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Review Roundup: Half-Life: Alyx – a VR title that gets it right

Well, time to make my PC VR-ready, it seems.

half-life alyx review
Image: PC Gamer

When Half-Life: Alyx was announced in November, many gamers were left on the fence. Yes, it was going to be a new entry in a much-beloved series, one that hasn’t had a new game added to the library in 13 years, but it would also be in VR, something that can be extremely hit-or-miss.

Luckily, now that reviews are starting to drop for the game, it seems that Valve nailed it on the head, combining a great game with a great VR experience. We’ve read all the reviews throughout the day (while being extremely jealous), so let’s take a minute to see what they are saying and what they like about the new game from Valve.

Does virtual reality in Half-Life: Alyx work well?

half-life alyx gameplay

Image: Valve

For many, this is probably the biggest question in regards to the new title. VR can be great, but also gimmicky. Thankfully, it seems Alyx knocked it out of the park with the use of VR. Ars Technica even went as far as to call it “The greatest VR adventure game yet—and then some.”

They go on to say that gamers are “in for a video game that pushes the notion of ‘full-length VR adventure’ to its limits.”

This means that from teaching you the basics of VR mechanics and learning about teleporting (something many VR games have as a way of movement) to figuring out how it all comes together, Alyx gets it all right. And that’s impressive considering how much exploring, shooting, and puzzle-solving you’ll be doing in this 15-hour adventure.

It should be noted in this section that Alyx is available through Steam and any VR headset that works with the system. This includes Valve’s own VR headset, as well as the Oculus Quest and HTC Vive.

The story of Half-Life: Alyx

Again, Valve has done the series justice with this title, providing an interesting compelling story that is setting up a future of even more Half-Life goodness. PC Gamer echoes these sentiments, stating, “While it’s sandwiched between the events of Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2 the repercussions of its story extend well into whatever future there is for the Half-Life series.”

Kotaku backs that up, noting that the game is “a full-blown Half-Life adventure that, at least in terms of length and scope, rivals anything the series has produced.”

How does the action compare to past titles?

All of that is great, it really is, but if the action and puzzle-solving aspects aren’t actually fun, then what does it even matter? Put those concerns aside, as it seems Half-Life: Alyx nailed this, as well.

The Verge notes that “big battles become tense shootouts as you reload and scrounge for more ammunition while crouching behind cover.” They go on to say that yes, by the way, you do have to crouch in real life during these sections, unless you change an accessibility setting.

Reviewers have also continuously commented on the act of actually having to reload your guns, make intense segments that much more intense.

It’s not perfect, however. Kotaku noted that the “enemies are certainly more stationary than standard FPS baddies, but they still follow you, flank you, throw grenades to flush you out of cover, and send manhacks to hunt you down.” They go on to say that, while fun, it can quickly become a bit gimmicky as fights become more about teleporting yourself, shooting a bit, then teleporting again.

Is Half-Life: Alyx a must-buy?

Overall, it seems that most reviewers were extremely happy with Half-Life: Alyx. From the story and VR controls to the action, the game nails the VR and Half-Life experience extremely well.

If you have the VR setup required to play the game, then this is definitely worth checking out.

What do you think? Are you interested in trying out Half-Life: Alyx? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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