Parents' Guide to

Half-Life 2

By Aaron Lazenby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

A game filled with unnerving gore and violence.

Game Windows 2004
Half-Life 2 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 34 parent reviews

age 10+

Seriously? Not for kids?

Yes, this game can be gory, but the "excessive" is overstating it. Half-Life 2 is not for adults only.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
5 people found this helpful.
age 2+


the part where gordon starts making out with gman in order to progress was kinda weird but it was pretty good otherwise

This title has:

Educational value
Too much consumerism
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (34):
Kids say (187):

The game features regular breaks in the action to allow for exposition and puzzles that require players to use their brainpower. And the game's tone is darker than many of its counterparts and is executed so well that the impact of the battles is intense and visceral. Some of the game imagery is so disturbing (think mutilated bodies, immolation, and torture) that it lingers long after you shut off your computer.

That lasting impression is largely due to Half-Life 2's impressive presentation. Graphics are truly mind-boggling, physics are surprisingly realistic, and sound effects are amazing. However, the very things that make Half-Life 2 remarkable are the same things that make it impossible to recommend to kids. It's a game that will conjure up feelings of anxiety and dread, and it's simply too graphic, too intense and too scary for anyone under 17.

Game Details

  • Platform: Windows
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Publisher: Valve
  • Release date: November 23, 2004
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M
  • Last updated: November 4, 2015

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