Half-Life 2: The Orange Box

Common Sense Media says

Five gripping, mature sci-fi shooter games.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

You are the good guys taking out the sci-fi aliens. But you do with extreme force.


Explicit violence and gore, including killing players in single and multiplayer modes. Human and alien victims fall to the ground and blood can be seen.

Not applicable

While not pushing the envelope, gamers might hear words such as "s--t," "hell," and "damn it."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this collection of four "Mature"-rated games and one "Teen"-rated game can be violent because you're using weapons from a first-person perspective. Expect explicit violence and gore with plenty of bloody human and alien causalities. Swearing is limited, but some sequences might spawn a line such as "Damn it, Hunters!" or "S--t!" Games like Team Fortress 2 are played online, so players might be exposed to foul language spoken by other gamers.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

HALF-LIFE 2: THE ORANGE BOX from Valve Software jams five games into one box, beginning with 2004's Half-Life 2, in which players once again step into the shoes of Gordon Freeman, a young scientist summoned to help rid the world of a nasty alien invasion. Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two also star Freeman and his attractive ally, Alyx Vance. In the online multiplayer sequel Team Fortress 2, you take on one of nine roles and, with your team,play against another team on one of a half-dozen maps and in one of a few game modes such as the popular Capture-the-Flag. The experimental Portal (the only Teen-rated title here) lets players mess with the physics of the game world.

Is it any good?


It's not just quantity -- all five adventures offer top-quality experiences. The Orange Box is well worth the money. Its five highly polished titles -- each offering a different kind of action experience -- guarantees many hours of intense solo or multiplayer game play.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether a game collection like this is worth the money compared with a game like Halo 3. Should other developers or publishers take notice and give gamers more bang for their buck? When it comes to violence and gore, such as shooting a person and seeing blood, parents could ask their (17 and older) kids if the game would be as much fun without the blood.

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Release date:October 21, 2007
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Half-Life 2: The Orange Box was written by

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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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, okay 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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Written byAnonymous January 8, 2012

A breakdown of the games

I'll give you a breakdown of my opinion of the games: Portal: 7+ great game, nothing really bad about it, but only people 12+ will properly appreciate the style of humour in the game. Half Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2: 12+ unique shooters, but there is language and the violence seems a little more realistic than the other games. Team Fortress 2: 12+ arguably the BEST (now free for PC) online multiplayer-only game. language isn't bad, but violence is the main part of the game, and you will see blood and body parts flying around all over the place, but it is presented in a cartoony way, which makes the game appropriate for kids in my opinion
Parent Written byXboxmom777 July 13, 2011

Common sense you have judged a game by its rating yet again

I have a 12 year old son who has had a Xbox for about 5 months now and I got him this game. Now I'm not very familiar with games like this but I think if he is mature to play simple T rated games then this is a perfect game for kids his age group. Portal is such a fun and brain teasing game and calling it mature in any way is absolutely ridiculous. Now for Half Life 2. It is NOT in any way needed to be negotiated about being both T and M its T easy as that I myself do have a problem with guns and I am disgusted when my husband goes out and hunts.However I watch my son play Xbox a lot and this game is not in any way bloody sure some blood when you kill aliens.but nothing extreme. Now Team Fortress 2 is what you should be worried about. Its very cartoon looking but I assure you it is very bloody even though it is very fake and almost ridiculous it is very bloody. Now language is sort of an issue. But if your child is 12 or older he has probably been exposed to language enough that it doesn't even phase them. That's my review of the orange box. Not being a huge video game player, this may or may not be accurate, but its my review as a parent for a parent.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byramro2002 February 21, 2011

Common sense overlooks another great game.

Well, common sense does it again. Their biased reviews only hurt the parents view on this game. True, this game (collecction) is rated M, to buy this game and let your kids play is your choice, and based on their maturity. My parents have allowed me to buy this game box (for a steal of 15 $). All games by valve have a console, for the pc. if you press the `~ button, you have options to turn of blood and gore. Portal is a great mind game that requires some really complex thinking, Team Fortress 2 is a cartoony, fun, battle game, with blood off options. The half life games are intended for a mature audience. Both games have bit of language, but what are you supposed to expect from a Mature game? So, i completely disregaurd the ESRB ratings, and focus on the value of the games. Half life the series has a engrossing, intellegent storyline.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great role models
Parent Written bymaanu123 July 3, 2011

good fun for nearly evvry1

Many of these games are great for kids. WHile half life may need a adult supervision, it is a thoughtful, suspensul game where kids will need to think before every action. Portal, is of course, the best for kids. Calling it "Explicit violence" and saying people weild weapons is innaccurate to the point of vomit. Portal, you only "gun" is the portal creator, a invention that creates entrances and exits, that let you solve puzzles in this delightful game. Team fortress 2 is edgy, but is great fun for the mature pre-teen. Just watch out for language. all in all, this is great games
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism


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