Valve’s hotly anticipated Half-Life: Alyx is here, and we’re all excited to get in on the action. Valve has made extra efforts to ensure that a wider audience of gamers can get in on the action by adding in a bunch of accessibility features.
Seeing as Alyx is a VR-exclusive game, the consumer audience is already limited to those who have physical access to VR gear, which is generally very expensive. But let’s assume that you’ve found a way past that obstacle, and focus on the much-appreciated efforts that were made to make Alyx more widely-accessible. Here are the main points:
- If you are restricted to the use of only one hand, you can select single controller mode which maps all action to a single controller as opposed to two
- Height adjust mode lets you toggle crouching/standing using the controller, as opposed to actually crouching or bending your body IRL in order to duck behind cover or crawl through small spaces, as the game sometimes requires. So for those who cannot move their body physically in those ways in the real world, there are still ways for them to do so in the virtual world.
- Within the height adjust mode, there are a bunch of further hybrid options which allow you to pick a more tailored option to suit your preferences.
- You can, of course, choose the seated gameplay option, which completely removes the need to stand (in the real world) at any point whilst playing.
- There are three different weapon select orientations – head, hand, or hybrid – that determine how you will select weapons from the in-game menu.
- There is a light sensitivity mode that reduces the intensity and flickering of the lights in-game.
- Adjustable subtitles and closed captions – in terms of word size, width, and reading speed – are available.
For those worried about the infamous cybersickness issue, there are also a few measures in place to help reduce the likelihood of motion sickness occurring. There’s an option to turn off the Barnacle Lift, meaning those annoying fly-trappy creatures from Xen won’t pull you up towards their gaping maws – the movement of which could be jarring for motion-sensitive players. Instead, you’ll just take damage when you stumble into their dangly tongue things.
There are also four different movement options, including a Blink mode that is the most motion-sickness-friendly of the four. It’ll be up to you to experiment and decide which mode is the most comfortable, but rest assured there are options for you.
With the VR era upon us, there are a whole host of new challenges (and opportunities) in terms of player accessibility, and it’s great to see developers like Valve making strides in this domain.
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