I picked up The Orange Box a while ago and hadn’t played through any of Half Life 2 yet because I got side tracked by Call of Duty 4. Well, I finally beat the game over a month ago and am finally writing a review about it.
The Orange Box came with 5 games total. Half Life 2, Ep. 1 and Ep. 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. I already covered Portal a couple of months ago here. I’ll be covering Ep. 1 and Ep. 2 later on as I have already beaten those as well.
Half Life 2 is pretty much the same exact game that was released on the original XBOX many years ago. The graphics have been updated slight for the 360 but you can tell that they are last gen graphics still. That is not necessarily a bad thing as HL2 has some pretty amazing graphics when it first came out on the original XBOX. Even though the game is old, the visuals still look pretty slick on the 360. I would say the graphics have held up quite well in the transition. The controls scheme however has changed slightly from the original XBOX and I would say they are a lot better now then before, primarily due to the top 2 shoulder buttons. They allow you to quickly switch between weapons.
The story line of Half Life 2 is still as great as ever. You play Gordon Freeman once again in a future Earth that is over run by Combine soldiers. These events take place after Half Life 1 which I never played so there are some gaps in terms of story line for me. Certain events I do not know about such as what leads up to the Combine occupancy and the events at Black Mesa. I will need to go back and play the original Half Life to get the full story. Even though the game is a few years old, I dare say that the story line itself was way ahead of its time and I still find it a more compelling story then the Halo trilogy, especially after playing all the way up to Ep. 2. The plot is very deep and thought out and everyone in the story has a place and purpose.
I’m not going to ruin the story for anyone even though I’m assuming that most gamers have at least played through this chapter in the Half Life series. If you have never played this game, I definitely recommend going out and playing it. This game has action, puzzle solving, story, and even some driving in it. This is not a mindless game like some other FPS’s out there. I would rate this very high on my list of all time greatest FPS games.
By the way, the achievements for this game are insane. There are so many to keep track of that you may need to play this game several times to get them all. If you are resourceful however, you can get all achievements in one play through if you are keeping track of what you need to do.