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Valve Shows How to Fight and Move in Half-Life: Alyx

The highly-anticipated VR-type game Half-Life: Alyx debuts on June 23, and it just offers a little more detail about what we’ll be playing. The game released three short videos today showing off the battles and puzzles in Alyx, as well as the overall vibe of the game.

The videos showcase some of what we already know about Alyx. First, most of the game is about semi-realistic gunplay, including manually reloading when swarmed by enemies. Second, there’s a lot of hands-on interaction – in the demo video, we see Alyx Vance pointing a bucket up to look for items, taking a grenade out of the air, pulling a plank from a barred door, and flipping a dead hijab with the tip of her gun. Valve says its Index controller will provide extra interaction options, but we don’t get details about that here.

And third, Alyx Vance is not a silent protagonist in the style of Gordon Freeman. Alyx spends Half-Life 2 doing one-sided banter, but as a playable character she’s more than ready to chat with other characters and occasionally brood on her own.

Half-Life: Alyx incorporates several VR mechanics. As IGN’s live video shows, you can switch between teleport-style moves and free-way moves – and if you choose the former, you can strategically jump behind enemies or take cover during combat. You can also collect upgrade material called “resin” and add new features to your weapons, adding a level of customization that most of the Half-Life series avoid.

Half-Life: Alyx will be a VR-only mode, but playable on PC-based headsets. For anyone just getting into VR, the options are currently limited. Valve still trying to restock its Index headset, and the Oculus Quest is heavily backordered, in part due to coronavirus-related delays.