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User reviews: Very Positive (1,697 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 1, 2006

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Buy Half-Life 2: Episode One

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, Team Fortress 2, Portal

Buy Half-Life Complete

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

Buy Valve Complete Pack

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

Buy Half-Life 2

Buy Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Downloadable Content For This Game

 

Recommended By Curators

"The first sequel to Half Life 2."

About This Game

Half-Life 2 has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, and earned over 35 Game of the Year Awards. Episode One is the first in a series of games that reveal the aftermath of Half-Life 2 and launch a journey beyond City 17. Also features two multiplayer games. Half-Life 2 not required.

System Requirements

PC
Mac

    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


    NVIDIA

    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
37 of 38 people (97%) found this review helpful
7.8 hrs on record
Half-Life 2: Episode One is the first of a trilogy of expansion packs/episodes for the 2004 first-person shooter game, Half-Life 2. The episode takes place immediately after the end of Half-Life 2, in and around the war-torn setting of City 17. The player is forced to deal with the effects of their actions during the main game. The episode is a stand-alone game; while a continuation of Half-Life 2, it does not require the original game to be installed or registered to a user's Steam account to play. It takes advantage of several major upgrades to the Source engine since the release of Half-Life 2, primarily its high dynamic range rendering capabilities and the upgraded facial animation system.
Episode One's focus is on character development, in particular that of Gordon's female sidekick and friend Alyx Vance, to the extent that she accompanies the player for virtually the entire game: "It's kind of ironic that despite so much of the theme of Half-Life 2 being about other characters and other people, you spent most of the game alone," project lead Robin Walker said in the episode's announcement article in PC Gamer UK.

The announcement article also saw Marc Laidlaw explain the game's premise:

"Episode One deals with the events and issues set in motion during Half-Life 2. You've done critical damage to the Citadel. The whole place is going to go up, taking out City 17 and what's in its immediate radius. You and Alyx are leading the flight from the city getting up close and personal with some of the creatures and sights from the end of the game."


Despite this comment and much fan speculation, the Combine Crab and Mortar synths were not present in Episode One; Stalkers and previously glimpsed areas of the Citadel are instead encountered and explored by the player.

After some initial confusion, sparked partly with an attempt at humor by PC Gamer UK, which suggested that Alyx was Episode One's playable character, it was confirmed that players would indeed play as Gordon Freeman – unlike the original Half-Life expansion packs, which all dealt with different characters. Part of the reason for this change of direction may lie with the in-house development of Half-Life 2: Episode One: previously, Half-Life expansions were developed by third party Gearbox Software (albeit with scripts produced by Valve).

The game runs on an incrementally upgraded version of Valve's proprietary Source engine, and features both the engine's high dynamic range rendering capabilities, and a new version of its facial animation/expression technology. It also features the commentary node system debuted in the Lost Coast tech demo.


The renaming of Aftermath to Episode One was an indication of Valve's confidence with their episodic structure, an implication confirmed in February and May of 2006, with news of a trilogy of episodes covering the present story arc. While the plots and dialogue of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were written solely by Valve's in-house writer Marc Laidlaw, the "Half-Life 2 Episodes" are collaboratively written by Laidlaw, Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw with Laidlaw retaining overall leadership of the group.

Final Score: 9/10
Posted: May 1
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91 of 136 people (67%) found this review helpful
18.1 hrs on record
GORDON

GET OUTTA DA CITADEL

ZOOBLEBOOBLEDOOBLYBOOB
Posted: April 12
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29 of 33 people (88%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
If you enjoyed half life 2 you will enjoy this. While the first, second and fifth final chapters are abit lackluster and shallow the game is essentially more half life 2. Its enjoyabile, its cheap its short and continues the half life 2 story. While not as good as half life 2 it has all the action, variety and cleverness of the original.
Posted: May 30
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18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
12.7 hrs on record
Half-Life 2: Episode One 1 was released a bit over 8 years ago, as the even then long-awaited expansion of the original, critically widely acclaimed game. Since it is part of the Orange Box, the Half-Life 2 Complete Edition and the Valve Complete Edition, chances are great you already own and have played the original Half-Life 2.
The good news: Episode 1 continues on the high level of level design and gameplay the original had set. There is however an important shift in focus, as the greater part of the game is played alongside Alyx, Gordon's female companion-in-arms. Alyx happily stands her own against the enemy hordes and doesn't need any sort of "babysitting" games wtih less well developed AI sometimes call for. She's been updated graphically as well (looking even better ;-)) since Episode 1 makes use of the High Dynamic Range lighting effects first tried out by Valve in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast. However, compared to that playable tech-demo, environments in Episode 1 are a bit disappointing and don't always offer the best opportunities for the upgraded engine to shine. There are no wide-open vistas, and although the opening level in the Citadel is impressive, it also has a sort of repetitiveness that comes to the fore now and then.

On the other hand, gameplay-wise everything is as top-notch as it was in the original game, and the fact that you play alongside Alyx offers some interesting opportunities. There's even a Steam Achievement called "One Bullet" which gets unlocked by playing through the entire game (!!) using one single bullet. The rest of the kills/actions has to be made by using the Gravity Gun, which gets an upgrade during the early part of the game. This calls for clever thinking, and I tried to get it, only to find myself missing the shooting action after a couple of hours ;-).

All in all, Episode 1 is a good to very good expansion, continuing the story of the original game in a logical and interesting way. There's no reason at all not to give it a shot (...) when you've played the original Half-Life 2.

Overall rating: 8/10
Posted: September 2
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17 of 21 people (81%) found this review helpful
6.3 hrs on record
Just buy it.



(Sponsored by Nike)
Posted: September 26
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199 of 224 people (89%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
the exciting prequel to half life 2 episode 2
Posted: September 22, 2011
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