Half Life: Alyx!
Quite some time ago we bought a VR headset (specifically, an HTC Vive) because Duncan really wanted one. As in, he wouldn’t shut the fuck up about it for well over a year, so we finally relented. It was helped in no small part by Sabriena deciding that Beat Saber looked fun, so we ended up making it a “family” thing… it was not Duncan’s, it was everyone’s.
Honestly though, the entire time we’ve had it I think I’d spent about an hour in total with it. I played one game of the aforementioned Beat Saber, and I played a tiny bit of Gorn and Job Simulator (both great, by the way). We had it hooked up to Duncan’s machine, the only times we could play it without moving it was when Duncan was at school - ie, while I was at work, and it was frankly too much of a pain in the arse to move it to my machine so I just didn’t bother. It’s not like I’m hurting for things to play so yeah, it was just too inconvenient for me to really bother with.
That all changed last year when I saw the announcement for Half Life: Alyx. I was going to buy this game, dammit, and I was going to swipe the headset for a week or two to play it and Duncan was just going to have to deal. Sabriena was rapt too, being a much bigger fan of Half Life than I am.
It released last week (or the week before? This Coronavirus shit has me all screwed up) and I’ve finished it, so I think it’s safe to talk about. I was initially concerned with some directions they took - the player character talking a lot, the “teleport” movement style, and some of the more “horror” elements (I’m not a horror game fan whatsoever)… I take it all back, I was wrong, Valve know what they’re doing.
The player character talking made Alyx feel like a real person, and some of the lines were done exceptionally well… I really enjoyed the dialogue between Alyx and the other characters. I didn’t notice the teleport movement after some time, I just plain got used to it. And the horror stuff… oh my god is it so well done. No jump scares or anything, just super slick environments and letting the suspense build up on it’s own. Again, the dialogue really helps here as well.
I finished the game, not super quick, but even if you blew through it I think it’s long enough for a AAA title. Sabriena had some minor glitches like getting the “Russels” to activate correctly, having to reload a prior save and have another go, but other than that, we’re absolutely not disappointed at all.