A clever mod makes it so that Half-Life: Alyx, the Half-Life series VR exclusive, no longer requires a VR set up to play. Appropriately titled “Half-Life: Alyx NoVR,” the mod allows you to experience the game’s full campaign without an Oculus Quest 2 to your name. This isn’t the first mod to attempt this, but from what it looks like, it’s the most complete, playable one yet.
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“For those with health concerns, motion sickness, and other limitations from experiencing it in VR this is a great alternative!” the mod’s FAQ document, which also contains detailed instructions on how to download it, says. “Half-Life: Alyx [is] more accessible than ever!”
Read More: “No-VR Mod Brings Half Life: Alyx To Players Who Can’t Afford Headsets”
The first-person shooter was released in 2020, made suitable for most PC-compatible VR headsets, and followed in the 25-year-old Half-Life series footsteps of mixing together survival, guns, and a dust bowl-orange sheet of wide open, alien-stalked space. VR makes the game unique, though, in the way that you play as “Alyx, but you’re also you,” Nathan Grayson said in his 2020 Kotaku review. It’s a “distinctly more personal experience than Half-Life, Half-Life 2, or their episodic sequels,” but, being confined to VR, it also has its limitations.
“To experience Half-Life: Alyx in its full glory, you need an expensive headset tethered to an (at least) equally expensive PC, not to mention an apartment or living space with enough room for you to comfortably move around,” Grayson said. “This game is, for now, certainly not for everyone.”
Three years later, the game’s NoVR mod is here to save you. Kind of. Remember, it isn’t the first of its kind, but it does seem to be the most playable, while being subject to the limitations of completely altering a game’s medium. Unlike other iterations, this one applies to the entire game and finds cleaner solutions to replacing VR commands than past attempts did.
Its latest update makes it so that you can not only finish the game without a headset, but also have the game’s “Gravity Gloves fully implemented along with combine fabricators providing weapon upgrades,” and even “earn 33/42 [Steam] achievements […] using the NoVR mod,” NoVR’s latest update says.
But though the NoVR team indicates that it will continue to make its mod a more perfect substitute for the VR game, the closer it gets, the more it rips Half-Life: Alyx away from its intended context. It can still be fun to try out, though.