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Marvel at ten new minutes of atmospheric Half-Life: Alyx gameplay action

Hardhats! Headcrabs! Guns!

Ahead of Half-Life: Alyx's long-long-awaited launch later this month, Valve has released around ten minutes of new gameplay footage - split across three separate videos - highlighting the kind of unique VR interactions, including three different forms of locomotion, that players can expect from the first-person shooter come 23rd March.

Video number one is mainly focussed on exploration, starting and ending within the cramped confines of a subway train. There are headcrabs and headcrab zombies galore, with plenty of moody ambience as Alyx prowls the shadowy underground station to pick off opponents one by one. It's also a bit of a showcase for the game's physics-based interactions - we see the player prising away planks with their hands and even, hilariously, plopping a hardhat onto their heads at one point - and it's all demoed using stomach-friendly teleportation movement.

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Valve's second video is for those made of slightly stronger VR stuff, showing off continuous locomotion - a particularly nail-biting proposition given the impressive sense of verticality during the sequence. The bulk of this video takes place within the squalid interior of a crumbling building - although the sun-dappled snatches of City 17 outside look absolutely gorgeous - and it features its own selection of nifty interactions too.

Things open with a hacking mini-game, requiring players to spin a holographic globe with one hand while manipulating nodes with the other, and we later see the player shaking an explosive to start its detonation sequence, even snatching an object from a recoiling tentacle using co-ordination and speed. These kinds of small tactile moments are dotted throughout the videos, suggesting Valve's put plenty of thought into making its world feels tangible and malleable.

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Finally, then, is shift locomotion, which functions similarly to teleportation, except that it enables players to sort of slide over to their chosen location, as a kind of compromise between the two previous options - slightly less nauseating for those unfamiliar with continuous motion, but considerably less immersion-breaking than teleportation.

This particular video, the shortest of the three, finally lets loose with some all-out action as Alyx is caught in a firefight in the shadow of a derelict warehouse. Unsurprisingly, the pace here is considerably faster, with the player dodging rapidly between cover, leaning out to nail the perfect shot, and then, eventually, scrambling inside a nearby building for safety and shelter. It's tense, frantic stuff, and the bit with the grenade being caught in midair and tossed straight back to sender is a definitely a neat bit of VR badassery.

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Those with particularly sharp eyes will probably find plenty more feature teases in Valve's three new gameplay videos, but all will be revealed in full when Half-Life: Alyx - which is compatible with all PC-based VR headsets - comes to Steam on 23rd March.

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