Half-Life 2: The Orange Box

Common Sense Media says

Five gripping, mature sci-fi shooter games.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Violence

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

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

Consumerism
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?

QUALITY
 

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
Price:$49.99+
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Valve
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

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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Written byAnonymous January 8, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

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
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

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
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

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
Teen, 14 years old Written bycountofcounts December 20, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

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 when I was in my basement, alone, with the lights off. It's gloomy and creepy. Lots of corpses, large amounts of blood stains (it's all over the floors and the walls during combat and remains there for the rest of the chapter), and pretty much... violence. The fight for human survival is inspiring, though. And there is a happy ending. Adult language: People say "dam", "hell", and "sh*t". It's infrequent, but still there. PORTAL: This is an innovative puzzle game (that I love to death). It's educational, because players have to strategically place portals and solve problems while using a unique method. The blood is EXACTLY the same as in Half-Life 2. When the player is shot by enemy drones, the Half-Life 2 blood is spilled and stains the walls and floor. Throughout the whole game, the player's blood is the only blood spillled. Very frequent use of crude and dark humor is present in the game. Yeah, it's funny. Yeah, it's creepy. Such phrases include this one: "Here at the test chamber, we are dedicated to letting you know anything of importance. Stepping on the floor past this room will result in having an unsatisfactory mark on your final report... followed by death." TEAM FORTRESS 2: There is no offline to this game. If you don't have internet for your Xbox 360, then this game is pointless. Two teams play capture the flag, or try to steal each other's control points. Players use lots of weapons and there are very large ammounts of blood splatter (the developers seem to really like blood) will stain the floors and walls and even discolor the water. Players can be stabbed, blasted, set on fire, and even hacked to death by an axe. It's incredibly violent. But most of it is portrayed as comical and funny... (which can be bad or good). The art style is VERY cartoonish and there is absolutely NO REALISM. Seriously... why would two opposing enemies build there bases 20ft from each other? It's a lot of fun, but honestly, the PC version is better. AGE RATINGS: ---------------------- HALF-LIFE 2: I rate this game ON for ages 16+ I rate this game IFFY for ages 13-15 I rate this game OFF for ages 12 and under. PORTAL: I rate this game ON for ages 12+ I rate this game IFFY for ages 9-11 I rate this game OFF for ages 8 and under. TEAM FORTRESS 2: I rate this game ON for ages 15+ I rate this game IFFY for ages 12-14 I rate this game OFF for ages 11 and under.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great role models

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