Half Life: Alyx is a game largely built for the Valve Index VR system and looking at specific capabilities of that system this means we’re not just seeing Valve making a standard VR game. This is Valve dusting off one of the most revered intellectual properties in PC gaming after over a decade and making a move to establish the primacy of their system.
The key difference in terms of game implementation between the Index VR system and regular systems lies with the controllers. Index VR controllers track finger movements in detail, providing a greater sense of presence in the game and providing more control options beyond button or grip controls.
The system requirements for Index VR are reasonably tame, you need a Windows 10 system, you need at least a dual core hyperthreading CPU although it recommends a quad core. You need a minimum of an Nvidia 970 or AMD RX480, but it recommends an Nvidia 1070 or better. A DisplayPort (version 1.2) is also required and ideally two USB ports.
More complications arise with the requirements beyond the PC you’re running it on. The Index VR system uses wired sensors that need to be set up around the room, and as with any system intended for room-scale games you need a lot of room to work with.
The elephant in the room, and the aspect with which we’re going to see the pulling power of the Half Life brand put most to the test, is the price tag. The Valve Index VR system retails for £919. Everybody loves a bit of Half Life, right? But how many people love it that much?