Half-Life 2: Episode One Game Poster Image

Half-Life 2: Episode One

Maintains quality, brutality -- adults only.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Not applicable

Occasional, incidental strong language.


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.

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?


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

Available online?Available online
Release date:July 31, 2006
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language

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

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Teen, 13 years old Written bygordonfreemansson May 21, 2011

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
Adult Written byCompletelyinnocent April 9, 2008

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.
Kid, 11 years old September 5, 2011

what would you do

what would you do if you were under attack by aliens and they wanted to kill your children and turn you into a mindless soldier? violence would be the only way out of that situation.