Half Life Alyx thoughts.

So, after years and years and years a new real Half Life game is finally out and its not just a remake of an existing one. Although Black Mesa is really good.

So Far I'm only about an hour in a half into Half Life Alyx and holy shit, Valve is back and no one does it like they do when they are on. On top of being the best looking VR game I've played it also finally gets physics right, like really right, your in game hands interact with pretty much everything, it feels good to hold something with both hands, and you can finally carry around a container that has other physics objects in it without them screwing up. The movement works really well too, I tried smooth movement and still felt kinda nauseous so I switched to uhh, I don't remember what they call it, its kinda teleport but you select a position and he camera quickly moves there and it works great. You can easily store extra items and ammo by either keeping it on your wrist holders or just reaching over your shoulder and letting it go and it will be added to your bag. One of the coolest features are the gravity gauntlets which let you pull distant items to you with a flick of your wrist and its very easy to either catch them in mid air, or smack them away with your gun. That last one doesn't help but its pretty fun. They also got throwing things to feel really good, in a lot of vr games when you throw something its pretty common for the game to not realize you want to toss something and just drop it or not throw it far enough, in HLA you really can aim and throw right where you want.

The combine tech is suitably gross and their solders are big and bulky and look like they really need some heavy weapons applied to them, the zombies are fun to shoot, the head crabs seem slower then they would be in a normal game but that's kinda to be expected, Ill see if they move faster on hard after I finish this run. You can also upgrade your pistol, so far I've only gotten one upgrade and its the reflex site, which actually helps more then you would think. It highlights weak points on some enemies, such as the head crab on a zombie or this weird growth they sometimes have on their arms that make a nice boom when shot.

Anyway, so far I am really damn impressed and I think this justifies the purchase of a vr headset, maybe not the 1k for an Index, but I really like it on my Index. I think this has Doom Eternal beat, that game might have had a bit better gameplay but this one has the whole package, story, gameplay, characters, innovation. Really hard to argue against it. I forgot how much I missed the Vorts and their weird magic stuff.

Worgen:
I think this has Doom Eternal beat, that game might have had a bit better gameplay but this one has the whole package, story, gameplay, characters, innovation. Really hard to argue against it.

Ah yes, this fine game that most people won't play and have no reasonable way to play.

McElroy:

Worgen:
I think this has Doom Eternal beat, that game might have had a bit better gameplay but this one has the whole package, story, gameplay, characters, innovation. Really hard to argue against it.

Ah yes, this fine game that most people won't play and have no reasonable way to play.

I think it is good enough to justify the cost of vr, but as I said above, maybe not the 1k for an Index but there are cheaper options. Plus there are a good number of other great VR games like Moss, Super Hot VR, Serious Sam the last hope, Arizona Sunshine, and Space Pirate trainer.

McElroy:
Ah yes, this fine game that most people won't play and have no reasonable way to play.

Sooner or later someone will release a non-VR mod for this. Even Valve themselves seem to think it's inevitable.

Chimpzy:

McElroy:
Ah yes, this fine game that most people won't play and have no reasonable way to play.

Sooner or later someone will release a non-VR mod for this. Even Valve themselves seem to think it's inevitable.

Then why doesn't Valve make the mod themselves? :(

I mean, you can play it with headsets other than Vive, right? Seems they're kind of shooting themselves in the foot.

Hawki:

Chimpzy:

McElroy:
Ah yes, this fine game that most people won't play and have no reasonable way to play.

Sooner or later someone will release a non-VR mod for this. Even Valve themselves seem to think it's inevitable.

Then why doesn't Valve make the mod themselves? :(

I mean, you can play it with headsets other than Vive, right? Seems they're kind of shooting themselves in the foot.

Because Valve was interested in having a problem to solve and doing something new that pushes things. They aren't interested in it just pushing the Index, they want to push VR as a whole, so yeah, you can play it with any headset.

am jealous. not gonna lie. but am being patient like last time they were showing off their tech. it was made to make the most out of the new platform/technology and I'd rather play it the way it was designed to be. time is not an issue. until it is

As someone else who got the game and has been playing it, allow me to put in my own two cents. For the record, VR setup is a Vive with Index controllers.

Now, I'm not a super-huge Valve fan myself, but even I have to admit the game is very good. Visually it's great, with characters being very emotive and moving MUCH more than you would expect, leaving it feeling very good (especially a certain character's mouth). Details are also quite impressive, with everything having so much to it... including a few areas that are just... well frankly I think some people might get nauseous from it. And not from a VR way, but from a "OH GOD EW THE BIO GROSS UGH" way, if you know what I mean. Think alien fungus growing out of a human corpse and you have an idea. This isn't a bad thing, it's impressive.

The controls may take a little getting used to, but once you do you'll be using Force Pull all the time, and after some growing pains I found it working quite well. Grabbing things also works well, though there's a few awkward moments where you accidentally grab something, or drop something you didn't intend to. Takes a bit to get used to how grabbing works. Moving around, I tend to use the smooth movement, but I have to admit it feels slow as there's no Run option. Instead, you just casually stroll along everywhere, which feels annoying when I want to get somewhere quickly (Although thankfully you move just a bit faster than the zombies). It's possible to still do a quick teleport to move a bit faster and do jumps, but still...

Weapons boil down to three types: A pistol you get early on which is a good standby, a shotgun with rare ammo that you use when you just don't want to shoot six pistol rounds into the fast headcrab scrabbling around (and the eight you put into the floor around it in a panic), and a small machine gun you get later on for... well I suppose machine gun combat, I only just got it. Each weapon is upgradable using Resin you find throughout the levels, located either blatantly in the open or hidden in nooks and crannies and buckets and drawers. Hunt everywhere. There are also grenades that you can find, both biological and man-made, and it really shows off the reason I never played any sports in school, but are fun to throw in a Barnacle's craw.

The characters are a good mix of entertaining and snark. Alyx and the new character, Russell, bounce off each other well and I found myself liking Russell's awkwardness. I also liked... well I don't like spoilers so I'll just call the character V. Amusing, though you do kinda have to feel sorry for the guy, like someone a bit touched in the head. Sure, it's funny, but when you remember why....

As for the story itself? Fairly servicable. Not necessarily superb, but also not terrible. I can take it as it is.

Overall, the game is VERY good, and might even be the VR-seller we've been looking for. It's got its faults and flaws, but it's vastly outnumbered by the positives. I still want to play more, and may even do a second run-through for fun to try and find more resin.

So, apparently you can do stuff like this in this game, which is some really next level s.h.i.t.

Suddenly all that time spent wondering what Valve could've been doing besides watching Steam take in the monies kinda makes sense.

It looks like the next big thing in gaming, the GENUINE next big thing. I know current VR tech has been around a few years now, but this is the first time I'm super fucking jealous of everyone that has a VR set-up and PC that can properly run this. It looks out of this world, and it's a real shame I'll probably never get to play it. Honestly I feel almost exactly the same way back when Half-Life 2 got revealed and all I had was a Playstation 2.

Casual Shinji:
It looks like the next big thing in gaming, the GENUINE next big thing. I know current VR tech has been around a few years now, but this is the first time I'm super fucking jealous of everyone that has a VR set-up and PC that can properly run this. It looks out of this world, and it's a real shame I'll probably never get to play it. Honestly I feel almost exactly the same way back when Half-Life 2 got revealed and all I had was a Playstation 2.

But I'm pretty sure you ended up playing Half Life 2 within a few years of that, so chances are that'll be the case here too. Of course, game+VR+PC capable of running it costs more than just game+PC capable of running it, so it might take a smidge longer. There also wasn't a stupid virus fucking everything up back then either.

As someone who's finished the game twice here are some non-spoiler thoughts

Mechanically, this has more in common with Resident Evil than Halflife 2. 3-4 hit system, heavier slower combat, resource deprivation, scavenging and basic weapon upgrades.

The game as a whole, leans very heavily on the horror elements, very rarely will the player find themselves in Combine fights.

The VR implementation here isn't as extensive as something like Boneworks. However, it is a better game with better implementation of what is there. Jank is practically non-existent. Once a player develops muscle memory fast, it becomes natural to grab things, reload and move around.

Combat through the implementation of VR has elevated the gun-play of Halflife 2's average combat. Encounters like headcrabs and zombies which previously where "whatever", is now a far more engaging experience.

Story-wise, while the opening seems like a bog standard "do the thing", it leads to a more complicated story that has one of the best and most satisfying endings iv'e experienced in a game.

What is does lack compared to Halflife 2 is that constant gameplay flux where each chapter was a new idea thrown at the player or it's aesthetic variation in levels.

The gameplay does change itself up, but nowhere near to the extent of Halflife 2.

Again, to make a Resident Evil comparison, I really, really wish this had a NG+ mode where the player gets to keep his/her weapon upgrades with a harder difficulty with new enemy/item placements, for replay value, I think Halflife: Alyx would have really benefited from it, and still something they could patch in.

Otherwise, yea. It's the best VR game on the market. Prob my GOTY. Been a while since I was excited for a game and it actually delivered on that.

I'm looking at going for a link cable so I can use my Quest with the PC and play this game. That said, I really prefer to be able to play standing up and moving around on my own. I'm kind of really leaning on people showing me that this game is worth it to be willing to pay 80 bucks for a cable (and then dick around with my comp to get a usbC port going) to tie myself down.

EvilRoy:
I'm looking at going for a link cable so I can use my Quest with the PC and play this game. That said, I really prefer to be able to play standing up and moving around on my own. I'm kind of really leaning on people showing me that this game is worth it to be willing to pay 80 bucks for a cable (and then dick around with my comp to get a usbC port going) to tie myself down.

I suppose you can play this game sitting down but it really is based on moving around, looking through things, being able to take cover when needed then peeking and shooting. Personally I would say its really worth it but Im not sure what kinda hardware the quest is and how well it would work compared to the Index. But, the game itself is fantastic.

I'd get a Rift S over the Quest if you are planning to play mainly PC gmaes.

Worgen:

EvilRoy:
I'm looking at going for a link cable so I can use my Quest with the PC and play this game. That said, I really prefer to be able to play standing up and moving around on my own. I'm kind of really leaning on people showing me that this game is worth it to be willing to pay 80 bucks for a cable (and then dick around with my comp to get a usbC port going) to tie myself down.

I suppose you can play this game sitting down but it really is based on moving around, looking through things, being able to take cover when needed then peeking and shooting. Personally I would say its really worth it but Im not sure what kinda hardware the quest is and how well it would work compared to the Index. But, the game itself is fantastic.

MrBoBo:
I'd get a Rift S over the Quest if you are planning to play mainly PC gmaes.

When you use a link cable the Quest basically turns into a Rift. I actually feel for Rift purchasers because I got a quest on the basis of "I wanna play beatsaber in a large open area without having to worry about tripping" and then like a few weeks later they announced the link.

Basically its a fancy usbC cable that lets the quest play any type of PC/SteamVR game. From what I can see the primary difference between the Index and the linked Quest is that the Index has a way higher refresh rate for both controller and visor, but I accept that a device that costs about 500 bucks less is going to have some hardware limitations.

The advantage to the Quest is that there are no pylons, so you just move your PC somewhere that has open space near it, link up with the cable, and you're good to go. No need for any other setup or mounting of stuff - barring the need to confirm that the PC box is put somewhere that you won't accidentally kick it through the play boundary.

Casual Shinji:
It looks like the next big thing in gaming, the GENUINE next big thing. I know current VR tech has been around a few years now, but this is the first time I'm super fucking jealous of everyone that has a VR set-up and PC that can properly run this. It looks out of this world, and it's a real shame I'll probably never get to play it. Honestly I feel almost exactly the same way back when Half-Life 2 got revealed and all I had was a Playstation 2.

Speaking as someone who also currently has no means or intentions of picking up VR, this is kind of a bummer. I gave up on Half-Life 3 long ago, apathetic now at best, and it's a shame that Valve might have actually delivered a legit Half-Life game that's 1.) NOT HL3, and 2.) exclusive to such a niche platform. Almost like an ex who you really wanted to work things out with, never did, then years later, you find out they're living their best life as the person you always wanted them to be on the other side of the planet with someone else.

It's a slap in the face to Half-Life fans. They want to sell people on VR via the Half-Life name, but it's sort of a dick move. They already screwed us over by never giving us Episode 3, and the next Half-Life game is VR only? That's stupid. It should've been an original IP. Of course, it probably wouldn't have sold as well. Nonetheless, this wasn't (morally) the right way to go about it.

I've been enjoying it. The level of fidelity actually wowed me at the start. Can remember thinking "wow, look at that fuckin' pigeon!".

 

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