Valve’s Return to the Half-Life Series Opens VR Doors

Valve released Half-Life: Alyx recently and with it, unlocked the potential for AAA titles to being looking at virtual reality in a big way.

There are some really good VR games out there, a lot of which, we’ve actually mentioned before, but there haven’t been many that have been true block buster AAA titles and Valve proves that with some hard work and focus, it’s possible to bridge the gaps.

So far since release, Alyx has received 92 on MetaCritic, a score that places it in the upper echelons of gaming history. It shares space with the likes of The Witcher 3, Undertale, Call of Duty 4 and Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos.

It’s striking that many people, especially those that have VR and haven’t quite spent a large amount of time on it, are reporting that this was one of the few times they’ve dusted off their headset to play.

To be fair, VR may not be for everyone. Some software can give you motion sickness, it can tire you out and can feel a little awkward at times. This is why it’s such good news that Half-Life: Alyx has done so well, in minimizing this problem for so many people. If you haven’t bought a headset yet, check out our VR Buying Guide.

The game takes place during the events of Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2, where Gordon Freeman, the protagonist, wakes up from a long stasis to find that Earth has been colonised by the Combine, an alien empire. You play as Alyx Vance, daughter of one of Freeman’s colleagues, and part of the anti-Combine resistance.

Valve has carefully and meticulously crafted a world that people know and love in virtual reality and has made it so that people can interact with everything around them. Given that scenery, the atmosphere and the medium which Valve allows players to play, it’s a wonder that anyone can get through the 15 hours of story line when there’s things to throw at birds, markers to write with, and trademark Valve things to see.

You could easily spend an hour playing with the whiteboard markers on window glass in the first room. If you have a family member or kids watching, they will see these funny notes and drawings scribbed simultaneously on the computer monitor too — from your virtual dry-erase marker — and you hearing your spectators giggle at what you’re drawing in virtual reality!

While Half-Life: Alyx may be limited to only a few people because of its VR nature, it’s at least open to all VR devices across the PC, making it rather inclusive.

Hopefully, it encourages people to head out and invest in VR, and with time, will see more and more studios begin to invest in, and seize the opportunities that await us in VR.

On this closing note, Half Life Alyx will have to suffice as a surrogage Half Life 3. And it does babysit that job well. But is it the real Half Life 3? A sequel beckons.