The Orange Box

Games Reviews Valve
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The Orange Box

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Valve packs five eye-opening games into one convenient Box

Every moment you’re playing, a video game asks the question:

What do you see? Half-Life 2: Episode Two, one of three new games in The Orange Box, is masterful both for what it shows you, and for what it hides. Clever level design and use of sound cues ensures that you’re always getting a cinematic look at scripted events. But some of Half-Life’s most enduring sights are those you have to strain to see, like a line of enemy soldiers marching across the horizon, or a massive Strider stalking you through the trees.

The puzzle game Portal opts for a more clinical aesthetic, but demands that you process its austere environments in an unfamiliar way. Armed with a handheld teleportation device, you navigate hazards by creating personal wormholes; step through a portal in the floor and you drop through the ceiling across the room. It’s as dizzying as it is imaginative.

Team Fortress 2 adds character to the multiplayer genre with cartoon-like visuals and a sense of humor. The class-based gameplay is deep, and it’s refreshing to see a shooter eschew both World War II and outer space. That’s what Valve Software has always done best: show you something new.

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