Should I buy a new VR headset for Half-Life: Alyx?

Half Life Alyx Suspense Oculus Rift S
Half Life Alyx Suspense Oculus Rift S (Image credit: Nick Sutrich/Windows Central)

Should I buy a new VR headset for Half-Life: Alyx?

Best answer: Yes, Half-Life: Alyx is a definitive virtual reality title that makes it worth hopping onto the platform. It's incredibly detailed and genuinely spooky. It lives up to the incredibly high standards set by the Half-Life series and is a game that can only truly be experienced within VR.Must-have VR: Half-Life: Alyx ($54 at Steam)Getting funds: $50 Steam Gift Card ($50 at Best Buy)Practical VR: Oculus Rift S ($399 at B&H Photo)

A definitive VR adventure

People waited thirteen years for a Half-Life sequel, and when Half-Life: Alyx was announced as a VR-exclusive title, some expressed frustration. While people wanted a sequel, some didn't want to grab a VR headset or play a game that required a different setup. Then, Half-Life: Alyx came out and earned rave reviews across the web. Our staff writer and VR expert Nick Sutrich gave it a five out of five and called it the "best single-player VR shooter ever made," adding that it's the "top-tier of VR right now."

Half-Life: Alyx is a thoughtful redesign of the Half-Life universe stretched across the canvas of a beautiful VR space. VR's immersive nature blends perfectly with the shocking jumps and scares within Half-Life: Alyx. Valve paid attention to detail in every level of the game, from set design to mechanics. Little touches add up to create a more lifelike game than most VR titles, regardless of genre.

The Half-Life series is known for pushing gaming forward, and that's the case with Half-Life: Alyx as well. Sutrich said in his review, "Just as the Half-Life series helped pioneer scripted events, facial animations, real-time physics, and mind-bending narrative, Half-Life: Alyx crafts a world in a truly tangible way that simply cannot be done outside of VR."

Half-Life: Alyx screenshot.

Source: Valve (Image credit: Source: Valve)

Those new to VR will be in good company in Half-Life: Alyx. It's the first game from the franchise to be available in VR, and Valve took its time to make sure it was done right. You can move throughout the game with joysticks or teleporting, depending on your preference. You can also use gravity gloves to pick up ammo and items, so you aren't awkwardly getting up and down all the time throughout the game.

Half-Life: Alyx is a thoughtful redesign of the Half-Life universe stretched across the canvas of a beautiful VR space.

Half-Life: Alyx has precise controls and overcomes some of the pitfalls that many VR games fall into. While moving from a 2-D screen to VR will have some adjustment, Half-Life: Alyx will cause less frustration than some VR titles.

You can play Half-Life: Alyx on a number of VR headsets, ranging from the more affordable Oculus Rift S to the top-of-the-line Valve Index. You can even play it on the Oculus Quest if you use Oculus Link to connect it to your gaming PC. All of these headsets will work fine with Half-Life: Alyx, but the headset we recommend is the Oculus Rift S. It's relatively affordable, easy to set up, and it can handle the precision needed to enjoy the game. You can read more about why we recommend the Rift S in our guide on the best VR headset for Half-Life: Alyx.

Sutrich answer this question directly in his review and set it best, "If you're reading this, it's likely you already have the gaming PC capable of running a game like Half-Life: Alyx. If that's the case and you haven't had the opportunity or desire to pick up a VR headset before, do it now. Half-Life: Alyx is worth the price of entry alone."

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at