Meh, we can’t be bothered: In 2007, Valve released Half-Life 2: Episode 2. The second act of the announced three-part episodic adventure ended with a massive cliffhanger, which Valve never resolved. Many considered it a slap in the face to fans that still brings up bitter feelings when mentioned in forums.
Although Valve clearly has no intentions of revisiting the Half-Life 2 story to tie up loose ends, it finally at least tossed fans a bone after a 13-year hiatus when it released Half-Life: Alyx in 2020. Make no mistake; the game is an excellent entry in the long-neglected series – so long as you own a capable VR rig.
The fact that Alyx shipped without a non-VR mode was a thorn in the side of many who love the franchise but have no desire to play VR games. Of course, Valve’s response to such complaints was the same tone-deaf silence it has always had since those Episode 2 days of 2007 and beyond.
Fortunately, Valve has never had any problems with players modding the heck out of its IPs. With this in mind, a small group of modders called “GB_2 Development Team,” or just GB2 for short, set out to make a non-VR version of Half-Life: Alyx.
The project, dubbed “Half-Life: Alyx No VR,” has been in production for the last two years and went into Early Access on March 28. It was missing some key features and a few chapters of the story. However, an update GB2 launched over the Easter weekend brought the game to a fully playable state from beginning to end.
Other features that came with the update include functioning gravity gloves, fabricators, and more. The team also got 33 of the 42 Steam achievements working. It says that the last nine refuse to trigger because of the workarounds it had to use to get the gravity gloves and other features functioning. It has not given up on adding those last few achievements but needs more time to figure out how to work around the workarounds.
Although it is not the only non-VR mod available, it does appear to be one of the easiest to implement. Others can require specialized drivers and some fiddling to get to work. The developers claim that one only needs to copy and paste the No VR mod folders into Half-Life: Alyx’s install location. Yep. That is all. We haven’t gotten a chance to try it, but if you have, let us know what you think about it in the comments. You can download the files from Mod DB.