. I see how that could pose a problem.
            Most people just saved the game manually in the long briefing with the three options (even years ago with Part II) so I hadn’t really considered that third way of replaying.

  24. Play It Later

    I wrote up a “balanced” review of this mod for LambdaGeneration which you can read on that site. I will give spoilers here though. Personally I think some of the criticisms of The Citizen Returns are a little unfair. It could have done with another round of beta testing and some different voice actors, but I don’t agree that the combat was boring or that there was too much of a focus on graphics over gameplay.

    I liked the story a lot in terms of how it made the player’s actions seem important but also tried to tie into the HL2 storyline. It is a bit strange that the victory at the end is made inconsequential by the Nova Prospekt uprising immediately afterwards, it seems like the mod should be set chronologically somewhere earlier so that it is a more serious blow to the Combine. Also I don’t know if it was intended or not, but right after Larry sacrifices himself and they say “never forget him”, everyone ironically does just that and starts waxing lyrical about Gordon. That was a plot twist I saw coming miles off by the way. But I did love the use of the Breen’s Private Reserve factory, I always thought that was a part of Half-Life 2 that needed some more explaining.

    The mission in the plaza where you are given three options is really cool, as are a lot of the other set-pieces and new content. The level design looks gorgeous too. I definitely recommend the mod, only its rough edges stop it from getting a higher rating.

    1. Until Sarah (or the player if he could talk) tell the rest what Larry did, the other rebels and vortigaunts don’t know if Larry sacrificed himself or just fell from the boat and drowned before reaching the waterplant 😀

      The last radio message is referencing Gordon’s infiltration into the Citadel (at nearly sunset), not Nova Prospekt.
      While chronologically it’s difficult to pair all parts of The Citizen to the events of HL2, we always assumed The Citizen (Part 1) started some time after Gordon’s teleporting incident in Nova Prospekt. As far as I know, that’s when citizens begin to be gradually replaced by rebels inside the city (I know there are rebels in New Little Odessa etc).

      1. Sorry, I must have misremembered. Thanks for replying to everyone’s comments about the mod, and for making it too!

  25. Hec

    Hi Kasperg! I found out some of your responses in this forum are quite interesting and i’d like to make you some questions. I only ask you to please try to answer me as soon as you see this comment.

    First thing i’d like to comment is about the combat. I just loved the combat inside the mod as a gamer, because it feels realistic and pretty hardcore, you are a REBEL not Gordon Freeman, alas you’re not wearing a Hazard Suit just your common HL resistance partisan clothes and your million guts, courage and bravery to fight the CMB army, so actually that kind of combat inside the mod make a lot of sense to me.

    Now here’s the first question… why if this mod was released for the HL2 Ep. 2 you didn’t put any Hunter to challenge the player a bit more?? That could have been awesome. And you know, for example in the Larry’s liberation operation in the main City Plaza, I would have loved to combat against some Hunters as the battle was pretty hard, in the case you have decided to stay there after pissing the CMB off for ruining their murdering plans.

    Then my second question is about the Casino section. obviously there’s a freaky guy inside there, it scared me a little more than once!! So I may ask if you could tell us more about that part of the mod?? i was wondering if you intentionally were trying to scary the player inside there, and what’s the story about that freaky guy, is he a ghost or something like that??

    Many Thanks for your great release!!

    PD. I also loved the “Falling Water” mod of yours. I know that one is a different work, but i would love to see a Combat HL2 version of it!! Maybe you can consider that a bit. 😉

    1. Kasperg is having trouble with the site and will reply soon.

      1. Hec

        Ok thanks forvthe advice Phillip!

  26. max

    small question: i’m having a lot of trouble rescuing that larry guy (doing the sniper thing)
    the second i fire just one shot at any of the combine, they all scatter around, larry either continues walking his way or runs somewhere (either directly into the combine or behind one of the apcs) but almost instantly dies

    the question here is: what am i supposed to do?

    EDIT: i attempted the undercover one and the explosives one aswell with the result of me randomly uncloaking and larry getting absolutely spammed with bullets. no matter who i kill first, he always dies

    for the explosives: larry always already is on the machine and when i place the bomb, he’s already in the course of being fried

    EDIT2: i went with the explosives way
    i had to noclip because as i said, everytime i arrived at the frying device thing, larry was on there already, so i planted the bomb and ran with that guy back into the base.
    larry got killed the second the bomb blew up, but the game (luckily) didn’t recognize it

    this might be the worst part of this mod (the only bad part actually)

    1. JG

      In the Undercover route, you need to kill the Combine who are standing near Larry on the hill overlooking the execution machine before they bring him into the plaza itself. Breaking from cover at any point after that, Larry will most likely get himself killed in the crossfire.

      Interestingly, in DaZ’s Twitch stream, he thought he had to sabotage the machine in Undercover, which is actually the Explosives route. To be honest, Undercover and Explosives could have been merged into the same option. There’s arguably more stealth work involved in Explosives than in Undercover. And it’s simply not clear what you’re supposed to do in Undercover. Despite the giant info dump you get after you make the choice, there’s very little meaningful information about how to actually achieve your goals. It basically amounts to “Go to this side building, get your equipment and screw it – you figure it out from there.”

    2. Kasperg

      There’s a citizen being fried before you place the bomb or Larry even shows up. Any chance you were confusing him with Larry?

      As for the other two options (sniper & undercover), Larry’s health is regenerated quite a few times before he can actually die. It was a problem with Part II that I wanted to solve.
      Unless you’re initiating the ‘mayhem’ when he’s already quite surrounded by soldiers, he should be able to run for cover. If you actually concentrate on those closest to him, the damage he takes will be negligible.

  27. Barricader

    Sorry to be so late with this question, but has anybody managed to trigger the Easter Egg Bonus? I get the feeling that I’m missing one or two of the Easter Egg notes…is it one note per map, or do some maps have two or more?

    1. Anon_1493941

      I have to admit that until now (map “sp_square”) I haven’t found a single note 🙁 Would be great if someone could post a complete list of these.

  28. Play It Now!

    Well, first of all, I must admit that “The Citizen” and “The Citizen 2” were well-made mods. Now, if we speak about “The Citizen Returns”, I must say few good and bad things in this mod.

    1)Plot. Just…its…amazing, no, really, it`s freaking awesome. I really enjoyed that!
    2)Mapping&Textures. Nothing to say, just perfect as in previous parts. Cool skins for Combine Soldiers at Water Plant
    3)Puzzles. There are only a few puzzles, but they make me feel like in real life, they are not difficult, but not so easy.

    1)Exploration. I haven`t so much time to explore map. In some areas, I felt like: “OMG! SO COOL VIEW! I SHOULD PROBABLY STOP AND LOOK” but in second there were appearing enemies, who made me go to next locations.
    2)Gameplay. I found that there are some locations where enemies run to me just ahead. Its simple to kill me, but in another area, I was generously spotted by more than twelve combines.
    I rate this “Play It Now”, because I found this mod very interesting+opinion for first parts. It will be great, if authors will fix some things, which people( including me) commented. And, yes, thanks for cool mod!

  29. Avoid It!

    I only played about half an hour of this “masterpiece”, ’cause I couldn’t handle more.
    Despite the top excited comments (including the one from Philip), this indeed is a very boring mod. The main problem with this release, is that you don’t get to play through the mod on your own. Remember scenes in Half-Life 2 and the episodes where you had to wait for Alyx to finish talking to her dad through a video console, and you were thinking “come on, come on, get it over with”? This mod is all about that. You always have to wait for somebody to do something to move on. Someone opens a door for you. Someone says: “Find a fuse for this PCB” or “Hey you, get me a med kit!”. You don’t get to explore the area on your own (and, to say the truth, there’s nothing around to explore).
    Besides that the level design is poorly done, the locations are very plain, there’s always only one path to follow. I would also mention the exceeding number of combines with assault rifles that usually surround you, which makes it very hard to play even on easy.
    I cannot believe that the team that made this mod put so enormous effort (the installation file is very big) to create something as disappointing as this.

    P. S. The voice acting of the dude that gives you commands over the headset is horrible. One of the most unpleasant voices I ever heard in my life.

  30. Review

    This continue of the game is really good! At first I was thinking that, the story was a totally different one, but no. You will meet the caracter of the first game, and you will live a new adventure with them!


    The map is better than the first game, there isn’t any new mechanical elements.
    But the game is really good without any!

    Personnal favorite part:

    When you have to save ICan’tRememberHisNameAndI’mSorry… You’ve got that multiple choice on: how you want to save him and I found that really interesting.

    In Conclusion:

    Download it and play it!

  31. I have a problem with the ice rink, unable to go thru the doorway.

    1. Yeah, I had that trouble too. I just reloaded a few times. Sorry, it’s the best I can offer.

      1. That’s why I dropped by, same issue, in the ticket office…very frustrating!

        Will probably have to replay the ice-rink now…..

  32. Personal Favourite

    I think there’s little to add to the mostly favourable comments already posted above. But -wow- is this a beautiful mod. The explorational elements are superb and I always found myself poking about everywhere to see what’s what and these are the kinds of characteristics I love in an HL2 game. The graphics and level of detail to all the environments are always superb.

    The storyline is wonderful and flows well. I don’t normally care for too many NPC / scripted parts, and this game is loaded with it, but it’s done right and feels right. Nothing to complain about here. In fact, I loved the voice acting and laughed along with most, so corny but so excellent.

    Puzzles are pretty nice and not overbearing. The action is well balanced without ever feeling OTT. Certain scenes are done to an outstanding level, for example: the execution. The fact that you’re given three choices is a new one – so I chose the sniper route and now I’ll have to go back to my saved game and choose the other two! But this part was done so well, mind-blowingly well and I couldn’t have imagined it done any better.

    One of the best mods.
    Play this now.

  33. good

  34. Think Twice

    This mod had a large amount of potential to be good. Clearly a lot of work went into making this mod. The previous mod had it’s faults, but overall was worth a play. This mod is an attempt to expand on the ideas of the original. Sadly, due to a large amount of questionable decisions this mod ends up being overall rather tedious and boring.


    It is really hard to get involved the story when most of the plot points are delivered through large exposition dumps from the rather poorly voiced characters. The mod rarely uses visual storytelling or indirectly telling the plot through characters conversations with each other. It is most of the time you and another character with them just dumping exposition on you. This eventually leads to you not caring anymore about the world. It also never sets a clear overall objective as HL2 did to keep you motivated. By the end of the mod you’ll completely forget what you were doing when it began.

    Now lets discuss the characters. I think it would of been better if the mod didn’t attempt to add consistent characters and just stuck with expendable rebels. It fails to get you attached to the characters as instead of like HL2 where you bond with Alex slowly throughout the game, it expects you to care about the characters from the get go. It really isn’t helpful as well that the characters are not well voiced. They also feel like they slow you down and you get a sigh of relief whenever you get to be by yourself. I will explain this further in the next section.


    Gameplay feels like an afterthought and taking a back seat to cinematography and ambiance. Combat sections are not well balanced with most of the time you have very little cover when fighting combine. In these combat sections, you will almost always be at a shortage of guns, ammo, and/or health. The mod begins with you fighting a large amount of AR2 Overwatch with nothing but a shotgun in a small room with you being extremely short on ammo for the first part of the mod. Then you get locked in an ice rink for a wave event where it gives you no cues for when the next wave of coming or how much longer the wave event will go for. All while giving the combine a huge distance between you and them. Most of the other areas are just not that fun to fight in.

    The mod is extremely slow. A lot of the time will be spent waiting for a NPC to unlock the door for you, or for a NPC to finish their dialogue which they deliver at a very slow pace. This is why you don’t get attached to characters as they feel like a weight chained to your leg. The characters also hold you hand, telling you what to do at every turn. You can’t even just drive your airboat without your passenger telling you every turn you are suppose to make. You rarely just get to figure things out for yourself.

    There is also a large amount of anti-climactic battles. Near the end, it gives you an upgraded airboat just for you to go down an empty river without a hostile in sight. The last combat encounter is nothing but a few Super Soldiers which are extremely easy to kill with how many pulse charges it gives you. Then the mod just ends after a clecie “One of us needs to stay behind to self-destruct” scene. You don’t even get to see the destruction you caused or it’s effects. You just stand on a beach awkwardly waiting for the credits.


    I recommend just playing the original Citizen mod. I feel like this one tried way to hard to be deeply cinematic which led to other aspects of the game suffering. By the last chapters of The Citizen Returns you just want it to end.

    –Final Verdict–

    4/10 | Think Twice

  35. Uh, for some reason, I cannot post my review here.

  36. Personal Favourite

    Now this is a much better version of The Citizen! It fixes the door problem where they look similar in terms of functionality. But on with the real review

    The voice acting for Larry still doesnt catch the emotion, i guess. But the others is already good. The storyline is actually pretty decent for a mod. The map design had a bit of flaw, but it’s still tolerable.

    I do have missing textures though. Not sure why.

    And the ending, boy that’s a great one! The song fits the speech, wide ocean, and the beautiful sunset on the horizon. I feel, peace, when i got there. This mod has a special place in my heart

  37. Nice!

  38. Personal Favourite

    male_07 at its finest

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