The Orange Box PlayStation 3
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
The Orange Box is one of the finest game compilations of all time and scored a perfect ten out of ten when we reviewed the game for the PC and Xbox 360. Now it's time for the PlayStation 3 version. Much has been made of the performance issues that the PlayStation 3 version suffers from and I think it is not unfair to say that if you have access to an Xbox 360 or capable PC then you really shouldn't consider the PlayStation 3 version. That said, the PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box is still a great package.
The Orange Box contains Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2 Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Just releasing Half-Life 2 for the PlayStation 3 by itself would have been enough reason for the game to be an essential purchase but there are so many additional top quality products in the box, which makes the overall product insanely good value for money. With The Orange Box, PlayStation 3 gamers are given chance to bring themselves up to date with the Half-Life 2 story. When Half-Life 2 was released on the PC, the game became an instant classic and many still regard the game as the ultimate PC FPS. The Half-Life games have never been run and gun shooters. You actually have to think about what you’re doing and how you approach a given situation. Half-Life 2 added the Gravity Gun that allows you to pick up all kinds of items and then fire them as your weapons (as well as solving numerous environmental puzzles in the game), which really added a whole new dimension to the FPS genre. In fact the Gravity Gun has been mimicked in a few FPS titles since Half-Life 2 was released.
Half-Life 2 continues the story of Gordon Freeman and his battle to save the Earth from an alien infestation that was triggered by the accident that Gordon was involved with at the Black Mesa research facility. We certainly won’t give any spoilers away here but the game was exceptional. Half-Life 2: Episode One continues the story. In truth Episode One was disappointing to some degree. Many considered it to be far too short and not quite up to the same high standards of Half-Live 2. Half-Life 2: Episode Two continues the storyline and is not only a longer episode than Episode One; it’s also a far better experience and is another top drawer FPS offering from Valve.
Portal is far from filler content and could have easily stood on its own as an original and impressive gaming experience. Essentially, Portal is a puzzle game played from a first-person perspective. You play as a woman in an orange jumpsuit that awakens in a laboratory. Essentially you have to go through a series of test chambers making your way from the start point to the exit point. You’ll have to make use of portals to get from start to finish however. For the most part, you’ll get to place these portals yourself by using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. The challenge comes from the fact that you’ll have to makes use of the portals to solve puzzles. This starts off simply by moving boxes around but it soon becomes much more complex. Once you’re done with the main game there are advanced maps and challenges to undertake (the challenges are rather fiendish). It’s difficult to put into words just how innovative Portal really is. It’s a whole new gaming experience that really must be played to be fully appreciated.
Team Fortress 2 is the sequel to Team Fortress, the game that really started the whole class-based multiplayer gaming craze many years ago now. Long awaited, the game has gone through various transitions during its development process. The end result though is rather impressive. There are three different classes that each has three characters. The Offense class offers the Scout, Soldier and Pyro (who wields a flamethrower). The Defence class offers the Demoman, Heavy Weapons Guy and Engineer. Finally the Support class has the Medic, Sniper and Spy (who can use an invisibility cloak) as its playable characters. The game offers two game types with Capture the Flag and Control Point (where your team will attempt to capture and hold the control points on a map) and there are six different maps to select from, which might not seem like much but each map has different zones that can be played on with their own unique feel and they are all great to play on.
As we said at the top of the review, much has already been made of the performance issues that the PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box suffers from. The quality of the frame rate seems to vary from game to game. The frame rate ranges from being absolutely fine and identical to the 360 version at its best and a complete slideshow at its worst. The Orange Box still looks as good as it does on the 360 but the failure to maintain a smooth frame rate throughout the game definitely damages the package as a whole.
Half-Life 2 was definitely one of the best games we’ve seen in regards to how well it caters for deaf gamers. The game offered extensive captioning and really allowed deaf gamers to enjoy an FPS in a way that hadn’t been available before. The PlayStation 3 version of Half-Life 2 retains all of the captioning that was found in the PC version. Episode One and Episode Two are also closed captioned and likewise they are great for deaf gamers. Episode Two does have an introductory movie that isn’t subtitled, which seems a little odd. Portal also has closed captions and is great for deaf gamers. Team Fortress 2 also offers closed captions but these are only for the developer’s commentaries. The closed captions in all of the game are disabled by default.
If, for some reason, you've been unable to enjoy either the PC or Xbox 360 versions of The Orange Box and you own a PlayStation 3 then you ought to put the game on your wish list. The frame rate issues are unfortunate but the quality of the games on offer means that most will be prepared to put up with an uneven frame rate in order to enjoy the quality of the games on offer. Those with an Xbox 360 or a decent PC probably should pick up The Orange Box on one of those formats however. The performance issues prevent the PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box from being as highly regarded as the other versions of the game but it's still an outstanding package and the best FPS experience you can have on the PlayStation 3 at the time of writing.