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User reviews:
Recent:
Overwhelmingly Positive (737 reviews) - 95% of the 737 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Overwhelmingly Positive (35,519 reviews) - 96% of the 35,519 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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Recent:
Overwhelmingly Positive (737 reviews)
Overall:
Overwhelmingly Positive (35,519 reviews)
Recently Posted
gob
11.2 hrs
Posted: August 27
Frigging mega sweet.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
pixeldestroyer
0.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
Game doesn't work and crashes at same point (20 minutes into game max). Nothing I do fixes it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Shurikenx
5.5 hrs
Posted: August 27
Just buy it.10/10.You will enjoy it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
CHEESE MON (birthday in 4 days)
17.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
valve give me 3
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Brodaviing
103.6 hrs
Posted: August 27
The only game that I have completed at least more than 8 times, after that I lost count.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
GameRForb
20.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
I've played this game through many times, and it has a significant replay value, and bears the mark of Valve strongly.

Valve's choice to reorient its games towards characters, and still without sacrificing much gameplay in the process is indicitive of the effect that 'Valve Time' has on their games, and although the source engine is starting to show its age, it works well with this particular title. This is because of the fact that valve used the source engine to non-verbally show character emotion (its ability to show detailed facial expressions), to help puzzle solving and to illustrate architecture, the Citadel in particular. How the game conveys all this is particularly impressive for 2004. Obviously, Source has been updated since then.

However, it does fall short on the pacing on a first time playthrough, particularly in the chapter of Water Hazard and near the beginning of the game. The puzzles the game asks you to solve are pretty easy (in my opinion), but they do drag the flow of the game, often asking you to get out of your airboat to correct some flaw in the route in order to proceed. Half Life 2 can also be vague as to your objectives, but I suppose that may be just to get the player to find a way and figure it out for themselves.

There is also of course, the fact that it's a linear game, where there is often only one way to proceed, but that is just the way valve have designed it so that you can immerse yourself in the perspective of Freeman. There are puzzles to get secrets as well, but these are a almost always just supplies, and a lambda on the wall to show for it, but I suppose they encourage more observant behaviour. The physics puzzles often involve different variations of balancing, which can yet again drag its pacing.

The gravity gun is a good edition to the weapon selection, I found and you can do a varying number of things with just the 2 settings on it, all carefully considered (though it either involves puzzles or killing). The GMan from the first game makes a return, without wishing to spoil much, and with him a 'new' set of challenges.

Overall, HL2 is a game that you can play without playing the first game, but to get a full grasp on it, you kinda have to. It is a linear game and does interrupt gameplay to make way for story (though not too frequently), so if you're a solely gameplay person, you might enjoy this but may get a bit bored at times HL and its expansions are better for that. If you're a story person, this has one of the best ones out there, as overrated as it is by some, but it does span a while. If you require both to be invested, this may appeal to you, but it very much depends on what type of story or gameplay you require. For me, for the most part, it was paced well, though I was put off for a while, but after I played the first game, it got me back into this and I finished it in a couple of sittings. It may be the same for you, it may not.

Overall, I recommend this game (obviously, as that is probably the first thing you saw of this review), and it is a sequal that surpassed the original in story, but not quite in combat. It is a singleplayer Valve classic, and if you're like me, you will like it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ishvii
9.4 hrs
Posted: August 27
Even 12 years later I still remember parts of this game really well. It has a great story, great gameplay, decent puzzles, in-character development, and a sense of epic. Anyone who hasn't played this should do so immediately.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
FantasPT
0.8 hrs
Posted: August 27
Love Half-Life 2, it has an awesome plot, and a beautifull ambient, and scenarios, nice music, and gameplay, it is a very good experience, for all the fps lover who want a nice story experience.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MyNameKevin (INDONESIA)
3.7 hrs
Posted: August 27
Product received for free
Good Games
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Golden #TeamPyro
17.4 hrs
Posted: August 27
Just Play it Its a good game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
26 of 31 people (84%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
Recommended
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
16 of 16 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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
14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
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
13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
best game ever
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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
Half-Life: Opposing Force
Half-Life: Blue Shift
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
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
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
One of the best games of all time, even today. Technically, graphically, and otherwise.

9/10
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
One of the best games i have played!

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

Cons:
NONE

I reccomend this game for everyone
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
54.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 13
i still have nightmares about that cat
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