Half-Life: Alyx is the continuation of the beloved Half-Life series from Valve but taken one step further by making it all in virtual reality. More immersive than ever before, the rave reviews prove that this totally intricate experience was the right call but the fact is that not everyone has, or even wants, VR and that’s something that Valve understands. More so, they know that mods to translate this game into non-VR are on the way, but how do they feel about that?
Half-Life Alyx programmer Robin Walker sat down with the team over at VGC to talk about why making a mod for a non-VR Alyx experience isn’t something Valve is upset by. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been half trolling members of the team who are worried about this!”
But just because a mod is OK’d by the team doesn’t mean he thinks it will turn out the way players hope:
“As a result, what I’m confident will happen is that when people get that butchered version, and they’ll have lost all the things that we’ll have got from moving to VR, they will then understand very clearly why we made that choice,” he told the site. He then added, “There’s a part of me that’s eager for people to be able to have that experience and realise, oh, now I get it. Now I see everything we lost in that transition back to non-VR and I understand why they did it.”
While we here at Prima Games didn’t review Alyx, I did write up a review over on the Turtle Beach blog explaining exactly why VR was the right call for this game. In my post, I mentioned “VR in itself is an incredible technology, though it’s not for everyone. Some get tired of having equipment strapped to their face for long periods of time while others experience a sort of motion sickness. I, personally, fall in the latter half of that statement but what astounded me was that I didn’t experience any issues at all during my time as Alyx. In fact, Valve did a damn good job at making me not want to put the headset down at all, which surprised me! Mechanically speaking, Valve handled this VR entry perfectly, ensuring that VR veterans and noobs alike could enjoy the experience without negative side effects, something that isn’t the easiest to do.”
“I’d also like to take a quick moment to pay homage to the incredible Force-Pull ability in the game. For not being a Star Wars game, I felt pretty Jedi-y at times and being able to take Alyx’s hands and actually manipulate the environment around me in freeform was … addictive.”
VR takes everything we loved about this series and took it to levels that we never could have imagined. Half-Life: Alyx takes the gore from the first two games, the story from the first two games, the dreadful feeling of the world around the player from the first two games and pumped that right up past 11. Despite many’s reservations about the jump to VR, this move was the best thing Valve could have done for the Half-Life franchise. The blood, the existential crisis, the action – all taken to unbelievable heights that create an experience that will leave lasting memories much in the way that the first Half-Life did.
For those that want to experience this game for themselves, Half-Life Alyx is available now exclusively on Steam.