With its headcrab-style enemies, crowbar-wielding action, and copious amounts of environmental interactions, Boneworks has a lot in common with Half-Life: Alyx. This ambitious VR playground sees you fighting through a deadly army of rogue robot soldiers while you explore a dystopian virtual world known as MythOS.
Although Boneworks doesn’t quite reach the narrative highs and polish you’d find in a Valve game, its realistic implementation of physics might just be what you’re after for a second helping of Valve-style VR. But, unlike Alyx’s small offering of firearms, Boneworks has a plethora of weapons, including an MP5, the humble frying pan, a katana, and even… a balloon gun?
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The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
Before playing Half-Life: Alyx I would never have described Half-Life as scary. Sure, those zombies might be a tad bit creepy, but they’re nothing a bit of bunny hopping and a magnum bullet couldn’t take care of. In VR it’s another story. Experiencing bloody, ripped-open chests and terrifyingly long claws is a haunting experience up close, and that’s something Alyx shares with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.
Aside from the obvious undead connection, Saints & Sinners stands alongside Alyx in terms of offering an immersive atmosphere that’s as scary as the darkest corners of City 17. You play as the Tourist, a survivor in search of a potentially limitless supply of life-saving goods hidden deep within the post-apocalyptic remains of New Orleans. On the surface this might seem like your standard zombie affair with survival mechanics, looting, and find-and-fetch quests. But Saints & Sinners surprisingly has a lot more in common with Deus Ex, as choices made within the story can affect other characters, factions, and even the ending.
Most importantly, though, Saints & Sinners might just be the best zombie killing experience VR has to offer. The feeling of swiftly sinking a screwdriver deep into a walker’s brain is deeply satisfying and provides the best ‘squish’ sound effect I’ve ever heard.
Blade & Sorcery
Half-Life: Alyx does a great job of establishing you as an actual person within the confined walls of City 17. Everything feels intuitive, whether you are simply pushing open a door or fighting off an angry headcrab. Blade & Sorcery is similar in that it benefits from a number of little details that together make a big difference to the experience.
This medieval fantasy sandbox offers no quests, characters, or story to follow, but instead provides the ultimate fighting playground. We’re talking immersive physics-driven melee combat, combined with ranged and magic-based attacks. You can pick from a large array of weapons such as daggers, spears, greatswords, and axes. And if you’re into modding, even a lightsaber or two.
As chaotic as this all sounds, Blade & Sorcery still encourages you to be strategic and creative. With a handful of different enemy types to take on, such as archers, wizards, and shieldmen, you’ll find yourself trying out many different methods of attack. Should you use a rapier to pierce through an enemy’s shield, or distract him with your lightning spell before you dive in for the kill? Much like Half-Life: Alyx, each weapon has its own weight and style of approach. If you’re thinking about one-handing a Greatsword for example, then… well, good luck with that.
If you’re after a fluid, moddable, and downright fun fighting experience, then Blade & Sorcery is the game to check out.
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An element of Half-Life: Alyx that often goes unnoticed is how smooth its movement is. Valve clearly put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that players of all preferences would be comfortable. But unlike previous Half-Life games, Alyx is pretty slow, and so that lack of fast flowing movement may have left some feeling a bit nostalgic for Gordon’s swifter strides.
If you’re one of those people, Stormland‘s fluid movement around its immersive, sprawling world is something worth experiencing. This virtual jungle gym of jumping, climbing, and gliding is as an absolute pleasure to play, especially with a friend in co-op. As you explore this vast alien world, you’ll be blasting your way through enemy robots, sneaking around outposts, and causing an untold amount of havoc as you search for your missing friends.
Much like Half-Life: Alyx, Stormland soars high with its fantastic movement system, and as a great showcase for what VR can offer.
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While Half-Life: Alyx will undoubtedly remain as a shining example of how far VR has come since its revitalised return in 2016, just a year into VR’s resurgence saw another star rise above the rest in the form of Lone Echo. You take control of Jack, a robot working on a mining station orbiting Saturn, and to everyone’s surprise something has gone wrong. Alongside the ship’s captain, you must take on the dangerous task of investigating what could have caused all this chaos.
Much like Alyx, Lone Echo excels in delivering not only a well acted story, but an interesting and believable one too. So if you’ve got your space legs ready and set for an adventure, then this immersive zero-gravity story is exactly what you’re looking for.
Even though Half-Life: Alyx sees you take on vicious aliens and disgusting zombies, Valve’s wry sense of humour still shines through. With Portal writers Jay Pinkerton and Erik Wolpaw at the helm, it’s no surprise that the witty banter between Alyx and newcomer Russel is fantastic. For those looking to step into a world filled with dry humour and deadly corporations akin to Portal, you need look no further than Budget Cuts.
Set in the dystopian hell of a depressed robot-filled corporate office, you’ll find yourself sneaking, stabbing, and teleporting your way through in order to escape. But unlike in Alyx, where you’re more than well equipped to handle any violent situation, patience is key in Budget Cuts as these weapon-toting robots won’t hold back.
So those are six virtual reality games we reckon you should try out after playing Half-Life: Alyx. What other fantastic VR titles would you suggest giving a go? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re looking to get into VR, why not look at our guide to the best VR headsets.
Jesse Gomez is a VR-loving video producer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.