Half-Life: Alyx is an incredible blend of the best VR concepts with expert execution, and it paints the storied franchise in a whole new light. There’s just nothing like it.
It wasn’t easy choosing our Game of the Year here at GameSpot, especially considering the roster of incredible games that came out this year, many of which affected us profoundly. You can see in our list of the 10 best games of 2020 that each had a special place in the hearts and minds of the GameSpot staff. After hours of deliberations, though, we can only choose one, and we came to the conclusion to award our Game of the Year to the one that stood out the most, which is Half-Life: Alyx.
In the video above, Kurt Indovina is joined by Jake Dekker and Michael Higham to sort through our thoughts and feelings about Half-Life: Alyx and discuss what made it such an incredible and innovative game. Part of that involves the seamless marriage of several VR concepts that are integrated and expertly executed to create a superb gameplay experience. Whether it was intense firefights or terrifying encounters, the level of immersion is unmatched in Half-Life: Alyx They also discuss the wild implications that the game poses for the Half-Life universe, how the impact of its narrative twists and turns are amplified by VR, and why its conclusion such a powerful thing (without spoilers).
We didn’t ignore the question of accessibility, both physical and financial. VR poses some inherent barriers to entry, which unfortunately means some may not be able to experience Half-Life: Alyx, or at least not yet. However, we acknowledge the lengths Valve went to to accommodate some limitations–you can play the whole game seated, or with one controller, or even if you have limited playing space. Several other options for movement, crouching, and interaction can also help mitigate potential issues. While the game can’t cover every limitation, it represents significant progress being made in VR.
Half-Life: Alyx is a top-notch gaming experience on its own merits, and the feeling we had when we essentially forgot we were playing a VR game is testament to its magnificent level design and gameplay mechanics, and the various ways it challenges you with puzzles and combat encounters. It’s also the fact that Half-Life’s best qualities shine like never before in VR, where the nuances in the environments and interactions within the world speak volumes to its world design and storytelling. Half-Life: Alyx leverages VR to deliver some of gaming’s most unforgettable moments, especially in its final chapters. Accounting for all that, the GameSpot team recognizes it as our Game of the Year.