This is a summary review for Half-Life 2: The Orange Box. We've already reviewed each title separately, so this is just a short collation of those views. But what is the "The Orange Box"? Essentially, it's Valve's way of showing that they're no fools in the least bit: they've packaged the long-awaited Episode 2 for Half-Life 2 with the multiplayer frag-fest that is Team Fortress 2 (after a nine year wait!) and the dark, twisted, bonkers Portal. Oh, and for good measure, lobbed in the original Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 as well.
Half-Life 2: Epis 228b ode 2
This latest part of Valve's episodic waltz through the Half-Life canon follows directly on from where Episode 1 left off - you're even treated to a synopsis, in case you've forgotten what's happened! Very much a concise but short, single player blast, Episode 2 continues the pattern of strong story telling, dark humour and intense action scenes. It leaves one questioning just how much longer the tale can continue in this manner, reusing old art assets and gameplay ideas, before it becomes totally old-hat, but we're probably some way off that problem arising.
"Valve seems to have concentrated on polishing the winning formula, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that - it's just that when you are blasting away mostly the same enemies with the same weapons for the third game straight, and even the plot is just a routine run along a linear route, you kind of wished for something more. Yes, the much-promoted "open areas" are there - at the very end - and it all plays out like an extended boss fight. A very entertaining and challenging boss fight, but it doesn't change the fact that the rest of the game forces you on a narrow and scripted path."
Click here to read our full, in-depth review - Overall Score: 89
Team Fortress 2
Almost left for dead, the gaming community had binned Team Fortress 2 into the vapourware can but the long wait, and interminable silence, was more than worth it. Quite frankly, this is one of the best multiplayer games around and it'll be great to see what the modding community can produce for this title. Fast, frantic, fun, funky...err, reFined (sorry): all these words and more.
"Valve has taken the proven concept of the original Team Fortress, and simply evolved it to the next level. Basic things have not been messed with - it's still nine classes and two teams on fairly small maps, and neither side is taking any prisoners. Everything that made Team Fortress great all those years ago is still here - just prettier, more polished and in all possible ways... better.
Some details of the gameplay have changed slightly. Some classes have changes in their weaponry, the universal supply of grenades across all classes is gone, the Medic no longer spreads plague to the enemy team and the Demoman has lost his explosive packs - all good changes I can wholly agree with. Despite the changes, it's still feels very much Team Fortress."
Click here to read our full, in-depth review - Overall Score: 96
Games: Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
News: Team Fortress 2 Update Jan 15, 2008
News: New Team Fortress 2 Maps Coming Jan 12, 2008
News: GeForce Owners Get Free Portal: First Slice Jan 09, 2008
News: Small Team Fortress 2 Update Jan 08, 2008
News: Germany Gets a Free Weekend of TF2 Jan 03, 2008
Reviews: Half-Life 2: Episode Two Oct 22, 2007
Reviews: Portal Oct 15, 2007
Reviews: Team Fortress 2 Oct 11, 2007
Previews: Team Fortress 2 Sep 19, 2007
Articles: Top 10 FPS Single Player Games Aug 15, 2007
Articles: Black Mesa Interview Jul 23, 2007
Games: Half-Life 2
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