Folks, today is the day. And for all of us waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the time has finally come. 13 long years after the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two and a whopping 20 years since the original Half-Life, we now have new game set in the Half-Life universe. And although it may not officially be called “Half-Life 3,” it might as well be. Half-Life: Alyx is here, and it’s poised to bring VR gaming to the mainstream.
Half-Life: Alyx is the third major installment in the Half-Life saga, taking place between the events of Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2 — right after the loss of the Seven-Hour War and while series protagonist Gordon Freeman is stuck in stasis at the mercy of the G-Man. As its name implies, Half-Life: Alyx puts you in control of Alyx Vance, daughter of scientist Eli Vance and one of the founding members of the resistance. The game chronicles your journey through City 17, as you and other members of the fledgling resistance begin the fight against the Combine.
In order to play Half-Life: Alyx, you’ll need a VR Headset. Unfortunately, the cost of entry to break into VR has always been rather high. But don’t worry, because Swappa is here to help. Read on to learn how you can save hundreds on a cheap VR headset so you can play Half-Life: Alyx today!
HTC Vive – Starting at $335
Released in April 2016, the HTC Vive was one of the VR headset that kicked off the VR revolution. And although it’s now 4 years old, the Vive still provides a premium VR experience that is every bit as immersive as newer and more expensive offerings.
The Vive packs two OLED panels, one per eye, with a resolution of 1080×1200 per eye, and it features a 90 Hz refresh rate and a 110-degree field of view. The Vive also offers “room scale” tracking, meaning that you can move around in game space by moving around in real life, as well as innovative controllers that allow you to interact with the virtual environment with ease.
HTC Vive Pro – Starting at $579
Following up on the success of the original Vive, HTC launched the HTC Vive Pro in early 2018. The Vive Pro upgrades many of the key specs, while maintaining compatibility with the same base station and controllers for users looking to upgrade from the original.
The Vive Pro gets a noticeable bump to 1440×1600 resolution per eye. In addition, the headset adds a secondary external camera, attachable headphones, and a noise-cancelling microphone. Finally, the Vive Pro also improves on ergonomics thanks to its sizing dial and lighter weight.
Oculus Rift S – Starting at $365
Next up, we have the Oculus Rift S. Released early last year, the Rift S is the successor to the original Rift from 2016. It makes the switch from dual PenTile OLED screens to a single RGB LCD and increases resolution to 1280×1440 per eye, but refresh rate takes a slight hit to 80Hz.
Field of View on the Rift S has also been improved slightly to 115 degrees, and there is now an option to connect your own headphones for improved audio. Finally, ergonomics were given a slight boost with the Halo Headband, which allows for better weight distribution and light blocking.
Finally we have the Valve Index, the current top dog of VR headsets. Released in the middle of last year, the Index can be considered the successor to the HTC Vive line, and it brings iterative improvements to all key specifications. For starters, we have a jump to 1440×1600 resolution per-eye, as well as a substantially increased refresh rate of 120Hz (and an experimental 144Hz mode).
The Valve Index also offers an increased field of view of 130 degrees, although this is more like 120 degrees in practice. In addition, it comes with improved controllers, while maintaining compatibility with the original Vive and Vive Pro controllers and base stations for those looking to upgrade. Finally, the Index offers improved headset tracking thanks to the Valve Lighthouse tracking system.
Valve has developed a reputation for ushering in major technological innovations with each Half-Life title. The original Half-Life was one of the first truly cinematic experiences in gaming, thanks to its abundant dialogue and rich plot. Half-Life 2 brought with it a revolutionary physics engine that enabled a gamut of physics puzzles, as well as new and unique ways to handle enemies. And now, Half-Life 3 is set to do the same for Virtual Reality.
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. Not only do we have the next installment in the Half-Life saga, but we also get that elusive “killer app” that VR has always needed. Although the decision to make VR a requirement for Half-Life: Alyx will no doubt be polarizing, requiring VR was essential for Valve to deliver the most immersive experience possible.
Although VR gaming has largely been out of reach to most consumers, it is finally starting to come down in price and become slightly more attainable to the masses. That said, buying new is still an expensive proposition. Luckily, Swappa is all about making our favorite tech toys more attainable. And as you already know, Swappa is the best place to buy and sell newish tech, including VR headsets.
Click on the button below to get started and find a great deal on a VR headset today!