Valve Software’s Half-Life: Alyx is less than six months away, and since it requires a VR headset, lots of players might be considering a major hardware purchase right now. The gold standard is Valve’s own Index, with its high-end construction and unique controllers — but that requires a lot of setup and almost $1,000. The cheaper all-purpose option is the Oculus Quest, which can now be tethered to a PC — but it’s got simpler controllers and a front-heavy design. And what about old headsets like the now-retired consumer HTC Vive?
Adam Savage’s Tested might offer some helpful guidance. Valve invited Tested founders Will Smith and Norman Chan to play around three hours of the upcoming game on eight PC VR headset systems, including the Index, the Quest, the Oculus Rift S, the first-generation Vive, and the newer HTC Vive Cosmos. The resulting half-hour video segment doesn’t show much gameplay footage, and it doesn’t reveal any substantial plot points. But it covers how the systems handle a few fundamental actions — including walking, reloading weapons, and using the gravity gloves to pull and throw objects.
The Tested segment backs up some details UploadVR reported in November. The Index controllers, as expected, seem like the best way to play. A lot of game elements apparently involve throwing, and since the Index controllers are strapped to your hands, you can completely release your grip like you would with a real object. (On most other headsets, you’ll be pulling and releasing a trigger.) Also, reloading a pistol requires putting one hand behind your back to grab a new magazine before using both hands to slide it in; that could theoretically confuse headsets with front-mounted tracking cameras.
Systems like the Quest still seemed to work well, though — so the Index sounds like a bonus rather than a requirement.