The Orange Box Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

If you are the type of person who feels a little short changed when you purchase a new game one day and then complete it the next, then The Orange Box may be just the package for you. Offering a bountiful amount of games this is one package that should keep you going, the fittingly orange disk is certain to be keeping your 360 drive warm for quite some time this winter.

If you have a full set of fingers on one hand, count them and you should have five, that is exactly the number of games that is on that bright and cheerful disc. The critically lauded Half Life 2 certainly headlines the package if you are looking for a lengthy single player FPS game, whilst the two episode expansions bolster the package number to three. Then of course there’s Portal, which is an original and clever game, and finally there’s the online only Team Fortress 2 which is sure to be the game that keeps people playing well into the long-term after conquering all the single player games in the package, well as long as they have Xbox Live and like playing as part of a team anyway. Yes we haven’t miscounted our fingers or the number of games, there’s certainly five of them. Is there any bigger and better bargain than this?

Half Life 2 was everything that everyone wanted in a continuation of Gordon Freeman’s compelling story, and when it was released on the PC it grabbed the attention of many gamers with an almost gravitational pull, and coincidently that brings us nicely onto the Gravity Gun. When you eventually get your waiting hands on this magnificent invention your world suddenly becomes your weapon, allowing you to toss everything including the kitchen sink at your enemies. True it may seem a little contrived to have all these explosive barrels conveniently lying around as combustible ammo for this unique gravity defying weapon, although if there’s a lot of enemies to contend with, to take a good number out with a lob of a single barrel for example is something very satisfying indeed. There’s ordinary guns too if you’re wondering, but nothing that nears the imagination of the Gravity Gun. Half Life 2 is a great game with many memorable moments and when things start heating up your trigger finger will certainly be satisfied and you’ll even eventually have support from the resistance who help you out and are always apologetic when they bump into you.

Episode One begins immediately following the events of the second game, although in no way should you go into this expansion expecting a lot of new stuff, as this is simply more of the same. The pace certainly never lets up, there’s more dark areas that requires the guiding light of a torch, and Alyx Vance, the central female character of all the Half Life 2 games thus far, regularly follows your lead with gun in hand, although she does rudely get in the way at times, and never apologises. Unlike the episode that is detailed below, Episode One is set over very similar levels to that of the original Half Life 2, but it’s still an exciting and enjoyable four hours of shooting.

Like the first episode, Episode Two begins exactly where its predecessor left off. Obviously we’re not going to reveal how the first episode ended, although lets just say it’s quite the cliff-hanger. Immediately you’ll notice the first real difference, you are no longer in the middle of City 17 with the urban areas of the previous games being replaced by forest environments, mineshafts, and dark caverns. Those who missed the vehicle sections in the first episode, will be glad to see their return with a brand new car for you and Alyx to jump into, thankfully you’re the driver, as we all know that women aren’t fit for such a thing (no offence intended to our female readers, we don’t actually mean it). Episode Two is certainly a superior game to the first episode, and we await the third episode with excitable hands.

Moving away from Half Life 2, Portal is a clever game that requires your very own cleverness (or a walkthrough at least) to overcome the situations that the game often places you in. You begin the game in some sort of test lab, and it’s this lab that you are confined to for the entirety of the game. Guided by a humourous computerised voice you’ll be working your way through rooms by solving puzzles and using the Portal gun. Much like the Gravity gun of Half Life 2, Portal’s puzzle solver and weapon gives the game its own identity. Fire at specific walls or roofs and you’ll create a portal, and it’s these portals that are required for puzzle solving and to disable any threats in your way. Initially you can only fire one portal at a time, although not long into the game you are able to open two, wherein entering one will result in you coming out the end of the other one. It’s really quite difficult to explain, although lets just say that there’s quite a few fiendish puzzles to exercise your brain, and many are so well designed and the game is so short that you’ll feel like you have done something dirty when you seek the aid of a walkthrough. All said and done, Portal is a genius creation and we love it.

Finally, Team Fortress 2 is the only online game in the package and as the title suggests it’s about working as a unit, so lone wolves beware. The game is class based, with a rather ample nine classes to choose from, split into offence, defence and support. Obviously all the different classes have their strengths and weaknesses and whatever kind of player you may be you should surely find a class that fits you like a glove. Scouts are quick and can double jump for example. Whilst Pyro’s should delight all those pyromaniacs out there, as they carry flamethrowers that obviously aren’t exclusively used for roasting potatoes every Sunday. Engineers can meanwhile build resourceful things such as teleporters, supply buildings and turrets. The heavy weapons guy on the other hand is basically a walking tank with a huge bullet-spewing gun. One of our favourites is certainly the sneaky spy who can turn completely invisible, disguise himself as an enemy (amusingly your team mates will then see you wearing a cardboard mask) and wields a knife to take out enemies from behind. Quiet and discreet is indeed the aim of the spy. Snipers, Soldiers, Demoman and medics need little explanation, although they do have a few surprising uses. Moving on, the simple cel-shaded visuals are a breath of fresh air and give Team Fortress 2 its very own unique identity, whilst the game itself is a multiplayer dream.

The Orange Box is an amazing bargain and all five games are quality through and through. Simply put, we can’t recommend it enough, so if you’re an FPS fan you’d be crazy to let this pass you by, in fact you would be completely insane to miss out on such an excellent package.