The Orange Box Review
Between Half-Life 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2, you're bound to find something you'll absolutely love in The Orange Box.
Team Fortress 2 is the multiplayer component to The Orange Box, and it's been a long time coming. Almost a decade, in fact. But we'll leave out the history lesson and get right down to business. Like its predecessor, Team Fortress 2 is a class-based multiplayer shooter in which the red team dukes it out with the blue team. There are six maps in the game, each with its own set of objectives. So 2fort is your basic "capture the flag" type of game, wherein each team tries to get into the basement, collect the enemy's intelligence (a briefcase), and return it home. The rest of the maps deal with the capture and defense of control points in different ways. For example, some maps put both teams on a course to capture the enemy's base, but require you to control the other points on the map to get a shot at the final objective. Hydro is an interesting map because it takes the control-point concept a little further by breaking each point up into its own specific area of the map. After each capture, the game is reset; a different part of the level is used for the next conflict, which makes it feel like multiple maps in one level. That's a good thing, too, because the downside of TF2 is that there are only six maps to choose from, and 2fort is the only capture-the-flag map.
Choosing your character class is a vitally important decision. The right answer is a mixture of personal preference and your current situation, because each class has unique weapon loadouts and abilities. The scout can't take as much damage as other classes, but he's faster, can double jump, and captures control points twice as quickly as other classes, which makes him a vital but fragile man on the battlefield. The soldier is your standard no-frills class, but his default weapon is a rocket launcher, which is handy. The pyro packs a flamethrower, which is fun to use. Then there's the demo man as well as the heavy, both of whom are slower-moving, tougher targets that bring heavy firepower along with them. The engineer's main weapon is a shotgun, but he can also build things such as turrets and teleporters, which can have a huge impact on the game. The medic can heal other players and let out an ubercharge that can turn players invincible for brief periods of time. Teaming up a medic with a heavy can be an incredibly devastating combo. There's a sniper class for those who like to shoot people in the face from long distances. Finally, there's the spy class, which you can use to disguise yourself as a member of the opposite team, turn invisible, and place sappers that eliminate pesky engineer turrets. The classes feel as if they've been balanced out fairly well, and for each action there's an appropriate counter. But none of that sounds particularly special, does it?
The thing that makes Team Fortress 2 so special is its graphical style. Rather than going with the ultrarealistic military look that's still all the rage these days with the kids, TF2 has an over-the-top, cartoonish design to it that starts with the great-looking characters. They're really well animated, and each class just has a ton of personality. The level design holds up its end of the bargain, with a visual style that occasionally reminds you of old Road Runner cartoons with their rocky, Southwestern styles.
In case you haven't played the two already-released games in the Half-Life 2 saga, they tell the story of Gordon Freeman, your silent protagonist. At the end of the original Half-Life, the scientist was placed into stasis by a mysterious, nameless figure known outside of the HL universe as the G-Man. This governmental-looking guy pops up right at the beginning of HL2 to awaken Gordon and, apparently, place him on a train headed into City 17. This is a very different world than the one Gordon left behind. Time has passed, though it's unclear how much. The alien invasion from the first Half-Life has resulted in the Seven Hour War, at the end of which humanity surrendered to a force now known as the Combine. But even with the human race under complete lockdown, there's still a group of rebels out there fighting for freedom. Some of these rebels are scientists that come directly from the Black Mesa facility where the original Half-Life took place. You quickly hook up with the rebels and the "good" aliens, the vortigaunts, all of whom speak of you in hushed tones, as though you were a legendary hero. Half-Life 2 is a very lengthy adventure with somewhat odd pacing. The game contains two very long vehicle sequences that perhaps go on a bit too long, but let's let sleeping dogs lie. This 2004 game is an absolute classic that should be played and enjoyed by almost anyone that comes into contact with it.
- Player Reviews: 651
- Game Universe:
- Half-Life (PC, DC, PS2, UNIX, MAC),
- Half-Life 2 (XBOX, PC, MAC),
- The Orange Box (PC, X360, PS3, MAC),
- Half-Life 2: Episode One (PC, MAC),
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two (PC, MAC),
- Team Fortress 2 (PC, MAC, UNIX),
- Counter-Strike: Source (PC, MAC, UNIX),
- Day of Defeat: Source (PC, MAC),
- Half-Life 2: Episode Three (PC),
- Half-Life 2: Episode Pack (PC)
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online