If you own a virtual reality (VR) capable PC and a headset like Valve Index or Oculus Rift then there’s a good chance you’re already playing or planning to purchase Half-Life: Alyx, the latest instalment in the franchise by Valve. The VR-exclusive videogame has seen rave reviews thanks to its highly polished gameplay, visuals and narrative. Having played through Half-Life: Alyx VRFocus has decided to impart a few tips to surviving and getting the most for the experience.
Use the Options
So first up this is a bit of a no-brainer, delve into the menu options both in the main menu and gameplay menu. Here you’ll find a myriad selection of comfort controls that’ll tweak the gameplay for your ultimate enjoyment. Play standing or seated, swap to left-handed or single-handed if needs be.
Some of these will take a little getting used to unless you’re well versed in VR gaming. The locomotion controls, for example, offer three settings, Continuous, Shift and Teleport; all of which need playing with, much like the turning options. Don’t blindly go into the campaign and then moan something doesn’t feel quite right, as there might be a way to change it.
So, so, so important and great to see its inclusion. There are plenty of VR titles nowadays that don’t feature a manual save which is a real shame, plus the feature is super useful.
Half-Life: Alyx does feature autosave points at key areas of a level but these aren’t always as prolific as some may like. It’s easy to do and well worth getting into the habit, especially after you’ve completed a difficult section or scoured an area for resin and ammo. There’s nothing worse than spend a few minutes smashing boxes and looking through shelving for those useful resources and then getting killed moments later.
You don’t need money in Half-Life: Alyx, all you need is resin. This is the currency of Half-Life: Alyx and is vital for one sole reason, weapon upgrades. Finding resin isn’t generally that hard, it is everywhere. Not so much as literally growing on trees but most locations big or small will have some tucked away somewhere.
So it’s always best to not rush through each area, open cupboards, smash open wooden crates, basically look for anything you can interact with – which there’s plenty of – to see if it contains the valuable resource. Stored in your backpack there’s no limit to how much you can put in there so hoard away.
This is also important because Half-Life: Alyx is linear, so there’s no retreading your steps once you’ve left. This linear design does mean there’s one main route, anywhere else will be a dead-end; rife for resin looting.
All that resin you’ve collected can then be used at the Combine Fabricators to upgrade your weapons. And you’ll want to make use of them. As mentioned, the linear design makes the few and far between Fabricators a valuable opportunity to improve your combat effectiveness, ignore one and you’ll have to wait a while for the next.
These upgrade stations require different amounts of resin, with the Reflex Sight for the Pistol only costing 20 but the Grenade Launcher upgrade for the shotgun a hefty 40. These improvements are certainly useful, with the Reflex Sight one of the best – also available for the Combine Rifle – as it highlights weak points, this making some enemies much easier to takedown.
All these weapon upgrades won’t be any good unless you’ve got ammo, and just like the resin, you’ll need to scavenge to make sure you don’t run out. Both of these backpack resources are quite often found together, with ammo also found on dead bodies and recently slain enemies.
Yellow storage crates and wooden boxes are worth searching and sometimes it’s just laying on the ground, with the most prolific being the pistol’s clips which glow blue – handy for spotting at a distance. Slightly more difficult to find are the shotgun shells which can either be found singular, in pairs or in boxes of four. Naturally, their abundance reduces respectively, so while there might be more, those singular shells can easily be missed. You can load the shells in pairs with the shotgun taking a maximum of seven at once.
When it comes to grenades these aren’t classed as ammo, therefore you don’t have the luxury of the backpacks infinite storage. Used either in the traditional manner by lobbing them towards an enemy, or attaching one to the front of the shotgun once you’ve unlocked the feature, the only way to store them is in the wrist pockets. Unfortunately, these handy pockets only store one item at a time and also happen to be the storage point for the health injectors. So chose wisely.
Use the Environment
It’s not only recommended to search the environment but to also use it to your advantage. Valve has designed the areas to be dynamic, offering you various avenues of attack and defence. Step out into an open area with Combine soldiers and you can go in guns blazing but that’ll waste ammo and possibly get you killed.
So take your time and use what’s available. Duck behind and then move between cover, looking for those weak points to exploit – hence why the Reflex Sight is important.
There are also other avenues to consider. Why waste ammo when an explosive barrel can be used to great effect, taking out multiple opponents or getting rid of those pesky barnacles overhead. Don’t be so hasty to kill those barnacles as they can also be used to munch on headcrabs and their unfortunate hosts, another little ammo saving tip.