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Half-Life: Alyx, a long-overdue respawn

My latency was so bad that my player was shot or hacked dead even before I saw any of the enemies

John Henry Dodson



IN virtual-reality play, it is easy to get lost in the playground err battleground of Half-Life: Alyx. / Photograph courtesy of Valve

The Half-Life (HL) first-person shooter which really got going in popularity in the middle 1990s served as the jump-off platform for the very popular multi-player shootout Counterstrike (CS).

But playing HL’s multi-player mode at the time was an exercise in futility for this writer as my uber-slow Internet connection made my gameplay “laggy” especially against players from abroad who enjoyed fast connections.

My latency was so bad that my player was shot or hacked dead even before I saw any of the enemies. Even before my player could fully respawn, he was killed pronto as he appeared on the battleground.

“Maawa ka naman kay (Have mercy on) Jose Rizal,” another Filipino player messaged me seeing my no-kill ratio. It was at the point that I decided I should limit myself to playing the HL campaign.

Over two decades since my HL sojourn now comes Half-Life: Alyx, a respawn of an iconic title long thought off as dead. Released by Valve last 23 March, Alyx is a long-awaited, 12-year-into-the-making entry into the series. And it’s on virtual reality (VR)!

Here’s Jordan Oloman of Techradar gushing over Half-Life Alyx.

“The combat in Half-Life: Alyx eventually becomes rhythmic. It’s the only VR shooting I’ve properly stuck to and as such, it’s the only head-mounted game that I’ve binged,” Oloman said.

“It’s certainly not bloated though, and can be beaten over a few days — even so, I’m itching to see what achievements I have left so I can pilfer the maps for secrets in my subsequent playthroughs,” he added.

Oloman found the game to be refreshing as Half-Life 2 and concluded his review by saying, “I can see myself dipping into it every so often to get lost in its dioramic playgrounds.”

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