Half-Life 2: Episode Two

aka: HL2EP2, Hλlf-Life²: Episode Two
Moby ID: 30617
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$7.99 new on Steam

Description official description

Half-Life 2: Episode Two is the second episode to extend the story behind the original Half-Life 2. In the previous episode, Dr. Gordon Freeman escaped from City 17 with Alyx Vance, while the Citadel was destroyed by a storm of unseen proportions. This episode brings the team face to face with the Combine forces stationed in the White Forest, since they have been ordered to stop Gordon and Alyx from delivering a packet of crucial information stolen from the Citadel to an enclave of survived scientists.

There are no new weapons, but Gordon receives a new form of ammunition for the Gravity Gun: the Magnusson Device. The driving sequences introduce a new vehicle: a powerful car with its engine revealed.

There is also a new soundtrack and the game engine has been updated with a new renderer, a new dynamic lighting and shadowing system, updated physics, and new effects such as motion blur and depth of field. Dual-core processors are now supported as well. The player always controls Gordon Freeman, often assisted by Alyx, a Vortigaunt, or the rebels.

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Credits (Windows version)

202 People (175 developers, 27 thanks) · View all



Average score: 87% (based on 30 ratings)


Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 123 ratings with 2 reviews)

Nice expansion but something is smelling stale.

The Good
WARNING:The following contains excessive ranting from a Half-life fan boy.

I was never a big fan of half-life. While it was hailed as revolutionary, to me it was evolutionary. All it basically did was add a story very influenced with that of Doom + some depth, NPCs and some puzzle solving. This is definably evolutionary but to me a revolutionary game would be System Shock.

Fast forward to Half Life 2 and I started to love this game for few reasons but gameplay was not one of them. While HL2 was deemed as revolutionary all it did was improved upon things done in older games like Deus Ex, System Shock and HL1 and had a little more focus on physics. The Urban Futuristic and Post Apocalyptic theme appealed to me and so did the design for the combine race (right till the sound effects) not to forget the silent protagonist & no cut scene approach. This is the same reason i love Doom (hell + demons=relevant to my interest). To make it simple while these games lacked an outstanding gameplay their theme and artwork appealed to me and that's why they are 2 of my favorites.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two retains the same gameplay as Half-life2 with minor changes. Puzzles are still based on the games physics. The game maintains the linear gameplay which I loved but also tries a non linear approach in the car levels, where you have an option to find caches. This game also focuses on the new open area capabilities of the source engine which can be witnessed in the final chapters of the game. Apart from the facial expressions, nothing is really breakthrough about the games engine but whats really great is that this game looks good and runs smooth with everything maxed out, including resolution and Anti Aliasing. Physics are by Havoc so it wouldn't really count but they are implemented the best in this game.

The A.I is still strong too. The Zombies and Headcrabs run to their death, the Antlions do the same although they do fall back and the Combine soldiers play defensive unless they have a shotgun.

The best addition and probably the best looking thing in this game is the Hunter. They have a fantastic A.I, animation and render. I even tried to run them over with a car and failed miserably as they dodge it and it's hard to judge which direction they are going to jump. These guys are the freshest thing about this game despite their unbalanced strength.

The characters are great, some humorous lines here and there. Voice acting is one of my favorites. Gordon and Alyx's relationship is still the focus, they are probably going to do it in Episode 3 (Destroy the ship pervs). Also a little more about G-Man is revealed here, in fact the G-Mans seems to have a little emotion in his dialogs. Storyline depends on whether you like Half-life's story in general or have played the previous games. Ending is probably my favorite part, it lacks the over emotional feeling that you would expect from a Hollywoodish game and I didn't predict it either.

Besides the excellent voice acting, the game delivers the same quality in it's sound as usual. The moans of combines gives me the chill. The music is perfect for a futuristic action game.

The Bad
Sad part about this is that it's getting stale. HL2 had quite a diversity in locations such as City 17, Ravenholm & Nova Prospek, each of those locations had a unique setting and memorable feel. However these episodic games have nothing special. In Episode two places like the hills and White Forest are beautiful and well designed but the Antlion cave levels were boring. What all these have in common is the lack of character what HL2 had in it's setting.

Excluding the Combine forces the rest of the enemies are still the snooze fest they were especially Ant Lions. The Zombies only get difficult when there are hundreds of them surrounding you and only appear as scary when they are running towards you with a grenade in their hand.

I really love linear games. In fact with all those sandbox a.k.a free roaming games coming out, the linear style will redeem it's novelty. Half-life is a perfect example of a good linear game, you have things that keep it interesting such as the Guardian Ant Lion Chase scene, The Strider Invasion, The Hunter debut fight and many more but what keeps all these things connected is what is getting stale such as constantly switch to Gravity gun and Crowbar to break crates, the overuse of ant lions and zombies which were boring in the first game.

The Bottom Line
Episode 2 is surely better than Episode 1 due to it's relevance to the main story & better production. It appears as a continuation instead of a filler. If your a Half-life fan you probably have got this already. If your new to the Half-life games play HL1 or HL2 to decide. I wasn't disappointed with this expansion but then again i had really low expectations for this one, but none the less i quite enjoyed it. Although the game features some boring enemies(Xen Race, Antlions) the combine race makes up for it.

What the series really needs is a long sleep before Half-Life 3. Episode 3 is supposed to be the last in the HL2 universe, if they decide to puke out more then I'm not tuning in to any future episodes.

Windows · by dreamstealer (126) · 2007

Gnome or heroes

The Good
Episode 2 may not provide any fundamental changes to the game mechanics or ground-breaking design ideas, but it has far more personality to it than Episode 1. The locations and enemies are much more varied, many action sequences are more focused, there and it has more of a proper story.

And most importantly, near the beginning of the game you find a garden gnome who, despite being inanimate and silent, is more charismatic than any speaking character in the entirety of Half-Life 2. His presence is always a comfort among the cruel battlefields and he makes a much better companion than the ever-annoying Alyx.

The Bad
Unfortunately, despite the more creative and focused approach compared to Episode 1, the level and gameplay design in Episode 2 doesn't come close to the brilliance of the main game. Apart from fighting the new enemy type called Hunters for the first time and exploring the maze-like Antlion caves, it still ends up feeling like more of the same thing.

There's also a downside to the aforementioned gnome. Its unmatched charisma is guaranteed to make you want to keep him with you for most of your journey and Valve openly encourages that through achievements. Unfortunately, the overlong and unnecessary driving sequence in the middle of the game makes the task unreasonably difficult.

The Bottom Line
While undeniably an improvement over its immediate predecessor, Episode 2 does quite come close to the glory of the main game, and the driving sequence makes the proper game experience (i.e. taking the gnome with you) more difficult and annoying than it should have been. 6/10

Windows · by Pegarange (296) · 2023


German version

There are a number of changes in some German versions of the game: * All blood is coloured grey * Almost all enemies instantly disappear after being killed

A detailed list of changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).


  • Games for Windows Magazine
    • March 2008 - #3 Game of the Year 2007


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Niccolò Mineo.

Android added by GTramp. Linux added by Sciere. Macintosh added by Zeppin.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Patrick Bregger, Plok.

Game added October 24, 2007. Last modified January 19, 2024.