Half-Life is, first and foremost, a sci-fi shooter: aliens from another dimension are invading Earth and it falls to you, a man or woman with a gun, to do something about it. But there’s always been an element of horror running through Valve’s games. The original Half-Life got the ball rolling with headcrabs, barnacles, moaning zombies, and other such freakiness, and Half-Life 2 cranked it up with better graphics, the poisonous headcrab, fast zombies, and that little hike through Ravenholm.

Half-Life: Alyx promised to take that part of the experience even further by strapping it directly to your face, and as Chris said in his glowing review, it succeeded. “Barnacles with their sticky, dangling tongues belch and barf human remains directly onto me when they expire, giving me another good reason to avoid standing under them. Apartment walls are covered with pulsating tendrils and toothy alien blossoms that gibber and snap at my fingertips if I hover too close,” Chris writes. “Even the act of healing is gross, as I insert a glass cylinder containing a living alien grub into a wall-mounted health station and watch as it’s crushed into a bilious liquid just inches from my face, followed by skittering needles jabbing into the backs of my fingers.” Yum.

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