Half-life 2 won numerous â€śgame of the yearâ€ť awards and was the subject of countless critical acclaim, and for good reason. Its incredible combination of story, environment, action, horror, drama, physics and more whipped up a concoction that has yet to be equaled (or even approached).
Now weâ€™re going to have the chance to revisit the 2004 classic, along with a couple of expansions (one of which, Episode Two, is brand new to this collection), a multiplayer game everyone has been waiting for (Team Fortress 2) and a rather clever looking first person puzzler (Portal).
Originally intended to also be available as a cheaper â€śblack boxâ€ť edition (the same bundle but without Half-Life 2 or Episode One), the contents of the Orange Box breaks down like this:
• Half-Life 2 â€“ possibly one of the best PC games ever made. If youâ€™ve never played it, donâ€™t miss this opportunity. If you have, it comes with a separate CD / Steam key so you can give it to a friend and not sacrifice the rest of the boxâ€™s content.
• Half-Life 2: Episode One â€“ released in 2006, this expansion once again pits Gordon Freeman and Alyx against the almost indomitable forces of the Combine as they oppress the people and crush out all hope. Episode One reviewed extremely well, universally acclaimed as an excellent extension to Gordonâ€™s story.
• Half-Life 2: Episode Two â€“ brand new to this collection, Episode Two is the second in a planned trilogy of expansions to the base Half-Life 2 game. Having escaped City 17, you must guide Gordon Freeman through the White Forest and deliver critical information to the waiting resistance scientists. New weapons, vehicles and creatures await!
• Portal â€“ using the unique portal gun, you must figure out how to traverse the environment and manipulate its contents to find your way to the exit. Fire an entrance portal and then fire an exit portal and jump (or shove things) through. Can you work out what needs to be done and how to do it? This is a unique first person puzzler, something we here at NZGamer are particularly looking forward to.
• Team Fortress 2 â€“ the game that is almost as hotly anticipated as Duke Nukem Forever. Itâ€™s been a very long time coming and its new, unique cartoon style certainly stirred things up in the fanbase that eagerly awaits it â€“ will the changes (and theyâ€™re not just skin deep) refine the class-based multiplayer shooter into something even better or forever fragment the fanbase into those for and those against? Time and NZGamer will tell, just as soon as we get our oh-so-greedy mitts on it.
So there you have it â€“ probably the single best value box of goodness a PC gamer will ever see. A bit frustrating, perhaps, to pay full price with the excuse that the box contains Half-Life 2 should you already have it, but even if you ignore its presence thereâ€™s a hell of a lot of brand new stuff in here too.
Weâ€™ll have the full review the second it lands in our laps, assuming we can be dragged away from Team Fortress 2â€™s multiplayer or the brand new Half-Life 2 Episode Two expansion or Portalâ€™s unique puzzle action long enough to write it.
If you're looking to get in on the action early, consider pre-ordering The Orange Box from Steam - you'll get early access to the Team Fortress 2 beta, as well as Peggle Extreme, a new version of PopCap's killer puzzle game!
The Good: Half-life 2 and so much more, all in one box.
The Bad: Chances are youâ€™ve already got Half-life 2.
The Ugly: Thereâ€™s no way to buy it without Half-life 2.