Half-Life: Alyx is probably the greatest video games of the year, however I wouldn’t be shocked when you didn’t get round to enjoying it. With the intention to soar into Valve’s immersive new shooter, you additionally have to have entry to a VR rig, which may set you again a major sum of money – particularly if you do not have a high-end PC. Personally, I believe Half-Life: Alyx is improbable; it’s the sort of recreation that makes me glad I invested in VR. However, I’m not right here to persuade you to spend cash a elaborate new headset; loads of individuals have already made the case for Half-Life: Alyx as a defining VR game. I simply wish to let you know why it’s value enjoying when you’re a horror fan.
To begin, I wish to reiterate that Half-Life: Alyx is a stellar expertise on many ranges. The sequence is thought 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, particularly, have by no means been extra partaking. Nevertheless, 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 sequence has featured all method of grotesque physique horrors and otherworldly existential terrors. Even so, previously, these components have been merely a part of the sci-fi set-dressing in an in any other case fast-paced first-person shooter; they have been by no means the primary focus. There have been moments like Half-Life 2’s Ravenholm stage, which gives 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 means.
The largest change is the truth that you at the moment are immersed in Half-Life’s world like by no means earlier than, because of digital actuality. Beforehand, we’ve seen the spider-like headcrabs climb partitions and lunge. Now, with the razor-shape pinchers seemingly proper in your face, it’s arduous to not jerk your head again in worry.
VR brings Half-Life’s world into focus, however Valve additionally doesn’t draw back from the franchise’s horror components. Alyx serves up one creepy atmospheric sequence after one other. In a single scene, you discover an deserted lodge that has change into invested with some sort of alien fungus. As you progress by way of this house, you see the stays of earlier residents who’ve change into fused with the constructing’s decor. In one other space, you discover a sequence of darkish underground tunnels and not using a flashlight and take heed to headcrabs skitter by way of the shadows, ready for the proper second to lunge ahead. In one more horrifying sequence, you enter an deserted zoo and see that a lot of the cages have been damaged and the animals are gone. Then you definately hear an unearthly howl within the distance, and your coronary heart begins to race as you marvel what awaits.
One in every of my favourite sequences comes about halfway by way of the sport once you enter an deserted vodka distillery and play disguise and search with a blind monster named Jeff. Which may sound like a reasonably foolish title for a zombie-like creature, however belief me, you gained’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 combating towards me as a result of it didn’t wish to transfer.
Half-Life: Alyx is much from a conventional horror recreation. There are lengthy stretches the place nothing scary occurs, and Valve actively injects humor into intense moments to dilute the strain. Even so, Half-Life: Alyx practically gave me a coronary heart assault, and I beloved each minute of it. You probably have VR, you already know what to do.