When Half Life Alyx was first announced, there was a group of people who thought it was going to be a gimmick game with no real long term impact that would just rid on the coattails of the success of the half life franchise. The game’s been out for a little over two weeks now and it continues to make bounds and leaps as it makes headlines, records and brings VR into the spotlight as a serious format through which games can be made.
On its launch day, not only did break all records for highest concurrent usership on steam for VR games, blowing the game reigning at number 1 at the time cleanly out of the water, but also topped the Twitch viewership charts, beating out Warzone, CS:GO, League of Legends, and Fortnite. But the game did not stop there.
As far as ratings go, the ratings have seemed to have actually improved since the last time we talked about this game. Google review ratings stand at 97% positive, while steam ratings have moved up to 98% positive, keeping the game firmly positioned within the ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating category. The game currently even has the best rating out of the entire Half Life franchise on Steam, and sits at number 10 on Steam’s ‘Best Rated Games’ list. It feels redundant to even say it at this point, but of course it is also the highest rated VR game on Steam. Finally HL:A also currently holds the number one spot from 2020 PC releases on metacritic, beating out commercial successes such as ‘Ori and the Will of the Wisps’ which sits at number three and Doom: Eternal, which sits right below it at number two.
If you’re to open up your browser and look up any ‘Top X list of VR Games to Play’ at the moment, you’d be hard pressed to find a list that doesn’t have this terrific title at number 1, let alone not have it in the top 5. The game’s been keeping plenty of us sane during the quarantine / lockdown period.
People have found plenty of uses for the game besides ‘gaming’ as well, given how interactive the world actually is. Mentioned in a previous article, a teacher used a part of the game which allowed the player to scribble on dirty windows with markers to teach his math class, while more recently, players are playing music on a fully functioning piano found within the world. All of these are a testament to how deep the interactivity goes within the game, and how much the fans appreciate it.
Valve has not sat on their laurels either, continuing to listen to the fanbase and improve this title even further. A patch was recently issued which improved support for the game’s left handed player base and Valve plans to release a suite of modding tools to allow players to expand the game’s content on their own, though no release date has been given for that.
Let’s hope plenty of developers, both big and small, take inspiration from Half Life: Alyx’s success and strive to integrate VR in their games even further, moving onwards.