Half-Life: Alyx signifies the first new Half-Life game in years. Just as significantly, it marks a major VR release for Valve, which has both made Half-Life: Alyx a showpiece for its Valve Index VR system, as well as open to play on other VR headsets like the HTC Vive and various Oculus headsets.
The expectations for a new Half-Life game are high, but Alyx appears to deliver. It’s receiving excellent reviews across the board, many of which appear to agree that the VR is either a boon to the experience or even vital to delivering its biggest moments.
“Half-Life: Alyx proves that almost everything the franchise did best is elevated by VR: the environmental puzzles that require a keen eye, the threat of a headcrab jumping for your face, the cryptic storytelling,” Michael Higham wrote in GameSpot’s review. “The series’ staples are as great as ever here, and in its most powerful moments, Half-Life: Alyx confidently shows you why it couldn’t have been done any other way.”
We’ve collected a sampling of reviews from across the industry below. For an even fuller impression, check out GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic for a roundup of all the major review scores. And be sure to read our Half-Life Alyx VR Buying Guide to make sure you can take it all in on your own home system.
- Game: Half-Life Alyx
- Platforms: PC (VR Only)
- Developer: Valve Software
- Release date: March 23
- Price: $60
GameSpot – 9/10
“Not only has Half-Life: Alyx made good on its shift to VR, it has elevated many of the aspects we’ve come to love about Half-Life games. It may not be as bombastic as previous games, but the intimacy of VR brings you closer to a world you might have thought you knew over the past 22 years. Even when familiarity starts to settle in, its gameplay systems still shine as a cohesive whole. And as it concludes, Half-Life: Alyx hits you with something unforgettable, transcending VR tropes for one of gaming’s greatest moments.” – Michael Higham [Full Review]
UploadVR – 5/5
“Alyx leaves you with the lingering suspicion that there is yet more ground to cover, that there’s far more this series and this developer can do with this new set of tools and that this is only the first part of that story. Though you’ll find yourself hungry for more, there’s something comforting in the knowledge that, for Valve, this is the dawn of a new era. Half-Life: Alyx makes good on its second chance, it is as essential a VR game as you’ll find in 2020, but perhaps the most exciting thing about it is the message is that the best is yet to come.” – Jamie Feltham [Full Review]
IGN – 10/10
“Half-Life: Alyx has set a new bar for VR in interactivity, detail, and level design, showing what can happen when a world-class developer goes all-in on the new frontier of technology.” – Dan Stapleton [Full Review]
PC Gamer – 92/100
“The ending is, frankly, wonderful, surprising, exciting, not to mention more than a bit puzzling when you really stop to think about it. I’m eager to see Half-Life fans react and dissect and discuss it, as I’m sure they will for months afterwards, and it makes all sorts of follow-ups to Half-Life: Alyx seem possible. I just fervently hope whatever that follow-up is, that Valve (please, please)doesn’t make us wait another 13 years for it.” – Christopher Livingston [Full Review]
Game Informer – 9/10
“Half Life: Alyx is a must-play game worthy of the series’ legacy. Despite some puzzles and encounters that feel like filler, the overall experience is strong. The stunning setpieces, beautiful world, and smart writing stand out no matter the medium, and mark a return to form for Valve. If you were waiting for a killer app before you made the investment into virtual reality, this is it.” – Leo Vader [Full Review]
US Gamer – 4.5/5
“Half-Life: Alyx is billed as a VR return to the series, and that’s exactly what it delivers. It does what Half-Life has historically done well, and without the clouding of nostalgia or unhelpful notions of what constitutes “revolutionary” design, it ranks alongside Half-Life 2. It is a full-length VR experience that both needs to be in VR, but that uses the tech to more strongly evoke the same feelings you got with a mouse and keyboard years ago. There are some small flaws that are no more annoying than over-long sewer odysseys or having to crouch jump were in past games, and its spectacle hits the hardest of any in the series. It sets Half-Life up for a compelling future—here’s hoping we see it.” – Matthew Olson [Full Review]
Venture Beat – 8/10
“Alyx doesn’t quite have the variety or charm of Half-Life 2 or other Valve masterpieces like Portal 2. But judged on its merits as a VR game, it excels. If you’re looking for something to wow you with what the technology can do, this will get that job done.” – Mike Minotti [Full Review]
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