You knew it was coming, we knew it was coming, Valve knew it was coming, and now it’s finally here – a mod that lets you play Half-Life: Alyx from start to finish without a VR headset. The new Half-Life game is built to be played in VR, but if you must force your way through a very janky version of it, that mod is now live.
The Half-Life: Alyx no-vr mod is available on GitHub (as noted by PC Gamer), and converts all the important VR functions to keyboard commands. One keypress can reach your arm over your shoulder to grab ammon, or quickly throw items. Otherwise, it controls basically like any number of PC FPS games, with mouse look and keyboard movement.
But do not expect this mod to just turn Alyx into the flat-screen Half-Life 3 you may have been dreaming of. The controls are sketchy enough that the readme includes a list of ‘walkthrough difficulties’ for moments that really need some precision attention – and the guide also recommends just turning on god mode for tougher encounters.
Alyx launched with a semi-working non-VR mode buried in the code, but it was not up to the task of letting you see the game through to the end.
The Alyx devs themselves recommend a Let’s Play if you can’t play the game yourself, and that’s still probably the way to go if you’re looking to see the story without a headset. There might yet be a high-quality no-VR mod for Alyx, and this is a start, but the experience isn’t there yet.