“There was a time they cared nothing for Miss Vance… When their only experience of humanity was a crowbar coming at them down a steel corridor”
I still can’t believe it, twelve years after we last set foot in the Half-Life universe and watched Eli Vance succumb to The Advisor, there is hope once again.
What we are getting isn’t necessarily a continuation of the story, so your Valve hasn’t learned to count to ‘3’ memes are safe for now. Half-Life: Alyx takes place between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, presumably before Black Mesa East, when the small pockets of human resistance are fighting back against the oppressive Combine.
Speaking with The Verge, Valve’s David Speyrer explains it best, “It’s not a side story, nor an episodic one — it’s the next part of the Half-Life story, in a game around the same length as Half-Life 2.”
While it is a prequel of sorts, Valve still recommends you play through Half-Life 2 and it’s episodes first “for reasons that will become clear as you progress.”
The ‘Gravity Gun’ mechanics are also making a return, in the form of ‘Gravity Gloves’ that Alyx uses to manipulate the environment around her.
Along with the big reveal, Valve also dropped a cool announcement trailer:
- The trailer goes straight for some awesome fan service, showing off the series staple head crab first, one that curiously looks like the Fast Head Crab – a subspecies that wasn’t around before the Combine invasion.
- It also looks like Valve is going the floaty hands in VR route but the amount of interaction with the environment looks interesting.
- It also looks like we are getting a new voice actor for Alyx Vance (Ozioma Akagha). It will be interesting to see how she compares to Merle Dandridge.
- The money shot! An awesome sprawling landscape with shanties and a huge Citadel still under construction.
- The Overwatch Soldiers are back too, along with what looks like an unseen soldier carrier that looks like a cross between a Strider and a chariot.
- Puzzle-solving is back too and actually ties in with the way Alyx helped the player in the previous games.
- A new mechanic/scavenger character that promises to help Alyx “every step of the way”
- Half-life’s trademark humour is back too, and if you have played Portal 2, you know Valve can pull off humour well.
- Shots of zombies and combine zombies, uh…zombines!
- A small set-piece that has you scavenging bullets from the environment to use against soldiers.
- A little plot drop here, it looks like Eli Vance has been captured and Alyx is on her way to rescue him.
- We get our first taste of Eli Vance’s new voice actor, James Moses Black. This couldn’t be helped as Robert Guillaume sadly passed away in 2017.
- Then we got shots of various environments within the game, some antlions and some more cool uses of the ‘Gravity Gloves’.
- And we end with the Gman, looking better than ever and still as creepy.
So when is it out?
It’s coming March 2020 and while it’s free to Valve Index owners, it isn’t exclusive to it. It will be compatible with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and the Oculus Quest via the PC Link cable. It’s also available for pre-purchase on Steam now with a retail price of Rs. 1,300. Valve is running a special promotion that allows you to nab the game for Rs. 1,169, if you buy it now.