Half-Life: Alyx – VR’s First Killer App?

Following a sixteen-year hiatus, one of the most successful PC games in history returns in a long-awaited continuation, but this time as a VR exclusive – Half-Life: Alyx.

Half-Life: Alyx in action

Set between the events of Half-Life 1 and 2, Half-Life: Alyx is the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine. Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity’s only chance for survival.

Half-Life: Alyx sees the Half-Life universe rebuilt from the ground up, tailored specifically for VR’s unique capabilities. Valve’s immersive take on gameplay consists of an incredibly rich graphical environment jam-packed with interactions, puzzle-solving, world exploration, and visceral combat. 

Half-Life: Alyx featuring floating hands
After exhaustive research and user testing, Valve has opted for floating hands and a hybrid teleportation system for locomotion – although you can customise this to blinking or controller movement similar to Boneworks.

As you ease into the experience, you soon find yourself frantically rummaging through your surroundings to locate healing syringes and ammunition to load into your weapon. Listening intently should something move beside or behind you. Tossing objects to distract enemies then raising your arms in sheer panic as Headcrabs jump at your face.

Half-Life: Alyx voice acting courtesy of Rhys Darby
Kiwi ears may quickly identify they are being guided through this unique experience by none other than Rhys Darby. 

As a pioneer and driving force behind VR to date, Valve has spared no expense in development and the result is a master class in the potential that AAA VR experiences have.

Half-Life: Alyx trailer

So, is Half-Life: Alyx VR’s first killer app?

Yes, no question about it. Based on what we have seen, we predict it could be the companies third 10/10 title. But will that be enough to ignite a VR industry which has seen its growth stunted until very recently with the launch of Oculus Quest? Time will tell, but there is no doubt that Valve has delivered the exact experience that VR has long needed. 

Half-Life: Alyx AI moves in on you

The Half-Life universe will also tempt a massive fan base in the millions who have been waiting impatiently for 16 years to dive back into this unique universe.

So, who is Valve exactly? 

And how can a single game developer hope to ‘birth’ an entire VR industry out of a single game? Well, Valve is not just an industry-leading game development company. They are the brains behind the gaming industry’s biggest download store “Steam” which generated a staggering US4.3 billion in 2017 alone.

Valve was also the co-developers of HTC’s Vive hardware, investing 4 years into the development of it.

Ok, when is the release date?

Now! Go go go, click here. Owners of Valve Index Headsets or Controllers will actually get the game for free as well as some additional content.

What will I need to experience this?

You will need a VR ready PC (specs below) and a VR headset. Headsets supported are the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality. To get the most out of the experience you will want to go for Valve’s Controllers as they allow you to interact with the world in a way the developers would hope for – but, all current VR controllers are supported!

Minimum requirements:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Core i5-7500 / Ryzen 5 1600
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GTX 1060 / RX 580 – 6GB VRAM

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