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Half-Life: Alyx Review-VR's killer app is a key part of the Half-Life story




I wandered in an abandoned hotel in the 17th quarantine area of ​​the city, carefully opening the door with my actual hands, peering into the darkness with a realistic head and eyes. As I passed by, organic growth moved from the walls, and the nasty pustules bulged and spouted. This scene is full of my vision. I could hear the screams venting overhead, and occasionally a zombie resident moaned, this resident was forged by one of these space chicken bastards. I may stand still in real life, but I am convinced that I am here. In Soviet modernist architecture, the siren sound and the radio chat of City 17 are endless. This is a dream-or a nightmare-to come true.

In the real world, the birds are singing, but the neighbors do not make a sound. They are all locked, and the world is still. My idea is just that. I hardly ever slept. My child is playing downstairs, it seems no different. But I know, deep down, everything has changed. My brain refused to shut down. Even writing this is an effort. There is nothing now, but imminent fear and anxiety, concerns about the future after the global pandemic, and the changes it may bring. When I moved the Valve Index to my eyes and tied the controller to my hands, some of these anxieties temporarily disappeared and I entered the horror world of Half-Life: Alyx.

Alyx has been the last week of my life, switching between this virtual reality world and our actual fears. In a week when we have enough time to do what we want to do, it's hard to do anything but think. Alyx was the only thing that caught my attention, like an alien barnacle, with tall mouth and sticky tongue waiting high.

As a prequel to Half-Life 2, we play Alyx Vance, a resistance fighter designed to eradicate alien life on Earth. Nazi-style alien races conquered the entire world within seven hours, and Alyx knew nothing but their rule. Her young brain is forced to adapt to this new world, but she still wants to fight for a better future. She believes that the future is full of hope and hopes for positive changes. Just as we now need progressive values ​​to protect the real world of our most vulnerable people, the future of the planet may be a unified world. This is the motivation that we all can sympathize with.

Not surprisingly, Alyx is more fulfilled than the protagonist of the previous game, Gordon Freeman. Hell, Alyx is enriched in Half-Life 2, which should be Gordon's game. She quipped and commented on what she did, and joked with Russel, who is your processor and creator of the "Russel" glove, which you can use to manipulate items from a distance, and It flipped them into the air with one flick. In an unforgettable back and forth, Russel explained to Alyx the concept of club sandwiches and you can immediately see how the developers of Campo Santo work when they join Valve. The interaction between characters is a human-nature interaction, reminiscent of how Firewatch makes radio-based conversations so convincing.

"Persuasiveness" seems to be the key word. From the moment you start Alyx, you're invigorated. You can start the game from overlooking City-17 and watch the huge stride climb through the roof with its fine and organic feet. You can poke the radio nearby and operate it, manipulate the antenna and change the frequency. There is a felt pen that you can pick up and wipe anything you want on a nearby window. There is a globe to rotate, a pet to feed, and a camera to walk around and look through the viewfinder. Almost everything in this world can be picked, moved, thrown, or manipulated in some way. But it's not just the subtle details that impress you-the awesome scale-those footsteps, huge wires hanging overhead, and weird weird structures: your main goal, the combination of weapons you need to use to reach and conquer And turn on its owner.

One of the reasons why this is so memorable is how it staggered its battles in combat, exploration, puzzle solving and outfits. You always feel like you are doing something new or seeing something unexpected. In Alyx's 15 hours, after subtracting all vehicle sections, the situation is the same. It was replaced by Ravenholm, the scariest part of Half-Life 2-an abandoned town, flooded with skull zombies. It's grim and frustrating, as is Alyx, which is closer to a horror game than any other game. It's interspersed with light moments, and has the iconic Valve wit-and there are a lot of brightly lit fires on the street, covered with clap cars-but Alyx is not afraid to bring you into the dark and screaming ears.

Early on, you had to cross an abandoned subway station full of zombies. You pass through a train compartment full of corpses. You walk back and forth in their pockets, staring at the zombie's scrambling platform, looking for something to kill. Once I was gazing at a zombie's movement through a window, and it suddenly changed direction, jumping from the window towards me, smashing the glass and slapping my face. For ordinary first-person shooter games, this is already bad enough, but in VR, seeing blood-stained hands in front of your eyes is a change.

Later, there is a section where the entity nicknamed "Jeff" will guide you through the vodka distillery. Jeff is blind and combative, your bullets are ineffective. You must throw a few bottles of vodka to distract him and use the environment to your advantage. Organic matter will spit out and make you cough when inhaled, so you must cover your mouth when passing, or if you accidentally inhale anything, cover your mouth to reduce the cough. This hour of the game was one of the most intense, and I remember the exciting things we experienced in the media.

When Alyx shifts, it's just as exciting. All of your weapon reloads are done manually, and each of the three main guns is different. For a pistol, you can press the button on the side to lower the magazine, pull a new magazine from your shoulder and slap it. Then you need to pull the slider back into the ammunition box. First, you perform these three steps at once, but in the end all of them turn into a smooth movement. The shotgun is roughly similar, but you put the cartridge into the barrel itself, so the button folds the button shotgun apart. You wave your wrist to pull it back. Until you are under heavy pressure (whether it is a zombie on the move or combined fire), your loading skills have not been truly tested, and you inevitably fumble to drop the magazine on the ground.

I mentioned before, but those Russel gloves can let you pull things from a distance. This means you can throw the ammo bags from your dead enemy's pocket directly into your hand, or pull the incoming grenades out of the air and throw them directly back. Fighting with a combine is crazy and you need full situational awareness. The materiality of the world has increased a lot. You may look fat, but crouching in real life is something exciting, so you can protect yourself from a fire with a virtual car. Or grab the handle of the door and pull it open like a temporary shield. The bullet flies through the air, probes the metal, and smashes the window. You don't even need much space to enjoy it-as long as you can stand up and squat in place, everything is great.

During a battle, I squatted next to a car and a joint soldier tried to flank me. I replaced the shotgun and placed two shells on his face, turning him backwards. A grenade hung on his belt, and I could use it to secure the two combine harvesters I was holding. I rushed at me with Russell gloves, and the enemy's bullet hit in the air, detonating me a few meters, forcing me to rethink. Alyx has a random element that can only exist in VR.

You would think the idea of ​​Half-Life is forgiven: Alyx is not a suitable Half-Life game. This is a VR-only prequel-of course, its place in the story and its limited audience means that this is something you can skip. It is not. Alyx is not only an essential experience, but also a key part of the Half-Life story. If it doesn't, you should at least watch the great ending on YouTube to prepare for the inevitable Half-Life 3

When Half-Life 2 was released, it revolutionized first-person shooters. It set a benchmark for subsequent shooting games, like the opening train journey for Half-Life, which led to the launch of dozens of games. One of the reasons Valve never counted to 3 and gave us the proper sequel was the ensuing expectations. The core idea of ​​the series has been perfected, and convincing physical principles are no longer novelty in video games. What else is new in Half-Life? It turns out that Valve only needs new technology. It just needs VR. This is what i need

We are in an unprecedented moment, we are all scared, we are all worried-whether it is about family members, ourselves or unemployment. It's difficult to focus on anything during this crazy period, but VR devices and Alyx are like your own personal skull, which can block the senses and allow you to fake someone through a series of activities that are your only Change agents. You will not feel powerless. Alyx's main disadvantage is its hardware barrier-I hope more people have the ability to experience it. The last thing we need is to isolate more people from each other. My neighbor may be quiet, but if we open the windows at the same time, we will hear the same bird singing.

Beta Version: Valve Index-Valve provides review code.


Gamer, passionate about video games, technologies, gadgets and everything related to the world of electronics.

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