Welcome to the most anticipated game of all time, Half-Life: Alyx. This game meets the high bar everyone has expected it to. And it's an insanely good VR experience.
There's only a couple achievements to be aware of before beginning the game. First, there is an achievement for smashing 50 glass bottles so make sure to smash every bottle you see for the first few chapters of the game. This achievement counts across save files, unlike in past Half-Life games with stat-based achievements. Second, there is an achievement for bringing a gnome from start to finish, just like in Half-Life 2: Episode Two. I have indicated where you can find this gnome in big bold text under the Chapter 1 section of this guide.
It should be quite obvious, but there may be minor spoilers from looking at this guide. We do detail when each story-related achievement unlocks, which could ruin a little bit of surprise for some. There is no spoiler text in this guide. View at your own risk. Note that I will do my best not to give away any major plot-points, however.
Without further ado, let's get into the long-awaited Half-Life: Alyx!
Chapter #1: Entanglement
Chapter 1 has no combat. But it has plenty of easy achievements!
Feed the snark.
In the very first room, there is a snark trapped in a little glass tank. It looks just like the achievement icon. To its left is a food container; dump some into his tank and the achievement will pop.
Hit and Run
Break out of the Combine prisoner transport vehicle.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks after you exit the crashed prisoner transport vehicle and walk into the streets.
On a Roll
Interact with the playground somehow.
This achievement we're still a bit unsure how it functions. I picked up a red bucket nearby and rolled it down the slide; I'm unsure if that's what made the achievement pop, though. I also spun the merry-go-round, went down the slide (more like walked), spun all of the tic-tac-toe blocks, and jumped from tire to tire. Further testing is needed on the behavior of this unlock.
Eye of the Geiger
Measure Russell with the Geiger counter.
When you first meet Russell, pick up the yellow device (looks like the achievement icon) and put it on Russell's face. Nothing special happens, but the achievement unlocks.
Represent yourself with a specific prop on Russell's map.
In Russell's room, there is a miniature baseball character (the one in the achievement photo) located in front of a monitor to the right of the door to the gravity gloves. You must put it as your representation in the minimap when Russell asks you for an object.
Catch Russell's ammo magazine before it hits the ground.
When you first go outside, Russell will throw a gun out the window for you to catch. Don't worry if you miss. After he throws the gun, he'll throw you a magazine, and you need to catch this in mid-air. It's not too hard, but if you miss, you need to reload a previous save.
At the very end of Chapter 1, in the area where you first get the gun, do NOT go on the train yet! There is a gnome here, and you need to bring it to the end of the game for the Gnome Vault of My Own achievement. You can either do a second playthrough on story mode to speed things up later, or grab it now and just do a single playthrough of the game.
Chapter #2: The Quarantine Zone
Chapter 2 begins when you wake up on the train.
Loot a corpse.
This one is practically unmissable; anyone playing this game is going to be needing all the ammo they can get. Simply use the gravity gloves to take an ammo magazine off of a dead body at some point. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the game to do this, but the first is just past the first resin in the game, where there is a dead body in front of a padlocked door. On a sidenote, make sure you grab all the resin you can across the game, checking every corner.
Enter the Quarantine Zone.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks right after entering the Quarantine Zone, which has a giant door you unlock with the first puzzle in the game.
Smash and Grab
Break open a supply crate with your hands.
Another practically unmissable achievement. The first supply crate in the game is in the trains, at the start of the Quarantine Zone. In one of them is a ladder you are required to use to progress, and next to it is a supply crate. Smash it on the ground and the achievement will unlock. Also probably loot it. Ammo is important.
Up in Arms
Install your first pistol upgrade.
Right after a very intense train combat section is a room with some lockers and an upgrade station. You'll need 10 resin; you should hopefully have this much if you've been looking, but if not, it's okay as there's plenty of other upgrade stations across the game you'll encounter. Complete the puzzle, put your gun into the station, and buy the cheapest upgrade (Reflex Sight).
Test your grip on a headcrab heart.
Just squeeze all these hearts.
Receive a tasty treat.
Storyline, cannot be missed. This will pop at the end of your vortigaunt encounter. He will throw you the corpse of a headcrab and say his "sustenance" line.
Chapter #3: Is Or Will Be
Chapter 3 begins just after the meeting with the vortigaunt.
Zombie with a Shotgun
Collect the shotgun.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks right after grabbing the shotgun with your primary hand (make sure your primary hand is free for this).
Enter the explosive Xen infestation.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks after you get the red valve and exit the Xen Garden area (this is the area with all the explosives you have to avoid).
Kill a grunt by shooting their gas tank.
You can first get this in the section where you first engage in combat with the combine outside. All of the combine have gas tanks on their backs, which you can shoot to instantly blow them up and unlock this achievement.
Off the Rails
Stop the prisoner transport train.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks after you've crashed the train and it stops completely.
Pick up and smash 50 glass bottles.
If you read the introduction to this guide, you should've been looking out for glass bottles to smash. Throughout the game are many, many glass bottles. The first chapter has a bunch, so smash every single one you find there. You should have this achievement by the end of chapter 3 for sure. Also, you can start a new save file and smashed bottles will still add to your achievement stat.
Chapter #4: Superweapon
Chapter 4 begins shortly after the interaction with Eli and the vortigaunt, which happens after the train crash you caused.
There isn't really any achievements in this chapter to worry about. You could get the achievement Indirect Approach at a couple points here, however.
Kill a Combine Heavy while their shield is up.
This one is tricky, especially with the long load times. First, get a Combine Heavy to low health level by shooting it OR throwing a grenade at it. Then, save. Start shooting at its torso again and as soon as you begin shooting, press the button on a grenade and throw it. Their shield only goes up after being shot at a bit, but doesn't stay up for long, so your timing must be perfect. Easy enough, just can take several tries.
Reach the Northern Star
Storyline, cannot be missed. This achievement pops at the very end of Chapter 4 after going through the window to enter the Northern Star hotel.
Chapter 5: The Northern Star
Chapter 5 begins just inside the Northern Star hotel.
Snatch a Xen grenade from its resting place.
This one isn't technically story-related, but it should be unmissable. There's maybe 3 or 4 spots you can get one of these throughout chapter 5, all of which are in plain sight. Using the gravity gloves won't work; you need to get up close to the plant and quickly snatch it out of its grip. Don't worry, the plants cannot harm you.
Get creative turning the power back on.
Storyline, cannot be missed. This achievement unlocks as soon as you use the first electric headcrab's heart in place of a battery to open a door required to progress.
Escape the underground pit.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks when you're about halfway up the elevator to the surface for the first time since entering the hotel. Also, this achievement title is a nice reference to the name of the 12th chapter in Half-Life 1.
Collect the SMG.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks once you pick up the SMG for the first time (unlike the Zombie with a Shotgun achievement, this one doesn't require picking it up in your primary hand for the unlock
Shut down the substation.
Storyline, cannot be missed. Unlocks as you begin your descent down the elevator to the surface after you shut down the substation and encounter another vortigaunt.
There are a few more good opportunities for Pro-Pain and Indirect Approach again if you missed either of these before.
Use the gravity gloves to intercept an incoming enemy grenade in mid-flight.
Once descending to the surface immediately after shutting down the substation, there are plenty of combine who throw grenades at you from afar. Pay close attention in this final section for them; the normal-sized combine are the ones who throw them. There are four separate waves at the end of chapter 5 to fight, 2 of which are consecutive. The other 2 are in their own areas. So be prepared to catch any grenades you see coming your way. It's simple enough once you're in the right circumstances.
Use the gravity gloves to loot an item off a living Combine soldier.
In these waves of combine are also enemies that have items on them, such as magazines or health vaccines. There are plenty of opportunities to get this achievement by simply using your gravity gloves to snatch an item off of combine before they're dead. The easiest spot is to do it in the fourth wave, which is inside of a building, but you can do it as early as right outside of the hotel.
Use the multitool to hack a tripmine.
At the very end of Chapter 5, when you're in the new green building, there are plenty of tripmines around. This is technically missable, as you could blow them all up from afar instead, but anyone who plays this game is very very likely to instead take the intended route of disarming via the multitool. Here's a picture of what this will look like:
Chapter 6: Arms Race
Chapter 6 begins at the bottom of an elevator shaft, next to an upgrade station above a lot of things below. Luckily, there's not much in terms of achievements to worry about in this chapter.
Blast From the Past
Defuse a roomful of explosive barrels.
After leaving the room with explosive barrels and tripmines, you need to shoot one of the barrels. You'll wanna step back a bit as to not accidentally kill yourself.
Chapter 7: Jeff
Kill the annoying headcrab before it breaks everything.
Kill the headcrab before it drops the bottles to the ground.
Stay close to Jeff for 10 seconds (but not too close).
Get close without moving to Jeff, easy achievement.
Hold Your Liquor
Catch a bottle falling out of a cupboard before it breaks and alerts Jeff.
After the first encounter with Jeff, you will be in an area without enemies, check all the cupboards, one will have a bottle, grab it before it hits the ground.
Once you trap Jeff in the trash compactor, save the game and press the button to compact Jeff, killing him, after that you can reload the save and get the achievement for not killing him.
Escape the distillery without killing Jeff.
After leaving it locked in the garbage, just enter the vault.
Before finishing the chapter, be sure to bring a bottle of vodka in your inventory, this is for the Team Spirit achievement that is unlocked in the next chapter.
Chapter 8: Captivity
Bring Russell a bottle of vodka.
Unlocks at chapter start if you have a bottle of vodka in your inventory.
Reach the aquatic exhibits.
Solve the tanker yard's electrical puzzle and escape.
Chapter 9: Revelations
High Water March
Start climbing the water tower.
Chapter 10: Breaking and Entering
Wake the Strider.
Gnome Vault of My Own
Bring a garden gnome with you to the Vault.
If you get here with the gnome, congratulations! The achievement is obtained when the lightning absorbs you.
Chapter 11: Point Extraction
Get to the superweapon.
Make your choice.