The Orange Box

PS3™
Release date: 14 December 2007
Developer: EA
Publisher: EA

Overview

Five games in one from the creators of Half Life

A collection of some of the finest action games ever made, The Orange Box is five games in one that no PlayStation 3 owner should be without. Included within are Half Life 2, already the recipient of numerous accolades for its technical excellence, captivating story and addictive game play, as well as the sequels Half Life Episode One and Two, the multiplayer free-for-all Team Fortress 2 and brand new first person puzzle game Portal.

Each game features stunning graphics, well-written scenarios and Havok's dynamics engine which lets you experience an extraordinary level of physical interaction with the environment.

Contains the full version of Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode One, and the following games:

  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two - the second instalment in Valve's episodic trilogy advances the award-winning story, leading the player to new locations outside of City 17.
  • Portal - a pioneering type of single player action game that rewrites the rules for how players approach and manipulate their environment
  • Team Fortress 2 - an all-new version of the legendary title that spawned team based multiplayer action games. The game's daring new art style features the most advanced graphics of any Source-based game released to date.

Preview

Box of delights

Prepare yourself for The Orange Box - five of the best games of the year in one handy package on PlayStation 3.

Half Life was one of the best reviewed and received games of all time and its sequel, Half Life 2, is one of the highest scoring PC games ever produced. So, it's about time that the Half Life series comes to PlayStation 3 in The Orange Box, a bumper set of games that's a must-have for FPS fans, and an absolute treat for PS3 owners everywhere.

Half time

First game up in the cornucopia of delights that is The Orange Box is Half Life 2. Picking up where the original game left off, HL2 puts you back into the Hazardous Environment boots of Gordon Freeman, theoretical physicist, man of few words, and unlikely action hero. After being placed in cryogenic suspension at the end of HL1 Gordon awakes to find the world has been taken over by a force known as The Combine. What follows is a blend of first person shooting action and puzzle solving with a rich, compelling story running throughout, gorgeous High Definition visuals and some of the most inventive weapons ever seen in a first person shooter game.

Top of the list is the hugely impressive and fun Gravity Gun, a weapon that gives you the ability to pick up objects too heavy to lift and move or throw them wherever you want. Initially it seems like this is just another offensive weapon to use as you throw barrels and rocks at enemies, but as the levels progress it becomes more and more useful in helping you traverse the hostile environments you'll come across.

Truly epic in scope, the only disappointment in Half Life 2 is that it eventually ends. And that's what makes The Orange Box so great - included here are Valve's episodic follow-ups, Half Life 2: Episode 1 and Half Life 2: Episode 2. Continuing the story of Gordon Freedman and his sidekick Alyx Vance, the Half Life Episodes up the graphical polish to even more impressive levels, while unveiling even more of the story that began in the original game.

Portal power

Another new addition to The Orange Box is the standalone title Portal, a completely new and incredibly innovative game that plays like a first person puzzle game. The core of the game is the Aperture Science Portal Gun, a device that can create inter-spatial portals coloured blue and orange. Entering the blue portal will cause you to emerge from the orange portal and vice versa, and the game is set up as a series of tests for you to overcome, involving seemingly uncrossable gaps, unscalable walls and heavily guarded exits that you must navigate past using only the Portal gun.

It may sound complicated, yet the learning curve for Portal is pitched exactly right. The testing facility the game takes place in is overseen by a vaguely threatening computer known as GLaDOS, who guides you through the early parts of the game offering encouragement and the promise of cake if you complete the course.This is typical of Portal's warped sense of humour - the game is shot through with darkly comic dialogue from GLaDOS and often surreal situations, creating a fantastic atmosphere that manages to be both funny and sinister at the same time. It's a short game, clocking in at around four hours, but one of the funniest and most innovative games of 2007 and one that will definitely give your brain a serious workout.

And that's not all! There's yet another game in the Orange Box in the form of Team Fortress 2, a multiplayer-only, team-based game with a much more cartoony visual style than either Portal or the Half Life games. There are nine player classes for you to choose from, each having their own strengths and weaknesses that change the way you play the game. The Heavy Gunner is in possession of an incredibly powerful mini-gun but is slow and susceptible to enemy fire, the Medic can heal his teammates, while the Engineer can build sentry guns and the Spy can disguise himself as a member of the opposing team.

Featuring capture the flag and territory control games, Team Fortress 2 brings a tactical edge to the multiplayer FPS genre, and the wide range of character classes and maps means you won't be getting bored any time soon.

On their own, any one of games contained within the Orange Box would be worthy of your purchase, and all five bundled together on a single disc is an unmissable offer. FPS fan or not, this is one box that everyone should open.


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