Half-Life: Alyx – Beginner Tips

10 helpful tips for Half-Life: Alyx before your first playthrough.

The Tips

  • Look in side areas, drawers, and cabinets for glowing resin and ammo. They’re often hidden in crates and just slightly out of your normal field of view. They are rarely in cardboard boxes.
  • Barnacles (the things on the ceiling) will try to eat anything, so you can use them to kill enemies or trick them into pulling up trash to get by. If they pull up something explosive, they will explode automatically. Save your ammo. (Note that they will swallow resin.)
  • You can wear hardhats and masks to protect Alyx from certain enemies (though not the fashion police).
  • When hacking the spheres with blue and red lines, you can release the trigger on the multi-tool. That will allow red lines to pass through harmlessly but will leave the blue lines in place.
  • Pay attention to background noises. Head crabs sound different from barnacles, and generally the ambient sound will warn you about what’s in a certain area.
  • The shotgun magazine can hold 7 shells, so just keep loading until full. To lock it, just flick your hand up and it’ll close. If it was emptied, you’ll need to chamber a shell with the front handle.
  • If you reload the pistol while there’s still a round chambered, you won’t need to release the slide. To release the slide with one hand, press the upper button (on the Vive).
  • If you cup your off-hand under your dominant hand while using the flashlight, it will point the light wherever the pistol is pointed.
  • You can steal grenades from many Combine soldiers while they’re alive, but those same soldiers usually won’t drop grenades upon death. I always steal ’em and stash ’em (instead of throwing immediately) if I don’t have two already.
  • Don’t bother stashing the bug jars. They’ll usually be found near the health stations. I also always stash grenades over stims. (But I have been known to double-fist grenades even when I have 2 stashed…)

FYI: Glove / Gun UI

  • Reserve ammo and health are shown on your gloves.
  • Your pistol’s grip shows what’s left in the magazine. One white line at the top indicates if a round is chambered. If there are yellow lines, it means the magazine is low but not depleted. You can only put full mags back in your backpack.
  • Shells in the shotgun are shown on the back.
  • The SMG has a red circle (near the front) that depletes as ammo depletes.

Unpopular Bonus Opinions on Upgrades

In my opinion, these are the best upgrades, in order:

  • Pistol: Reflex Sight (10)
  • Pistol: Bullet Reservoir (30)
  • Pistol: Laser Sight (35)
  • SMG: Laser Sight (25)
  • SMG: Extended Magazine (30)

I know, I know, most people swoon over the pistol laser sight, but I think the reflex sight is incredible if you use it right. Bring the controller up close to your dominant eye and look straight down the sight, keeping both eyes open. (Think John Wick.) This allows you to be accurate enough to snipe heavies in the face from across a courtyard or land surprise opening shots on propane valves.

The bullet reservoir is the best quality-of-life upgrade. Once you get it, you’ll never need to worry about the slide again. Just shoot until it dings and then reload. It’s a perfect complement to a properly used reflex sight.

Don’t get me wrong: the laser sight is great, but it’s only better in intense closer combat. The laser can be hard to see in certain lighting, it doesn’t work well at long range, and it’s super expensive. By the time you’ve saved up enough for it, you’ll have the shotgun, and for just 5 more resin, you could have reflex sight + reservoir.

The laser sight on the SMG is a must because it just fits the weapon so well. However, the reflex sight doesn’t make sense on it because its precision is low.

Don’t bother with shotgun upgrades, except maybe the grenade launcher. You get so few shotgun shells throughout the game that it will never be more than a surprise-me-and-you-die weapon.

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Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3011 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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