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User reviews:
Overwhelmingly Positive (729 reviews) - 95% of the 729 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overwhelmingly Positive (35,455 reviews) - 96% of the 35,455 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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Overwhelmingly Positive (729 reviews)
Overwhelmingly Positive (35,455 reviews)
Recently Posted
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
Very well made, with only a few parts where I got lost, but hey, what's noclip for (don't cheat like I did)? I only wish the games lighting was a tad more on point. Nova Prospekt was very bright for me, especially the vents. I'm not sure if that was just me, but it took away from the experience a little.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
This game is the escense of FPS, iT will never get old.
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Drake Bell
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
I expect that people will just shoot this down just because it doesn't comfirm their opinions. And for the rather small minority of you that actually want to see other people's opinions, welcome. I looked in the negative reviews to see if im alone with this and the top review was somebody saying "why are you looking in the negative review section for half life 2", which sounds incredibly douchy

For over a decade now the Nerdeus Dweebeus (or the nerds for short), a once thriving and intellectually gifted community, has been enslaved by the powerful and mighty Half Life 2. The "Half Life 2" has made people blind and unable to see a bad video game for what it is. The Half Life 2 was helped by the Game Critcs to become more powerful than ever before. This brought along Valve, a mysterious entity that nobody ever hears word from (apart from a couple of blog posts amerite?).

A few, but not many have seen the HL2 for what it truly is; a ok game at best that has been treated as a God by people following the word of the Game Critics. These Rebels are named "hipsters" by the Nerds and have fled to YouTube comments, a dark and desolate land full to the brim of children. It is not long before these "hipsters" are hunted down and murdered for not going with the Public Norm.

*actual review from now on*

Half Life 2 is one of the most exagerrated games of all time. It really hasn't aged well compared to half life 1. That's about all I can really say

But I suppose I'll go on, much to your dismay. I find it odd that HL1 has aged so much better than HL2 considering how Hl1 was much lighter on characters and storyline. As well as the gameplay being virtually the same.


The story isn't great. It's plagued by obvious re-writes and stuff that comes out of nowhere. Don't believe me? What about when you transport out of Nova Prospect and as soon as you do you get bombarded with "You've disappeared for a week now. Also there has been a street war going on, get on with that lol" It feels like it was written by ♥♥♥♥ing Michael Bay or something because the story is so thin. A lot of it feels unnessicary such as Ravenholm, this chapter of the game is often praised for being "terrifying" and "the best part of the game"; It's just there to show off the physics engine (which I'll get on to later) the Ravenholm section only slows down the game, just for the sake of showing off their now dated physics engine.


"OOH PHYSICS, OOH BOXEZ" "SOLVE THIS PUZZLE INVOLVING BARRELS AND BOXES AND THEN THIS ONE AND THEN THIS ONE THEN THIS ONE". The physics puzzles get boring after the first 2; we get it, Valve, you have a physics engine. Maybe this was impressive back in 2004 but now its just like a ♥♥♥♥ magician showing you the same card trick over and over. The shooting is decent, like I said HL1 was pretty much the same in terms of weapon mechanics. A lot of people praise how amazing the weapon selection is. The weapons aren't that creative, if anything they're uninspiried; in fact the only original weapons are the AR2 (which is effectivley just an AK) and the crossbow, which isn't even that creative.

Why is this game of "creativity" so lacking in it


The Characters are alright, I suppose. Alyx is just your typical "badass" female character. There is more of an enthesis on making her kick ♥♥♥ than any on making her a human being.

Issac Kleiner. He's just an average scientest. Spouting one liners (like "oh fiddlesticks") and making up "scienctist" words. You know because we have never seen this character before (*cough* Basically all the 4 scientests from Ghostbusters, Doctor Emmet Brown, the guy from richie rich, just to name a few *cough*)


Barney? more like Bar-ley-developed. Hes a guard from Black Mesa who's become undercover against the Combine. That's it

Dr Mossman

From the instance you meet her, you know she's evil. Idk, maybe i'm just good at spotting this kind of stuff because it's so obvious for me. As soon as you meet her she's already being a prick, which just instantly gave it away for me.


The only intresting part of the game. He is the only character that I wanted to find more about. But he's the one that gets the least attension.

There are more but they left such a small impact on me that I don't see a reason for it.

*The enemies and AI*

They are the only good part of the game. But then again the enemies aren't great because the guns aren't great. The more you play the more you spot how the enemies move and react. You can easily trick them into doing stupid ♥♥♥♥.

The AI is alright with the enemies (at times as I've just said). But with the friendlies *shudders* it's horrible. So much of the street war was me spending my time waiting for my allies to move because they frequently get stuck in door ways. It's odd because Alyx's AI is decent and not God awful. I know what you're thinking "The AI in HL1 was terrible as well" but the AI there was never really needed (apart from enemies of course) there was like, 1 place where you actually needed the scientests/guards.


This game may have been as groundbraking as people say in 2004, but it's 12 years later. Do you honestly still have the same mind set that you did back then. If you haven't played this game, I suppose its worth a try and if you have, I reccommend you replay it so you can hopefully change your opinion
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Scorched Penguin
135.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
this is truly the best game ever made
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30.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
I have played HL2 4 times and it never gets boring. This game is simply the best.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
18.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
This game is a cinematic ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥. You spend more time driving around in stupid vehicles and hopping around while you wait for characters you couldn't care less about to finish discussing the plot that has no relevance to the first game than you do shooting things.
Unlike the first Half-Life the second game hands you very few guns: you receieve a pistol, an SMG, and a shotgun --these are the only useful guns. There's also an alien SMG, a gravity gun, a rocket launcher, a crossbow, and a pheromone pod. The alien SMG is the same as the human SMG except that it comes with only 90 shots, the crossbow sucks, the rocket launcher is only used to shoot down the gunship and spider-things (and there are about two dozen of these bloody instances), the gravity gun is inefficent at killing things so you'll never use it unless you want to goof around, and the pheromone pod can only be used for a single mission (even though it stays in your inventory for the rest of the game).
One thing that Half-Life 2 does well is consistency: the game also possesses very few enemies in addition to its lack of guns. You'll shoot combine soldiers (who look like humans even though they're supposed to be aliens), flying robots with razorblade attachments, headcrabs and "zombies" (although the rest of the alien fauna from the first game is absent in Half-Life 2), and that's literally it. You'll also encounter Vortigaunts but they are no longer aggressive towards you.
Like the first game Half-Life 2 begins with a long introduction in which you don't do anything, but, unlike the first game, Half-Life 2's beginning doesn't teach you anything. You'll meet people you don't recognise yet still talk to you as though you're already acquaintances, and you'll run away from combine soldiers but you don't even have a weapon at this point of the game so it's exceedingly dull. Whereas the first game's beginning shows you how big the facility is and how deep you are in it, so when everything turns to chaos and you have to somehow make it to the surface there's a lot of tension, so the first game's introduction actually serves a purpose instead of being a time-waste.
Another issue I have with this game are the AI companians. Some missions have several giant bugs or human AI that follow you around and attempt to "assist" in killing people you could quite easily kill yourself. Ultimately they just get in the way and make walking around the linear maps more irritating than they should have been.
Finally, when you're not shooting things (which is 70% of the time --a depressing fact for a so called first-person "shooter") you'll be solving primitive physics-based "puzzles". Basically, you'll be required to move a crate on top of a plank to create a bridge that leads to the next linear area. These segments are a nuisance and add nothing positive to the game.
In summary: Half-Life 2 is overrated garbage, the first game is much better.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
17.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
Not Half Life 3
Helpful? Yes No Funny
25.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
Half-Life 2. is a game you should've have been playing right now.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Unicorn Tomato
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
This game is a ♥♥♥♥ing classic.

Like if you don't have this game in your steam library then you must be ♥♥♥♥ing high.

Pros -
Good Gameplay
Innovative Physics Engine
Graphics are still good even to this very day
Great soundtrack
Gravity Gun is fun to mess around with
Supports cross-platform Steam Cloud
Good, simple controls

Cons -
Very little replay value
Airboat and Jeep sections are annoying and have awkward controls


Helpful? Yes No Funny
call me onin
38.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
93 of 108 people (86%) found this review helpful
57 people found this review funny
13.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 27
Where is Half-Life 3?
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
23 of 28 people (82%) found this review helpful
10 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
14 of 15 people (93%) 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
12 of 12 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.
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11 of 12 people (92%) 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
9 of 10 people (90%) 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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12 of 17 people (71%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person 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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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 of 3 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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