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4.4 out of 5 stars
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (PC DVD)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2008
collections like this dont come around every day, and i struggle to find anyhting that comes close to the deal and fantastic gaming experience this offers. It could only be made better by the addition of the original halflife and its expansions. But then again i suppose that is asking for too much remmebr valve is a buisness aswell as a Game loving development house.

Now onto the games. While much of my praise stems from the halflife series more than portal or team fortress. what i have seen and played of these two gems has been supremely innovative and challenging.

The halflife episodes are at once spellbinding, compelling, with unrivaled pacing and story immersion. After clawing my way past the final battle of Episode 2 im left salavating in expectation of the next and maybe final episode. I wont go into the details but remove yourself from all expectations. The second episode is much more of a solid thing i felt than episode one, less rushed and certainly more inventive and it tantalisingly reveals more of the plot. Things are coming to a head in the series and the outlook is more promising that anything i have awaited before.

Portal is something i have dabbled with but not fully completed as of yet. Again its mindbending puzzles, which are not too difficult when you get your brain used to the games mechanics. Thinking outside the box will quickly see you fly though the less advanced levels. Unlocking the advanced version of the level is a whole new ball park of challenge, but one i havent jumped into fully.

Team fortress now on the other hand i have not had a single go of yet, but am anxious to joing the buzz surrounding it. Animation though looks top notch from what i have seen from trailers etc.

To finish. You would be mad not to get this, for value alone if not for the amazing repitoire of gaming that it offers. Landmarks ahoy!!
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2008
As per previous reviews you need internet connectivity to activate your steam account - this was done with the minimal of fuss after installing the actual software - be prepared to leave steam running for a while after installing as it automatically updates all the components with the latest patches/fixes.

What you get isn't actually 5 games but 7 . . . .
1) HL 2
2) HL 2 Episode 1
3) HL 3 Episode 2
4) Portal
5) Team Fortress 2 (Multiplayer only)
6) HL 2 Lost Coast (auto:downloaded from Steam)
7) Peggle Extreme (auto:downloaded from Steam)

I somehow got this for £17.99 new just before xmas - possibly a mistake on Amazons part but would happily pay £26.

Recommend getting yourself a decent system before playing - this Enchances game unbeliavably as the story and interactions hold your undivided attention.

The orange box is without a doubt the best gaming investment I have ever made/enjoyed (as was the original Half-Life series - which even though now dated, is still an enjoyable retro game). This game package is without a doubt second to none. I can't recommend it enough without sounding like someone from Valve is crossing my palm with silver.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2008
HALF-LIFE 2 & EPISODES

A lot of people say that some games get better with time. Most of those people are lying. Technology just progresses too quickly, trends are as fickle as the capricious northern winds, and games consoles live and die to be immediately replaced with the next model. Games just don't get better.

"Half-Life 2" is a game that gets better with time. Not just because people like it, but because it's still going. It's making babies. And, even when you play it for the second or third time, it seems like it's a living, breathing entity.

Since it was first released in 2004, its developer Valve has written two additional "episodes" to the storyline, carrying on from where the first game left off. They knew that they couldn't reserve the material for a sequel - this wasn't some half-assed attempt like "Halo 2" and "Halo 3" which are two halves of the same game. They knew that this was still "Half-Life 2" and they were going to release it as such, in the forms of "Half-Life 2: Episode One" and "Half-Life 2: Episode Two". The game still lives, and it's getting bigger and better as it goes.

"Episode Two" was released as part of Valve's game compilation "The Orange Box", and again individually in stores in 2007. After three years, it was still growing and developing, the story expanding as the characters deepened and more of its world revealed. "Episode Three", the last segment of "Half-Life 2", is being developed as you read this, but may yet be some time.

The game - and let's talk about it as one game; one story - is a first-person shooter of the highest calibre, reawakening the dormant scientist Gordon Freeman after his first adventure at Black Mesa in "Half Life". He wakes up on a train, heading into the subjugated City 17.

The world has moved on a little since Gordon was last around. After maybe two years, the dimensional rifts that happened as a result of Black Mesa's ill-destined experiments have been hijacked by an expanding alien race known as the "Combine". Their avatar on Earth, a corrupted human by the name of Dr Breen, has taken control of the city and the surrounding landscape, subduing the population until they are thoroughly defeated and hopeless.

Not entirely hopeless. There is a resistance movement, which Gordon becomes a part of. More than that, he becomes a sort of living martyr, a figurehead. The illustrious Gordon Freeman is back to lead the resistance against the Combine, and free humanity!

The storyline is awesome. And that's just the main segment of the game. The following two episodes incorporate spectacular set pieces and plot changes, tugging at the emotions of the three-dimensional characters as their plight becomes more dire by the minute. They aren't just add-ons or expansion packs, and there's so much stuff in there that I can't go into it here. Needless to say that if you like a game with story; with advanced graphics and in-game physics; with cool weapons like the "gravity gun" to accompany other ass-kicking human and Combine arms; with realistic characters with human expressions and top-class voice actors - then you need only purchase "Half-Life 2" and its accompanying episodes. A spectacular vision brought to life, as exciting, emotive and dramatic as anything a gamer could hope for.

PORTAL

Awesome puzzle game using the H-L2 engine. It involves creating an "open" portal with one button, and an "exit" portal with another - use it to figure out you way around obstacles and enemies.

Sounds very simple; in reality, it's an intricately desiged, incredibly-challenging game that fails only because it's too short. There is a very loose story and a boss battle of sorts at the end that really pushes this game from four stars to five. Awesome ending credits, with brilliant music throughout. Definately not one to miss.

TEAM FORTRESS 2

I have to confess, I haven't played Team Fortress 2. It's an online deathmatch FPS, using formulas that have been perfectly honed for years. The first Team Fortess had unbeatable gameplay - no exaggeration,
UNBEATABLE - and this has proven with fans to be even better.

The graphical style is unique amongst games, but borrows a lot from classic US and European newspaper strips, which also inspired the art style of films like "The Incredibles". The graphics are wonderful and vibrant, and the selection of character-types and weapons is wide and varied. There are also numerous achievements to unlock, and also a bunch of pretty funny cut-scenes for each character-type.

It's not my type of game, being online and without a story of any kind, but what I've seen is good and I trust the praise bestowed upon it by my peers!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2007
O.k. so I bought Half Life two, episode two, on line so I am reviewing that as opposed to the orange box set. So.............

I think that this episode, in the half life saga has been long in the waiting but is in no way disappointing. The scenary (particulaily the forest area) is stunning, the lighting quality very realistic and if it wasn't for the antlions and combine forces would be a nice spot for a holiday.
It has been said that most video games are B-movie scripts, which is why most don't translate to movies so well, with this story I beg to differ. The story is first class and would rank along side most Hollywood scripts.

The action is intense particulaly the last battle with stiders and hunters. Hunters are one of the new enemies that arrive on the half life scene. They are really difficult to kill with any of the weapons to hand, though my favourite way was to run them over in the car from about 50 metres as it gaurantees a kill. Half Life two episode phew! I was beating up my key board trying to stay alive!

The puzzles in this game hark back to the original Half life game in that they are actually thought provoking. I felt that the ones in Half life two were pretty easy after a second or two consideration. episode one improved on them and episode two's were much smarter and more interesting.
Portal looks like it is along these lines, interesting Half Life puzzles without the gun fights.
All in all A brilliant game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2007
If you are in here reading reviews for the Orange Box you probably just want some reassurance you are getting your moneys worth.
Believe me, you are.
Portal alone hooked me for hours.
Plenty of gameplay and new challanges.
If you get bored playing HL2:EP2 and Portal for long hours, you can go online and get great multiplayer action in TF2 to keep your overall gaming juices flowing.
If you own a PC and are/or a beginner/huge gamer, HL2/Orange Box/ is a must in terms of the variety it offers.
If after playing HL2 you feel you need to shoot more things up, Counter-Strike Source and COD 4 is also great to fix your FPS jitters.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2008
First of all, don't listen to the people moaning about Steam. It's easy to use and as long as you've got better than dial-up internet you've got nothing to worry about.

OK, onto the games. You get the original Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. 5 games for around £25! Bargain!

Half Life 2 is still, in my opinion, a great looking game and the good thing is you don't need a particularly high spec PC to play it. When I first played this I was blown away by the AI. Throwing bottles at security guards is particularly entertaining. The story is interesting and the main characters are surprisingly engaging; I actually cared what happened to them.

Episode 1 picks up right where Half Life 2 left off, and although quite short, is full of action and will keep you playing.

Episode 2 is relatively short too, but equally as fun. The forest environment is stunning and the action sequences are fantastic.

Portal is a quirky, original puzzle game, which although quite short is very re-playable.

Finally you have Team Fortress 2, a class-based multiplayer game. To be honest, I haven't really got into this. After reading a load of hype about it I thought I'd try it but I have to say it was quite dissapointing for me. Probably more suitable for online multiplayer fans.

Overall, The Orange Box is a must have for any gamer, and at such a cheap price, you can't go wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2009
The thing about orange box is STEAM its a nuisance why did i buy the games on a DVD if i have to wait 20 hours for all the games to download, i have an internet stick with 5GBS of usage a month so thats my copy sold then.

I was so looking forward to playing this but because i buy an original copy im getting punished whilst people on these torrent sites get it for free,PC gaming has enough problems and if this is the way forward for all games i fear the worst.

The games themselves from what i have played (A friend of mine has it) are astonishing the characters make you care for them it weird how a game can make you feel like you are Gordon, the graphics and gameplay are awesome and i will buy this box again in the future i have no doubt ( When i have a 15gb a month internet stick lol)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2010
The orange box, is in short, epic. The half life games have incredible level design, and puzzles slotted in with the action. It's pretty much the perfect single player fps. The updated source engine on episode 1 and 2 definitly shows with improved facial expressions. The storylines are immense, and you can definitly get a sense of character from everyone. All of the main characters have a personality, rather than the power armour covered, hyper-masculine characters from other games around.
But that is only half of the box!
Team Fortress 2 is, in short, fun :). I don't think I have ever had a more fun experience on an online fps before. There are 9 fixed classes, and you can customize them slightly, but valve have done a brilliant job making sure all of the classes are balanced, and there are NO overpowered or indeed underpowered guns like in certain other fps's around. I never played the original TF, but this does not deserve to sit behind Half life as an extra. No way.
Portal is also a fantastic game. My personal favourite game in the box. It will only give you about 3-5 hours gameplay, but that is ok in my opinion, so it does not stay longer than it's welcome. 3-5 hours gives you a load of portal based physics puzzles, yet still manages to keep a good storyline with the action. The ending of portal is one of the best endings to any game I have ever played.

You must buy this game. It's as cheap as chips now, you have no excuse. Put down that Halo or Modern Warfare or whatever else you may be playing, and buy this game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2009
by; Jack

a really good value pack, 5 games for less than £20 - fantastic.

Half life 2; bears all the features of a well made game, still impressive graphics, with only a modest demand for power from your pc. The source engine creates a convincing world with realist physics, and is very pretty too. The pack also gives you the two episodes after half life 2; episode one and two. despite being pretty short, (why not just put them in one game?), they are equally fun to play, and continue a gripping, if slightly baffling story. So much so that i will buy episode 3 when it comes out. This trio of crobar-weilding-alien-blasting-FPSs are sadly shorter than they deserve, but are still incredibly good.

Portal; portal uses the same source engine as half life 2, and it shows in the graphics, and legendary physics. The game is a quirky little peice, that forces you to solve puzzles using the power of portals. Once you get your head around the weird qualities of the game, it is very enjoyable, with a touch of dark humour. this game is fantastic, but even though it's short, even the credits are nicely done.

Team fotress; i haven't really been much bothered by this game, having only played it once. It didn't really appeal to me in its multiplayer only format, but i suppose it must appeal more to some people . Read other reveiws to get a better idea. give it a chance.

The only other thing to mention is steam. The steam program must be working for you to play all these games, and you will need an internet connection. I honestly don't see the point of this little add on, but as long as you have web access on your computer, it doesn't seem to be a big deal. I just ignore it, and close it after i have finished playing, nothing really to fuss about.

All in all very good. If you have the money, and would like a distraction, then this would be a good investment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Orange Box is one of the best deals out there for all Computer game lovers. Essentially you get the second chapter of one of the finest Computer game franchises out there along with its own first two Episodes. So thats Half Life 2, Half Life 2 Episode 1 and Half Life 2 Episode 2. Whilst the two episodes are short in playtime they are quite simply stunning. These coupled with the awesome Half Life 2 you are going to be glad you made the purchase. Added to these three gems are Portal which is a superb game and one of the most innovative puzzle games I have come across in ages. It is quite simply brilliant. The cherry on top comes in the guise of Team Fortress 2. There is little I can add to what already has been said about this game. It is stunning. Multiplayer has never been so much fun! So buy this and get involved. My final point is about Steam. Most of the negative reviews surround this. Steam is easy to use. And is far more user friendly then it was in its first inception and to be fair it wasn't bad even then. The truth is that if you have a dial up modem to connect to the internet you are probably best not buying this boxset until you upgrade. If you have broadband then buy this now and stop worrying. I have found Steam to actually be a useful tool rather than a hinderance. Ignore the prophets of doom and fear not. The Orange Box and all its glorious elements can be yours to play! This is PC gaming at its finest. Oh how we love you!!
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