Review Half-Life: Alyx Gameplay Review: (Almost) Every VR Headset Tested

SteveRNG

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I'm confused by the Oculus Quest comments.
The biggest issue with playing Half-Life: Alyx on the Quest was the degraded visual quality. The compression and decompression processes worked well, but PC-connected headsets don’t need to receive compressed signals, so you get better color and sharpness.

... but I think I've got i now.
I'm assuming the only way it works with the Oculus Quest is if it is connected to a PC via the USB C connection. You state "PC-Connected headsets don't need to receive ...". Are you talking about all other PC-Connected headsets? Or are you actually playing the game wirelessly without the USB connection to the PC?
 

kcarbotte

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I'm confused by the Oculus Quest comments.
The biggest issue with playing Half-Life: Alyx on the Quest was the degraded visual quality. The compression and decompression processes worked well, but PC-connected headsets don’t need to receive compressed signals, so you get better color and sharpness.

... but I think I've got i now.
I'm assuming the only way it works with the Oculus Quest is if it is connected to a PC via the USB C connection. You state "PC-Connected headsets don't need to receive ...". Are you talking about all other PC-Connected headsets? Or are you actually playing the game wirelessly without the USB connection to the PC?

Quest is a standalone headset so it normally runs its own android-based software. You can plug it into your PC with a USB cable to operate it as a tethered headset like the rest that I tested.
I was not using the wireless streaming feature as that's not an officially supported option.

My comments were in comparison to the other headset in the roundup. For example, the Rift S has lower resolution and LCD displays verses the higher res OLED in the quest, but it still looks better in the Rift S.
 
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SteveRNG

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Quest is a standalone headset so it normally runs its own android-based software. You can plug it into your PC with a USB cable to operate it as a tethered headset like the rest that I tested.
I was not using the wireless streaming feature as that's not an officially supported option.

My comments were in comparison to the other headset in the roundup. For example, the Rift S has lower resolution and LCD displays verses the higher res OLED in the quest, but it still looks better in the Rift S.
Understood. Thank you!
 

shrapnel_indie

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It's a disappointment that it is only VR. It puts it's entry level on par with Crysis with it's high hardware demands when it was released. Not everyone is ready or willing to invest in VR still. (Some just have medical issues.)

AND... IT'S NOT HALF-LIFE 3 :)
 

woot

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<Mod Edit> valve, first they leave us with a 13 year cliffhanger, then they make a hl game for VR only.....fork out 600-1000$ just to play one game....i wonder what stopped them from making this game compatible only with index vr?
 
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Achoo22

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Very disappointing that it wasn't tested with WMR. WMR arguably has the worst tracking of all PCVR and sometimes results in very different experiences (melee in Saints & Sinners, for example). Things like being forced to throw things to yourself with the gravity gloves feel totally different and it changes the complexion of the accessibility options when you realize that there's no way to simplify the action.
 
<Mod Edit> valve, first they leave us with a 13 year cliffhanger, then they make a hl game for VR only.....fork out 600-1000$ just to play one game....i wonder what stopped them from making this game compatible only with index vr?
Back in 1998, people were buying two Voodoo 2's for $300/pop. That's $476/pop in today's dollars.

It's the next mega upgrade wave that will grow in similar fashion to 3D accelerator adoption back then. And apps like this and Asgard's wrath, and entry systems at $400, will make the VR trend pass the tipping point IMHO.

The only thing holding it back is acceptance. Some people will just refuse to put on a helmet, because they feel silly. Kids have no such hangups (if you ever watch them line up for VR at arcades.) It feels silly till you try it.
 
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woot

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Back in 1998, people were buying two Voodoo 2's for $300/pop. That's $476/pop in today's dollars.

It's the next mega upgrade wave that will grow in similar fashion to 3D accelerator adoption back then. And apps like this and Asgard's wrath, and entry systems at $400, will make the VR trend pass the tipping point IMHO.

The only thing holding it back is acceptance. Some people will just refuse to put on a helmet, because they feel silly. Kids have no such hangups (if you ever watch them line up for VR at arcades.) It feels silly till you try it.
No doubt that VR is most likely the next big thing in gaming, however i think whats holding it back is affordability, a good VR headset costs roughly as much as a decent gaming rig, also consider human rationale, if someone is going to jump onto a fad, they will most likely want the best experience possible.

Convince me what valve isn't just hawking their VR headset, couldn't've they made a non VR version?
 
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No doubt that VR is most likely the next big thing in gaming, however i think whats holding it back is affordability, a good VR headset costs roughly as much as a decent gaming rig, also consider human rationale, if someone is going to jump onto a fad, they will most likely want the best experience possible.

Convince me what valve isn't just hawking their VR headset, couldn't've they made a non VR version?
Maybe they could have. However you would loose of feeling of being "there" for two reasons.

Reason 1: the visceral reality is lost when translated to a flat screen.

When you play a lot of vr games your game is projected to the screen the same time as your headset. My wife and kids were impressed but my wife also said "I dont play dystopian future horror games"

I then stuck the headset on her and she was blown away. Her jaw quite literally dropped looking over city 17 and she started playing with everything. She could write on glass with markers and crush cans and try to read books. She wouldnt have played it if vr didn't feel so real.

Seeing a vorgone up close had a similar feeling. Amazing on flat screen, but on a headset your jaw just drops.

My hand physically jumped when i stuck my hand flat and open into a med station and felt the needles hit my hand as it upgraded my health. (I hate needles)

Reason 2: A lot of the game play is in controller dynamics.

The game steps up the realism in another way and that is gameplay mechanics. You dont know how terrifying it is to go up against an army of head crabs and worry so badly about your ammo.

With a traditional controller you have to just hit reload and you are done.

With Alyx you have to eject the clip first, then reach over your back pull out a full clip and physically shove it in the bottom of your gun. Then you physically have to pull the chamber to reload. Imagine trying to do that while running for your life.

Also with a traditional game you aim with cross hairs or a scope view. With Alyx you physically have to lift the gun and look down the barrel. There is no on screen fixed crosshair here to cheat with.

Objects can also be interacted with in various new ways also. For example you can pick up a box with your right hand and then tilt it and with your left hand pull out its contents. With a corpse you have to physically turn over a body to search its front pockets to pull ammo clips from it.

With a traditional controller you just look and hit search/collect all.

There's also more precise control. You can decide how far you throw something by how hard you chuck it with a handset. You cant do that with a game pad or keyboard/mouse combo.

Valves ingenious use of controllers is what makes the game. You need a true 3d space controller to make that happen.

There are vr games like the puzzle platformer moss. I like its excellent story telling and graphics. It paints a beautiful world from the perspective of a god watching over a mouse. I mean you feel for the character. But in all honesty it would have translated to 2d with a traditiinal controller and still be a fun game.

Alyx by itself would make a good 2d game. Probably in the top 25 of all time greats.

However the mechanics and the realism in vr make it the most engaging game I ever played. It just might be the best game I ever played due to the engrossing dynamics, and that is no exaggeration.

Is valve trying to push vr? Maybe. But in all honesty valve probably lost a lot of money on alyx because its vr only. Im being serious. This is easily a 100 mil game. Now add how many vr headsets are out there and multiply by $50.
 
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shrapnel_indie

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Maybe they could have. However you would loose of feeling of being "there" for two reasons.

Reason 1: the visceral reality is lost when translated to a flat screen.
I can't disagree with that.


Reason 2: A lot of the game play is in controller dynamics.
Again, I'll agree


With Alyx you have to eject the clip first, then reach over your back pull out a full clip and physically shove it in the bottom of your gun. Then you physically have to pull the chamber to reload. Imagine trying to do that while running for your life.

Also with a traditional game you aim with cross hairs or a scope view. With Alyx you physically have to lift the gun and look down the barrel. There is no on screen fixed crosshair here to cheat with.
That's the way it works when you empty a magazine and the slide locks back: drop the empty mag, load a new one, and rack the slide. Racking the slide isn't a required step if you change mags before the last cartridge is fired. If you want to make it more real, when you change mags, any ammo left in the mag is lost.


Objects can also be interacted with in various new ways also. For example you can pick up a box with your right hand and then tilt it and with your left hand pull out its contents. With a corpse you have to physically turn over a body to search its front pockets to pull ammo clips from it.
I haven't played this yet as the threshold to play isn't in my budget. Do you have to pat down a body, or just touch to search?


There's also more precise control. You can decide how far you throw something by how hard you chuck it with a handset. You cant do that with a game pad or keyboard/mouse combo.
Unfortunately IRL, not everyone can throw the same. Some people, for example, can hit a baseball deep in the outfield, others are lucky if they make it out of the infield. Some can throw that same ball from deep outfield to the bases, while others need someone to relay it. That is reality. For those who aren't as athletic, I hope that it can augment their abilities while taking someone more athletic and let natural skills determine the outcome.


Is valve trying to push vr? Maybe. But in all honesty valve probably lost a lot of money on alyx because its vr only. Im being serious. This is easily a 100 mil game. Now add how many vr headsets are out there and multiply by $50.
Yes, Valve is trying to push VR... They're hoping you'll go for their hardware, although they'll settle for someone else's if it sells games. It just has a high threshold for entry into the VR market for it to really succeed in general terms.
 
I can't disagree with that.




Again, I'll agree




That's the way it works when you empty a magazine and the slide locks back: drop the empty mag, load a new one, and rack the slide. Racking the slide isn't a required step if you change mags before the last cartridge is fired. If you want to make it more real, when you change mags, any ammo left in the mag is lost.




I haven't played this yet as the threshold to play isn't in my budget. Do you have to pat down a body, or just touch to search?




Unfortunately IRL, not everyone can throw the same. Some people, for example, can hit a baseball deep in the outfield, others are lucky if they make it out of the infield. Some can throw that same ball from deep outfield to the bases, while others need someone to relay it. That is reality. For those who aren't as athletic, I hope that it can augment their abilities while taking someone more athletic and let natural skills determine the outcome.




Yes, Valve is trying to push VR... They're hoping you'll go for their hardware, although they'll settle for someone else's if it sells games. It just has a high threshold for entry into the VR market for it to really succeed in general terms.
The guns behaves exactly like a real handgun would. Run out of bullets and the slide kicks back and hangs there. If the clip is not empty you can reload without pulling the chamber. And clips that aren't empty are useless. You can't reuse them. So you have to drop them. It makes an agonizing decision to go in with 3 bullets or reloading and wasting 3.

The physics are interesting. You don't have to be a super hero or sport jock. I'm not and I can toss a box 20 feet. But a traffic construction barrel takes both hands to move. They make for handy use when you encounter the ceiling suckers with the long tongues. You just pick it up and toss it and the ceiling suckers are busy trying to devour a traffic barrel. It's a lot better than wasting 3 shots of your ammo on them. But you only get a few seconds to move before they spit it back out.

The body searching isn't hard. The supplies are made easily visible on the corpse, like an ammo belt. You just need to reach down and pull it off. But like I said, you sometimes have to rotate a corpse to actually see the ammo or resin.

Seeing the inside of a wet looking, blown out hollow chest cavity though...a bit gore-ish for my taste.
 

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