Half-Life: Alyx is likely one of the finest video games of the yr, however I wouldn’t be stunned in the event you didn’t get round to taking part in it. In order to leap into Valve’s immersive new shooter, you additionally have to have entry to a VR rig, which may set you again a big amount of cash – particularly if you do not have a high-end PC. Personally, I believe Half-Life: Alyx is implausible; it’s the type of sport that makes me glad I invested in VR. But, I’m not right here to persuade you to spend cash a flowery new headset; loads of individuals have already made the case for Half-Life: Alyx as a defining VR sport. I simply wish to let you know why it’s price taking part in in the event you’re a horror fan.
To begin, I wish to reiterate that Half-Life: Alyx is a stellar expertise on many ranges. The collection is understood for its extremely engrossing motion, pitch-perfect environmental storytelling, and intelligent puzzles. Half-Life: Alyx options all these components and does all of them remarkably nicely. The storytelling and motion, specifically, have by no means been extra participating. However, digital actuality amplifies Half-Life’s spookier components greater than the rest.
Horror has all the time been part of the Half-Life universe. Since its inception, the collection has featured all method of grotesque physique horrors and otherworldly existential terrors. Even so, up to now, these components had been merely a part of the sci-fi set-dressing in an in any other case fast-paced first-person shooter; they had been by no means the principle focus. There had been moments like Half-Life 2’s Ravenholm stage, which affords loads of creeps, however I by no means would have slotted Half-Life into the horror style. Half-Life: Alyx embraces horror in a brand new manner.
The greatest change is the truth that you are actually immersed in Half-Life’s world like by no means earlier than, due to digital actuality. Previously, we’ve seen the spider-like headcrabs climb partitions and lunge. Now, with the razor-shape pinchers seemingly proper in your face, it’s laborious to not jerk your head again in worry.
VR brings Half-Life’s world into focus, however Valve additionally doesn’t shrink back from the franchise’s horror components. Alyx serves up one creepy atmospheric sequence after one other. In one scene, you discover an deserted resort that has develop into invested with some type of alien fungus. As you progress by this house, you see the stays of earlier residents who’ve develop into fused with the constructing’s decor. In one other space, you discover a collection of darkish underground tunnels with out a flashlight and hearken to headcrabs skitter by the shadows, ready for the right second to lunge ahead. In one more horrifying sequence, you enter an deserted zoo and spot that many of the cages have been damaged and the animals are gone. Then you hear an unearthly howl within the distance, and your coronary heart begins to race as you marvel what awaits.
One of my favourite sequences comes about halfway by the sport once you enter an deserted vodka distillery and play cover and search with a blind monster named Jeff. That may sound like a fairly foolish identify for a zombie-like creature, however belief me, you received’t be laughing after your encounter with Jeff. I will not element this sequence as a result of I don’t wish to spoil something, however I’ll say that there have been moments throughout this confrontation the place I used to be requested to finish sure duties, and I may really feel my physique preventing towards me as a result of it didn’t wish to transfer.
Half-Life: Alyx is much from a standard horror sport. There are lengthy stretches the place nothing scary occurs, and Valve actively injects humor into intense moments to dilute the stress. Even so, Half-Life: Alyx practically gave me a coronary heart assault, and I beloved each minute of it. If you’ve VR, you recognize what to do.