The story of Half-Life explained in time for Half-Life: Alyx

half life plot story recap half life alyx gordon freeman
half life plot story recap half life alyx gordon freeman

Half-Life: Alyx is on its way in March 2020, and if you’re anything like us, you secretly can’t wait to see what those jumpy headcrabs are going to look like when they attack your VR headset.

Taking place in between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Valve’s new VR title explores the story of Half-Life 2 heroine Alyx Vance, who along with her fellow scientists must find a way to survive against and eventually battle the vicious alien race, the Combine, that has overtaken the planet.

half life plot story recap half life alyx game logo

Half-Life: Alyx is on its way in March 2020, and if you’re anything like us, you secretly can’t wait to see what those jumpy headcrabs are going to look like when they attack your VR headset.

Taking place in between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Valve’s new VR title explores the story of Half-Life 2 heroine Alyx Vance, who along with her fellow scientists must find a way to survive against and eventually battle the vicious alien race, the Combine, that has overtaken the planet.

If you never played the original Half-Life, or you’re just looking for a refresher because it’s been a while, here’s a handy recap of the plot of the original game to get you ready for the new story.

And while you wait for the game to arrive, you can also find out more about Half-Life: Alyx right here, find out about the setup you’ll need to be able to play it here, or check out our handy VR guide here if you’re just starting out with virtual reality.

Gordon Freeman’s very bad day

half life plot story recap half life alyx black mesa

Gordon Freeman is a physicist who works in the Anomalous Materials Laboratory of the Black Mesa Research Facility, and he’s about to have the worst day of his entire career.

First of all, Gordon’s late for work. Then, when Gordon finally gets into the office and starts testing a mysterious substance of classified origin, the Anti-Mass Spectrometer he’s using abruptly blows up. This temporarily hurls him into another dimension before flinging him back home again, whereupon he discovers the laboratory in ruins. He soon learns that he has inadvertently created a “resonance cascade”, effectively opening a portal into another dimension called Xen.

With Black Mesa catastrophically damaged, Gordon tries to make a hasty exit, only to find that aliens from Xen have already overrun the facility. Unable to contact the outside world, Gordon heads for the surface on the recommendation of fellow scientist, Eli Vance (remember him – he’s Alyx’s dad, so he’ll likely be very important in Half-Life: Alyx).

half life plot story recap half life alyx resonance cascade

The military, tentacles, and rockets

half life plot story recap half life alyx xen aliens

Gordon starts to make his way through the ruined facility, battling Xen aliens along the way, and occasionally catching a glimpse of a mysterious man in a black suit watching him from afar. After a while, he learns that the military is on its way to help out, but it soon becomes clear that they’ve actually been sent to cover up the incident, killing scientists on sight to prevent word from getting out.

When Gordon finally reaches the surface, he finds that the military have seized complete control of Black Mesa, and are in the process of bombing it to bits. He learns that the scientists of the Lambda Complex, another section of Black Mesa, may be able to close the Xen portal, so Gordon ventures back into the facility in a desperate attempt to reach them.

He soon finds himself in a sealed-off area filled with toxic waste and aliens, the worst of which are two gigantic aliens called the Tentacle and the Gargantua. After battling both, Gordon is informed that the Lambda scientists need him to launch a satellite to help them with the closure of the portal. After facing off against the military, Gordon makes it up to the launch site and sends the satellite into space, before going back underground.

Portals, portals, and more portals

half life plot story recap half life alyx lambda complex

Another brush with the military leaves Gordon divested of his weapons and trapped in a trash compactor, but compacting machines and hazardous waste are no match for Gordon Freeman, and it doesn’t take him long to escape and discover a new area filled with aliens from Xen, which have been kept in confinement since long before he opened the portal.

Above ground, the Marines are fighting a losing battle against the aliens, and they elect to evacuate altogether. Gordon finally reaches the Lambda Complex, where he is told that the satellite he launched earlier failed to close the portal, as something in the Xen dimension is actively keeping it open. His only choice is to travel to Xen himself, find whatever is keeping the portal open, and kill it.

A difficult decision

half life plot story recap half life alyx g man

Once he arrives in Xen, Gordon defeats the fearsome Gonarch, opening a new portal. After exploring an alien cloning facility, he finally reaches the ultimate big bad guy: the Nihilanth. At the end of the boss fight, the Nihilanth explodes, knocking Gordon unconscious.

When Gordon awakes, he finds himself confronted by the mysterious G-Man, the suited individual who has been watching Gordon’s progress from afar. In the canon ending, he makes Gordon an offer of a job with his own employers. When Gordon accepts, the G-Man places him into stasis and the game comes to a mysterious close. Alternatively, Gordon can always refuse the job offer, in which case he’s teleported slap-bang into the middle of a vast alien army.

It doesn’t end well.

If you want the latest news, features, and deals from GAME, sign up to our newsletter today!