Review of the Orange Box (for remy77077)

Since remy77077 was procrastinating about whether or not to buy the Orange Box I’ve decided to give a review of the whole zesty package. To do this properly I’d really have to review this compilation of 3 games (Half-life and episodes being counted as one) separately. So here’s my crash-course review.

Half Life 2
Starting with the least compelling game in the box, Half-life 2 (including episodes): Calling this the least compelling goes to show what is in store in this little box of joy. As a ground breaking first person shooting (FPS), back in the mists of time when Half-life 1 first came out (circa 1542BC), it was a dream come true. As an FPS it was fairly standard with pretty graphics, but the story line was emersive and gripping.

HL2 follows on from this with more of the same. Which therefore means not-groundbreaking although the storyline is pretty good. But the physics are ace to play with. The most entertaining thing to come out of it would be this: Concerned: The Half-life and Death of Gordon Frohman . Since I’m a PC Fanboy I’m not sure how it ports to console but I imagine some of what makes HL2 special gets a bit lost as the ease of manipulating the environs would be a pain with a controller.

If it was more free-roaming rather than how strictly on-rails it is, would have made this a much better game. I frequently got bored of running from one encounter to another and would amuse myself with trying to copy the Concerned comic and seeing how far I could fling Mr Freeman with a pile of exploding barrels and a bathtub.

Fun Factor – Medium
Opportunity to kill Freeman in ever increasingly ingenius ways – Very High
Replayability – None


Team Fortress 2
The 2nd Box Item in the list is the long awaited (although isn’t everything from Valve?) Team Fortress 2. A crazy, whizzbanger of an online shooter that is very entertaining but which should be funnier than it actually is. Bad thing first: it suffers from the Halolz factor. I.e. it’s full of prepubescent dimwits who only now how to cast aspersions on your sexuality in a stream of creative spelling errors. Bearing this in mind it does give a great sense of superiority when you play and bring a smattering of intelligence to the fight. Such as when playing as an engineer and using well placed gun turrets and spending your time kepping them maintained. Or actually healing people as a medic instead of trying to take on the entirety of the enemy team in a misguided attempt of proving Darwins theory by spectacularly removing the stupid genes from our gene pool by smearing your own genes all over the level.

Fun Factor – High
Sense of Superiority – Very High
Chance of Surviving More than 45 Seconds – Very Low

The most innovative FPS game with the exception of Wolfenstein 3D. More of a puzzle as there is isn’t actually any shooting to be had. So I am now going to coin the phrase: First Person Puzzler (at least the first person to claim coining the term anyway…Well, first person this year to do so).

See this video for what the game entails:

After the first fiew brain twisting levels you’ll find that as the migrain clears your use of portals becomes second nature.

My only criticism is that it’s far too short a game. I completed the standard levels in a couple of hours. It becomes more interesting when it came to the advanced levels and challenges. Trying to complete levels using the minimum number of portals I found particularly fun. I’m still trying to untwist my brain and control the insanely strong desire to own a portal gun because of all the cool stuff you could do with it.

Brain Twistiness – High
Fun Factor – Very High
Variety of Weapons – 1
Cake References – Mucho
Pie References – Not Enough (is there ever?)

remy77077: There’s just one problem with all of this for me, but it’s a significant one… I clearly am coming from a very different perspective on this to Nathan – or almost any reviewer of any FPS these days. I played the original HL more or less when it first game out, and it was far from any dream come true – I utterly loathed it! The moment I am dropped into an FPS environment, I have such a strong natural dislike for it, despite playing many many games and trying my best to get into it for years, that everything immediately feels ‘wrong’. The game needs to do something awesome to even jar me to a state of neutrality… HL never did this for me for a moment. The other trouble with the storyline is that I played the demo of HL2 on the 360, and you were just dropped completely in the middle of it, and I had absolutely no clue whatsoever what was going on in the story- and as such had no care or association with it whatsoever. Now whether that demo is a fair representation of the game or not I don’t know, but it has given me huge cause for doubt regarding story issues. It can take quite a lot to even get me to care about the storyline in a game anyway.

Regarding Portal: Are you sure about it becoming second nature? I watched this video and it’s done more to put me off Portal than anything else before it. It looks incredibly annoying and frustrating to me. I mean, I love the idea – but being forced to do this through the horrific interface and perspective of an FPS game looks like it will drive me insane. Heh.. I suppose this all ups the intrigue count though. 😉

lordnaff: I won’t mention FPS again in the presence of Rik as the bile created is in danger of flooding Agoners HQ. Well the FPS platform is PC…not for stump-fingered Console-Utilising-Non-Technical-Simians

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