Product Type: Electronic Arts PS3 games
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Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (PS3)
Member Name: CheesySpam
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (PS3)
Date: 19/03/11, updated on 20/03/11 (25 review reads)
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You may be familiar with a critically acclaimed series of games called Half-Life. It was made by a developer called Valve. Their first game was Half-Life. Critics said that it 'revolutionised the FPS genre' and it hasn't aged at all. Since then, Valve has made several more fantastic games. So, they've decided to package five of these games onto one CD, and called it 'The Orange Box'. It is available on PS3, PC and Xbox 360. Here is my review of the PS3 version.
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First of all, there's Half-Life 2. It's even better than its predecessor, and people have gone as far as calling it 'the best game ever'. That comment is, arguably, quite true. A gripping storyline, action-packed battles and clever puzzles make it totally fantastic.
Yet again, you control Gordon Freeman, a former scientist from the Black Mesa Research Facility. He accidentally caused a huge accident, opening a portal which let hundreds of deadly creatures into the facility. Luckily, Gordon managed to get into the portal and killed the monster holding it open. That all happened in Half-Life. But now, it's years later and he is awoken by the G-Man, who places him into a train on its way to City 17. It is a ruined city in Eastern Europe, controlled by the Combine. Gordon meets an old friend Barney, and finds himself heading to Doctor Kleiner's lab. He was a friend of Gordon's at Black Mesa. Before arriving, he is ambushed by the Metro Police but is saved by Alyx Vance. She's the daughter of Eli Vance, another Black Mesa scientist. They go to the Doctor's lab together and are both ready to be teleported to Eli's lab. Alyx's trip goes smoothly, but when it comes to Gordon's turn, Kleiner's 'pet' messes about with the controls. Gordon lands outside, so he has to go to the lab on foot. But it isn't just a quiet hike - along the way, he faces a countless number of dangerous aliens. Armed with just a crowbar and pistol, can he get there without being cut up into pieces?
There are two gameplay elements - combat and puzzles. Firstly, it isn't anything like some of the run-of-the-mill shooters you can get nowadays. Even now after the Bad Company 2 and Black Ops, the combat is excellent. You start off with the basics - a crowbar and pistol - but you soon have access to more advanced weaponry like a pulse rifle and crossbow. Overall, the combat is nearly flawless; the shooting is solid, the weapons are varied and the shoot-outs are extremely fun. Moving onto the puzzles now. These are what sets Half-Life 2 apart from other first-person shooters. A couple of hours into the game, you get the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator, or Gravity Gun. This can pick up and launch objects. I won't go into detail with this, but play it or watch videos and you'll understand why this makes the game so good.
To make the game even better, the graphics are breathtaking. There are some beautiful environments in the game - you'll stop and stare at some of the beautiful, ruined urban environments and rocky mountains. Everything is detailed. The characters also look realistic. Plus, the voice acting is absolutely flawless and the music is spectacular.
Overall Score: 10/10
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Things are just as good in Half-Life 2: Episode One and Two. These are expansions to Half-Life 2, continuing the story. I won't go into detail with these - gameplay wise, they're similar and I don't want to ruin the story. But in these, you get to search the dark underground of City 17, explore some beautiful forest areas and take part in an epic battle against massive aliens called Striders - probably the best part of any game, ever. It's worth getting the game just for that. The graphics and sound remain strong, and the storytelling is brilliant, in both episodes.
Episode One Overall Score: 8/10
Episode Two Overall Score: 10/10
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Take a break from Half-Life and enjoy Portal, a game focused on puzzles. Valve apparently made it as an experiment, but it turns out to be one of their best games.
Seriously, there's not much I can tell you about the storyline without giving any spoilers. But I can tell you that you control a test subject named Chell in Aperture Science Laboratories and you are talked to through speakers by someone, or something named GlaDOS.
The gameplay is unique. You hold the Portal Gun, a device which can fire blue and orange portals. It is pretty easy to use - fire a blue and orange portal in different places around the room. Step through the blue one and you come out through the orange, and vice-versa. It may sound simple and this is indeed the case in the first few levels but as you progress through the game, things get harder and much more complicated. Angular velocity soon comes into play - and buttons, turrets and dangerous hazards become involved.
The graphics are also great. You can't exactly called the environments varied, but they look quite realistic and catch your eye. The audio is, like the Half-Life games, spot on. The voice acting is superb, even if there is only one voice actor, Ellen McLain. She voices GLaDOS and does a spectacular job, putting lots of expression in here voice. The music is fantastic, too. Sometimes, it's fast and catchy but at other times it's slow and dramatic. The slow, dramatic music helps make Portal one of the most atmospheric games of recent times.
Overall, the game is brilliant but there is just one thing that holds it back from being flawless - it's short length. Portal only lasts four hours. However, you don't have too much to complain about. You're getting this with four other games for just a tenner and anyway, the game is so good that you shouldn't care too much.
Overall Score: 10/10
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Getting fed up of single-player? Want a bit of multiplayer action? Then play Team Fortress 2. This is a class-based online-only FPS. It's one of the best online games you can find today.
There are two teams: red and blu. You play in one of these teams across various game modes and maps. There are nine classes: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper and Spy. Each of these are split into one of three teams - offence, defence or support.
The graphics are unique - they have a cartoon-y style supposedly influenced by 'early 20th century commercial illustrations'. They are very smooth and is a nice change from the normal, realistic FPS style. And the audio? Well, it's loud. You can hear gunshots and shouts from everywhere.
If you want more information on the game, take a look at my PC review of Team Fortress 2 - there's not too much difference between the two versions. But there's something about that version that makes it better than the PS3 version. Somehow.
Overall Score: 8.5/10 (PS3 Version)
10/10 (PC Version)
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So, should you get The Orange Box? Definitely. You're getting five of the best games ever for just £10. What can be better? Admittedly, the PC version is a lot better - there are automatic updates for each of the games, making the experience better. But if you only have a PS3, it's certainly worth it.
Summary: Five of the best games ever for just a tenner? Deal!
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