Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
Buy On
  1. 100
    Real 'bullet-time' isn't ballet; it's no-holds carnage that ends with a radio-transmitted flatline. It's one man making a difference; it's one game making a noise. Half-Life 2 is all that - and more.
  2. AceGamez
    The most immersing and compelling game I've ever played.
  3. Same invigorating missions, same tight controls, same relentless action, and same trigger-happy scientist in a one-man war against our alien overlords.
  4. 100
    Some may find the story too obtuse, while others might take the route of PC graphical snobbery, but rest assured that there is no other like Half-Life 2 for the Xbox, which has now become my all-time favorite title for the system, and a massively strong contender for the Xbox game of the year.
  5. If you are passionate about your games then you cannot afford to miss what is arguably one of the three best Xbox titles ever made. Get it now.
  6. Half-Life 2 has impeccable style, an unrivalled elegance, and a frighteningly realistic aesthetic that no other game can even attempt to rival.
  7. It controls like a sportscar, it plays like a dream.
  8. If you've got an Xbox and want a superb gaming experience that will have you glued to your seat, sweaty palms and all for a solid 15-20 hours, absolutely buy Half-Life 2, no questions asked.
  9. I can easily say that I had just as much fun playing through the game on the Xbox as I first did on the PC, and probably even more so due to my personal preference of the controller over the keyboard.
  10. The graphics, albeit at a lower resolution (and with the occasional low frame rate) than the PC version, still make City 17 feel like a real place - not just a collection of videogame levels. [GamesMaster]
  11. Everything, from the brutal police state of the city, to the rundown tenements, to the ugly toxic sludge, to the gleaming sci-fi labs, looks beautiful. The textures are rich and sharp, bricks actually look like bricks and wood looks like wood.
  12. 95
    The game is surprisingly rock-solid on the Xbox. The controls are on point. The game is full of well-crafted fight-or-flight moments. It's without a doubt one of the finest first-person shooters ever made.
  13. 94
    The story itself is worth of great praise, but the way it's implemented into the gameplay, along with the amazingly fresh missions that all blend into one another, make this easily one of the best games on Xbox this year, if not the best.
  14. Even when compared to the available titles in the X360 library, HL2 blows most of them out of the water, thanks to its story, presentation and overall enjoyable cinematic quality.
  15. Going from mouse and keyboard to gamepad is always a hairy transition, but developer Valve did it perfectly--HL2 controls extremely well with the Xbox pad.
  16. A 15-20 hour masterpiece that, once finished, will have you turning around and starting right back at the start again!
  17. The story and scenario presentation is more than enough to keep you playing through Half-life 2.
  18. Long story short, Half-Life 2 is a must-buy, and our strongest choice for that one, last Xbox game to pick up before switching over to Xbox 360.
  19. As a single-player experience, even in its slightly compromised state, it's easily one of the most intensely enjoyable console shooters there's ever been.
  20. Valve has worked wonders translating this game over to Xbox. For Xbox owners who've not tackled the PC original, this is a must-buy game.
  21. Play Magazine
    The world is compelling in its visual completeness, serving up an inescapable web of despair, loneliness and isolation. [Jan 2006, p.38]
  22. The character models are excellent with amazing facial expressions that include "tells." You can't always be sure that what people are saying to you because there is a level of body language that can be interpreted.
  23. You'll be hard pressed to find a more intelligent, involving and entertaining game on Xbox today - it even gives "Halo" a run for its money. [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  24. The omission of a multi-player option is also baffling when you consider that Counter-Strike: Source was bundled free with last years PC version. These minor gripes, however, do little to detract from the sheer joy you will experience in playing the game.
  25. 90
    One of the finest games of this generation and one of the best single player FPS's ever created.
  26. 90
    Aside from a few tiny changes, Half-Life 2 on the Xbox is the PC game, right down to the last spattered droplets of alien blood. Half-Life 2's graphics set new standards for the Xbox, blowing right past heavyweights like "Doom 3" and "Halo 2."
  27. 90
    For console-only gamers, Valve's masterpiece is the definition of innovation and an unequivocal must-buy.
  28. Pelit (Finland)
    One of the best games for Xbox: good missions, excellent story and puzzles. The biggest and perhaps the only problem is the inconsistent framerate. [Jan 2006]
  29. Official Xbox Magazine
    For a lack of extras and generally lower quality visuals, anyone who played Half-Life 2 on the PC won't have any need to pick this up. [Holiday 2005, p.88]
  30. Fortunately, the game looks fantastic, better than most everything else on consoles, but the framerate takes some serious toles during some of the more graphically intense moments in the game and it almost makes it unbearable to play at some points. But other than that, the game looks, sounds, and plays amazingly.
  31. A bit underwhelming. Yes, it's a fairly solid translation of one of the better first-person shooters of recent years, but it also lacks the extensive multiplayer and mod-making features of its PC cousin.
  32. The voice over work is absolutely tremendous.
  33. 80
    We can't recommend Half-Life 2 if you already own it on PC because nothing has been added to warrant it buying it.
  34. The gunplay and unique physics have been perfectly recreated and the game is still one of the best that you'll play, but the inferior hardware means that none of it looks nearly as good as it does on the PC, and some unsightly frame rate hiccups mar the ocular experience.
  35. Game Informer
    The inconsistent framerate and lack of visual splendor are compromises we all expected with this conversion, but the load times are insufferable. [Dec 2005, p.182]

Awards & Rankings

#3 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2005
#14 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 153 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 153
  1. Jun 3, 2011
    By far, Half Life 2 is a masterpiece on every level and one of the greatest FPS of all time in my books. The story is told well and theBy far, Half Life 2 is a masterpiece on every level and one of the greatest FPS of all time in my books. The story is told well and the gameplay is amazing and addictive. Voice actors are great. There are so many levels of creativity in this game that it is just stunning. Full Review »
  2. Bill10
    Nov 18, 2005
    Ok it looks ok but just face it the XBOX is just not made for first person shooters. the controls are just plain shit and the graphics are Ok it looks ok but just face it the XBOX is just not made for first person shooters. the controls are just plain shit and the graphics are compaired to the pc just sub standard. FPS and RTS belong to the PC where they can be done correctly and the XBOx should just stick to platform and driving games this goes for the PS2 also. Full Review »
  3. Aug 26, 2011
    Valve original creation had enormous critic scores, rabid fan base, and one of the most important games in the history ever. The engine by theValve original creation had enormous critic scores, rabid fan base, and one of the most important games in the history ever. The engine by the time really looked very advanced compared to other games graphics, the details are ugly no denying in that point. The narration or how the story progress while not looking the same formula of cut-scenes it's outstanding. Great action, interaction, indeed the puzzles makes this a winner. Half-Life is a masterpiece with few flaws. Full Review »