Is Half Life Alyx a Game Changer?

by James Gilbert
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The big thing within the gaming community these days is VR or Virtual Reality. Much of the hardcore gaming community is investing in VR headsets from companies like HTC, Oculus and Valve to add to their gaming set up. Although there are some who are buying cheaper smartphone-based VR headsets like those made of cardboard, it’s the high-end ones that are really the game-changers. These come with tracking cameras and motion sensors that also take into account the space around the wearer so that he or she does not experience motion sickness and hurt themselves.

In recent times, even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has shown his keen interest in VR especially by lapping up VR game studios and even hardware companies like Oculus. Virtual Reality is also being adopted by industries like online casinos which have traditionally been big on gaming with games like Fortnite gaining a lot of popularity as described here.

However, in early 2020 the gaming studio Valve released the latest edition of Half Life called Half Life Alyx specifically for VR. This comes 13 years after the last edition of Half Life was out. With such a long waiting period, is the new Half Life Alyx worth it? Many gamers think it’s a complete game changer and here’s why.

Virtual Reality Game Play

The truly unique things about Half Life Alyx is that it can only be played through Virtual Reality. This means the player has to be completely immersed in the game. The fantastic gameplay ​allows the player to grab things with their hands and even throw it at enemies, as well as open doors and engage in combat. While it helps to have a nice big room to set up your VR especially when you have to walk through the virtual world, there are also options of teleportation to move from one point to another.

Man wearing VR Headset

The Plot

Half Life Alyx actually doesn’t pick up from where Half Life 2 leaves us. In fact, quite the contrary. It’s a backstory and set in a world about 5 years before the events of Half Life 2. The protagonist in this story is Alyx, an old ally of Gordon Freeman. Alyx has to negotiate her way through the Quarantine Zone which is full of aliens and shut down a power station among other things.

As usual, there is a lot of “human” interaction and conversations and at some point, you might just forget that you are actually playing a game. The plot was apparently tweaked at the last minute after some small test group told the developers that they weren’t happy with the ending.

Reception of the Game

Half Life Alyx has sold all of Valve Index headsets and puts buyers on a waiting list. In fact, just this one game has made the Valve Index the fastest-selling headset ever. Half Life Alyx has also left behind the VR favourite – Beat Saber – which makes it the greatest VR game ever. However, some publications are still wondering if this game is really a game-changer as you can read in an article here.

Whether you would like to believe that Half Life Alyx is the greatest game ever or not, one thing is certain that your understanding of VR will completely change after you play this game. There is truly no other game like this out there.


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