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- Half-Life: Alyx
Earlier this month, Valve pulled out of a promised showcase for its new VR showcase title at The Game Awards. While not confirmed, rumors indicate that the company wasn’t ready to show off the game’s locomotion. While it is not pulling out all the stops with a full Half-Life: Alyx gameplay reveal just yet, Valve did let Norman Chan of Tested and noted VR developer Will Smith into its studio to test the game with various headsets. With the provided footage, we got an expanded idea of just what players will be doing when they re-enter the Half-Life universe.
Half-Life: Alyx Gameplay | Reloading weapons in Half-Life: Alyx
Right off the bat, two big aspects of gameplay that pop out are the finger tracking and reloading weapons. The Valve Index controllers fully support the included finger tracking, with limited support from other setups. There’s an extended sequence towards the middle where you can see Norman testing the limits of the tracking and finding no upper limit on what he can do.
While you probably won’t be flashing gang signs during gameplay all that much, you will be reloading frequently. In ideal situations, you’re doing this all manually, first by grabbing ammo from behind your back, popping out the old ammo,, loading it in, and then cocking your pistol. Smith mentions shotguns and other weapons which will operate differently, but the pair could only use the pistol for their three to four hours with the story campaign. Some actions, like cocking your gun and releasing ammo, will be mappable to buttons since some VR controllers don’t have the range of motion or design to make them work.
Half-Life: Alyx Gameplay | Using gravity gloves in Half-Life: Alyx
There’s also a later section about the gravity gloves, which the pair stated that catching objects once you propel them towards you is a bit of a cheat, but throwing them feels spot on. There’s a hallway segment where Alyx must throw explosive barrels at Barnacles before moving forward. It’s a familiar sight for fans of the franchise that gets new life in the virtual sphere.
Gunplay, the main interaction you’ll have with the world of Half-Life: Alyx is one to one. The video confirms that there aren’t hitscan weapons and that aiming down iron sights in the headset is vital to a good performance. Gun and item selection occurs through a makeshift inventory screen that layers on top of the action, so you won’t be going into digital menus or pausing while the headcrabs chase you.
Half-Life: Alyx Gameplay | Which headsets can play Half-Life: Alyx?
Speaking of, while there’s isn’t a focus on movement in the gameplay that’s shown, we do get some idea of what it will look like from the footage. You see gameplay using both teleportation and stick movement, which are among several other options for locomotion. The right stick on all setups defaults to a quick turn, which lets you instantly face in whatever direction you need. Certain setups also use the right stick for weapon selection in place of the more common touchpad, so quick turning may become more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Everything from the top-of-the-line Valve Index to the first versions of the Rift and the Vive gets its chance to go through their own Half-Life: Alyx gameplay sessions in the video. Both Norm and Will claimed that each headset does the game justice and that the difference is in the little things, like advanced visual effects or reading text off of objects. Headsets that focus their weight on the front of your face are troublesome, which wouldn’t be out of the question for Alyx since it is a full Half-Life game. They also said that the original Vive controllers feel limited compared to other options and suggested that Vive owners pick up the knuckled-based Index replacements. However, no matter what headset you’re looking to use to play Valve’s big new release, it seems like it won’t be a compromised vision.
[Image Credit: Tested/YouTube]