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6 Half-Life: Alyx tips to help you survive and thrive in City 17

(Image credit: Valve)

Once you finished gawping at the technological marvels of this new, virtual reality world, you're going to want some Half-Life: Alyx tips to help you settle in. No, we don't mean how to eat a full burrito while still wearing your headset (carefully) or the suggestion that you don't play naked unless you're absolutely sure the landlord is coming around for a surprise inspection, but things we wished we known when we first step foot in City 17.   

1. Don't waste bullets on boxes or barnacles 

(Image credit: Valve)

Ammo is a fairly precious commodity in Half-Life: Alyx, especially for your shotgun, so don't waste it on innocent wooden boxes or those annoying, ceiling dwelling barnacle enemies. Those breakable boxes that so often hide resin or magazines can be easily smashed with a strong throw with one hand. As for the barnacles, while they're ugly and intimidating early in the game, you can usually distract them long enough to sneak by just by throwing them an empty soda can, bottle of laundry detergent or - if there's one around - a nice, explosive gas canister.  

2. Upgrade ammo capacity 

(Image credit: Valve)

Use your hard found resin wisely. The temptation to blow it all on the first options available, laser and reflex sites - is real, but the game rarely requires the sort of finesse that calls for that type of accuracy. Instead save your glowing goodies for ammo capacity and the shotgun's auto reloader.  

3. You can keep going back to health stations 

(Image credit: Valve)

There's something so satisfying about Half-Life: Alyx's bug-squashing health stations that I activated everyone I found, even if I was feeling fit as the proverbial fiddle. What's worth knowing is if you've only need one for a quick top up, you can keep going back to it until all the magic grub juice is used up. That means that you can save an injectable just by backtracking a few rooms, or by staying indecently close to one during a firefight.  

4. Not every tripwire is worth defusing 

(Image credit: Valve)

Completionists will feel an urge to carefully defuse every tripwire in the game, and that's not a terrible decision, especially if said tripwire is anywhere near something explosive. But you can be more creative if you want to save time, throwing a chair through the beam and making sure you're standing back, or even luring enemies into their path. Cruel? Perhaps. Satisfying? Absolutely.  

5. Change your perspective on hacking puzzles

(Image credit: Valve)

If you're struggling with any of the hacking mini-games, the matching, the lock and key or the guiding that little glowy ball of light, try changing your physical position in the real world. Standing up or crouching down often provides a perspective change that can make the puzzle much easier to complete, and means you can squeeze in a few squats while you play. Work those quads.  

6. Make stockpiles 

(Image credit: Valve)

Your two wrist pockets will almost always be full of health or grenades, and in a big gun battle it can be hard to remember where you last saw that twinkly prize. So if you enter an area with plenty of grenades and health, make a physical stockpile somewhere safe. Items persist in the world of Half-Life: Alyx, so it'll be quicker for you during battle or a nice way to restock once you've cleared out any Combine soldiers. 

I'm the benevolent Queen of the US, or - as they insist I call it - US Managing Editor. I write news, features and reviews, and look after a crack team of writers who all insist on calling trousers "pants" and don't think the phrase fanny pack is problematic.