Publisher: EA Games
N Amer - 10/09/2007
E3 2007 Preview
Valve’s Half-Life series has been a mega success on PCs for well over a decade now. The sequel made huge waves when it released a few years ago, offering groundbreaking gameplay and a wonderful story, done in the same vein as the wildly popular original game. Now, the classic Half-Life 2 is getting ready for release on next-gen consoles, but the experience won’t be just a lame port of a game that just about everyone and their dog has already played. Instead, the next-gen package of the game (called The Orange Box) will offer not just the original Half-Life 2, but also both entries of the series’ episodic content (Half-Life 2: Episode One and Two), Team Fortress 2, and Portal, a unique action puzzler game. The game is a tremendous deal for console gamers, making it a must-have for those who haven’t played through the PC version.
The newest element in The Orange Box is Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Episode Two will be 30 percent longer than Episode One, and serves to bridge the gap between the first and third episodes. The short area demoed at E3 had Gordon and Alex leaving City 17 and heading through a forested area not unlike the Washington forests (it helps that Valve is based just outside of Seattle). You drive down a forest path in a modified muscle car/dune buggy until you get to a radio tower that needs you to activate its power. Using the gravity gun, you plug the cords back into their outlets and activate the lights.
At this point in the demo, we were ambushed by the new enemy featured in Episode Two, the Hunters. The hunters are really smart, really tough and really deadly. They shoot blue-green blasts at you and can drain a lot of damage quite quickly. The best way to get rid of them is by using a combo of environmental assaults (ie using the grav gun to chuck explosive barrels at them) and shotgun blasts.
Team Fortress 2 will also be offered in the bundle. This update of the classic multiplayer game has a cartoony look that gamers will have already noticed from the screenshots released, and will add some new features to the game’s dynamic. For example, the medic class now has the ability to make other players invulnerable for a ten second period, and will often be a class that is capable of turning the tides of a match all on their own. The game will also have a taunt system, where each of the nine different classes will have three different weapon-specific taunts to piss off the other team.
Lastly, is Portal, an action-puzzle game that has you creating portals in order to pass from one point to another. You have a portal gun capable of creating holes in the universe, and by following the clues given in the stage, you can progress to the end and move on the next objective. The game will feature 24 levels, growing in complexity and difficulty as they move on.
The Orange Box is a tremendous deal for console gamers, offering one of the best action games ever, a stellar multiplayer element, and ton of great elements all in one box.
The ultimate Half-Life 2 collection gets ready for next-gen consoles.
Reviewer: Steven Hopper
Review Date: 07/13/2007