• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Half-Life: Alyx Quick & Dirty Reviews Thread

Al3x1s

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Nov 24, 2018
4,133
3,687
645
Over 90 everywhere going by the first ~20 reviews and that's with an 8/10 because they didn't want to be immersed in a "bad" atmosphere given real world covid bs (?!). It's getting a bit review bombed with some 0/10 in the Metacritic user reviews but there are too few in general there yet (duh).

 
Last edited:

SirKicksalot

Member
Jan 9, 2018
1,338
1,859
435
Check out these VentureBeat quotes :messenger_tears_of_joy:

Half-Life: Alyx review — A great VR game for the wrong time

Reviewing Half-Life: Alyx has been a stressful endeavor. Part of that is the usual rigors of critiquing a game (trying to beat it before a deadline). But this VR experience is landing at a time when a pandemic is taking hold over the world. So, you know, I may already be a bit on edge. Bundle that with how playing VR can be uncomfortable and Alyx’s more survival-horror take on the franchise, and I often wished that I didn’t have to play this game at this particular moment in history.

What you won’t like

Playing this game right now


I almost feel bad holding this against the game, but now is a rough time to play something that immerses you into an intense, 10-hour long experience in a postapocalyptic world filled with monsters and lots of other things that want to kill you.

But considering how stressed out I already am about being in shelter-in-place and practicing social distancing, I have to say that I’m envious of my friends who were spending all of their time catching virtual fish and paying off digital home loans.

But if you don’t want to play something this stressful at this particular moment, I wouldn’t blame you.
 

M1chl

Gold Member
Dec 25, 2019
2,346
3,272
620
Czech Republic
Half-Life: Alyx review — A great VR game for the wrong time

Reviewing Half-Life: Alyx has been a stressful endeavor. Part of that is the usual rigors of critiquing a game (trying to beat it before a deadline). But this VR experience is landing at a time when a pandemic is taking hold over the world. So, you know, I may already be a bit on edge. Bundle that with how playing VR can be uncomfortable and Alyx’s more survival-horror take on the franchise, and I often wished that I didn’t have to play this game at this particular moment in history.

What you won’t like

Playing this game right now



I almost feel bad holding this against the game, but now is a rough time to play something that immerses you into an intense, 10-hour long experience in a postapocalyptic world filled with monsters and lots of other things that want to kill you.

But considering how stressed out I already am about being in shelter-in-place and practicing social distancing, I have to say that I’m envious of my friends who were spending all of their time catching virtual fish and paying off digital home loans.

But if you don’t want to play something this stressful at this particular moment, I wouldn’t blame you.
MUH FEELINGZ™ No one cares bitch. Social distancing, how much fucking people do you need in your life... Stop attention whoring.
 

12Goblins

Lil’ Gobbie
Mar 1, 2017
2,599
3,988
625
Half-Life: Alyx review — A great VR game for the wrong time

Reviewing Half-Life: Alyx has been a stressful endeavor. Part of that is the usual rigors of critiquing a game (trying to beat it before a deadline). But this VR experience is landing at a time when a pandemic is taking hold over the world. So, you know, I may already be a bit on edge. Bundle that with how playing VR can be uncomfortable and Alyx’s more survival-horror take on the franchise, and I often wished that I didn’t have to play this game at this particular moment in history.

What you won’t like

Playing this game right now



I almost feel bad holding this against the game, but now is a rough time to play something that immerses you into an intense, 10-hour long experience in a postapocalyptic world filled with monsters and lots of other things that want to kill you.

But considering how stressed out I already am about being in shelter-in-place and practicing social distancing, I have to say that I’m envious of my friends who were spending all of their time catching virtual fish and paying off digital home loans.

But if you don’t want to play something this stressful at this particular moment, I wouldn’t blame you.
thats the whitest thing i've ever read
 
Last edited:

vaibhavpisal

Member
Jun 10, 2019
275
159
250
I like VR a lot and I think it's more popular people give it credit for, SONY will go all-in on VR next generation, it's better than people think.
I am just waiting for it to mature and standardise a bit. Once controllers, specs etc would become standard, I would jump in.

Currently it's expensive and getting outdated pretty fast. Without even giving people time to play and enjoy their investment properly.
 

Al3x1s

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Nov 24, 2018
4,133
3,687
645
I get the occasional relatively frequent, almost like loading based hitching/stutter at ~medium/high settings with a 3770K and GTX1080, I'm not even sure if they make a big enough difference to not increase them further just yet. It's fine the majority of the time.

I've played for ~2 hours and I have to say I do have a few minor complaints compared to other VR games I enjoyed.

It kind of shows that the game and/or its technology have been in development for a long time as some design decisions have that "early VR" feel. They've done a good job adapting the systems to contemporary VR methods but there are still traces of how it wasn't originally meant to be that intense/free in locomotion options and what not. There are for example a couple instances per level so far where even though you're using free locomotion pressing forward will just teleport you through the obstacle/situation with a fade out/fade in and accompanying sound effect of the action you didn't really do/see. That only happens rarely and in all other cases they've adapted the game to free locomotion very well, you can vault over stuff, crouch under obstacles and drop off ledges seamlessly.

Then the guns and tools are attached to your hand rather than physically held so that they drop if you let go like other objects. It's a pure old school inventory system where you hold a button to bring up the wheel with the guns/tools then hover your hand over the one you want and release the button to have it attached to your hand. A quick press will toggle between a free hand and the last thing you were holding a la MGS. That's contrary to most other modern VR FPS where you can conveniently attach things to your body (even if it's invisible in some of them, or optional) and your guns behave just like other objects, being able to let go or toss them or whatever which makes it feel more immersing and physical. The backpack for storing stuff and grabbing ammo to reload with works very nicely though.

Edit: the above also means you can't switch hands on the fly or anything, you have to choose the dominant hand that will be handling the tool/guns from the settings menu/when first starting the game, something like that. Also the vaulting over is very gamey, you just press the right stick forward to match your left stick while walking against the object you want to climb, not physically do anything as in other games. All the actual interactions with stuff/puzzles/objects are fairly well done however.

And finally, this is Oculus (and similarly non-Index) specific but once again the default hand pose is a very flat open palm hand, so at your normal resting position where you have your fingers around the controller and your index finger resting on (but not pressing in) the index trigger, it gets a very unnatural default pose where your last 3 fingers are open/flat, your thumb is appropriately tracked by which input it's resting on (or thumbs up if it's on nothing) and the index finger is constantly curled in way too much because the trigger it's resting on is touch sensitive. That just looks off and like your resting pose is almost a constant "ok" signal or something. You get over it and personally I try to not touch the index finger trigger at all when not actually using it but yeah, it could be handled better so it only bends the index finger if you're actually pressing it in and maybe have all the fingers a little bit bent in more naturally as the default. For an Index-first game with all its finger tracking making the pose reflect your actions decently, it's okay and it doesn't negatively affect playability.

Other than that it certainly seems to be the most polished single player FPS adventure yet and just like you'd expect a Half-Life game to be in VR with all that entails like amazing vistas, cool scripted sequences NPCs and interactions, great atmosphere and intense combat scenarios (and loading screens). But if it could get the basics more like Onward that would make it perfect. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners gets very close to being this but maintains some Boneworks-like jank (not nearly as much, it's awesome) and doesn't have the high production values Valve could afford here.
 
Last edited:
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Somnium

zcaa0g

Member
Sep 3, 2018
597
860
340
I have a compromised immune system due to a kidney transplant 3 years ago and all I can say is it's game on bitches with both Doom Eternal and Half-Life Alyx.

That dude is a pussy. We need to be smart and sensible but fuck that sky is falling bullshit and not enjoying life just due to a gobal pandemic and crashing economy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kev Kev and Wonko_C

Shantae

Formerly 'Spring of Life'
Jul 7, 2019
894
1,838
575
Wow, that venturebeat idiot really deserves to be reprimanded and his review taken down. That shit has nothing to do with the game itself, what an assclown.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blochu
May 22, 2018
1,570
3,381
435
Check out these VentureBeat quotes :messenger_tears_of_joy:
What in the hell is this nonsense? It is a very stressful time don't get me wrong, he has every right to be stressed out, but his stress shouldn't be used as negative points directed towards the game. That is mental. If you are so stressed out that you can't manage to do your job fairly (which is playing and reviewing friggin VIDEOGAMES) then maybe another person should step up to the plate.
 

RPS37

Member
Nov 16, 2006
4,008
421
1,340
Dude. Especially when your job is stay home and play a VR game. The
 

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
2,870
3,119
440
#2 game of the year on opencritic. Normally that wouldnt be a big deal this far into 2020, but we've already had some heavy hitters release. And well, its VR. Another milestone for medium.

With this reception, I don't think theres any way HL3 comes without VR.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Blochu

RPS37

Member
Nov 16, 2006
4,008
421
1,340
VR flying hands looks so unappealing
thankfully sales>reviews
They said they tried it with arms and they didn’t work. Block too much of the screen etc. when playing the floating hands don’t bug you , supposedly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blochu

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
2,870
3,119
440
thankfully sales>reviews
Sure normally, but Valve isn't some regular dev. They dont live and die off of their games. Steam is killing it.

They already said it's less about sales. They knew the install base was small for VR and they wanted to see if people liked it first and foremost.

User and critic scores are really high, not to mention they can't even make enough headsets because they're sold out so quick. VR is inevitable for HL3.
 
Last edited:

SonGoku

Member
Aug 16, 2018
4,719
6,424
595
They said they tried it with arms and they didn’t work. Block too much of the screen etc. when playing the floating hands don’t bug you , supposedly.
This is why i will never be onboard with VR. Games look so bad and arcadey, gameplay is too clumsy and scuffed
Give me normal view graphics (first person/3rd person) and gamepad controls and I'll bite
Sure normally, but Valve isn't some regular dev. They dont live and die off of their games. Steam is killing it.
They already said it's less about sales. They knew the install base was small for VR and they wanted to see if people liked it first and foremost.
User and critic scores are really high, notbto mention they can't even make enough headsets they're sold out so quick.
Of course scores are high people with vr headsets are content starved, there's no many triple a experiences designed for VR
You might well be right about valve and it sucks
 
Last edited:

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
2,870
3,119
440
Of course scores are high people with vr headsets are content starved, there's no many triple a experiences designed for VR
You might well be right about valve and it sucks

I play normal games, most of us do. VR games don't get a pass from me. I go way back, HaLf Life 1 and 2 fan. Alyx is just fucking badass, not as a VR game, as Half life game. It stands on it's own 110%. Don't let videos of VR fool you, it doesnt translate.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Blochu

Bankai

Member
Jul 14, 2015
431
558
450
PSVR (2) anyone? I could totally see this appearing on PS5 with PSVR (2). It would make it so much more accessible for lots of gamers.
 
  • Like
  • LOL
Reactions: Wonko_C and Blochu

INCUBASE

Member
Jan 8, 2018
1,226
1,429
415
PSVR (2) anyone? I could totally see this appearing on PS5 with PSVR (2). It would make it so much more accessible for lots of gamers.

With the shitty teleport movement and quick turning ONLY, it could be on this gens psvr
 
  • LOL
Reactions: Blochu

tassletine

Member
Oct 24, 2007
1,024
219
1,020
thats the whitest thing i've ever read
I don't think so. I'm looking forward to trying it, but games' are about escapism and one thing is for certain, if you release any sort of media at the wrong time culturally, you're in for a kicking.
Conversely, Animal Crossing on the other hand looks like it was designed to be released now.

I know two people at work who are literally having mental breakdowns after ignoring the warnings about getting more food etc. This game is definitely not for them. Anything that could exasperate that problem is worth mentioning.
 
  • Triggered
Reactions: JoduanER2

Al3x1s

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Nov 24, 2018
4,133
3,687
645
Name me plz 5 except HL Alyx, RE 7and Beat Saber
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Pistol Whip, Lone Echo, Onward, Apex Construct, Stormland, Journey of the Gods are pretty great. Most are only on PC or way better on PC (or Quest if available), not just for graphics but gameplay, as it has actually accurate independent hand tracking with traditional inputs (analog sticks etc) on top unlike PSVR if you mention RE7 because of that, sorry. Anyway, here's my full preliminary recommendations list though it's missing some later games or games in genres I'm not personally into enough to judge what's good and what isn't:
And here is a preliminary, not necessarily updated with all the latest things (so, just participate in the thread, duh) list of VR games I can basically recommend, obviously always depending on your preferences (and excluding obvious must have shit like Beat Saber and Half-Life: Alyx):

TWD: Saints & Sinners is a sweet immersive sim-lite with great action and decent resource management.

Budget Cuts is a stealth puzzle adventure with nicely integrated teleport mechanics and a new sequel.

Apex Construct is a sci fi action adventure game with archery systems at its core.

Stormland is an open world shooter, more limited than it seems at first but still fun as hell.

The Thrill of the Fight is a boxing sim, if less fancy than the gamey Creed and its Rocky license.

Journey of the Gods is a Zelda-lite linear action adventure that's simple but polished and works really well.

Pistol Whip is the new kid on the rhythm game block, I love it like it’s a funky musical Virtua Cop-like.

Drop Dead is a fun riff on The House of the Dead, not nearly as tight but maybe the best of the genre in VR.

In Death is an archery based rogue-lite I spent many hours in early on despite the limited scope.

SUPERHOT VR is a puzzle action shooter with cool slow motion mechanics. Be like Neo!

Racket Fury is a very polished table tennis game, the realism was surreal at first despite the sci fi.

Catch & Release is a fishing game. Who doesn’t like fishing? I want Twilight Princess fishing in VR now.

Moss is a third person action adventure, you lead a sword wielding mouse as if in a diorama of a fairy tale.

Space Junkies is a PVP zero gravity arena FPS, like Quake in space, great for some instant action.

Ultrawings is a flight game, not quite a sim, maybe a bit like pilot wings, goals and stuff to get through.

Windlands 2 is an action adventure with not-web-swinging and archery, it’s also co-op capable.

Vox Machinae is a PVP mech combat game with awesome cockpits.

Raw Data is probably the best of the arena/wave shooters with different classes, progression & co-op.

Onward is my favorite “standard” FPS, PVP focused, some co-op & the best feel for weapons/gadgets.

Lone Echo is a must play astronaut adventure, the free PVP Echo VR and its $10 Combat DLC rock too.

Red Matter is another sci fi adventure with a different spin than the above and great interactions.

Blade & Sorcery has the best physics based melee combat but doesn’t yet have progression etc.

V-Racer Hoverbike is a cool futuristic racer where you can lean to realistically control your jet moto thing.

There are many great early access games too, I like where Vengeful Rites is going as a VR RPG action adventure with sword wielding, spell casting, the works and there’s also the free-for-now A Township Tale alpha to try for some online rpging/surviving/crafting alongside social playgrounds like Rec Room, VRChat, even Bigscreen. VTOL VR is a great indie combat flight sim with wonderfully interactive cockpits. There are also ports of non-VR games or games that are both for VR and regular play, which are done very well, as long as you like the base games. Titles like Skyrim VR, No Man’s Sky, DCS, Elite Dangerous, DiRT Rally 1 & 2, PayDay 2, IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad and others were converted very well. Some like Fallout 4 VR weren’t as successful however so some caution is necessary before purchase. Others have been converted by fan modifications, MotherVR is a great mod for Alien Isolation, without hand tracking, while the same creator is working on ReclaimerVR, a mod for Halo: The Master Chief Collection that will include that and another guy works on an Outer Wilds mod with hand tracking as well, it's looking pretty sweet.

Here are some random videos that I think do a decent job in showing off VR gameplay/possibilities. The last one shows various locomotion methods but it's a bit old and oudated, free movement is the norm...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Wonko_C

Sullenshady

Member
Aug 29, 2005
468
106
1,305
BC
Not surprised this game is primarily created by ex Campo Santo devs. Despite the letdown of an ending, Firewatch was an incredibly immersive first person experience that would have lent itself perfectly to VR.
 
Last edited:

Al3x1s

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Nov 24, 2018
4,133
3,687
645
Not surprised this game is primarily created by ex Campo Santo devs. Despite the letdown of an ending, Firewatch was an incredibly immersive first person experience that would have lent itself perfectly to VR.
Primarily?
 

INCUBASE

Member
Jan 8, 2018
1,226
1,429
415
Not surprised this game is primarily created by ex Campo Santo devs. Despite the letdown of an ending, Firewatch was an incredibly immersive first person experience that would have lent itself perfectly to VR.
ah so thats why this feels like a polished walking simulator, makes sense now
 

Thaedolus

Member
Jun 9, 2004
9,440
2,063
1,700
Same, that's why its frustrating they made it VR only.
I don’t think this game works not in VR though. At that point it’s just another Half-Life game. Being in a pitch black room with a flashlight that tracks wherever you point your weapon with a mouse is one thing. Being in a pitch black room with a flashlight attached to your hand which illuminates only what that hand is pointing at, and having to reload in the dark, and hearing creeping head crabs and zombies around you is something else entirely.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blochu