The Orange Box Review

Honestly, I don’t know why you wouldn’t have The Orange Box by now. (The only acceptable excuses are lack of money, lack of a PC and 360, or you’re doing Peace Corps work and have no access to electricity.) It’s continuing to get great reviews, and it’s so good that even I had to give it a 10.

Like I said in the PC review, The Orange Box contains so much awesome in one package it’s impossible to not recommend it to any gamer. On the Xbox 360, it’s a series of games many 360 owners aren’t too familiar with, and with The Orange Box, they’ll finally get to see what PC gamers have been bragging about for so long.

Of course, if you owned the original Xbox you already had a shot at Half-Life 2, but a lot of gamers skipped over the game or got scared away by the lack of multiplayer and framerate issues. In Orange Box, Half-Life 2 is largely a port of the Xbox version, but with most of the tiny technical things fixed up. What wasn’t fixed, though, was the load times. Where the PC version will take only a couple of seconds to load, it’s not unusual to load mid-level for a minute or so. That doesn’t matter, though, because Half-Life 2 remains one of the greatest games of all time. If you haven’t played it yet, play it. Now. It’s a game that needs to be experienced by anyone considering themselves a gamer, and if you’re primarily a console player, The Orange Box gives the best opportunity at doing so yet.

Console gamers will also get four new games, as Episode 1 never previously showed up in console form. Episode 1 (review) and Episode 2 (review) are ports of the PC versions (with console control changes, obviously) and they’re done very well. Episode 1 continues where Half-Life 2 left off, and Episode 2 continues from that. (Surprised?)

The two episodic games place the emotional emphasis on rebel fighter Alyx Vance, and progress in a much more storytelling-oriented fashion than Half-Life 2. The graphics are much crisper as well, and the loading is a little improved. When you compare the two (which people will do), Episode 2 is far above Episode 1 in just about every category. It offers more new content, the story is better, the length is better, the graphics are better, etc. In fact, some people even place Episode 2 above Half-Life 2. Take that as you will, but the fact some people even consider that should speak tremendously to Episode 2’s quality.


Valve - The Orange Box: Portal


That brings us, of course, to the two NEW new games in The Orange Box: Portal (review) and Team Fortress 2 (review). Really, what can I say about Portal that people don’t know? The game forces you to think in new ways, the gameplay is something never seen before, the writing is incredible, the story is surprisingly deep, it has the greatest game-related song of all time, and even the extremely short length doesn’t keep it from being a Game of the Year contender. If you thought the gaming industry was running out of fresh ideas, try Portal, because it will easily convince you otherwise.

Team Fortress 2 is (as of this moment) the weakest portion of The Orange Box on the Xbox 360. It’s basically the same game as the PC, but right now, a plethora of things ranging from lag to freezing errors keep it from being nearly as fun as the PC counterpart. Valve is releasing a patch to address some of these issues in the near future, so hopefully that makes the game more playable for the console gamers. If you ignore those issues (which you probably can do, since Valve will likely take care of them) Team Fortress 2 is the second best multiplayer offering on the Xbox 360, and falls just shy of Halo 3.

Combined, all the games in The Orange Box make it a game you can’t ignore. If you don’t own a gaming PC (or have a less-than-stellar PC), pick up Orange Box on the Xbox 360. It’s a great way to introduce a new generation of console gamers to one of the greatest video game series of all time, and it’s just too good of a deal to pass up. Even if it were $80, The Orange Box would still be a steal; that’s how good it is.

If you want to know more specifics about the individual parts in The Orange Box, check out the links below. But really, you shouldn’t even bother-you should be buying (or playing) The Orange Box right now. Why are you even reading this?

– Portal

– Team Fortress 2

– Episode 2

– Episode 1


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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