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Valve drops ten minutes of gameplay for Half Life: Alyx

I’m still a little sad that this isn’t Half Life 3, but Alyx certainly looks impressive. Could this be the killer app that VR’s been in need of?

Gimmicks are a tricky business in the video game industry. Time and time again, big publishers vow that their new iteration of controller or experience will be the permanent game changer.

Kinect, Wii peripherals, Eye Toy cameras, and many more unique bits of hardware have all gone the way of the dodo since their initial launch. We always end up going back to standard dual analogue stick controllers and nothing’s managed to shift us away.

VR is a little different, though. Since its first reveal to the public in 2015 its enjoyed a slow but steady build-up of quality indie titles that routinely make the rounds on YouTube playthrough channels. Big name publishers such as Bethesda and Hello Games have also dropped VR-friendly versions of their most popular games, including Skyrim and No Man’s Sky.

At this point, in 2020, VR has proved it has long term appeal with a robust back catalogue of quality experiences, but it’s yet to have a truly killer app that gets the wider masses on board. Half Life: Alyx, the next entry into the long-running Valve series that’s being built exclusively for VR, could be the title that finally fills those shoes.

We’re closer to seeing what the final product looks like today after Valve dropped 10 minutes of uninterrupted footage. So far it looks like it may come close to the unreasonable levels of expectations that fans have placed on it, and I’ve no doubt it’ll help to increase sales of VR tremendously – even if we are reaching the end of this generation’s console lifespan.

Check out the footage below from IGN to see for yourself.

Right off the bat its impressive seeing the world of Half Life in 2020, as we haven’t seen these environments for almost a decade and a half. The lighting, sound design, enemy animations, and narrative beats are all exactly as you’d hope from Valve, and anyone familiar with the older games will feel right at home here.

The new footage also shows off two ways in which players will be able to move around the environment – you can choose between pointing and clicking or more traditional, continuous running. Enemies are back and as gross as ever, and everything looks a little eerie and unsettling, which is perfect given Half Life usually lends itself to horror tropes.

Whether it’s actually good or not is anyone’s guess for now though.

Half Life: Alyx drops 23rd March 2020, so we’ve not got long left to wait. Here’s hoping it’s a masterpiece; it could be the push to get VR into all of our living rooms.

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