Valve officially unveils Half-Life: Alyx

Following on from its first reveal earlier this week, Valve has officially unveiled Half-Life: Alyx, a full virtual reality entry in the Half-Life series.

Built from the ground up specifically for VR, Half-Life: Alyx will act as a prequel to Half-Life 2, taking place between the events of the original Half-Life and its sequel. In Half-Life: Alyx, players will assume the role of Alyx Vance as her and her father Eli form a resistance to take on the invading alien force, The Combine. Check out a trailer below:

According to Valve, Half-Life: Alyx features “all of the hallmarks of a classic Half-Life game”, including “world exploration, puzzle solving, visceral combat, and an intricately woven story that connects it all with the characters iconic to the Half-Life universe”. The game is coming to Steam in March 2020 and will be powered by Valve’s own SteamVR, and you can pre-purchase it right now for £41.49. The game will be compatible with all PC-based VR headsets, but anybody who owns Valve’s own Index VR headset will get the game for free.

I have to admit that, although I haven’t bought into the whole VR thing as of yet, Half-Life: Alyx looks tremendous, and it’s sure to convince some people to invest in the technology. You’re probably going to have to fork out a fair bit of money to upgrade your kit enough to run VR though, as it has some pretty demanding requirements. Just to try and be helpful, I’ve included the requirements for both Half-Life: Alyx and Valve Index below:

The minimum requirements for Half-Life: Alyx are:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Core i5-7500 / Ryzen 5 1600
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GTX 1060 / RX 580 – 6GB VRAM

While the minimum requirements for Valve Index are:

  • OS: Windows 10, SteamOS, Linux
  • Processor: Dual Core with Hyper-Threading
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD RX480
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Additional Notes: Available DisplayPort (Version1.2) and USB (2.0+) Port required

If you like everything to run as smooth as possible, however, the recommended specs for Valve Index are:

  • Processor: Quad Core+
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or better
  • Additional Notes: Available USB (3.0+) Port required for Headset Pass-Through Camera

Getting a full Valve Index kit will cost you a whopping £919 though, so it’s probably a good job that you get Half-Life: Alyx for free! There are much cheaper ways to get involved with VR, such as picking up the Oculus Rift S for £399. You’ll have to fork out for Half-Life: Alyx on top, but you’ll still be saving £478, which could go towards upgrading your PC to run the technology.

Playing Half-Life: Alyx comes with a pretty big paywall to get over first then, which is a real shame in my opinion. A lot of people have been eagerly awaiting a new entry in the Half-Life series for fifteen years but simply won’t be able to afford to upgrade their tech to play the game, and it’s going to take something pretty special to make it worth spending all that money to upgrade if you’re only interested in playing one game. Still, at least this is only a prequel, so it’s not like anybody will be missing out on Half-Life 3 if they don’t want to spend so much money on upgrading their kit.

Half-Life: Alyx will launch in March 2020.

Chris is our resident FPS-obsessed football fanatic who, when not playing an FPS or FIFA, can probably be found spending the odd 100 hours or so building his perfect farm on Stardew Valley. Chris comes to you with a hint of cynicism and plenty of sarcasm.

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