Reviews for The Orange Box

100

A good value for money!

08woodh1 | Aug. 8, 2013 | See all 08woodh1's reviews »

Ok so I got this game a month ago and have managed to play through all 5 of the sections of this game - for those that arent aware the Orange Box also contains the 2 expansion packs for Half Life 2 which effectively double the length of the game. Ok so lets begin with the big one: Half Life 2. Having heard a lot of the hype I was very sceptical about this game, but after playing through the campaign I have come away very impressed. The game mechanics really single out HL2 from the rest of the FPS market (first person shooters) - Firstly, everything you run into can be picked up, thrown, smashed, destroyed, launched, set on fire - whatever you want. Some of the weapons are very imaginative (a gravity gun which can blast huge objects into the distance or into an enemy soldier) as well as the mandatory machine-guns, shotguns, pistols, rocket launchers and snipers. The pace of the game may be a little slow for some, the areas of intense action and shooting are broken up by simple puzzles. Usually this involved picking up some objects and using them to interact with the environment (eg making some stairs out of several crates). It sounds stupidly simple but actually works very well. The game also contains several vehichle sections which are well done and intergrated into the story although do tend to drag on for a bit longer than I would have liked. However one area in which HL2 especially succeeds is in giving the impression of an outside world continuing around you. You will drive past cities, briefly meet hideouts of rebels, see planes whizzing around the sky. Soldiers you meet will live or die depending on your actions. I especially like the later stages when huge "war of the worlds" like combine vehicles roam around. smashing through buildings whilst they chase you. What is most impressive about this game is the way it moves from one genre to the next. One level is a survival horror, zombie infested town with limited ammunition that really upps the tension. The next a squad based shooter where you order around a small group of rebel soldiers. The next may be a puzzle section, a platformer or a driving section. The entire game has been constructed so that you are always faced with a fresh challenge, never stuck with one task for too long. The load times are quick and checkpoints are frequant so should you find yourself killed you dont have to wait long before you can try again. My only criticisms would be - the soldiers you fight are of the genetic stormtrooper variety. They are all completely lifeless uniforms walking around with guns. I got bored of shooting them fairly quickly. The zombies and aliens were much more fun.

The initial HL2 will take about 12 hours and the expansions about 5 hours each so you are getting your moneys worth with that package alone. However if you arent in the mood for shooting people (yeah, because thats going to happen) then the world of Portal lies before you. When I bought the Orange Box I had no idea that the "bonus" game would be so refreshingly addictive - the puzzles are amazingly clever, mind bendigly fascinating. You can spend ages simply setting up weird loops, an endless tunnel, or chase yourself round in circles untill you throw up. The setup is simple - you are a test subject in a lab experimenting with a "portal gun" - left trigger shoots an orange portal, right trigger shoots a blue protal. Jump through one portal and you pop out the other. Its a simple concept - however once I started discovering the hidden messages of previous test subjects I was so intruiged to find out more I completed the entire game in one sitting, retiring to bed happy and satisfied at 5 in the morning. WARNING - ADDICTIVE. Since playing, this has become one of my favorite games. I know it doesnt sound like much but you simply have to give it a try.

Granted not everyone likes spending half an hour figuring out how to manipulate their own body weight in order to propel themselves over a large pit of acid. However this is not a problem. If you want to shoot REAL people (and having spent many hours on xbox live I use the term loosely) then Team Fortress is for you. An awesome multiplayer shooter, pick one of 9 classes and then participate in a attack/defend online melee with up to 15 others. There are 9 classes to chose from, each with individual skills that are all usefull in different situations meaning there is no core class that is required to win. The gameplay is amazing fun and often very amusing - both the art style and characters. Some of the characters are simply inspired - The engineer can construct sentry turrets and teleporters, the spy can briefly turn invisible or disguise himself as an enemy player, the medic can overheal and eventually turn players briefly invincible with his charged healing gun, the scout is speedy and can double jump, and then there are the more run and gun shooter classes like the rocket launcher weilding soldier, sniper, or heavy gunner - Meaning every class is important to success. The levels are beautifuly constructed and it is obvious that a lot of care and attention to detail went into the design of their layouts for maximum enjoyment. However whilst this is great fun to play and wonderful to watch there are several flaws. Firstly the lack of a splitscreen - you cannot sign in a guest and play 2 player online which I found very dissapointing. Secondly the room search engine is a complete pain, and it can be very hard to find the sort of game that you want. It takes longer than it should, but on the plus side rooms tend to fill up fairly quickly. Just make sure you dont miss the "magic window" before the next game comes out. Whilst there is capture the flag and territory style games (2 teams take turns attacking/defending strategic points on the map) there is no deathmatch or team deathmatch. This is however because of the classes that are available - a medic is vital when attacking a control point but by himself will find himself bested by most other classes, and this would make a deathmatch repetitive and uneven. Lastly the max amount of players is fairly small - 8 men on a team - im sure many would have appreciated a 24 player cap. However this smaller cap means the levels and characters can be better detailed so it all depends on what you want from an online shooter. At the end of the day its great fun to play and makes a nice change from Halo 3 or Call of Duty.

Each of these games deserves 5 stars in its own right. There is something here for everyone. The only unavoidable problem is all 3 of the games are single player unless you go online. Still, if you happen to be that "single player" then your'e in luck because this is one of the top games released this year. Cheers for reading my review - ENJOY!

100

Top-notch stuff

Cakefish | May 31, 2013 | See all Cakefish's reviews »

It's the collection of games that started it all for me as a PC gamer. An absolute must-have for any gamer out there. The value is outstanding for amount of truly great content that you receive. Essentially a collection of Valves best franchises all-in-one.

Half Life 2 & Episodes - quite possibly the greatest game of all time. The writing of the story & characters, the voice acting, the music & sounds, the level design & atmosphere, and the gameplay are all of exceptional quality that very few more recent games have managed to match let alone surpass. A hugely entertaining game which every person should have the pleasure to try out, whether they are fans of the FPS genre or not - anyone can appreciate the masterful design of this game.

Portal - a highly original concept that is also extremely fun. It may be short but boy is it sweet. A brilliant villain who is excellently written and voice-acted. The puzzles are fun and it simply is a pleasure to reach the climactic ending of the game. The sequel just served to improve the formula even further but playing through this game is a must to truly appreciate where the series started and what made it so great to begin with.

Team Fortress 2 - I cannot personally comment on this game as I have not played it (I prefer single player story-driven games) but the fact that many many many people are still playing it and that Valve continue to update it and add new content today 6 years after it's release can only show that it must be doing something right!

85

A Great Collection of Games

JugglingT | May 5, 2013 | See all JugglingT's reviews »

Ah, the Orange Box. A great collection of some amazing games. I bought this originally just for Portal, however having now played all games included, I shall give a brief review for each of them.

Portal: This is the real gem here, I'd heard a lot about this game before playing, although had no real concept of the game-mechanics. It's a comedy-puzzle game where the player is able to shoot two interconnected portals and use them to solve various test-chambers as instructed by a mysterious AI. It's a relatively short game, and can probably be beaten in 5 or 6 hours on the first playthrough, but it is fully worth it if you're a fan of puzzle games. I myself am not, although I still enjoyed every bit of this game from beginning to end. I'd give it a 9/10.

Half Life 2 + Both Episodes: This is the main game of the pack. Half Life 2 is pretty famous among PC gamers at this point, although I began playing this having no real knowledge about the game other than how amazing they supposedly were. If it's your first time playing them, I would recommend forgetting about all the endless praise these games receive. While it's true that they are good fun, if you go in expecting a revolutionary experience you will likely be let down. The graphics are still decent to today, and they only improve across the episodes, and the storyline is simple enough that you need not have played the first game.

The gameplay remains relatively the same throughout the game and both episodes, although if asked to pick I would say that Episode 2 was the most entertaining. There are various weapons, various enemies, and enough interesting locations and events to keep the game interesting. The style of the gunplay will not be to everyone's tastes though, as there's no cover and you sprint much faster than in most games, and you are unable to aim down the sights on any guns aside from the crossbow. For me I found this a refreshing change, although I can understand how some people might be put off.

There are a few basic puzzles and driving segments to break up the shooting, and the combat is also switched up for the final stretch of the game. Episode 1 I found to become a bit of a drag bringing nothing especially new to the game, Episode 2 however was much more interesting, taking place largely in a deep cave-system and in wooded-mountains. The caves were fun, although I found this to really take off shortly after obtaining the car. The finale-segment felt intense and there was a good story throughout. If you're not expecting anything mind-blowing, this can be a very fun game. I'd give it an 8/10.

Team Fortress 2: I'm not especially a fan of online shooters, so I only played this briefly, although it seemed a lot more light-hearted and goofy than other shooters. It had fun characters and cartoony graphics, there were numerous classes to choose from, and each felt unique. There's also been an update recently-ish adding a co-op mode where players unite against an army of robots, which can help the game to last longer. However this has now been released on Steam as a free-to-play game, and as such doesn't add to the value of the pack. I'd give it a 7/10.