Estranged: Act 1 tells the story of a shipwrecked fisherman, stranded on an island after a violent storm.
Explore the island as you try to find a way to return to the mainland. However, not everything on the island is as normal as it seems.
Please note that the game does use assets from Half-Life 2, and that the two “game” universes are completely unrelated to each other. You do not need to install Source SDK Base (any version) or need to own any source games (e.g Half-Life) to play this
As I have said earlier, you are a fisherman who has become shipwrecked on an island. You have to try to find your way back to the mainland while avoiding enemies and getting help from unexpected (and temporary) allies along the way.
The attention given to level design was astounding. From your once seaworthy vessel rocking violently in the ocean to the moonlight reflecting off the ocean waters. It seems that the developers made the atmosphere of the game as their main focus. There are even little extras scattered around the world such as newspaper clippings (read all about the local scarecrow competition!) and even emails on work computers (or watch a cat video).
The gameplay compared to the Half-Life franchise is quite constrained. In Half-Life, Freeman was able to carry several weapons (somehow) on his person. In Estranged: Act 1, you are limited to only one weapon which basically means you can carry only one weapon at any given time. I actually enjoyed that constraint since it meant you had to choose your weapon carefully, as well actually converse ammo since you had no idea when you would get any more ammo. Since you, just being a fisherman can actually die quite easily. As such, combat is levelled therefore fights are far and in between. In fact, you spend majority of the first section of the game fighting the undead. It is only in later chapters that you may experience difficulty (possibly) since that is when armed soldiers come into the equation. However they have limited weaponry (mainly the smg and pistols) so you have a good chance of survival and getting more ammo.
The game heavily focuses on exploration with puzzles thrown in for the player to solve. In fact I spent most of my time exploring since I was enjoying the detail put into the level design, as well as the atmosphere of the game. It would be a shame not to explore and just take it all in.
On that note. I am curious just as to why there were zombies on the island in the first place. I guess we’ll find out when Act 2 is released, if it is ever released. I have not heard any updates on the status of that in a while now.
Despite using some of the Half-Life 2 assets/content, it creates its own universe separate from the established Half-Life universe. However, Estranged does have its own unique assets that sets it apart.
I really do hope Estranged: Act 2 will be released in the future as Act 1 had a rather abrupt ending, as well leaving a lot of questions unanswered. Estranged: Act 1 is for free but from what I have seen, Estranged: Act 2 will be a paid title.