Even though it’s still early, Empires 2.0 is one of the best Half-Life 2 mods available. It just entered beta a few days ago and has already built an active community of players. The mod plays like a combination of the best elements of a Battlefield game and Command & Conquer: Renegade. Like a Battlefield title, one player takes the role of the team’s commander while the remaining players fight it out like the grunts they are. There’s a tremendous amount of depth here, however, with commanders getting a full-fledged RTS experience and everybody else blasting each other to bits with one of four classes and a host of weaponry and land and air vehicles. Best of all, as you play you unlock new skills and abilities used to augment and power up your character, providing you with tons of customization options and plenty of incentive to keep logging on and fragging the opposition.
There’s an in-depth wiki online detailing all the finer points of the game, including plenty of information on the game’s classes and vehicles. If you’re itching for a Source-powered experience on a more epic scale than Counter-Strike or Team Fortress 2, Empires will definitely fill that niche. There’s a trailer online over at GameTrailers.com and the official site offers a variety of download options. It’s free, so start killing each other, already. In a purely virtual sense, of course.