View Full Version : Half-life 2: The Orange Box.

January 25th, 2010, 08:58 AM
My son, bless him, got me this for Christmas and I have been totally engrossed ever since. Okay, it’s an FPS and not much has been added to make it anything else. There’s a background story concerning the Earth apparently being taken over by some aliens from the ‘far side’ – no not the one with the cows, the one on the far side of the galaxy! The story opens with Dr Freeman trudging through a ‘1984’ cityscape where human existence seems to be barely tolerated. Only a few steps into the game and Freeman is quickly dragged into the underground resistance movement, suited up, tooled up, and out for some serious butt kicking.

The graphics are very good, although a bit dark; I had to adjust mine on the video options as I could barely see anything. Animation is pretty good, especially in the cut-scenes, and definitely on the principal characters. The AI varies from good to average on the lower skill levels, but I’ve not tried the higher level yet. The puzzles are not particularly difficult and most are actually quite obvious. Also several of them has more than a single solution. The game geography varies quite a lot from dreary cityscapes, coastal roads, tunnels, sewers, caves and the alien core.

So what is it that sets this game apart from so many other FPS’s? Basically, it’s the physics! Things move in the Half-life world almost exactly as you’d expect them to in your real world. This makes using the hover-bike or the dune-buggy tremendous fun. The biggest joy is the ‘gravity-gun’, a wonderful device that makes object manipulation great fun and adds a new dimension to combat.

There some annoying points, the torch really doesn’t last long enough in the dark, especially in the first part of the game. Freeman throws grenades like a girl too! Some situations also require you to just take damage in order to get out of them, this can prove very frustrating when the next episode is a heavy fire fight but at least your health improves each time you die!? There’s also the annoyance of the ‘squad’, a group of fighters who routinely attach themselves to you and invariably get in the way, especially where space is at a premium. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could give them specific orders but I often found their frequent demise a relief. Two of the principal characters also join you at various points, Barney can fight and I found him quite useful. Alex had a bad habit of getting in the way during a fire fight but she’s beautifully drawn, if you know what I mean!

The bad guys are a mix of bugs – hate the headcrabs – zombies, soldiers and combat vehicles. The variety is reflected in the diversity of weapons available and the supply of ammo is generous.

All in all this is an excellent FPS that is, quite simply, a joy to play. It’s not perfect but it has charm and that goes an awful long way. Getting HL2 in full, along with Episodes 1 & 2, the Portal game, and then Team Fortress just makes this one of the best value games out there!

January 28th, 2010, 05:43 AM
I really have to agree with you on this game set. It is truly a great work of fiction. I feel like I am in a great sci-fi, post-apocalyptic novel or movie, playing the main character. There are many games that have been made into movies. Can you imagine if this storyline was put on the big screen and DONE RIGHT? Oh man it would be epic. They could even retell the story from the beginning, going back to the first game in Black Mesa. It could rehash all the situations and conundrums that faced Gordon in the game and I would watch it with glee. Who would be cast in the movie? I dunno. Maybe Robert Downey Jr as Gordon lol.