Half-Life Alyx Review

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Half-Life Alyx is a supremely polished, well thought-out game that’s a ‘must-play’ for anybody interested in gaming, or technology. Or both! It’s worth it purely to experience what a ‘high budget VR’ title should feel like, as a glimpse of what gaming might be like in 2-3 years’ time. But rather than spend this whole video gushing about it, I cover the design choices they’ve made, how it changes the experience, what I like / don’t like, and where I hope they take Half-Life in the future. (Spoiler: probably involves VR)
0:00 – What I think of HLA, compared with earlier Half-Life games
2:03 – Length of game, difference between segments
3:53 – Scavenging simulator, not FPS
4:33 – Weapons
6:09 – Resin and how the upgrades affect combat
7:55 – Hacking minigames
8:36 – Movement and teleporting
9:46 – Health
10:13 – Other ways in which VR immerses
10:43 – Audio
11:01 – Loading screens
11:34 – Graphics and Source 2.0
12:29 – Enemies in HLA
14:17 – Character animation – most convincing NPCs ever?
15:20 – HLA’s dialogue and how it changes things
16:40 – HLA’s best bit (Minimal spoilers / clips shown)
18:02 – Conclusion. What is this game? What comes next?

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38 thoughts on “Half-Life Alyx Review”

  1. The shotgun ammo scenario reminded me of the ‘item dynamic resupply’ entity. That would also change what spawned (albeit usually from a crate you had to smash) depending on what ammo, health or power you were lacking the most! Cool to see it might still be happening in Alyx…

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  2. Skillup used to pronounce it “mee-lee” he now pronounces it correctly as “mey-lay” but now I’ve heard the combination for the first time as you say it “may-lee” you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    Unless that is the most stupid saying ever said. In which case, you can.
    Of course you can!

    Without the context of its creation that is an awkward and worthless sentence and should only be said by idiots and douchebags.

    Look, let’s just drop it, ok? Jeepers! It’s no big deal, you know?

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  3. This review is objectively subjective.
    I managed to be completely objective, subjectively at least, and I discovered that the actual score is a 9/10.
    You did quite well though. Keep trying.

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  4. 3:21 Kinda have to disagree with Philips here. The reason why HL2 has more diverse environments is because Gordon travels miles away from the city at the first day and the environment he’s in constantly changes because he has a different goal. meanwhile in Alyx most of the game takes place in QZ which is in the city.

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  5. I finally got my Index on Thursday, (I had a Vive before it, but I wanted to wait for the Index specifically to play Alyx,) and I stayed up until 4:00 AM and finished the game in nine hours. I really agree with the conclusions you made. It was an absolutely fantastic game, and definitely the best VR game I've played to date, but it was a lackluster Half-Life game in my opinion. If they remade Half-Life 2 perfectly, but for VR, (like they did for Black Mesa and the original Half-Life,) I think I would enjoy that game quite a bit more, just because the story, and the levels, and the atmosphere felt so much better, and well-built. I can really tell someone else wrote Half-Life Alyx compared to the other games. It felt like it was written by movie directors, not a damn genius by the name of Marc Laidlaw.

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  6. As any review of any in Intternet this one is full shit (have nothing againts the author of the video – gamereview is a genre of shit). But – Running option for movement would cause motion sickness for sure. Speaking about loading – you're clearly not a game developer, if "Source 2 is just prettier Source 1" – loadings are neccesary because it's a VR game – VR games must super optmized. Developers take every small posobolity to push optimization in VR – because you need to render at least 90 frames a second for TWO eyes in huge resolution. That is insane. In normal game you need just 30/60 fps for one single monitor. So loading screens help a lot. Speaking about melee – Valve of course didn't make melee combat on purpose – first, because it would break scavenging and second – melee in VR is awful – you don't have any feedback, it's just really really bad.

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  7. Don’t get the complaint about there not being many shotgun shells as I found plenty on my playthrough? Maybe just missed the ammo shells perhaps (they are rather small compared to the ammo for the other guns)?

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  8. 11:00 Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me?! I have to step in here.

    Loading … Is … Now … A … Part … Of … Half … Life's … Identity. No matter what!
    You can't call it a Half-Life game without the "Loading …" Screen, I am sorry but you can't!

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  9. I wouldn't call this Half life 1, since the reason why half life 1 and 2 were so different was because of technological limitations. However, I feel like HLA could have been much better even with modern tech. No, in reality, Half Life Alyx id the equivalent of Doom 2016, where the technology is there, but the developers are still testing the waters, and honestly, I can't wait for the Half Life equivalent of Doom Eternal

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  10. The antlions were by far the biggest disappointment for me in this game, they were way too annoying to kill for how easy they are to ignore. When I was fighting them, if I missed even one shot, it felt like I was burning ammo for no reason. After the first encounter with them, I just started completely ignoring them and the game was more enjoyable. I would have liked to see the hl2 antlions, weak enemies that swarm you and make you care about them.

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  11. Ok, i HAVE to play this game…I have the pc to run it but no VR headset yet. I love the half life games and this is the first game I've seen that makes me want to try VR, time to save my pennies for one

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  12. Philip. Because you didn't reveal anything about the spooky chapter, my brain had to try to do it in my sleep. And in a silly but godforsaken way. I was playing bare chested Kylo Ren walking through a fuc*ing horror house filled with old creepy semi-living dolls with all black eyes. Utterly helpless?? In my brains fucked of version of this chapter I was only armed with the teaspoon from 15:38. Not my best night but hey – it's still a nice review 🙂 Keep it up!

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  13. I legitimately don't know if I'm just stupid or don't know what I should be afraid of, but Jeff didn't really SCARE me, or make me super anxious. I don't know, I think when I played through it I was more focused on how to do things without him getting to me, and I only died maybe once or twice in dumbish ways that resulted from glitchy VR hand occlusion and the fragility of vodka bottles. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy and appreciate what was achieved by Jeff, and I would be lying if I said that beating and thwarting him wasn't satisfying as hell, it just wasn't as frightening or tense for me as other people have reported.
    Also now that I mention it, I've had quite a few problems with hand occlusion in HL:A, from picking up a crate with both hands to reaching through windows or even stooping low to the ground or crouching behind cover. It might just be my own VR setup but it's very annoying at times.

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  14. Mate, be fucking thankful that at least they made a Half-Life game, a good game franchise than before Half-Life: Alyx was made aka Artifact, which was a flop and we're happy that they didn't made another bad game, It's fucking Half-Life mate and also thing, from what the ending was telling us, we may get a Half-Life 3 game, 12 years of waiting for the story of a good game franchise to end and we finally got something, be at the very least happy that the franchise came back and didn't died on us.

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  15. So the reason you found very little shotgun ammo is because of the director in the game seeing that you're using a specific weapon, like the pistol. The more you use it, the more ammo you find for that in specific. If you were to switch to your shotgun halfway through the game, you'd actually find a lot more shotgun ammo and very little pistol ammo. It's an odd system for sure, my guess is to get you familiar with a specific weapon, as if you fully upgrade your pistol, why would you switch to your shotgun? I know many people dislike it, but personally I think it's a fine feature.

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