Games of the Year: Half-Life Alyx

Games of the Year: Half-Life Alyx
There are two types of gamers. On the one hand, there are those who can't wait to change their physical appearance and explore a parallel dimension in pure Ready Player One style. On the other hand there are those who wish they could do the same thing, but as soon as they put on a VR headset they feel Easter of '92 moving in the bottom of their stomach.

I was part of the second category of people. Even on the stages of E3, face to face with titles like Lone Echo 2, Stormland and Asgard's Wrath, after just over an hour I was transformed into a mask of cold sweat. After all, I did not give so much importance to this unfortunate condition, because that of VR was indeed an interesting reality, but still in progress, in the midst of its embryonic state, and I was convinced that keeping the distance one would not get lost who knows what.

I have never 'believed' in VR, then I saw this. Then came Half-Life: Alyx, carrying a name too bulky to ignore, presenting himself as if he had stepped out of an unattainable future. Could it really be the killer application that VR needed? In the end, I thought, it would have been very easy for Gabe Newell to take advantage of the series' coat of arms, to feed the public that Half-Life 3 surrogate that millions of fans have been eagerly waiting for for thirteen years now, and then comfortably reap the rewards. This is Valve after all, isn't it?

No. Half-Life: Alyx is just what it promises to be, in some situations even something more. Useless to make fun of: for those suffering from motion-sickness, at first, playing the role of Alyx Vance means fighting a war on two fronts: on the one hand there is the arduous battle with the Combine, on the other the incessant one with a foreign body intent on rejecting you. But over time the mind gets used to it, the physique too, and the only thing left is a great, great video game that makes the most of the potential of VR.

Besides being an excellent episode of Half- Life, and to bring a paradigm shift comparable to those introduced by the previous episodes, Alyx plants the most important seed in the virtual reality path, demonstrating to the entire industry not only that there is a future, but that it is much closer than it might be thought. The problem is that that seed, like any plant, needs a lot of attention and constant care, elements of which this segment of the industry is still completely lacking.

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Alyx isn't a great video game in virtual reality, it's a great video game and that's it. One day a VR video game will be universally recognized by the public and critics as Game of the Year, but as Aragorn would say "this is not the day". Half-Life: Alyx is destined to be remembered as a masterpiece only by the niche for which it is destined, despite having been created precisely to try to go beyond that niche, and this is a defeat for the moment; but the revolution of Alyx Vance, in a few years, could produce effects comparable to that brought by Gordon Freeman.

In the meantime, we have to make do with the fact that in 2020 Half-Life is still alive and well. And sorry if it's cheap.



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