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Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (PC)

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22 Reviews

Genre: Action & Shooter / Video Game for Windows XP / Suitable for 15 years and over / ESRB Rating: Rating Pending / Release Date: 2007-10-19 / Published by Valve

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    22 Reviews
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      28.02.2011 12:17

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      You truly get the full package with this game!

      Well this has to be said: This is one of THE best deals in PC gaming of all time! Every game in the Orange Box is pure quality! You have the beautiful intrinsic storylines of Half Life 2, the all out shooters that is Team Fortress 2 and the mind bending Portal! Half Life 2 really is a pinnacle in the PC gaming industry as well as storyline is concerned! It excels and goes way beyond the first game! It makes you believe that they shattered Earth you are in is a fully functioning ecosystem, with all kinds of strange aliens and people that you meet along the way within the world. You will go to all kinds of awesome places within Half Life 2 and its following episodes! All the original weapons from the first game are back with a vengeance and there are some nice new additions as well! Team Fortress is a team based shooter with the red and blue teams battling over domination for the intelligence! This game constantly gets updated with more hats than you can shake a stick at! You can choose from units such as the speed scout to the large heavy with his mingun Sasha to the sneaky Spy! A real joy to play and with the cartoon graphics makes for some hilarious sessions! Portal: everyone needs to play this game! Anyone who plays it gets instantly addicted. Essentially a 'get-to-the-exit' puzzle based game, it uses gravity, inertia and portals to make some truly twisted physics based puzzles!

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      13.12.2009 00:29
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      Great value

      The Orange Box is easily one of the best games you can get for your money, given how it contains within it five full-length games, yet retails for the same price as most PC games (and can be bought now for about £15)! For anyone wanting to get into the Half Life saga, this is a great place to begin. The games are: Half-Life 2 - the hugely successful sequel to the most acclaimed PC game of all time, Half Life 2 reunites us with Gordon Freeman once again, as he attempts to bring the nefarious government forces that are opressing the public to their knees. He is helped by Alyx, a resistance fighter, and this is just a thrilling game from start to finish that's got superb set pieces and thankfully works on fairly low end systems due to some clever graphics optimisation. Half Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2 - there were many questions left unanswered at the end of Half Life 2, and so Episodes 1 and 2 attempt to rectify them. Rather than full-length games like Half Life 2, these episodes play out like "one-shots", and last about 4-5 each. While their value was questionable at the original £20 price-tag, here in this set they really are worth it, for they further the story considerably and aren't just arbitrary expansions like you might expect. Portal - this is a magnificent game that begins with you, a woman, waking up in a strange lab where you are to be tested. You have to get through a number of stages using a special portal gun to manipulate the environment. This is one of the most ingenious games I've ever played and it also presents a sufficient challenge. Team Fortress 2 is a lot like Counter-Strike, in that it has two teams facing off against one another, but the twist is that it has cartoon-style graphics, a rather strange move by Valve that actually worked out brilliantly; it in some way mitigates the harsh violence and makes it seem very playful. For your money, you seriously cannot ask for a better valued title.

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      22.11.2009 22:40
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      Five excellent games in one, a real steal for the price!

      The Orange Box is a compilation of five Valve games, that was released in 2007. Please be aware that I am only talking about the PC version. Back in 2007, I received this as a Christmas present and I know it was less than £20 at the time. I've found it available new today for just £12.99. This is the kind of deal any gamer should be happy to see! The games included are Half-Life 2, HL2: Episode One, HL2: Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Half-Life 2 and HL2: Episode One were not new releases with the title. Also, the HL2 episodes are not full blown sequels, but continuations from the end of Half-Life 2. I will cover each game in this review, although they probably justify dedicated reviews! Half-Life 2 Half-Life 2 was released three years earlier than the Orange Box to critical acclaim. I already owned a copy and I am guessing a majority of Orange Box buyers already owned it too. This is a first-person shooter set in a world under attack by an alien force known as the "Combine". You play as Gordon Freeman, and although characters talk and react to you, your character doesn't seem to say anything and you never really see yourself in the third person. The game has a fantastic set of varied levels, placing you in a dark town full of zombies, on the underside of a bridge, riding down roads on a buggy, traversing swamp land on an airboat, and through many more enjoyable scenarios. The graphics are still pleasing in my view, and should run very smoothly on most machines today. These new vehicles are really fun to ride, with the speed and controls working very nicely. When I first played this, I embarrassingly didn't get on the airboat and tried for hours to wade and jump through miles of toxic waste, so pay attention gamers! A very fun and clever level equips you with some sort of spore weapon called a pheropod, allowing you to summon "Antlion" monsters as suicidal allies to tear apart enemies in your path, this is one of the best gaming innovations I've ever seen! As for the weapons, there is a hugely important "gravity gun", that allows you pick up and throw objects that are light enough, this gave Valve a good opportunity to show off the advanced game physics and lets you experiment with the environment. I particularly enjoy picking up and lobbing a circular saw with this gun! The other weapons are a nice mixture, there's a crowbar, pistol, magnum, shotgun, sub-machine gun, assault rifle, crossbow and grenades. This is nearly a perfect game and I still enjoy playing through it. Half Life 2: Episode One Half-Life 2: Episode One is essentially just an expansion of HL2. It was released in 2006 but I first played it as part of the Orange Box. I found the gameplay to be very similar to HL2, with the main change being more cooperation with your female ally Alyx. This title is based in the "Citadel" complex and throughout the city, so is similar in setting to HL2, the weapons, controls and appearence have not really changed so this really is just a continuation. This is not a bad thing however, the level design and the regular events make this a great action packed game. I especially enjoyed the final area where you rush to escape on a train. This is a noticeably short game, I finished it in under five hours, but as part of a great value compilation like this, you can't complain! The gameplay is just as good as HL2s so be sure to play through this too. Half-Life 2: Episode Two Half-Life 2: Episode Two is the latest expansion of the series. I immediately noticed the upgraded graphics, which are a lot more demanding and ran a little slow for me on high settings. There is a storm at the start which looks pretty visually impressive. Now this title really impressed me, I found the new enemies, known as "Hunters" and new rural and organic areas added lots of fresh content to the game. "Achievements" have been added, encouraging you can try to pull off certain challenges getting more out of the game. A car plays a central part and it really moves fast. I think the best part is the final level, where you are tasked with defending the resistance base from "Striders" (big spider robots) by firing "sticky bombs" at them from your gravity gun. You have to drive around, picking up bombs and taking out these huge walking robots, and it's an awesome challenge. I think this title is even better than HL2 and Episode One, the effort that has gone into making the levels interesting and enjoyable is clear. This is one of the best games I've ever played. Portal Portal is a clever and highly innovative puzzle game. You play as Chell, a woman of which little is known, equipped with a "portal gun", and need to move through levels using the portals that you create. The gun creates two seperate portals, coloured orange and blue. Moving through one will send you through the other. Obviously some interesting approaches can be taken with this crazy set of physics and I would struggle to describe them! The puzzles are progressively complex and tricky, but the real challenges lie in the "Achievements", including a challenge to fall 30,000 feet! Valve have even created an internet meme with the "weighted companion cube", which is being sold as fuzzy dice and toys! This game starts off as a benign puzzler but later becomes a funny yet dark thriller, with a twisted AI enemy tormenting you every step of the way! There is a fun final boss fight too where you attempt to incinerate parts of the AI nemesis. On completion, a bizarre yet catchy song "Still Alive" rolls with the credits, this involves that AI enemy you just defeated singing about surviving and cake!? This would be a fairly small stand alone title but as part of the compilation it works really well, this hugely innovative release exceeded my expectations! Team Fortress 2 The final game in the pack is Team Fortress 2, and it's the one I've spent the most hours playing. TF2 is a team based first-person shooter sequel to the popular Half-Life mod Team Fortress classic. It is fairly unique in it's "class" system, where one can choose from several vastly different characters. This game was delayed time after time but the final release was something special. Most noticeable in the initial advertising was the cartoon style of the game. This surprised many but allowed Valve to inject humour and flamboyance into the title, rather than struggling for realism. The playable characters are the Scout, the Soldier, the Pyro, the Spy, the Heavy, the Sniper, the Demoman and the Medic. Thanks to this cartoon style we have a huge Russian Heavy character, a French Spy, and a German medic and other caricatures. The American Scout character is the funniest in my eyes, he does a hilarious taunt slapping his thigh and shouting "That's what I'm talking about". You will love backstabbing enemies as a disguised spy, building sentries to overwhelm opponents as an Engineer, healing grateful teammates as a Medic and setting alight opponents as a Pyro. The classes all have their strengths and I would recommend eventually using all of them to get the most out of the game. The gameplay is also excellent, with good teamwork playing a vital role as the red and blue team face each other in different game modes. I particularly enjoy the "Payload" maps, where a team pushes a cart along a track by standing next to it. This game mode was actually added long after the game was released, as has plenty of other content, including new weapons and novelty hats. The game currently has lots more to it than two years ago. The 170 unlockable achievements play a major role in this game, and there are even levels and servers dedicated to helping players gain them. They also encourage playing as different classes and using the different weapons. I really enjoy achieving them, and have about 10 left to complete. This game is truly online heaven, although as with all multiplayer games, there can be rude and unfavourable players to say the least. It's so much fun to rack up kills with your chosen class, giving you the feeling that you're a real asset to your team. The Orange Box is possibly the best value game (compilation) available and I will recommend it for years to come. The amazing Half-Life 2, the hilarious Team-Fortress 2 and the puzzling Portal are classics in their own right.

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        10.09.2009 13:11
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        Recommended varied fun!

        Since Team Fortress 2 has been updated alot lately,so i want to do a good review to jusity it. TF2 is a first person shooter, online multiplayer fiasco. Its like Battlefield 2 took some drugs with Walt Disney and then got in a washing machine and set its self to rinse. The graphics, as you can see, are very cartoony, as was the case with TF classic (so im lead to believe). But dont let that put you off. They are awfully good graphics and its quite a pretty game. Its worth mentioning that like the battlefield series of games, (and others) TF2 has "classes". There's the scout, Pyro, heavy, demoman, soldier, medic, spy, engineer and sniper. Unlike other games though, the classes here are very very different. The difference between the Scout and Heavy for example are astronomical. The scout has only 150 health, a bat, a pistol and shotgun, he can run like the wind and bounce about the map like a mexican jumping bean. Whereas the Heavy is slow, fat and packs 300(?) health, he has a minigun, shotgun and fists that could punch through a wall. But he's an oaf and has trouble turning. So a nippy scout could, in theory beat him, but only if he's quick and nimble. The idea of TF2 is in the name. Its very much a TEAM game. Like most other games, your team have to complete the objectives or stop the enemy from doing theirs or both. This means working together. This is why the classes are split into "offensive", "defensive" and support. Engineers can build drone/sentry guns to defend intelligence, flags or bomb sites. They can also provide dispensers to distribute health and supplies as well as teleporters to get the slow members of the team to where they need to be, but they are no good as an attacking class. Demomen similarly so, rubbish close up, demoman is all about setting traps. Sniper shoots from a distance just like in any game. One thing i've found about TF2 is the accuracy of the weapons is unusual. Alot of the time it doesnt feel like you're hitting anything, yet it doesnt seem to matter. Lose the ideals of perfect KDR's and you will enjoy the game for what it is, a good fun, team based game. Many happy hours ive spent just running about with the medic gun out, healing team mates. Id come out with 1 kill and 30 deaths, but it didnt matter, because i was helping the team. Getting kill assists and having giggles. Team Fortress 2 has much improved over time. Valve have done a spectacular job of updating the game through various patches. when i first bought it, the novelty wore off, but now, they've released updates which have introduced UNLOCKS into the game, BF style. Its a joy. Sure they take ages to get, as you have to get a number of "achievements" first, but its such a joy and there is such a mix to look forward too and work for. Everything from the sandwich for the heavy. To the upgraded "backburner" flame thrower for the Pyro, which gives 100% critical hits if you can get behind someone. Upgraded bats, axes, medic guns...there's all sorts and lots of fun to be had. It breathes new life into an already super game. New game modes too, like one where one team have to move the (on rails) bomb from one point to another, while the other team try to stop them. Or simple capture the flag, Steal the intelligence or arena mode. New maps have been introduced and despite a few hours on the game i sometimes find myself thinking, "whats this map?" and "Where do i go?" TF2 is awesome and for £13.99 off steam, you'd be a fool to miss out.

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        01.09.2009 14:26
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        From multiplayer to a single player physics puzzle

        The Orange Box is a collection of Valve games featuring Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Ep1, Half Life 2: Ep2, Team Fortress and Portal. Every game in the Orange Box is a success and so i think this has to be the best value for money game package so far. TF2 Features: 9 Balanced classes Humorous cartoony feel and style Continous free updates from Valve Dev commentary Classes: Spy Scout Heavy weapons Medic Sniper Demo man Soldier Pyro Engineer TF2 is probably the best class based multiplayer game, so far though at times when you get headshoted or burned to death, you may feel that they have an advantage but soon enough you will be getting your revenge kill. Continuous content updates keeps the game as humourous and fresh as possible with new weapons, maps and game modes, you will just keep coming back to this game Portal features: Amazing physics system Amazing graphics Uniqe concept Good humour Portal is based on the story of an unknown test subject in an Aperture Science facility which observes human behaviour under various tests, the test you are under is something like problem solving skills using the portal gun, a gun that fires portals which if walked through you come out of the other portal. Throw in alot of puzzles, time trials and a kickass song at the end and you have Portal which i strongly reccomend that everyone try at least the demo on steam on on XBL. HL2,Ep1 and Ep1 Features: Clever physics engine Variety of weapons Good graphics Beliveable chracters and story Fun vehicles Half Life 2 sees you Gordon Freeman continue on his mission in aiding the resistance against the Combine occupation through driving hovercraft, cars and cranes aswell as gunning down Combine and monsters alike. Half Life 2 is a must play for everyone not matter what your game type.

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          25.08.2009 15:51
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          The most amazing gaming collection ever

          As I looked at the box of this game i presemed at first this was a dream. Unless this still is this indeed is too good to be true. 5 outstanding games at the price of 1. Half Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 are complimented by the outstanding (online only) multiplayer Team Fortress 2 and genius puzzle game Portal. The games should last you over 200 hours altogether with Half Life 2 being one of the best games ever with a metacritic score of 96: http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/halflife2. The sequels follow on from the engrossing and all three games have excellent graphics even by todays standards and engrossing story which will have you wanting you to sit at your computer till the game is completed. Team fortress is a joy to play online with its constant free updates and various character options my favourite being the deceiving Spy. Portal is genius with a twist of humour added in and mind boggling puzzles. NOTE: if you are worried that you wont like this puzzle game as it isnt your genre, try it out as it converted my brother who is now addicted to it. Proof how extraoprdinary this game collection is.

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          05.08.2009 22:38
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          The best boxset, I believe, ever!

          Wow wow WOW! What a collection this is! I already had Half-life 2 and episode 1 prior to buying this game but to get episode 2 I bought this box set since if I remember right it was the same price as the single episode 2. This box set includes: Half-life 2 Episode 1 Episode 2 Portal Team fortress 2 This represents many hours worth of playing, but I'll look at each in turn: Half-life 2 The sequel to the ever popular Half-life, on of the best games on the PC in its time. Half-life 2 continued the story of the central character, Gordon Freeman, a perpetually silent scientist who had a little 'accident' in the first game opening a dimension portal thingy letting some evil nasties through. This game picks up after the human race has been enslaved by said evil nasties (the combine), there's been a reproduction inhibiting field installed which prevents humans from having kids (how this works is unknown!) and most humans are kept in camps or herded in cities. The graphics are simply fantastic, even know a good few years after it was released. The sound is excellent and the interaction is fantastic. This game just oozes class. You also get to meet Alex, the daughter of one of the scientists from the first game, she goes on to become a big part of the series.... Episode 1 & 2 It was decided that instead of waiting years for Half-life 3 (there was a considerable wait for Half-life 2), Valve would release it was 3 episodes, each playing short, but making up the whole game. There were some graphical improvements made and you get to spend more time with Alex, the story continues further and there are some genuinely exciting moments. Portal Using the Half-life 2 engine, this game is a puzzler involving portals, one entrance and one exit. You have a gun that fires both portals and you have to get through the various levels using the gun to access areas that you previously couldn't, or using the physics to produce momentum and send yourself flying through the air at speed. The game is set in a test lab where you are constantly monitored by Glados, a computer system that is somewhat.. eccentric... Surprisingly good story line and there's a few hidden Half-life 2 easter eggs in there too... But what about the cake..? Team fortress 2 I admit I never really played this but it's a solid team based shooter. The sequel to team fortress, you're given a variety of classes of character from the heavy and slow heavy weapon man, to the nippy and sly spy. The graphics are really good, taking a cartoony feel and the game has received loads of updates since it's been released. It features a variety of game modes including capture the flag, hold the base etc. Overall you can't go wrong with this set, in fact I don't think there's ever been a better value box set.

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          04.07.2009 02:45
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          A great game for most, but not for some...

          Team Fortress 2 came to our attention not too long ago. It was subject to a wave of high anticipation during the build-up to its release, and in my mind that expectation for a great game hasn't been met. <--What Its About--> TF2 was bought for me a few months ago by a friend who wanted me to get into the game along-side his new-found addiction. And I know plenty of people who love it and are also completely addicted. However, for me TF2 remains a game to be missed. What you do is load up the game, jump inside a server, pick your side and class, then go out and attempt the hammer any opponents in your way. Perhaps the main thing Valve developers got right with this game was the diversity found within the classes. From Engineers to spys, each class possesses a unique weapon, and unique style of play. You really have to get inside a character to understand how it works - something I found difficult to conquer. But when you see past the diversity of each class, you come to realise TF2 is just another first person shooter disguised with some fancy features. <--Graphics--> One thing I love about this game is how smooth it runs and how great the graphics look. Valve got it spot on going down the 'cartoon' route, with effects and character motions fitting together perfectly. The gun sounds and details are amazing, coming together with the games comedy element nicely. Another fine touch by Valve was to include taunts - after you have killed a player you can perform a variety of dances/gestures to effectively 'annoy' them. This works fantastically, as when you kill a player they are forced to watch a kill-cam of the player who killed them... very satisfying if its you! <--Conclusion--> In my personal opinion this game gets boring far too quickly. There some much better FPS's (first-person shooters), such as Day of Defeat which a player can recieve far more fun out of. Good for some but not a game for me.

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            25.06.2009 20:48
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            The Orange box is a great bargain as is TF2.

            When I first heard of the orange box I knew it would be good, who could say no to what are practicly 5 games for the price of one? the topic here is just HL-E2 and TF2 though? I guess they are confused, so I will do a bit about all the games in the Orange box exept Half life 2 and half life 2 episode 1 An important thing to know however is if that even if you already have Half life 2 and half life 2 episode 1 you can still get the orange box, the diffirence is you can gift those two to someone else via Steam. Half Life 2 Episode 2 takes us back to gordon freeman as he wakes up after escaping the city run by the evil combine as it was being destroyed, if you were looking for the words "The end" you will be sadly let down unfortunatly The Idea of episodic content is to bring out small content faster for a lower price, bringing 1/3 of a game for the price of a full game every three to four years isnt really all that appealing also included in the Orange box is Portal, this fun first person puzzle game ( a FPPG?) also takes place in the Half Life Universe in a rival company of the half life 1 company black mesa, It is a great game whit some phylosophical questions here and there and a great plot but I dont want to spoil it. Team fortress 2 is a classic red vs blue setup whit diffirent classes, each having its own role and playstyle, its a great game whit many achievements wich is regularly updated whit new content, the style is a bit cartoony, sometimes described as akin to the style of the Incredibles movie but this is what sets it apart from games such as battlefield in that it is cartoony and whit silly dark humour as opposed to just putting 2 teams across eachoter and letting them sort it out, there are diffirent game types to try like; team deathmatch, capture the flag, several versions of payload ( in wich you must push a train cart whit a bomb to the enemies base) all in all the Orange box is a great bargain and Portal or Team fortress 2 are worth their money, They could have done better whit Half life 2 and its episodes.

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            16.05.2009 20:56

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            A complete bargain!!

            The Orange Box is a superb collection of games. Firstly Half Life 2 one of the best single player games back in 2004, and it's still is a great game today. Also with the two episodes it extends this game superbly. Both the Half Life 2 chapters are great but I found myself prefering Episode 1 due to the storyline. A new game introduced by Valve is called Portal, a short but unique and very addictive puzzle game. Another game is Team Fortress 2 , a brilliant online multiplayer team game with really funky graphics, more cartoony looking than the Half Life 2 episodes. In this game you compete online in a team made up of various classes of people, e.g. you can choose to be an Engineer, Medic, heavy weapons expert etc. These various character classes each have their unique abilities, the Engineer can build mounted turrets, the Spy can disguise himself as the enemy and infiltrate their team and so on. This gives the game a great sense of style and game play. Each profession is well balanced with strengths and weaknesses. If you have experienced Half Life 2 Episode 1 and you enjoyed it I suggest you grab a hold of this compilation, it represents amazing value for money, I paid £9.99 for my copy a complete bargain although I have seen it regularly at £14.99 still excellent value.

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            16.04.2009 18:02
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            Fun and strategy rolled into one, with a few weaknesses holding it down

            I've got a confession to make. A few months ago, I sat here in front of my PC screen and tapped out a review of The Orange Box. I gleefully chatted about the five Valve first-person shooter games collected together in this compilation. I waxed lyrical about the mature storyline of Half-Life 2, the ingenuity of Half-Life 2 Episodes One and Two, the diabolical evil genius of Portal and... well, I think I might have mentioned Team Fortress 2. Truth was, I didn't want to play Team Fortress 2. It was a strictly online experience, and I was intimidated by the concept of having to work as a team with experienced players when I hadn't ever played the game before. They would call me a 'n00b' and then shoot me, no doubt. As I couldn't practice offline or with friends, I left TF2 to the very last and concentrated my reviewing efforts on the other games. Eventually, I couldn't put it off much longer. After watching as many videos and consuming as many text files as I could find, I bit the bullet and jumped into a game. I didn't really understand what was happening, and I kept on getting blown to pieces, bits and smithereens, and also bits of smithereens. Reader, I would love to say that I persevered and learned the ropes and eventually turned into the Intercontinental Champion of Team Fortress, but this would be a lie and the internet is not the place for those. The damage had already been done by the preceding weeks of hesitance and fear. Because I wasn't instantly amazing at TF2, I simply accepted that I had been right in the first place about it not being fun, and that I would stink at it, and that I should leave the internet to people who can fire guns accurately. I turned it off, I wrote my review, and I forgot all about it. Some weeks later. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was home alone for a few hours. Out of the blue, I decided that I wanted to play Team Fortress 2. It was an odd sensation, and one I completely didn't foresee. Still, I vowed to be patient and optimistic, and I turned the game on. Its cartoony style, vivid colour scheme and dramatic, bombastic soundtrack were alluring - they promise simplistic, over the top action. With its exaggerated caricatures and near-supernatural weapons, the game is definitely OTT, but if you're expecting a simple blast-a-thon, you'll be surprised. Still, the presentation is basic enough and welcomes you into the game without any unnecessary waffle. I chose a 'Ranked' game, which meant that I would be matched up with players of my skill level online, and the results would be recorded on the leaderboards (Alternatively, I could have gone for a 'Player' match, which has less rigid rules and allows for joining a game halfway through - there seems to be more people playing these.) I found a game on the 2Fort map - a "Capture The Flag" affair where two opposing teams (Red and Blue) store intelligence briefcases in the basements of two farmhouses on either side of a small stream. Each team must try to break into the enemy base using force, stealth or technical wizardry, take the briefcase and return it to their own. Simple enough. The teams in my game only had two players each, but I wasn't playing to win, I was playing to learn what the heck I was supposed to do. Bigger games can support up to eight players a side. From the nine available 'classes', I selected the Pyro. The other classes are Scout, Soldier, Engineer, Demoman, Heavy, Medic, Spy and Sniper. We'll take a proper look at them later. I went for the Pyro straight away because he has a flamethrower. Hey, I never claimed to be an intelligent guy. It wasn't long before my 'team mate' decided to bail, leaving me on my own against my two enemies. If I wanted any chance of staying alive, the logical thing to do would have been to guard my intelligence briefcase and burn any invaders. But I wasn't here to do a Custer impression, I wanted to throw myself into this game and get to know what's up. I used the signposts dotted around the base to find my way to the 'no man's land' inbetween the two bases. There are a couple of routes across I could have taken. Had I been a Scout, I could have double-jumped onto the metal roof over the bridge and leaped straight onto the enemy's building. A spy or someone with a penchant for the sneaky could have dived into the water and taken the sewer tunnels. As there were no snipers watching out for me and it was a pretty unpopulated game, I was safe to simply take the bridge. I ducked through the corridors, ran up the stairs, went through a few more doors and then descended into the basement. While the rest of the map looks like a sadistic farmyard, the basements are very sci fi and evil genius. Although the maps are complicated and allow for a variety of routes, approaches and strategies, it is very hard to get lost in them. I found the intelligence, grabbed it and ran back the way I came. Of course, at this point I had no idea how to keep myself hidden in this map, so it was not long before I was tracked down by my opponents. I managed to torch one of them fairly badly, but they were too good for my amateur self. They slaughtered me and I respawned back at my base, to start all over again. And so it continued. I had no chance of winning and I believe they beat me 3-0 (meaning they captured my intelligence three times, and I got theirs no times) but I had a lot of fun running around, fending off attacks with bursts of flame and laughing triumphantly for the three second bursts that I had their intelligence. Had I got this game wrong! My own misgivings had put me off a very tactical and endlessly enjoyable game. Not wanting to swamp myself with information, I decided to slowly work my way through each of the classes while sticking with the same 2Fort map. Here's my breakdown of each of the different 'characters' you can be, each with their own clearly-defined strengths, weaknesses and personalities. Class Name: Scout Appearance: An over-enthusiastic baseball fan. Weapons: Scattergun, pistol, baseball bat. Special Abilities: Scouts can run exceptionally fast and can double-jump. They are the best at claiming 'Control Points', which is essential for winning some of the maps. Class Name: Soldier Appearance: Well, he's a soldier. Weapons: Rocket launcher, shotgun, shovel. Special Abilities: The soldier can use his rocket launcher to give himself a jump boost, although this does damage him slightly. Class Name: Pyro Appearance: Looks a little like a gasmasked freak. Weapons: Flamethrower, shotgun, axe. Special Abilities: The flamethrower can set enemies alight, which causes extra damage. Make sure they don't jump into any nearby water though! Class Name: Engineer Appearance: A rough-round-the-edges Texan. Weapons: Shotgun, pistol, wrench. Special Abilities: Engineers can build sentry guns (the most powerful weapon in the game), teleporters and supply points, meaning they are essential for a tactical team. Class Name: Demoman Appearance: Unshaven and covered with grenades. Weapons: Grenade launcher, sticky bombs, bottle. Special Abilities: Demomen can place sticky bombs and detonate them at will, meaning they are the ultimate trap-setters. Class Name: Heavy Appearance: Muscular and about seven foot tall. Weapons: Minigun, shotgun, fists. Special Abilities: The heavy has the most health out of all the classes, but don't expect him to move quickly. Class Name: Spy Appearance: Wears a suit and a mask. Weapons: Revolver, knife. Special Abilities: The spy can turn himself invisible for a short period of time, and can use his Sapper to destroy enemy machines such as turrets. He can also disguise himself as a member of the opposite team. When he is in disguise, he can stab people in the back for a one-hit kill. Class Name: Medic Appearance: A doctor from Hell. Weapons: Medigun, 'syringe gun', saw. Special Abilities: The medigun heals his team's injuries, and if the medic heals enough, he can use an 'Ubercharge' to make himself and a mate invulnerable briefly. Class Name: Sniper Appearance: A stereotypical Australian, for some reason. Weapons: Sniper rifle, submachine gun, kukri. Special Abilities: The sniper, if he charges his gun up enough and gets a clear shot at someone's head, can kill an opponent with one shot. Each individual class is exciting for its own reasons, even relatively dull-sounding ones like the Medic or Spy. There are six maps to play on, including 2Fort, Well, Hydro, Dust Bowl, Granary and Gravel Pit. 2Fort is the only Capture The Flag map, while the others involve the team battling over various 'control points'. Some of the maps have one team defending and the other attacking ('King of the Hill' style), while the others give the teams bases and ask them to attempt to takeover the other. All of the maps are expertly designed, producing twisted versions of everyday environments with multiple routes, hiding places and secrets galore. I generally play Team Fortress 2 on my Xbox 360 due to ease and because my PC can't handle anything bigger than a Beatles MP3. However, I have to say the PC version is superior. Not only does it have the usual hacks and custom skins available, there are more official maps to download (including a more than welcome Team Deathmatch mode and the new 'Payload' mode) plus unlockable weapons. This makes the Xbox 360 version seem a little smelly, to be honest. It also affects its longevity quite negatively. Playing online is a mixed affair on the 360 - there are not a lot of people discussing tactics, so despite the team-based nature of the game, it tends to be a free-for-all. There seem to be a few hacks around, meaning you could find yourself in a game with annoyingly low gravity or some such irritating glitch. Also, reliability of servers is an issue - I've been disconnected, or booted, or "lost my connection" on 1 out of every 3 or 4 matches. Whether this is just bad luck or not, I don't know, but it does put me off playing. With so few maps on the 360 version, this game has enough material to keep you hooked like a grubby little fanboy for a week or so, before it will no doubt get a little old. However, the PC version has enough variety and room for development that it ranks as one of the better light-hearted online games out there. It's a pumped-up 'Paper, Rock, Scissors' game played out in gloriously gratuitous sophisticated cartoon, peppered with more wit than many movies. The terrifying 'head mistress gone bad' voiceover work of Ellen McLain gets annoying due to its repetition and sheer volume, but it's essential for orchestrating in-game events. The personalities of the characters are thankfully more entertaining, and the way you will be mocked for losing is fantastically frustrating (you will be shown parts of your exploded body, shown close-ups of your killer and given a 'nemesis' who you have to seek revenge upon). While the Xbox 360 version is smaller than the PC, it is part of the Orange Box, which is itself an essential purchase for any first-person shooter fan full stop. It can be bought seperately at a budget price for the PC, or downloaded via the Steam service. The best way of obtaining TF2 though is definitely the Orange Box - the cheapest, greatest video game compilation of all time.

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              17.03.2009 18:25
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              A great Deal

              The orange Box is not just one game but a collection of many. It includes the games; Half life 2 Episode 1 and episode 2 Portal Team Fortress 2 If you already own any of these titles, steam will make a copy of the game you already own so you can send it onto a mate etc. So to begin with, the orange box contains one of the best FPS games ever to hit pc ie HL2 which carrys on from HL. Episodes 1 and 2 are there to back up the story line, carrying on from half life 2, each episode giving many hours of gameplay and great to carry the HL experience onward. Portal is a game where as the name suggests, you are given a weapon which can fire and create portals where you aim enabling you to solve puzzles etc. The puzzles getting more difficult as you progress and really getting you thinking. It's quite a unique game in itself and quite addicting, so another great game to add to the collection. And finally Team Fortress 2 is an online multiplayer game with cartoony graphics and light hearted entertainment. There are many classes to choose from each with their own nationality and funny sayings. The pace online is pretty rapid, much different to CSS as you mainly run in blasting your enemies. There are many game modes and maps so should provide lots of entertainment. All in all, this is a fantastic collection of some of the finest games. Whether you already own 1 or 2, the orange box is available for around 14 pounds, less than some individual games by itself! So that's roughly 3 pounds a game! A fantastic deal.

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              05.03.2009 18:01
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              A great game, well worth buying.

              I recently picked up this game, and have enjoyed every second of playtime. It really is a gem in the sea of class based multiplayer games, and one of the most definitive parts of it is that you won't succeed with a team of only one or two classes. You need a balanced team, otherwise you're sure to fail. A perfect example of this is a team made up of scouts. Playing against them as some classes is hard, due to their dodging and weaving and sheer speed, but against a pyro, a gas-masked figure with a large flamethrower, your bound to wipe out almost their entire team. The graphics is another plus point. They're smooth, detailed, and even add some humor to the game, as they look somewhat cartoony, but that doesn't stop you from being blasted into several meaty chunks. The sounds is great too, with fast action music, and appropriate insults from all of the nine classes, each with a different voice, accent, and each with their own history. The engineer is a Texan, then sniper an Australian, and the voice acting is superb. Overall, I would definitely recommend buying this game, if you want in on a large slice of class based fun, have some mates to show just how good you are as a rocket launching soldier, or hear their curses as you appear behind them as a spy, and knife them in the back. Definitely worth buying.

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              14.02.2009 02:28

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              Arguably the best 360 game.

              Finally, we get a multiplayer shooter without shame. It has many different classes, and while having the classic gory cartoon graphics, it has a charm that you won't get tired of. Examples of classes are the heavy weapons man, when you have a lot of big guns, and the skinny scout who can run super fast, but who doesn't really have the best weapons and skills. IT is online only; there is no campaign mode or anything like that. This is easily the best game made for the Xbox 360. It is very addictive, and there are always many multiplayer games on Xbox Live at all times of the day, so you'll never run out of people to play with for years probably. It is rated Mature, but the violence is not much, but the gore is bad. It shows body parts and blood all over after a player gets blown up. This game has my recommendations.

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              11.01.2009 22:08
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              Class based multiplayer shooter at its best

              After a long wait, team fortress 2 finally arrived and it was well worth it. The original game pushed the boundaries of online multiplayer shooters and introduced us to the class based systems that we see in many games today such as the battlefield and call of duty series. The original game didnt take itself too seriously, and we can see this in the sequal. Cell shaded graphics mean that the game will run on lesser able computers but this does not detract from the visual experience. From the colourful explosions to the cleverly animated player models, this game is visually stunning. It is basically the same as the original gameplay wise with two teams competing for objectives on the map or attempting to capture the ememys flag. The game is fast paced and with the array of classes and weapons avaliable, it will take a long time before you have tried everything. Will you play as an engineer and set up sentry turrets in your base? Or as a spy and sneakily stab enemys in the back whilst disquised as one of there team mates!

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          • Product Details

            Includes the original Half-Life 2, Episodes One and Two, Portal, and Team Fortress Two.