The Orange Box Review. Excellent FPS, Open World & Puzzle Play
The Orange Box comes as one of the best deals ever in shooter gaming, standing tall even a decade after its release. With excellent mechanics, a riveting storyline, responsive controls, and 99 achievements to unlock instead of the usual 50, Valve certainly seems bent on getting us addicted to the Orange Box.
Though much time has passed since the release, the graphics still look good even a decade later. All 5 games have excellent visuals and revolutionary mechanics. In particular, Portal applies unique animated art but still manages to create riveting environments. What gives the visuals a thrust are the mechanics which take everything to a whole new level. The in-game commentary in all these games elevates the graphics.
The Orange Box contains five games in a single package: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. The HL2 games continue after the events of the first title. After an experiment goes wrong, a portal is torn open in time, and scientist Gordon Freeman is cast into a dystopian future (in City 17) and is now fighting against the tyrannical military force called the Combine.
HL2 combines excellent first-person shooting, vehicle action, and takes physics-based engine mechanics to a whole new level. This makes not only the action but also the environment in HL2 extremely immersive. HL2 is revolutionary because the story is continued (and narrated) in chapters instead of interruptive levels.
HL2: Ep 1 pick up where HL2 left off. A friendly NPC (Alyx Vance) is introduced who is always on hand to lend her skills to your efforts as Gordon. There is only a minor addition to this episode in the form of a zombie enemy combine.
HL2: Ep 2 sees you and Alyx moving out of City 17 towards a rebel outpost in the wilderness. The game introduces more vehicle action, an expansive environment, a more involved and combative Alyx, increased Vortigaunt presence and a new powerful enemy in the form of the Hunters.
Portal is a rather different game where you have to solve a series of puzzles by firing portal guns to exit points while being ordered by an AI named GLaDOS. The game takes you through nineteen exhilarating levels, letting you peek behind the pristine and polished façade of the facility.
TF2 is an addicting multiplayer game that sees two competing teams engage in combat to capture control sections or opposing flags, or defend their vantage points. Featuring 9 classes that complement each other, you’ll never get bored of the dynamic the game provides.
The controls on Xbox are quite convenient across all the games. The shooting mechanics are quite satisfying and don’t get frustrating at any point. Utilizing the physics to your advantage is also quite easy as is using the portal gun in Portal. Movement is seamless on the console, and the use of Valve’s Source engine makes the controls exceptionally fluid so that you may never feel any disconnect between your screen and the controller.
Replay Value: 5.0
The Orange Box deserves a perfect 5 on replayability because it literally combines the best of first-person shooting with a great storyline, featuring challenging yet playable mechanics that get you engrossed in the game. The weapon handling is brilliant in all 5 games and makes you want to go back to these games even more. The unimposing storyline which syncs perfectly with the actual gaming is the biggest plus. The multiplayer in TF2 is nothing short of exceptional.
The Orange Box will forever remain a classic, even in an era of new, more capable hardware. The package provides a wholesome experience, and it also gives you helpful tools so that the gameplay never feels overwhelming. Portal is a standout game and has both humor and action which is a credit to the developers. Gameplay mechanics are excellent in all 5 games. HL2, Portal, and TF2 are unique and will forever be revolutionary in the gaming sphere.
- Complete commentary on the Half-Life universe, including why specific sections were created, and on the levels and map designs.
- Responsive shooting mechanics.
- Great deal for $19.99.
- Suffers framerate dips occasionally.
- Only TF2 supports multiplayer.