What order should I play the Half-life series in?

  • For one reason or another I managed to totally miss playing any of the Half-life series. I have the time and money now to play these games that I have heard such great things about. So what are all the Half-life games that I should play? and what order should I play them in?

    I am confused of where the episodes and expansions all fit in. And what they mean by "Source" versions. Are these even part of the same series? And what about Blue Shift, Lost Coast, or Opposing Force? So many games, and I don't know where or if they fit.

    Are there any in the series that I should skip, or just read the plot summary for? Can someone please give me a run-down of what I should play, in order.

    Please see the related meta post before flagging or voting to close this question.

  • The must-play Half-Life games are Half-Life 1, then Half-Life 2. The expansions and spin-offs for Half-Life 1 which were not developed by Valve are quite skippable; Opposing Force, Blue Shift and Decay return to the setting and events of Half-Life 1, but portray the story through the eyes of a U.S. Marine, a security guard and two scientists (since Decay is a cooperative multiplayer game), respectively.

    The Source version of Half-Life 1 is, and I quote:

    a digitally remastered version of the critically acclaimed and best selling PC game

    Needless to say it's smoke and mirrors, there's absolutely no significant difference between the two.

    My advice is to play the original Half-Life 1, then Half-Life 2, and if you'd like to extend the pleasure, sequels Episode 1 and Episode 2 for Half-Life 2 are quite good, but not as good as the two main games.

    "quite skippable", i don't think so, events that happened in Episode 2 are pretty important and will have significant impact in Episode 3 (or Half Life 3, it's up to Valve how they decide).

    Well you know tastes and colours... From an objective point of view, don't you acknowledge that Episode 1 & 2 doesn't add much to the story yet? Please don't put on the same level of importance two masterpieces and an unfinished, flawed trilogy.

    I strongly disagree. Episode One did not add too much, I agree there. But Episode Two is definitely important enough to make this list, and you'd need to play One to make sense of Two. Also, Blue Shift and Opposing Force are not made by Valve (by Gearbox) and are not considered canon by quite a few people.

    Okay I can't really disagree with that :p I've moderated my views in my original post.

    "Needless to say it's smoke and mirrors, there's absolutely no significant difference between the two" - except that it's SIGNIFICANTLY harder to move boxes around on the physics-free Half-Life engine. If you have Half-Life: Source, play that instead of the original.

    Episode Two is a worth successor to Half-Life 2, and very significant to the story. Episode One is not as good, but it's worth the 4-5 hours to play through for the story setup.

    I just wanted to say that you are a bad person for suggesting that anyone skip *Opposing Force*, which is arguably better than Valve's campaign for HL1, and has some damn funky-fresh multiplayer too.

    Moving around all of the opinion and discussion, Half Life 2: Episode 1 and Episode 2 are **sequential to the story**. One of the factors that went into making "episodes", rather then working on Half Life 3, was that Half Life 2 took a long time to make. *"a follow-up to Half-Life 2 delivered in 18 months with our first episode was more in tune with what our customers want than waiting 6 years for (Half Life 3)"* (http://store.steampowered.com/news/629/). Consider the episodes a broken up version of Half Life 3.

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