After years of quiet and orderly development of Half-Life: Alyx finally gets a release. This is the first game in the universe of Half-Life for more than ten years period of time.
Available in: Steam (Index, Vive, Rift, VR Windows).
Date of issue: 23 March 2020
Price: 1085 ₽
While the design of VR gaming is very different from the design of games on a flat screen, Valve has done an excellent job in Half-Life: Alyx, retaining the essence of what makes the game Half-Life. Although the pace is slower and more thoughtful, those who have played the previous titles will feel drawn into the universe of Half-Life is deeper than ever before.
The gameplay in Half-Life: Alyx is divided into exploration, puzzle solving and combat. The battle is not a game with weapons in their hands, as in the previous stories, and though you will face fewer enemies, some will be more threatening, and the battle takes a decidedly more exciting tone.
Despite the fact that the game is essentially linear, around you as many visual and interactive components that Half-Life: Alyx continues to contribute to research. In the process you do not lower the eyes from the missing resources of the game such as ammo, health, grenades, and especially “resin” (small pieces of material, used to improve the weapons). While other games of virtual reality to make you feel tedious while collecting resources, the judicious placement (and even the occasional mini puzzle) do a search resources Half-Life: Alyx is really unusual.
This greatly help Gravity Gloves (gravity gloves) that allow you to capture objects at a distance, and not to go within reach of the hand to every thing that you want to raise. To use Gravity Gloves, you need to first “bind” the object and then make a gesture to “pull” to initiate force tension. When you do that, the object runs in an arc right to your hand.
This may seem a subtle change in the existing mechanics of “pulling” in other games of virtual reality, but in practice is exciting, fun and almost makes you feel like you have telekinetic abilities. System targeting and initiating gesture also work together to significantly reduce the incidence of power strokes in comparison with what happens in many other VR games. The system is so successful that will surely be used in many future VR games.
One of the things that you will often collect your abilities due to Gravity Glove is Resin (“resin”) to improve your weapons. Resin is not enough, so diligent researchers who will be able to find most of it on its way, will be able to upgrade your weapons earlier than others. The updates, by the way, can only be done at special stations, which are sometimes found throughout the game.
While the weapons in Half-Life: Alyx satisfies their interactions and shooting, unfortunately, much to talk about. Instead of having to take the gun anywhere else, you will get access to three weapons in the game. It’s the pistol, shotgun and pulse rifle combined.
You will not see a wider range of unique weapons Half-Life in the game, especially when there are plenty of opportunities for VR specific interactions. In particular, you probably caught yourself thinking that you need precise long-distance shooting option in Half-Life: Alyx. The famous crossbow Half-Life would be awesome not only because of its interactive features, but also because of the experience of pressing enemies to the walls (and the opportunity to see it close in VR). Because Valve plans to release a full range of tools for modding, let’s hope the modding community will be able to help with that.
The weapon set seems to be partly a result of the fact that Valve chose to avoid double interactions. As for weapons required two hands, in the game there is no weapon that is held with both hands, and very few moments in the game are associated with a two-handed interaction.
Combat stimulation starts pretty slow, and zombie headcrabs become the main threat in the first third of the game. It is clear that Valve wanted to give players enough time to learn how to move, use their gravitational gloves and manage your weapons before introducing them with a more dynamic enemies. Despite this, zombies and headcrabs can feel like a threat in melee, and Valve does not hesitate to test your combat training.
Later in the game you will meet with soldiers of the Combine, which is clearly more threatening. Even on normal difficulty the combat is relatively complicated, and one of the soldiers hesitate to kill you if you’re not careful. You will definitely want to find some shelter and don’t put your head down when the bullets start flying in your direction.
Like the weapons, variety of enemies is minimal. Soldiers unite about three types of difficulty and do not represent a particularly unique threats. Especially in the later stages of the game when your guns got some improvement, the murder of a soldier of the Plant means targeting your laser sight on their head and hold the trigger until they are destroyed.
However, there are some pretty prominent enemies, which adds some intrigue, including a unique enemy that is part of the Studio sequence that has no equal in performance..
If you are stuck on big puzzles, then, as a rule, it is enough to step back and assess the situation, to the key is found. Even small puzzles that open things like doors, warehouse or station upgrades, can remain interesting thanks to the caution of increasing complexity.
I wish the game had more variety of weapons and enemies, limited membership is part of a broader trend in Half-Life: Alyx, which is directed to the gameplay has been optimized and exciting. Although the game doesn’t offer much mechanical innovation that is there, polished to a Shine. Valve has managed to develop Alyx thus, to avoid most of the interference found in many other VR games.
With a bunch of environmental and interactive components, Valve has created an incredibly exciting world. Besides the fact that almost every little object in the game is physically interactive, he can interact differently. Overall, Half-Life: Alyx a VR game you’ve ever played. With consistently excellent art direction and impressive clear-aliasing, the game’s visuals are first rate.
While Alyx impressive interactive features such as rotating sink faucets, lighting switches that actually turn on the light and lifted the toilet seat, there are a few mistakes dip.
First, the game does no hand-to-hand combat. It’s a little frustrating when many of the enemies of the game want to approach directly to your face, especially after Boneworks (2019) showed the benefits of simply hitting enemies, pushing them back when they get too close.
Another problem with immersion is that the equipping of weapons is done using the menu of gestures, and when it is worn, the weapon sticks to a pre-selected “weapon hand”, regardless of whether you grab the weapon or not. This means that the weapon cannot be transferred between your hands, thrown, or something else that makes it feel obviously not as part of the whole physical world of the game. And when you’re done fighting and want to have both hands free to interact with the world, you need to use a button to “arm” your hand.
While this design choice eliminates a large part of the VR-interference, Alyx feels a bit lagging from time to time in this Department, seeing smooth and irresistible mechanics of the holster from Blood & Turth (2019) and Stormland. (2019); system “a magnetic holster” the last one, which automatically attaches the weapon to the holster, if it is dropped, would be a perfect theme for gravity gloves.
Although the history of Half-Life: Alyx interesting enough to justify continued operation, in fact, not so much going on beyond what is necessary for movement to its goal. This does not mean that Alyx is not a consequence of the plot of Half-Life as a whole, although how it intersects with the plot of other games in the franchise, it seems unexpected, significant and a bit clumsy.
Half-Life: Alyx supports teleportation, constant movement and a number of other options of comfort, such as climbing a flight of stairs. Throughout time playing Half-Life: Alyx, you will feel that the game does an excellent job of maintaining comfort.
Valve obviously spent time thinking about how Half-Life: Alyx needs to work with each of VR controllers. Although there are some minor ways, not following the established input patterns in General, they did a great job, and no matter which controller you use, the game seems equally playable.
Alyx shows that it was primarily designed to play stand-up space in the gaming spaces of the scale of the room. Continuous locomotion works well, although the game has no real “jump” and instead used “mantle” (which makes you slide on the objects) or teleport jump when you need to bridge the gap. Sometimes the game asks you to teleport jumping over large gaps, which at first glance do not seem to be fully Bouncing, creating a random moment of confusion, before you know where to go.
Sedentary game feels fine, although it goes a little better with continuous movement, not teleportation. Of course, the game has an option that allows you to adjust your height from sitting to standing position or down to a sitting position. During the game it is difficult to get these options to work correctly.
The game reveals one weird thing with the stairs — though “option is enabled now climbing the ladder”, most of the stairs automatically teleport the player up or down if you do not put your capture on the same stage. It is more irritating than inconvenient, as there are Boneworks, which offers to climb stairs independently.
If you are particularly claustrophobic or unable to cope with the horror of Half-Life: Alyx could definitely be a problem for you. Some of the more boring sections of the game plunged you into the darkness with a flashlight as the only light source, further limiting the field of view of your headset.