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Half-Life: Alyx. Does the legend continue?

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Ever seen a zombie come back to life? If it’s not part of your life experience yet, take a look around and you’ll notice that geeks and old-school fans all over the world have finally woken up after 13 years of cryogenic sleep. 2007 was the year when the second episode of Half-Life 2 was released. And then; nothing. Only fan theories and memes have given faith to the idea of a continuation of the legendary game. 

It’s a miracle! On November 21, the world saw a debut trailer; the rebirth of the beloved game. Half-Life: Alyx is the name of the future project which is set to come back in March 2020. The premiere trailer reveals portions of gameplay that suggest it’ll be a highly immersive experience. It’s not just from the first person view, but a VR based gameplay.

To my mind, in the rich history of the gaming industry, and for Valve itself, it will become the new Day Zero, when gaming resets. But it’s only the beginning. This particular game will take us through the events which happened between two previous installments. It’s a prequel and the main character will be Alyx Vance, the character we play as.

The legend that stole our hearts

All of a sudden, Half-Life: Alyx offered hope, a glimmer of light. According to the founder of The Game Awards, Jeff Kelly, 14 hours gameplay awaits us. Even better, it is recommended that you replay the second part of Half-Life 2.

Half-Life is a first-person shooter video game, and for a long time it felt like the best game that had ever been made. The game has received more than 50 awards since 2001, plus it has been recognized as “The Best Game of the Year”. The lack of video screensavers and developing plot inside the gaming space was a peculiarity of the game,  but the other strength of it was the opponents’ artificial intelligence. These features brought Half-Life fame across the worldwide. 

The events of the first episode took place at the Black Mesa secret research centre, located in the depths of the mountains in the US, New Mexico state. Gordon Freeman was the main character, he had a PhD in Theoretical Physics and worked in the laboratory of abnormal materials. One day, he is instructed to experiment with a crystal brought by a mysterious G-Man, which led to disastrous consequences.

Image credit: Steam

The second episode is definitely better, because the gaming process looked better and more impressive rather than the first gaming experience. Also, in this instalment there is no focus on the multiplayer game like in the first: although the storyline of the player goes through the whole game with his in-game partner Alix Vance.

Now I’ve refreshed your memory without hurting any big plot points or spoilers. Let’s get back to the breaking news. 

A lot of details are given away in the trailer. Half-Life: Alyx has as its core feature a VR based gameplay. Its foundation will be about the interaction with the environment. I am very much impressed with the mechanics of the game. Valve will surely throw some ingenious features and unique applications at us.
As we know from the experience, each of Valve’s games have had its signature features that went on to become symbols of the franchise. Remember the gravity gun and portal gun? We’d expect nothing less in this iteration.

Several parts of the video shows how exactly we’re supposed to interact with the environment. Scatter bottles left and right in order to find some ammunition: make a creative mess everywhere you go, and don’t forget about our lovely headcrabs. The previous experience shows us that it is not the end.

Wrapping up

Overall, it seems that Valve has stayed true to its values, releasing each new game with a good load of advanced features. Half-Life: Alyx is like an experiment for developers to find out whether the benefits outweigh the cost.

I think Lady Luck gave her grace today, because we can pre-order Half-Life: Alyx for $53.99 (normally $59.99). It’s useful to note that it is compatible with all VR helmets that support Steam VR: at least the Valve Index, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.

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