Half-Life 2: The Orange Box Hands-On - Team Fortress 2

Valve gives us some hands-on time with the Xbox 360 version of this multiplayer action game.

When Valve and EA ship Half-Life 2: The Orange Box later this year, the two companies will provide three distinctly different games. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions will pack Half-Life 2, Episode One, and Episode Two. Then there's Portal, the very cool 3D puzzle game. And finally, there's Team Fortress 2, the long, long, long-awaited multiplayer action game that Valve once showed off as far back as 1999. The big news last year was that Team Fortress 2 was back and in a colorful style that could be described as Pixarlike. While most games veer toward gritty photorealism, Team Fortress 2 looks more like The Incredibles.

We got the chance to play the Xbox 360 version, and it was no surprise that the gameplay was pretty much identical to the PC version, which we got to play earlier this year. This is a team-based multiplayer game where you select to play as one of 10 distinct classes, each of which has a special role on the battlefield. The scout is lightning fast and armed with a shotgun, but if he's so much as sneezed on, he goes down. The soldier is tougher, carries a rocket launcher as a primary weapon, and a good beginning class. The heavy is the toughest and hardest hitting class on the battlefield but also the slowest. The pyro is deadly up close with his flamethrower but at a disadvantage at a distance. The sniper can hit from across the map, but you need to have some skill to use this class effectively. The demoman tosses grenades around. The medic can heal units and even make an ally temporarily invulnerable. The engineer can build weapons, health dispensers, and teleports around the level. Then there's the spy, who can disguise himself as a member of the other team and sneak up to deliver an instant kill from behind.

When all these classes are put into play, this can make for a crazy multiplayer game. The action is so over-the-top because explosions send guys hurling in the air or splattering them into a dozen pieces. The mode we played was a capture mode, where the goal is to control five points on the map. But the thing is that the points are arrayed in a linear manner, so to capture one point, you have to capture the point preceding it. If you're defending your last point, you can't rush behind the enemy and seize a point on the far side of the map because it's locked. This focuses the action on only a handful of points.

That would be plenty enough for most games, but Team Fortress 2 goes even further and has trains running through this level. Yeah, Halo and Gears of War have levels like that too, but in Team Fortress 2, it feels more like a cartoon sequence when someone gets run over. One nice twist that we discovered is that if time runs out and neither side has won the match, it goes into sudden death, which means there is no more respawning if you die. That's a fun way to come back and win because our team was getting kicked all over the place, but we managed to hold on to our last control point. That meant we went into sudden death, where the game got intensely conservative. You can't run into the open, die, and respawn anymore, so it's all about stalking your opponent. To prevent the match from turning into a camping festival where everyone is just waiting in ambush for the other team to make a move, there is a timer counting down, so you have to act. We managed to kill the other team, so even though we didn't control a majority of the capture points, we still won.

The action translated well to the Xbox 360 gamepad, and the visuals also look fairly good. The console versions still don't look as sharp as the PC version, thanks to the PC's superior antialiasing and displays, but the computer-animation look of the game works well on a television. This isn't a game that's stuffed with huge amounts of detail. It's got a clean look to it, which works to the game's credit. Watching this game in action is a treat. Even dying can be fun because of the fact that the game gives you all sorts of factoids on your performance. For instance, it'll tell you if you scored more kills as a certain class than before or if you managed to get more assists than before. It's all fun trivia, and you can use it to improve your performance.

Orange Box looks awesome, and it'll ship later this year. It's more proof that this is going to be one impressive year for gamers.

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Discussion

52 comments
SheepNCG
SheepNCG

Well i already bought the pre-sail of orange box for PC to get the TFC2 beta. I agree with all they said in the text above, however, the only problem is the respawning time is a kick in the arse. Sometimes it take 12 seconds or further, what pisses me off. I hope they fix it on the final version. Despite that, the classes are wonderfully well represented and the maps details are astonishingly gorgeous. I'm also looking forward Portals coz of the innovative game system puzzle. The idea of manipulating the scenario with a portal openner gun makes me brain itching =P. Episode 2 will put a haldfull of salt in Hl2 story. I'm far to curious to see what happened after the explosion of Columbia's Citadel and what adventures will be waiting for us!!!!

Chrissyc86
Chrissyc86

garunteed purchase based on HL2 review alone.

Hedgyness
Hedgyness

I would of bought it just for HL ep 2 & TF2 but the fact that there is portal, HL and HL ep 1 as well is amazing! a must have its a really good deal :D

MC_nairn
MC_nairn

i cannot wait for team fortress 2. the fact that it includes half life 2 and portal sold me from the start.

Kaialexy
Kaialexy

It will be one of the best games of this year!!!!!

troy3065
troy3065

Same with me, all the games will be new to me, cant wait for team fortress 2

CowbellFanatic
CowbellFanatic

I've never played Half Life 2 before so The Orange Box is so worth it. Five whole games that I've never played before for $60. Hell, I'd probably pay $50 or $60 just for TF2! Thank you Valve!!

heroface
heroface

wo0w i only ever played half life 2 on the xbox... ignored the PC continuations cos the were never coming out for my old black machine... but now they are coming out for my new white machine!!! ALLL OF THEM!!! AT THE SAME TIME!!!! AAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZZZZIIIIINNNG

DarkSan00
DarkSan00

this is gonna be the value pack of the year, hl2, ep1, ep2, portal and team fortress in one package. Plus lots more games coming out. It's a good year to be a gamer

joe_canz
joe_canz

you know the blood looks better than photorealistic versions lol..looks funny when they blow up like what the_weekend said sooo funny

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

I'm gonna use the Heavy. Check out the trailer with him in it ... hahahaha!

aringarosa101
aringarosa101

this looks to be the value deal of the year.

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

@Webdoom yup the madness probably to do with the approaching christmas period when you get stampeded by games and this year a great selection thank god

webdoom
webdoom

Halo3 (360) Assassins Creed (360) Unreal Tournament 3 (PC) Mass Effect (360) Half Life 2 : Episode 2 (PC) ...so many cant keep track of them all, i surely missed a few... all within a few months!!! where is the money gonna come from lol

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

What with all these multiplayer shooters heading to the 360 this year just where is one to find the time lol oh well what is a gamer to do spoilt for choice with halo 3 , cod4 and teamfortress 2 , would be good if the 360 and ps3 ver were cross platform like shadowrun , wonder if that will ever happen ?

evilmonkey_clou
evilmonkey_clou

Those cartoon graphics remind me of an R rated Disney movie. Ill buy the orange box just for that!!!

McGregor
McGregor

I actually like the cell shaded graphics. it definately adds an artistic style to it. photorealistic gets old as well, especially with everyone trying it. games like this, and eternal sonata do a great job of taking a cartoon/animated look, and making it fun and great looking.

Space-Q
Space-Q

"We dont want cartoony graphics team fortress 2 !" Speak for yourself. I'm sick of everygame trying to be photorealistic. it's good to see that some people still have style and imagination. we need more games look like this and okami and thirteen and killer 7

KronikKilla
KronikKilla

Steam? Superior? Bahahaha. That's a good one. And n00b_kid, I'd much rather have both, AND Day of Defeat. Then I won't even need my PC.

crithon
crithon

I just hope there isn't any cross platform gameplay considering how badly Shadowrun went and how superior steam is over Xbox Live

---n00b_kid---
---n00b_kid---

Valve, where is Counter Strike: Source ?? We dont want cartoony graphics team fortress 2 !

Canitbe
Canitbe

As long as TF2 can even remotely keep the same feeling as the original, it's definitely worth it for that. That being said, the review itself feels rather bland. What I mean is, it's definitely written by someone who has never played any of the original games (That's ok!), for people that have also never played the original games (That's ok too!). I just wish there was a more in depth review of TF2 for us old farts who still remember the original(or even play it on our local lan!)

sonynhater
sonynhater

i'll buy this only for team fortress two. and illiminatire you are gay they write obvious stuff so that people like me(which i barely know anything about this game) so that i know. so, shut up! u big dope

illuminatirexx
illuminatirexx

....gamespot doesnt really ming givein us the obvious, and well known facts...do they? ;) lol, maby its time to fire some ppl, to inspire some other ppl to write beter reviews/previews, that do not recycle the same materials all along.......just a thought.

Scotty678923
Scotty678923

Who cares about how sharp it its whats the difance

ziyad888
ziyad888

it's a fair deal ..... having 5 games incloding 3 best games ever ! ( HL2,ep1,ep2) thanks valve and gs !

nephthyswandere
nephthyswandere

Definitely a buy for me, this looks like so much fun!

MiasmaRising
MiasmaRising

"i bought shadowrun and regret it" I totally agree. But yeah, orange box is gonna kick some tail.

NineDaysWonder
NineDaysWonder

How could you not be interested in playing the Half-Life story mode, which is like the best FPS story in existance, and Portal which looks incredibly fun? This whole package is going to be amazing, and how can you complain when you are getting five games for the price of one?

skipper847
skipper847

If i do buy it it will be later on. But at least when i do play it it want crash my system as it did with my pc because my pc wasnt up to spec so it looked jerky and horible hehe.

Mikrokosmik
Mikrokosmik

Mass effect, orange box, halo 3, bioshock, assassin's creed, CoD4... I'm going to be completely out of money by the end of this year.

FraserAlexander
FraserAlexander

I bet that a lot of rental stores rent each game out seperately. I actually only interested in team fortress, and I'm pretty sure there is no way to buy ONLY that game, at the same time, mulitplayer-only games you can get burned on (i bought shadowrun and regret it) ...great deal though.

ocdog45
ocdog45

i only want this game to play team fortress

Calmed_Fury
Calmed_Fury

5 games for the price of one! It sucks that there will only be 1000 gs points though.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

This sounds sweet and I am looking forward to it.

AustinTaylor
AustinTaylor

I really can't believe they're putting all this in one package. They should just go ahead and throw in Counter Strike: Source while they're at it.

Hungry_Homer111
Hungry_Homer111

The Orange Box will definitely be the best collection of games in a long time. It's even better if you're like me and didn't get the pleasure of playing Half-Life 2 or Episode 1 before. As for Team Fortress 2, I was already excited for it, but this makes me even more excited. Definitely a great addition to The Orange Box. :)

FiddleStick
FiddleStick

the Orange Box is gonna be the best gaming value this year. 3 exceptional games in one package for 60 bucks on consoles? who can argue with that? definitely a buy for me.

kennykaos317
kennykaos317

Even with all the great games coming out this fall, it's gonna be tough to pass this one up.

Delictum
Delictum

reading this just makes the wait even longer..... sweet sweet irony