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.