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User reviews:
Very Positive (730 reviews) - 94% of the 730 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overwhelmingly Positive (35,573 reviews) - 96% of the 35,573 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 16, 2004

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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."
Read the full review here.

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.
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (730 reviews)
Overwhelmingly Positive (35,573 reviews)
Recently Posted
17.6 hrs
Posted: August 29
The Story of Half-Life 3 Revamped: Chapter 1

One day, a guy named Gabe Newell decided to take the only copy of Half-Life 3 and hide it from view by wacking off over it.
♥♥♥ got all over it.
The only one who survived was JOHN CENA -Technical Difficulties-
The only one who survived was Nabe Gewell, Gaben's brother.
He decided to be good and release Half-Life 3 to the public.
Copies were written. Everyone was saved
Until the ♥♥♥♥ baby full of ♥♥♥♥ from Half-Life 1 came and destroyed everything.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
15.2 hrs
Posted: August 29
Best story based game I have ever played
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Terry A. Davis
13.5 hrs
Posted: August 29
underrated by the console community, overrated by the pc community. timeless game engine and intelligent enemies. just buy it. anticitizen one is worth $5 alone.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
virgil (maintenance core)
15.8 hrs
Posted: August 29
one word : great.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
5.0 hrs
Posted: August 29
this game aged really badly and isnt fun.real gamers will see through the lies;half life = fail
Helpful? Yes No Funny
10.0 hrs
Posted: August 29
Product received for free
very goos old game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
17.1 hrs
Posted: August 29
In short, best single player experience until Half-Life 3.
Both Episodes bring more from the best and even better.
Even now the graphics and gameplay are still great.

If you didn't play this game yet. Don't wait please!

Can't wait until we get some follow-up of the series...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.4 hrs
Posted: August 29
very good but dont use cheats as it runins the experience
Helpful? Yes No Funny
18.6 hrs
Posted: August 29
This is AWESOME. It's almost entirely gameplay which is its only low point. But it's still awesome! BRING US HALF LIFE 3 NOW!!! and make that one a bit more storyful, but still with the lots of gameplay. :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
11.5 hrs
Posted: August 29
Required playing for any FPS design class

Anyone trying to make an FPS needs to play and study Half-Life 2. Its level flow, mechanics and overall game design is brilliant. It is thee best way to make a more linear and story-driven FPS.

Everything in this game, from how new enemies behave, to new weapons, to new puzzles, to new mechanics, is explained to the player in such a way that they figure it out for themselves through small developer handed hints and it's not shoved in your face like you're a disobedient dog. It blows my mind we still have FPS games that fail this basic concept of player dignity. Players never have their control taken away from them, they never have stupid ♥♥♥♥ing hint boxes and forced tutorial ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t shoved down their throat. THIS IS THE WAY TO CONVEY TO PLAYERS HOW THINGS WORK.

Visuals wise, it has aged decently. Some textures look rather blurry now, but others look fine given the time of release and are non-offending today. Some scenes taken as a whole actually look really nice, and all the animations and facial animations actually still look really good even today. Physics can be a little wonky but they work mostly as intended.

Story is another area that shines in this game, since this sequel was about 6 years after the original, they made it accessible to anybody playing. You do not have to play the first one to enjoy this game. If you did or do decide to play the first one, you'll get extra lore, jokes and more background. But it's not completely necessary to enjoy the game. So many sequels fail this as well, and HL2 would not have had the popularity it does today had it not been super accessible from the getgo.

The story in this is actually a pretty standard concept, an alien race known as the Combine comes to Earth and takes us over with the grace of a sneeze. Boom, done, our world's military dead and, our old boss Dr. Breen from Black Mesa, sold us out to become a police state, while he sits in a comfy chair up in the citadel nice and secure. (We never see Breen in the first one, so again, no worries not knowing who he is) Well, the mysterious G-Man who we last saw at the end of the first game (again, he's just as shrouded in mystery in that game as he is here) seems to have decided to pluck you out of that sleep he put you into and set you free amongst this new police state. It's been a long time since the Black Mesa incident (opening a portal and letting aliens in), so your new surroundings are jarring, to say the least.

Gameplay is puzzles, fire fights and driving. The puzzles are pretty easy nowadays, though when this was released I had never seen physics and puzzles based around them like this and they were quiet challenging. Nowadays, they're pretty standard. The gunplay is satisfying, the enemy will do basic maneuvers like spread out, throw grenades, take cover if injured and attempt to flank you. I've been caught off guard by a shotgunner who went all the way around a house, opened the door, ran up behind me and blew me away, cool to see ♥♥♥♥ like that in a sea of FPS with static goons. Guns feel beefy and powerful, even the hand gun can be fired extremely fast. Explosions have a good oompf to them and send aliens and soldiers flying through the air. It's very competent, nothing amazing but good and fun.

The driving is very functional and basic, there are two driving sections and being long drives that you have to make there are various places to stop on the way to pick off enemies and get supplies. Nothing special but not terrible.

Sound effects are also competent, as I mentioned the guns all sound powerful and loud, glass shattering and boxes breaking, bullets hitting metal, helicopters are loud and meanicing, Combine chatter is alien and offputting. Good voice acting for everyone to bring the characters a little more believable humanity, and to wrap it up in a nice package, a good soundtrack with lots of low electro beats and ambience that fills in the horror or firefights and chases well.

What I personally find makes HL2 so special however, is just how much of an adventure this feels like. You get off a train in the morning, and you are on the run until the sun is going down. You get maybe 30 minutes rest and by night you are back on the run, but from a different enemy completely this time, mawmen and headcrabs. Once the night is over you get out of that hellhole, exiting a bright tunnel to be greeted by a new morning. You fight your way to the citedal until the sun is, once again going back down and the game ends just before night...

This is such a well crafted journey, that even if you only experience it once you should. There is a reason some games get tons and tons of praise, and for Half-Life 2 it was that journey it took you on, from getting off a train, to fighting all the way up top to the citedel and giving humanity it's one shot and one chance for payback. You literally start a revolution in a couple of days. That's ♥♥♥♥ing bad ♥♥♥.

This game goes on sale so often, it's considered low-spec nowadays and looks just fine, sometimes great even. It plays well and it's designed magnificently, it's decently lengthed, if you're an FPS fan you have zero reason not to try it. Zero. This game is going down in the FPS hall of fame just like its older brother.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
34 of 40 people (85%) found this review helpful
20 people found this review funny
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
"Never fear, Gordon. She's de-beaked and completely harmless. The worst she might do is attempt to couple with your head."
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
73.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
In what is arguably a more necessary Steam title to have in one's libary than Team Fortress 2 or Dota 2, Half-Life 2 holds up magnificently as a first-person shooter over a decade since its 2004 release as the first title which required Steam to install and play. The game follows an arc similar to most forms of media, especially film media, with the player seeing highs, lows, and an excellent climax as through the eyes of Gordon Freeman.

As stated above, this game remains an amazing title and experience, both in gameplay and in plot, with a great deal of effort directed at character development and map and AI design. You could be told this was released a week ago and would believe it, as both its graphics and physics engine remain top-notch and put to shame those of most other shooters, both at the time and now.

The game follows M.I.T. graduate and Black Mesa Research Associate Scientist Gordon Freeman, who, after being placed on a train heading to City 17, faces off against the oppressive Combine Empire that controls the city and the planet. With the help of the resistance movement and old and new friends alike, Gordon fights the Combine as they launch continued assaults against him, viewing his return to be a serious if not the single greatest threat to their dominion.

The game is an outstanding example of storytelling, with the arc being one of my favorite in any game released - period. Without a word coming from Freeman's lips, the universe and history of City 17 and Earth in general is greatly explained, and through events the player grows to despise the Combine Empire, which in turn grants extra reward to the player when they succeed in trading blows with it.

With an excellent soundtrack composed by Kelly Bailey, the game's means to convey emotion increase, action scenes become more epic, horror scenes become more terrifying, and emotional scenes become more deep and impactful. The game uses its soundtrack in a masterful way, reintroducing old tunes and beats from Half-Life 1, and introducing a new soundtrack that perfectly fits the situation.

The game is also masterful at finding a blend of pleasing and challenging a player; Most concepts are introduced by some form of training to help open the player up to them, rather than forcing the player to learn skills on the spot, though the game makes sure not to help the player too much to keep the challenge going.

If you haven't bought this game yet on Steam, I strongly suggest you do so. It's an excellent title that has everything a good game should have: Interesting Plot, well-written characters, interesting and fun mechanics, a fitting and enjoyable soundtrack, good map design, excellent world-building, and so on. It stands 12 years since its release in most majestic fashion with the means to challenge most AAA titles ♥♥♥♥ out to the market with its first chapter alone.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
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 -- people he cares about -- are counting on him.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
17 of 20 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
best game ever
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
16 of 21 people (76%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
Half-Life 2, the game that like it's predecessor is seen as a classic. It's time for me to find out if the game still holds up.

The story takes place some years after the events of the original Half-Life. Gordon Freeman is woken up by G-Man to find out that the world had been taken by the alien Combine. Gordon is then joined by resistance fighters to find a way to free humanity.

The gameplay itself is a mixture of shooting, puzzle solving and exploration much like the first Half-Life game. However, all of this is differently executed in Half-Life 2. In Half-Life 2 everything is even more dynamic, because of objects being destructible and having physics, which can result in some memorable chain reactions.

The world felt to me like a real open world game, while it is still a pretty linear game. This has to do with the fact that you are mostly outside and you can explore the different areas and interact with npcs. The world you play in is around the same city area, which means that this time you aren't going to other alien dimensions.

When you think about it there aren't actually that many new things in Half-Life 2. But the things that are new still deliver new gameplay. For instance, the gravity gun that you get can grab and shoot objects which is great for murdering and puzzle solving. The gravity gun really adds a playfulness to the game. The other real new weapon is the bug bait which is a ball that you can throw on enemies or destinations, which will result in a group of your own aliens going to it and attacking the enemies. The only problem I had with this is that you can only use this weapon in a certain section.

The other new gameplay feature is that you can now drive a buggy at certain parts. I read people saying that it was the worst part of Half-Life 2. In my opinion even though the buggy feels clunky I loved that part the most. It really gives that open world explorer feeling, because of you have to get out of the vehicle to look around.

The sounddesign in this game was also done by the same team as the one that worked on the original Half-Life. I can say that I liked this soundtrack even more than the previous one, because of it having more of its’ own style. The epic music sometimes felt a little off though, but they are still fun to listen to. The sound effects add a quirky feeling, and the voice acting is also professionaly executed.

The storytelling of the game was mostly well executed, with also including storytelling through gameplay. Sadly, unlike in its’ predecessor, you are forced at certain parts to listen to conversations. This can be pretty annoying if you have to listen to it again, without the option to skip it.

I have to say that overall the world, story and gameplay doesn't feel as flawlesly connected as it was in the previous Half-Life. That probably has to do with the fact that the game also wanted to show everything impressive that the engine could do.

The game took me 12 hours to complete so it was shorter than the original Half-Life, but I guess that also has to do with the fact that at the beginning I unknowingly played on the easiest difficulty. Later I found out I could actually change it in the options menu.

Even with the complaints I have with Half-Life 2 compared to Half-Life 1, I can still recommend it. The game like its’ predecessor was greatly ahead of its’ time, and at some parts maybe still is. While playing I realized that every futuristic game that I played that came out after Half-Life 2 all had big 'inspiration' from the game. Half-Life 2 is still adventurous enough that it still holds up.

Reviews of the other Half-Life games:
Half-Life: Opposing Force
Half-Life: Blue Shift
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
One of the best games of all time, even today. Technically, graphically, and otherwise.

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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
61.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 13
i still have nightmares about that cat
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
Product received for free
I am thinking of a game... with Zombies and future! What game you may ask? Is it Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 Zombies? Nope
It's Half Life 2! The only game you have been waiting for a sequel and you would buy no matter the price

3/3 - Still waiting for a sequel... even thought I just completed the game
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
One of the best games i have played!

Good graphics
Good soundtrack
Good story
Intersting characters
Amazing Sci-fi
Kind a low system requirments


I reccomend this game for everyone
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