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Half-Life: Alyx is VR's killer app, and new gameplay footage proves it

Half-Life: Alyx looks creepy, eerie, and ultra-tense in new VR gameplay footage.

@DeekeTweak
Derek Strickland
Published Mon, Mar 2 2020 1:47 PM CST   |   Updated Sat, Aug 8 2020 10:29 AM CDT

Valve just revealed three meaty gameplay videos for its new VR-exclusive Half-Life game, which looks to be VR's must-have killer app.

On the heels of Half-Life: Alyx's launch later this month, Valve has released over 10 minutes of new Half-Life: Alyx gameplay footage that shows just how incredibly dynamic the game actually is.

The big features shown off are locomotion and basic first-person shooter mechanics. The game looks admittedly wonky insofar as an FPS. But that's to be expected as VR sensors are tracking your movements and translating in-game. Alyx can crouch, hide behind walls as cover, and use nearby objects as weapons. All in all the game looks like it could give you serious anxiety and the fights are pretty tense--especially with the total immersion of VR projecting you in the creepy Half-Life universe.

Locomotion is teleport-based, not free-roam, so that could be jarring and awkward at the beginning. Gamers are stuck to a specific position and their walking steps/movements aren't specifically tracked. Instead you have to use the controllers to teleport to specific locations each time.

One of the most impressive features is just how much gamers can manipulate the environments.

Valve has injected insane levels of interactivity with the game world, letting Alyx touch practically anything in any given level including searching through desks and lockers for upgrades, ammo, and gear and even using objects as creative tools against enemies, like putting a bucket over a camera.

A lot of this interactivity is owed to Alyx's new gravity gloves, which basically let you use Force pull to yank nearby objects to you. Whether it's ammo, a tech crafting upgrade, or an explosive propane tank you use as a makeshift death-bomb, there's lots of freedom in how you use the environment to your advantage.

Overall the game has it all: it's a horror FPS with ann ominous soundtrack weaving through everything you do, bizarre misshapen monstrosities roaming around to punish your every move, and warped, almost-beautiful alien infection that spreads across City 17.

Then on the surface it transforms into a tense shooter that rivals today's biggest FPS titans. There's an electricity to the gun battles against Combine soldiers, a kind of frenetic chaos that sees you creatively using anything laying around to give you an edge.

That's the real magic of Half-Life: Alyx: It puts you into the game and gives you plenty of opportunities to do cool memorable things.

Things we noticed in the Half-Life: Alyx footage:

  • Barnacles are back and more disgusting than ever
  • New organic grenades dish out pulse explosions
  • Puzzle mechanics confirmed
  • Pistol scope attachment is one upgrade you can find
  • You can throw back enemy grenades with the gravity gloves
  • You can attach random things like explosive cubes to your guns and shoot them across distances at enemies

Half-Life: Alyx releases March 26, 2020 and will be compatible with all Steam VR headsets, including HMDs in the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus, and Windows Mixed reality hardware lineup.

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Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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