New Half-Life: Alyx No VR Mod Removes The Best Thing About The Game

A new ‘NoVR’ mod from the GB_2 Development Team lets you play through Half-Life: Alyx without a VR headset… if you really want to. 

Following previous attempts at No VR mods for Half-Life: Alyx, GB_2 Development Team’s free mod lets you complete the story without a VR headset. “This is our biggest update yet, and we have no plans of slowing down,” the team announced, after initially launching this mod last month. “The entire game can now be played from start to finish, with the Gravity Gloves fully implemented along with combine fabricators providing weapon upgrades.” However, GB_2 states “bugs may still be present but a save reload will fix that,” and 9 out of 42 Steam Achievements cannot currently be earned.

As you can see in the video below (which contains major spoilers from the end of the campaign), the mod appears to technically work, although the conversion of some VR-specific interactions leaves parts of the game feeling pretty lifeless.

Regular UploadVR visitors don’t need to be told that Half-Life: Alyx is widely considered one of the best VR games of all-time, so news of a No VR mod may seem sacrilege. It cannot be understated how integral VR functionality is for Alyx, and many will understandably argue that removing VR dilutes the game. In our own Half-Life Alyx review back in 2020, we called it “a triumphant return; a stunningly produced, meticulously refined capping off of the past four years of VR learnings.”

Adapting Alyx into a more traditional FPS experience is a tricky ask, as the game is designed around the physicality and presence granted by playing with a headset. The enemy design and attack patterns, for example, were made for the slower pace of combat, manual reloading and aiming mechanics afforded by VR. Taken out of VR with automatic reloading and the precision of mouse aiming, Alyx’s combat would probably be quite boring.

It’s a sentiment shared by some of the development team too. In March 2020, Half-Life: Alyx project lead Robin Walker (via Polygon) said that while feelings varied across the team, he wasn’t personally worried about flatscreen mods:

“There are a set of people on the team that are concerned about that. Personally, I’m not concerned about it at all. The reason is pretty simple: The game just wouldn’t be much fun as a standard release. It will clearly demonstrate to people why we did this in VR … It will be a very crisp way of seeing all the stuff we got for the move into VR. If people play [a modded version on a standard display] and say this is just as good, that will teach me a lot. I will realize I’m wrong, and we didn’t get as much as we thought, and I love to know whenever I’m wrong.”

Beyond NoVR, there’s plenty of Half-Life: Alyx mods worth exploring. Between MonomythReturn To RaptureHalf-Life: Incursion and more, Alyx’s modding community continues adding renewed longevity to Valve’s first-person shooter. To learn more, check out our full interview from last April with CoreyLaddo and ANB_Seth, where we discussed their respective Levitation (also supported in NoVR) and Gunman Contracts mods.

Pistol Whip Official Modding Tool Enters Open Beta

Cloudhead Games revealed that the official Pistol Whip modding tool arrives next month for PC VR, and you can try it now through an open beta.

First revealed during our Upload VR Showcase Winter 2022, Pistol Mix is the anticipated modding tool for creating custom scenes in Pistol Whip which, unsurprisingly, is only available for the PC VR edition.

“Build a custom Scene from the ground up, including audio track, selection and placement of enemies, environment design, colours and lighting, then share your custom ‘Remixed’ Scene with the world on” confirms Cloudhead. You see this in action below:

While Pistol Mix officially launches on May 31, the open beta is now live for anyone looking to try it sooner. Available to download through Cloudhead’s Discord server or, custom creations can then be shared and downloaded through this platform. Once the tool reaches full release remixes will be accessible directly inside the headset from Pistol Whip.

Pistol Whip is available now on the Meta Quest platform, PC VR, Pico 4, PSVR, and PSVR 2, though keep in mind Pistol Mix is a PC VR version exclusive.

Call of the Sea VR Sets Sails For Quest 2 Today

Call of the Sea VR brings the Bafta-nominated puzzle adventure to virtual reality, and it’s out today on Quest 2.

Developed by Out of the Blue and published by Raw Fury, Call of the Sea VR relies on puzzle-solving over combat. Set in the 1930s, this tells the story of Norah Everhart, whose family suffers from a mysterious illness. As Norah, you investigate her husband Harry’s disappearance on a South Pacific island near Otaheite (Tahiti), after he vanished while searching for a cure. With only his photo and island coordinates to work from, Norah sets off on an “otherworldly tale of mystery and love”.

Initially launched for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation, Call of the Sea first appeared in 2020, later being nominated for BAFTA’s Debut Game in 2021 and Best Immersive Game at the 2022 Raindance Immersive Awards. Judging by the above gameplay trailer, this VR adaptation doesn’t appear to deviate much from the original flatscreen release, beyond expected additions like motion controls and 360 degree immersive environments.

Call of the Sea is out today on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro for $19.99.

Dead Hook Looks Like Doom VFR On Quest 2, Arrives This May

Reminiscent of Doom VFR, Dead Hook brings a new VR roguelike shooter from Stride developer Joy Way, coming to Quest 2 next month.

Developed by Joy Way (the studio also working on upcoming games Red Flowers and Stack), Dead Hook promises an “explosive mix of roguelike shooter genre with brutal combat.” Set on the planet Resaract, you play as Adam Stone, a “mercenary, smuggler, thief, and devoted husband” shooting his way through hordes of demons. Here’s the official description and announcement trailer:

Explore the elder planet Resaract and take on the role of Adam Stone, a mercenary, smuggler, thief, and devoted husband. Find legendary weapons and customize your character with 100 buffs and permanent upgrades to make each run unique. Experiment with different strategies and tackle the challenges that await you in the game. You will embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of Resaract and AI duality, facing tough choices and unexpected twists along the way.

Revealing more across Twitter, Joy Way claims Dead Hook entered development over two years ago and revealed its a reworked version of PC VR roguelike Outlier, which was cancelled after two months in early access last year. At the time, Joy Way stated that it had “overestimated the demand for this game” and “underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre,” claiming Outlier had a low chance of becoming profitable.

Dead Hook arrives on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro on May 18. When asked about a potential PSVR 2 version, Joy Way stated, “Nothing in the works right now. We are keeping a close eye on the platform’s growth and wish it great success.”

Zenith: The Last City Introduces PvP Combat In Next Update

Zenith: The Last City receives a new PvP mode in the upcoming Skyward Summit update, introducing 1v1 fights and team duels.

Announcing this Zenith: The Last City addition through PlayStation Blog, developer Ramen VR offered a first look at this new mode for its MMORPG. It confirms Skyward Summit’s PvP will “primarily focus on the implementation of one-on-one and team duels,” but states the team’s exploring additional options for PvP in future patches. Ramen also reveals this next update will introduce the Cyber Ninja class, alongside player housing, resource harvesting and crafting.

It’s not all good news for Zenith fans lately, however. Last month, Ramen VR announced it’s dropping support for the original Quest and PSVR headsets later this year. While Quest owners will have full access removed after September 15, 2023, original PSVR owners can still play in their own isolated shard running version 1.2.2 of Zenith. In a separate post, Ramen cites PlayStation Move as a factor, stating support for these controllers is “just not possible” despite the team’s efforts. 

Zenith: The Last City is available now on the Meta Quest platform, PSVR, PSVR 2, and PC VR, while Skyward Summit is currently targeting a Q2 2023 release window.

Dreams Ends Updates In September, PSVR 2 Version Ruled Out

Media Molecule confirms it’s shutting down live service support for Dreams this September, also ruling out a PSVR 2 port.

Three years after releasing Dreams, Media Molecule revealed it made the decision “to shift our focus to an exciting new project,” stating this “is not Dreams 2, or the Dreams IP.” Crucially, Dreams won’t be delisted from the PlayStation Store, servers will remain online for sharing creations and critical bug fixes will still be fixed once live service shuts down. New updates are also promised before September, with Media Molecule stating this includes “the much anticipated Tren, and a significant improvement to animation and our last Create mode update.”

Media Molecule also reconfirmed its planning to migrate Dreams onto a new server in late May but advised “not every feature in Dreams has been compatible with the needed modifications to the server.” There’s only two listed changes for PSVR support, which states Dreams will make personalised comfort ratings visible on content, while comfort ratings on maps and collections are being removed. Otherwise, storage limits will be established for Creations (existing Creations excluded), the ability to archive Creations will be removed and replaced by a delete option, and more.

Sadly, the announcement also ends any hopes of a PSVR 2 port. On the blog post, an FAQ definitively states “the planned releases for Dreams do not include multiplayer, PS5/PSVR2/3D printing support.” The team was asked about a potential next-gen version back in September, when Sony confirmed that PSVR 2 wouldn’t support backwards compatibility. Media Molecule stated it wasn’t part of the current roadmap, but that didn’t stop fans from hoping those plans might change.

We praised Media Molecule’s latest game in our Dreams review, with PSVR support arriving nearly half a year after the flatscreen PS4 edition back in 2020. Though we believed creative mode did “not integrate with PSVR as naturally as hoped,” we considered it an “incredible, robust creation platform.”

Paired with the platform’s inherent comfort issues, its sprawling, untamed ecosystem can prove to be a minefield to navigate, but for every unwelcome rollercoaster ride (literally and figuratively), there’s another wish waiting to be fulfilled or something genuinely original to discover. The only way to truly judge Dreams is by the strength of its creations and those already speak for themselves; if you want to embrace VR’s experimental side, you shouldn’t miss it.

Dreams is available now on PSVR for $19.99.

Afterlife VR Scares Up A PSVR 2 Release On April 19

Following its Steam release last September, Afterlife VR brings a new horror game to PSVR 2 next week.

Not to be confused with Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife by Fast Travel Games, Afterlife VR from Split Light Studio promises a “twisted story” set within the Black Rose mental hospital. As a rookie police officer, Afterlife tasks you with uncovering the facility’s darkest secrets, fighting off enemies through firearms and psychokinetic powers, and puzzle-solving via telekinesis. Here’s the official description:

What is really lurking behind the door of a well-known mental facility, where Adam’s younger sister, Allison, was recently sent? Is there any connection between missing patients and hospital workers and the groundbreaking study about the Indigo Children phenomena? Uncover the secrets hidden deep within the Black Rose mental hospital walls, where most of the patients pose a threat to themselves and to others. Look into the eyes of pure madness intrinsically linked with this place and its history.

Following the headset’s high profile launch two months ago, horror is slowly finding a footing on PSVR 2. Alongside Resident Evil Village, Sony’s new headset already houses several VR horror games, if you include games with horror elements like The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR and The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners duology. Other upcoming horror games include The Exorcist: Legion VR SIN and Ovrdark: A Do Not Open Story, MADiSON VR and a ‘VR Mode’ for Resident Evil 4 Remake.

Afterlife VR arrives on PSVR 2 on April 19, while a PC VR version is available now on Steam for $14.99.