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The Best 'Half-Life' Games

Updated October 22, 2020 2.1k votes 522 voters 10.2k views11 items

List RulesGame must be part of the 'Half-Life' series.

Easily one of the most popular first-person shooter franchises of all time, this list features all of the Half-Life games, ranked from best to worst by thousands of gamers' votes. If you think the coolest video game in the Half-Life series isn't ranked as high as it should be, then make sure to vote it up so that it has the chance to rise to the top. Ever since the original Half-Life was released on Windows back in 1998, gamers have been eagerly awaiting the next installment. This list features every Half-Life game, including all the DLC releases as well as the two Portal games, which take place in the same universe.

 Are you and your friends arguing over what the greatest Half-Life game of all time is? Use this list to see how many people agree with you and end the squabble once and for all.This list is kept up-to-date with all new video game releases and includes everything from Half-Life 2 to the new Half-Life: Alyx, which was released in 2020. So if you're wondering, "What are the greatest Half-Life games?" or "What is the best Half-Life game of all time?" then this list should answer your questions. Vote up all your favorite releases, and vote down all the games you thought were disappointing.

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  • Photo: Valve Corporation

    The sequel to Portal expands the universe and offers more intricate puzzles. You have to use portals to solve puzzles, but there are some bonus gameplay elements added for good measure. You'll have to master the Thermal Discouragement Beam, Aerial Faith Plate, and Mobility Gels in order to solve everything. 

    There are nine chapters you have to get through to complete the game. It all starts when you wake up in the body of Chell, and you're tasked with conducting tests on various chambers. But you're not the only one who's woken up. You must contend with GLaDOS who throws everything at you in an attempt to kill you. 

    Portal 2 was released to practically universal praise. IGN, in particular, called it a "mind-bending marvel" and praised how it provided players with an unforgettable experience. With both single-player and multiplayer modes, it's easy to see why the game continues to be popular with fans to this day. 

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    • Photo: Valve Corporation

      Portal is a first-person shooter combined with a puzzle game. Throughout the game, you play as Chell as you receive audio messages from GLaDOS. These messages relate to the upcoming test chamber experiments. You're sent into distinct test chambers where you have to solve puzzles to make it out alive. 

      To get through the various rooms, you must rely on the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. It allows you to create inter-spatial portals across flat planes. Plus, when you finish the game, you unlock two additional modes: Advanced and Challenge. In Advanced mode, you can play through the hardest levels of the game again except this time, they're even more difficult. In Challenge mode, you have to go through each test as quickly as possible, trying to beat your best times. 

      Most reviewers at the time praised the game for being so highly original. Praise was also given to the dark humor present throughout the game, mostly in the form of how GLaDOS is terrifying but also kind of funny simultaneously. 

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      • Photo: Valve Corporation

        The first expansion pack for Half-Life 2 allowed players to experience more of this strange world. The episode picks up shortly after the events of Half-Life 2. The focus this time around is on Alyx Vance as you're placed in the devastated area of City 17. 

        It provides several upgrades over the original game. For starters, the Source engine is a lot more complex, allowing for upgraded facial animations and more dynamic range rendering capabilities. The game came out alongside Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, which also doubles as the game's multiplayer feature. 

        The game was initially supposed to be called Half-Life 2: Aftermath. However, the company renamed it to Episode One when they planned to make a trilogy. Unfortunately, Episode Three never came out. 

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        • Photo: Valve Corporation

          Blue Shift is the second expansion pack for Half-Life. Similar to other expansions, the game puts you back to that fateful day at Black Mesa Research Facility. This time around, you play as security guard Barney Calhoun. Your objective is to escape from the alien invasion the military is trying to cover up. 

          This game offers some new areas and levels of Black Mesa players hadn't experienced before. However, there aren't any new enemies or weapons. It's also a relatively shorter campaign compared to what you even get with other expansion packs like Opposing Force

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