It’s here! Valve’s flagship VR game Half-Life: Alyx finally released across the globe today.
Before you dive right in, you might want a few handy tips that will help you in your playthrough. So, we’ve collected all the tips and tricks that UploadVR staff picked up on during our own playthroughs.
But don’t worry – we won’t post any story spoilers here, just stuff about gameplay and mechanics that we wish we had known earlier or before we started our own playthroughs.
Although there are some autosaves, you’ll want to save often. This isn’t because you’ll be dying an awful lot (especially not on lower difficulties) but the game has perhaps a few less autosave slots than you’re used to in modern AAA titles.
Get into the habit of saving often again. Just open up the menu and it’s the top option. You can thank us later.
Lean Into Combat
To get the best out of Half-Life: Alyx, you’ll have to commit yourself. You could, feasibly, play the game on a lower difficulty setting with Continuous movement and just run and gun through every area, firing from the hip. But doing that would be a disservice to the action, which has been built specifically around VR.
When you get into a firefight, choose good spots to hunker down behind cover; somewhere you can lean out and get a good vantage point on the enemy. Only move between cover points when you feel a break in the enemy’s attack patterns is coming. Make it a physical experience; it’s designed to be played that way and you’ll have more fun.
There are some items that you can find that will protect you and act as armor — but we wouldn’t blame you if you never realized, as the game doesn’t tell you.
You’ll often see hard hats and some gas masks, particularly in the underground sections. If you pick these up, you can actually wear the hard hats and attach the gas masks to your face. If you’re wearing them, they’ll protect you from one attack from a barnacle and a headcrab respectively.
Get Your Reflex Sight ASAP
The Reflect Sight, available for the pistol and machine gun, is an essential tool for surviving Alyx. Not only does it make it considerably easier to aim down the sights, but the scope highlights enemy weak spots in orange. This is essential for picking out zombies that hide growths that will kill them in one hit. You can also use it to ensure that enemies you’re walking past really are dead, saving you a horrid jump scare or two.
If There Is A Room, There Is Resin In It
Resin is the game’s currency, used on your weapon at Combine Fabricators found in select locations across the campaign. The game is linear, meaning you’ll only get a few opportunities to upgrade you weapon. You’ll want to make sure you’re finding and collecting as much resin as possible when moving through the chapters, so that you have enough for upgrades when needed.
As a general rule of thumb: if you think a room might have some resin in it, it probably does. In almost every area of Half-Life: Alyx, there’s a main path that will progress you through the plot, and an area that is probably a dead end but has some ammo and resin.
You can also find resin without straying for the main path — you might just have to look in a certain direction. If you can tell the game wants you to walk one way, take a minute to look to stop and look in all directions. Make sure to push boxes out of the way on shelves and check under desks; you’ll often be rewarded with something.
Ammo, Ammo, Ammo
On a similar note, always be on the look out for ammunition. Ammo is not infinite by any means in Half-Life: Alyx. While it’s rare for you to get stuck with no ammo, you might get alarmingly low especially if you favor one of the three guns in particular.
Ammo can be find lying around the environment, on shelves, the ground and even on some dead bodies. Shooting a barnacle will also sometimes reward you with ammo, but not always.
There are some storage boxes that open to reveal ammo inside, likewise with filing cabinets and drawers. You also might recognize wooden crates that take visual cues from Half-Life 2. These can be thrown on the ground and smashed open, often containing ammo.
You’ll want to keep a particular eye out for shotgun shells. While these are sometimes found in a package of 3 or more, you’ll more often find one or two shells sitting by themselves. Because of that, they can be very easy to miss and don’t stick out as much compared to pistol ammo.
Seven Shotgun Shells
The shotgun, unlike many conventional shotguns in video game history, can be loaded with up to seven shells at once. Not two.
The game never explicitly tells you this, so you would be forgiven for never realizing — just as our own Half-Life: Alyx reviewer Jamie didn’t, even after two playthroughs (which he is very embarrassed about)!
Comfort Barnacle Options
Half-Life: Alyx is pretty good at providing you with options to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible and play in a way that ensures you can minimize sickness. To that end, besides the standard movement options, you can also change the way Barnacles interact with you in the menus.
By default, Barnacles will latch onto you and drag you up toward them. However, that kind of artificial movement can be pretty nauseating for some. In the settings, there’s an option to turn off that artificial dragging movement. The Barnacle will still attack and you’ll take damage, but you’ll be stationary on the ground the whole time.
You can have up to 10 save slots on one account, and switch between them super easily. The game will default to continuing whatever save slot was last loaded, but you can easily switch. On the main menu, simply click on the ‘Games’ tab and you’ll see all your save slots listed, with their most recent save details displayed.
Similarly, opting to start a new game doesn’t wipe over another save slot automatically. The game will allow you to choose a save slot to start a new game on, so you can easily share your headset in a household and play through the game without affecting each other’s progress.
What are your tips and tricks for Half-Life: Alyx? Let us know in the comments.