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User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (18,415 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 16, 2004

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Packages that include this game

Buy The Orange Box

Includes 5 items: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, Team Fortress 2

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Buy Half-Life Complete

Includes 10 items: Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Half-Life: Source, Team Fortress Classic

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Buy Valve Complete Pack

Includes 24 items: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Portal 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Left 4 Dead, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike: Source, Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Day of Defeat, Day of Defeat: Source, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Half-Life, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, Half-Life: Source, Ricochet, Deathmatch Classic

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Buy Half-Life 2: Episode One

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Downloadable Content For This Game


Recommended By Curators

"This is the one unmissable game. It’s time to get that cutting-edge PC system. Sell your grandmother, remortgage the cat, do whatever you have to do."
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Recent updates View all (27)

September 30

Half-Life 2 Beta Updated

The Beta for Half-Life 2 has been updated. This includes Episode 1, Episode 2, Lost Coast, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, and Half-Life: Source.

Changes include:

  • Fixed default refresh rate when using a Virtual Reality display at higher than the desktop refresh rate.

87 comments Read more

About This Game

1998. HALF-LIFE sends a shock through the game industry with its combination of pounding action and continuous, immersive storytelling. Valve's debut title wins more than 50 game-of-the-year awards on its way to being named "Best PC Game Ever" by PC Gamer, and launches a franchise with more than eight million retail units sold worldwide.

NOW. By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, Half-Life 2 opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people he cares about are counting on him.

The intense, real-time gameplay of Half-Life 2 is made possible only by Source®, Valve's new proprietary engine technology. Source provides major enhancements in:

  • Characters: Advanced facial animation system delivers the most sophisticated in-game characters ever seen. With 40 distinct facial "muscles," human characters convey the full array of human emotion, and respond to the player with fluidity and intelligence.
  • Physics: From pebbles to water to 2-ton trucks respond as expected, as they obey the laws of mass, friction, gravity, and buoyancy.
  • Graphics: Source's shader-based renderer, like the one used at Pixar to create movies such as Toy Story® and Monster's, Inc.®, creates the most beautiful and realistic environments ever seen in a video game.
  • AI: Neither friends nor enemies charge blindly into the fray. They can assess threats, navigate tricky terrain, and fashion weapons from whatever is at hand.

System Requirements

Mac OS X

    Minimum: 1.7 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM, DirectX® 8.1 level Graphics Card (Requires support for SSE), Windows® 7 (32/64-bit)/Vista/XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

    Recommended: Pentium 4 processor (3.0GHz, or better), 1GB RAM, DirectX® 9 level Graphics Card, Windows® 7 (32/64-bit)/Vista/XP, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection


    Minimum: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

Helpful customer reviews
244 of 256 people (95%) found this review helpful
40.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
Classic shooter nearly ten years old

It might seem weird to dedicate a review to a game that came out on november 16th, 2004. Still, Half-Life 2 is no "ordinary" game. Even before it's release, it was the most talked about, and surely most anticipated game up till then. Back in 2004, Valve was still primarily a game-developer, Steam had only just been launched in order to streamline the updating-process for the Valve-games (quite an original and ground-breaking idea since back in those day patching one's game could easily turn into a hazardous adventure). Immediately after its release, Half-Life 2 was loaded with critical praise, and almost instantly rose to the top of all lists defining the best games ever. And even today, after ten years, it still tops a lot of those lists.

I played it for the first time only five years ago, messing around with the original Half-Life up till then. Five years ago, the game struck me as still very good-looking and a blast to play, even being five years old. Quite recently I picked it up again, to be honest in the first place to get some of the achievements I had missed during my first play-through (I only got really interested in the Steam achievements this year). To my surprise, the game immediately got back under my skin, so I decided to give it another play-through, and I enjoyed it immensely, hence this review.

Of course the Source Engine shows its age: up-close textures get quite blurry, but the wider vistas are still amazingly "alife", and the colours and general atmosphere are still exciting. The physics engine - a novelty back then - now surely feels outdated, even crappy, but playing around with the famous "gravity gun" makes more than up for this, and surely has its funny moments. But in every other respect, this game is a classic and a masterpiece in the true sense of the word. The story is so convincingly told, that I felt myself beeing "Doctor Freeman" again, already during the first chapter (which introduces the gameworld in a really genial way which has not been surpassed ever since). The level-design is simply awesome. Compared to modern-day shooters, the interface and the amount of information about the surroundings you get as a player, are minimal. There is no minimap, there are no waypoints, there is no compass, there is no large-scale map. And still, I never ever got lost, thanks to the downright genial way the levels are designed. Still, the amount of freedom you get is great: there are tons of hidden places, byways, or larger spaces to explore, besides the more traditional corridors, but they always manage to lead you in a logical way. This game offers the classic examples on how levels can be optimally designed.

Sound, too, is amazing: there is not much in-game music, but when it appears (mostly in the action-packed scenes), it really delivers to the full. Sounds from the guns, NPC's and ambient sounds are extremely convincing. But what still shines most of all is the actual gameplay and the way this games is "paced". Sneaky, almost stealth-like scenes alternate with extremely violent action-moments, in a very, very clever way, only to be alternated with puzzles and other moments where thinking is required. The choice of the right gun at the right time is essential, and very rewarding. There is a lot of interaction with other characters, but never up till the point where this gets tedious. And best of all: there are countless moments of surprise, when the story takes a turn for the unexpected. So, yes, this is still a classic, and yes, it's still up there among the best games ever (although I personally would grant it a top-five place or so, the top-three spots taken by more recent "classics").

For my scorings, I give them as I conceived the game during my actual playthrough, so not taking into account it's a ten year old game.

Gameplay: 27/30 (there are some frustrating puzzles and some weird moments with the gravity-gun buteverything else is genius)
Grahics: 15/20 (the outer vistas are great, the rest is showing its age)
Sound: 9/10
Longelivety: 8/10 (no multiplayer, but the game has tons of singleplayer gameplay)
Steam integration: 10/10 (it comes with trading cards and 23 achievements, most of which really add something to game, if only to explore different ways to achieve things - the way achievements should work imo)
Technical: 9/10 (runs very smoothly and I got no crashes, but sometimes hangs for a couple of seconds on loading screens)
Personal appreciation: 10/10

Overall: 88/100
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222 of 240 people (93%) found this review helpful
15.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
Play and understand why we need Half-Life 3.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
409 of 491 people (83%) found this review helpful
15.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
In this game you play as Morgan Freeman who is helped by Bill Cosbys daughter.

You shoot aliens and people and alien people.

Sometimes both.

Was this review helpful? Yes No
200 of 226 people (88%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 9
Why are you reading this review when you could be playing this masterpiece?
Was this review helpful? Yes No
137 of 162 people (85%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
You seriously don't have this game?

You monster....
Was this review helpful? Yes No
80 of 84 people (95%) found this review helpful
42.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
Im aware this is probably the most reviewed game on Steam, making my own take on this game quite redundant (is there anyone with a unique opinion of HL2, not shared by anyone else? Doubt it).
However, i noticed the two best games i got on Steam that i havent reviewed yet happen to be the 2 best FPS's of all time, so here's the first review of the two:

Half Life 2 is the role-model for all FPS games ever made:
It "only" has a singleplayer campaign, but its so well done it doesnt need anything else.
- Graphics-wise, know this: it's a 2004 game, i played it on 2010 and not once did i feel they were outdated (then again, im not one of those who care a lot about technical aspects)
- Sounds... this is not a type of game where this aspect is very relevant, so i cant recall anything about it really
- The Story, even though its not the most original or filled with amazing plot twists, it is still compelling and engaging, making you care about its great characters and what happens next
- Gameplay, there's where this game excels. From the now-classic 'no cutscenes / always in control', to the incredible variety of scenarios in each level, each with its own tone and pace, and jam-packed with (this is my favourite aspect of the game...) UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS - seriously, i can recall more than 10 scenes that i'll probably never forget about this game.
The weapons are also great, in quantity, diversity and in the fun-factor. The enemies too are varied enough and provide a reasonable challenge (though an higher difficulty level would be great).
- The length of the game is also one of the best / longest i've seen in an FPS, though it provides little replay value once finished.

Conclusion: Must-play for any gamer out there, to experience a landmark in videogame history, proving again that Valve knows how to make Greatness. Note: Episode 1 and 2 equally recommended to continue the Awesomeness!
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81 of 93 people (87%) found this review helpful
17.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
You know how an Italian chef kisses his fingers and says something in Italian that translates to "A masterpiece" after tasting their own dish? That's how I feel about this game.
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137 of 177 people (77%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Half Life ² = Full Life?
Was this review helpful? Yes No
66 of 76 people (87%) found this review helpful
17.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
Best game ever, never gets old. ∞/∞
Was this review helpful? Yes No
57 of 64 people (89%) found this review helpful
100.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 15
This game never gets old. Amazing storytelling and unique enemies. It's a must buy on your Steam account, trust me.
Play it and you will belong the HL3 club: 'I want to believe' - like me.

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44 of 47 people (94%) found this review helpful
46.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
One of the greatest shooters of all time. That, and you can take a carton of milk with you through the entire game with no issues.
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58 of 70 people (83%) found this review helpful
22.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 5
The only reviews that are bad are the ones that say "Gaben were is Half life 3."
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41 of 44 people (93%) found this review helpful
50.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 20
5 out of 5

Half Life 3 now, please.

What to say about Half Life 2? If I could even explain a fraction of my adoration of this would probably overwhelm you. This game is one of a kind. Taking everything good from the FPS genre and gaming in general, Half Life 2 is a feat I can't fathom.

The gameplay is slick, the sound is platinum album status, the characters will stay with you, and the storyline will grip you. If you haven't already bought this game whilst I've been talking, why haven't you?!?!?!
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34 of 37 people (92%) found this review helpful
19.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
Half-Life 2: What does it have to offer?

Let's see: We get a Crowbar, Unique Enemies, Amazing Story, Crowbar, Funny Sayings, Boxes, Crowbar, Crowbar, Head Humpers, Crowbar, Amazing scenery, Good "Supportive" Characters, Crowbar, the Mysterious G-Man, Crowbar, and above all: A huge cliff hanger.

I really do recommend this game. It's fun, it's elusive, thought-boggiling, action-y, unique, and above all: Crowbar Approved. 8.5/10, amazing game, really love it. Thanks for reading this.

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33 of 37 people (89%) found this review helpful
19.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
So wake up Mr. Freeman - Wake up and smell the ashes...

Fresh install again for HL2, such an Epic game for single player. The layout of this game is tremendous diverse locations and fun firefights. For many, including myself getting this game meant - getting STEAM? - what was it, how will it work and such. At the time Steam was a bit buggy and had some issues but that was 10+ years ago and look at it now... its come a long way. Half Life for me is almost like a bad habit I keep going back to after 16 years of playing HL and 10 years of HL2 I always go back for another run - because there fun! Why are they fun - its a unique world, decent graphics (top of the line when released), awesome game play, good AI, Killer music and soundtracks, fun characters and the MOD options.

My favorite levels in the game are Nova Prospect & Ravenholm... 2 fantastic levels. Headcrab zombies and poison crabs - suck especially the poison crabs they make my hair stand up and the sound they make - (girly scream).

I am all about Half Life again after my mini rant earlier in the week and the somewhat troublesome news from Valve regarding HL3 - please see the rant in the activity feed.


Recommended game if your the one person out there that has not played it yet, lol.
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29 of 31 people (94%) found this review helpful
16.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
What can we say anymore ? This is Half Life 2, this is legendary product of pc gaming. Awesome story and characters, better than a lot of action and future science movies, you can be sure. I think this game beginning for everything in game industry again. After ten years still playable and enjoyable. Also don't forget to play Episode One and Two. Absolutely 10/10.
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32 of 36 people (89%) found this review helpful
108.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
This game may be 10 years old but it still holds up well today.
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22 of 22 people (100%) found this review helpful
36.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
10000/10 ultra masterpiece

after 10 years is still the best game of all time, this game is just perfect

i want to believe in HL3
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60 of 88 people (68%) found this review helpful
29.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
You see I never liked rhino's, but that's ok cause this game doesn't have them.

So when you start the game you are greeted with sexual sounds of raviolli and meatballs, made by famous chef, Adolf Hitler. But sadly you don't get to enjoy these banana's because then general mc♥♥♥♥face puts you on a train with Morgan Freeman, btw it's not really Tim Alan. You are then told it's safer here, and the main character, Master Chief, says "What can you tell me about the reapers?" So as you make your way through the holocaust, I mean train station you meet your old friend Barney the zebra, and he tells you to ♥♥♥♥ off and get a real job. And that's when my power cut out because I didn't pay the electric bill. I then proceeded to get a job at Mcdolan's, and hated every single moment of it. The end.

This game gets 7/Charmander at best.
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36 of 47 people (77%) found this review helpful
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 30
I love this game more than my first ♥♥♥♥ing child
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