One of the most interesting things about the Half-Life series is that its hero, Gordon Freeman, has slowly been overshadowed by his supporting cast. Barney Calhoun of Blue Shift. Adrian Shephard of Opposing Force. Alyx Vance even got her own game in 2020, further pushing Freeman out of the spotlight.
In 2022, a mod for Half-Life 2 gave another supporting character a day in the sun. Entropy: Zero 2 doesn't even feature one of Half-Life's heroes, but focuses on the adventure of one of its bad guys, a Combine Elite soldier. And in late December, players voted for Zero 2 as Moddb's Mod of the Year.
The award is well-deserved. I played Entropy: Zero 2 a few months ago and it's genuinely great, with a long campaign, exciting sequences letting you battle the rebels alongside Combine hardware like choppers and Hunters, inventive levels and puzzle-solving, and a deeper dive into the missing final chapter of Half-Life 2. Valve never gave us Episode 3, but I daresay this mod fills that gap nicely.
The mod, by developer Breadman, is a sequel to 2017's Entropy Zero where you played a Combine Metrocop prior to Freeman's arrival in City 17. This time you're in a post-Freeman timeline, and along with new weapons and vehicles, there's an intriguing storyline as you try to track down another Combine Elite who seems to have some important information about your own history. It's good stuff from start to finish, and easily one of the best Half-Life 2 mods I've ever played.