Half-Life 2: The Orange Box

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Five gripping, mature sci-fi shooter games.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 38 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 141 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCommonSenseCritic January 25, 2012
Parent of a 10, 12, and 14-year-old Written byGimmick March 3, 2011


First things first, this is a great package. HL2: episodes1&2,
HL2, portal and team fortress 2. HL2 and episodes 1&2 are 3 stunning shooters. Su... Continue reading
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 l... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycountofcounts December 20, 2010

Great deal! $20 for 5 great games!

The Orange Box comes with 5 games on 1 disc. It's best to review them seperately. Here goes...

HALF-LIFE 2 (3 separate games)
This game frightened me wh... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

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

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate