Half-Life 2: Episode One

Common Sense Media says

Maintains quality, brutality -- adults only.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Gordon and Alyx try to stop the destruction of City 17 ... with violence.

Violence

Not as gruesome as its predecessor, but still very violent. Players use grenades, machine guns, the signature crow bar, etc. Blood splatters, bodies fly apart, zombies catch on fire, and more.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Occasional, incidental strong language.

Consumerism

Part of a series.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that players navigate a dark storyline featuring an apocalyptic alien invasion and the potential end of the human race. Action is fast and furious, featuring graphic violence and incredibly creepy situations. Players use grenades, machine guns, a signature crow bar, etc., and blood splatters, bodies fly apart, zombies catch on fire, and more. While this is the next installment of the Half-Life 2 series, you don't need the original game to play this chapter.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

HALF-LIFE 2: EPISODE ONE picks up where its predecessor left off. Players control Dr. Gordon Freeman as he picks himself out of the rubble of the Citadel, the ominous headquarters of the alien invasion that was damaged in the final scene of the last game.

Facing a cataclysmic meltdown that would destroy everything for miles around, Gordon and his (potentially) romantic sidekick Alyx must fight their way into the heart of the Citadel and stabilize its reactor core. And maybe find out more about this alien invasion along the way...

Suffice it to say that there are a lot of mutant zombies and jack-booted military police to do battle with.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Beyond the advancing plot, players of Half-Life 2 won't find a whole lot new here. All of the weapons are the same, and only one new adversary is added to the mix. Mature players new to the series should start with the original, or else they won't have a clue about what's going on.

While players might be disappointed in the length of Half-Life 2: Episode One (the committed can finish the game in one multi-hour sitting), they will thrill to the game's trademark creativity when it comes to cinematic style and puzzles. The cut scene introduction is more effective than most summer movies and guarantees to raise a few goose bumps. And the gravity gun (a weapon that works like a magnet, pulling an object close to you then allowing you to launch it violently at an enemy) is also in full effect.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes the series more effective than other first-person shooters. Does attention to plot, character development, and dialogue deepen the game experience -- and make it more disturbing? Does creating a long-form story also create a long-term consumer, ready to invest in the next chapter?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Valve
Release date:July 31, 2006
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language (Windows)

This review of Half-Life 2: Episode One was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bygordonfreemansson May 21, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

a teen game in the guise of an adult one

great series, and great game. the violence is moderate, blood does splatter, but it is unrealistic. the swearing is relatively toned downb for an m-rated game, just sh*t, h*ll, b*tch, no f-bombs at all. the great story line details alyx vance and gordon freeman trying to delay a massive reactor from exploding long enough for the just-liberated citizens of city 17 to escape into the surrounding wilderness. alyx is a very nice and caring person, and while gordon never talks, he IS a quantum physicist. this is a really fun game for mature tweens to adults, but <10 year olds shouldn't play it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byMotherlyLove February 23, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

The REAL DEAL

I am a mother of two children, 14 and 16 years old. I fight hard so they can be raised in a proper way. Half Life 2, was first to me, a not acceptable video game, but after real revision and thought, I realized its value. My children bought this game and Portal for their PS3. Both of these games are educational (require players to complete puzzles and actually THINK) and feature a strong female role. Even though there are some gory parts in HL2, my children are mature and can handle this but smaller children should not be exposed to this. Overall, my children loved this game because of it's great gameplay but also because of the physics puzzles involved. To all other mothers with motherlylove
What other families should know
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Adult Written byCompletelyinnocent April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Every Six-year-old needs to play this game.

I urge all of you six-year-olds out there to play this game. It has a compelling storyline, one that is certainly appropriate for someone of my age. So, in conclusion, all of you parents out there that are unsure about buying this game, just buy. Don't think. JUST BUY IT.

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