The whole Half-Life story is free to play on Steam right now

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But the games that are available for free play are for on PC only, and require the Steam client.

From now until Half-Life: Alyx launches, visit the game page of each Half-Life game to install it and play as much as you want, right up until the day Half-Life: Alyx is released!

Valve has also re-confirmed that Half-Life: Alyx will come out in March 2020. That's because the offer only applies to Half-Life (the original and Source port), Half-Life 2, Episodes One and Two, Opposing Force, Blue Shift, and for some reason Team Fortress Classic.

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Consider this Valve's warning that you really need to know about the Half-Life series before you dive straight into Half-Life: Alyx.

There isn't anything on Steam, at the moment, called the Half-Life Collection.

You may be wondering why Valve is being so generous, even if only for a limited amount of time.

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Valve's thinking behind it is explained in a more logical announcement than its earlier notifications: "Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements".

That said, don't look a gift horse in the mouth as they say. At the very least, it's probably worth playing through Half-Life 2 again so that Alyx, which is set before Gordon Freeman arrived in City 17, will make sense to you.

The game, which Valve insists is not a spin-off but "the next part" of the story, can be pre-purchased for $59.99 and is free for owners of the Valve Index VR headset or Index controllers.

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The games might look fairly dated by today's standards, but that's not surprising considering the first Half-Life launched way back in 1998.

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