The Orange Box Review

The Orange Box is one of the greatest values in gaming history, because it's jam-packed with a variety of world-class content.

Game compilations are usually dry and dusty affairs. Most are either a collection of "classic" games that were new 10 or 20 years ago or a repackaging of two- or three-year-old games with all of their expansions. In general, they're usually nothing to get excited about. So trust Valve to completely redefine this category with the weirdly named The Orange Box. This is a package that has something for almost everybody, including one of the greatest shooters ever made and some of the best new and original content of the year.

We could make a joke here, but it would pale in comparison to any of the actual comedy in Portal.
We could make a joke here, but it would pale in comparison to any of the actual comedy in Portal.

The Orange Box is essentially five separate games: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the puzzle game Portal, and the colorful multiplayer action game Team Fortress 2. Half-Life 2 and Episode One are older games that were originally released for the PC in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2 represent entirely new content that debuted with The Orange Box. The PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box is identical in content to the recent Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game. For a detailed rundown of what that content includes, you should refer to our Xbox 360 review.

With that said, the PlayStation 3 version of the game doesn't perform nearly as well as its Xbox 360 and PC counterparts. There is a noticeable problem with the PS3's frame rate at times. The frame rate hiccups are inexplicable because they can occur when almost nothing is happening onscreen or when you're in the midst of a big battle. It's not a huge gameplay issue, but it is very noticeable and a significant irritation. In addition, the PS3's loading times are longer than the Xbox 360's, and they're frequent enough to be noticeable, especially if you make a habit of dying and restarting.

Frame rate and loading issues aside, the content in The Orange Box for the PS3 is as good as the content in the superb Xbox 360 version. This is definitely a must-have game for the platform that will provide countless hours of single- and multiplayer action. It might not be the definitive version of The Orange Box, but it still represents one of the greatest values in gaming history.

The Good

  • The Half-Life 2 saga represents some of the greatest shooter gameplay ever made
  • Portal is a brilliant and humorous puzzle game
  • Outstanding visual and audio design
  • An unprecedented value

The Bad

  • The frame rate struggles at times and the loading times are a bit long

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