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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Orange Box - Playstation 3
Platform: PlayStation 3Change
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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2007
I have played the whole of the Orange Box on 3 systems: a midrange system from a few years ago (Pentium 4, nVidia 7300GTS video card), a brand new system (Intel Core 2 Quad, nVidia 8800GT video card), and the PS3. I have seen the XBox 360 version, but I have not played it myself, so I won't pass judgement.

I will say this: I hate all the complaining about the PS3 version, with everyone comparing it to the other versions. Yes, EA is a horrible game developer, with substandard ports, and Valve should not have handed the Orange Box off to them. Yes, because of this, the PS3 version suffers, both graphically (no 1080p options), and with some drops in framerate (most notably in parts of Episode 2). But the problem with this sort of reviewing is that it is not objective to this game on this system, and deters people from an amazing gaming experience.

The Orange Box is one of the most amazing gaming experiences and gaming values you can get. I don't feel any need to elaborate; most people have either already experienced it, or read any of many reviews giving details in depth. The PS3 version is still that amazing experience, no question. It has semi-long load times, but nothing nearly as bad as I have experienced with other games (in other words, about normal). There are a few framerate drops and graphical glitches, but most (I repeat MOST) people wouldn't notice or care. Again, they are really no better or worse than most other games out there. Normal. My only real complaint is that even with the PS3's capabilities, the screen resolution maxes out at 720p (but then again, that was my main complaint with Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, Motorstorm, and several other PS3 [and XBox] games). But honestly, it still looks absolutely amazing; 720p is still HD, and most people can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p anyways. I can, but it's really doesn't matter. The quality of the game as a whole does.

A quick breakdown of the framerate issues in each part of the game, for those who care:

HL2: None
HL2, Ep.1: Some during the last levels
HL2, Ep.2: Some at the beginning, some during driving sequences, and at a few points during the last level
Portal: None
TF2: Here is where there is no excuse. ANY framerate problems during a real-time online fighting game causes huge problems. And there are a few.

I should note, the lowest I saw the framerate drop was to around 15-18 frames per second, which is noticeable for those who care, but NOWHERE near the slideshow that some reviews have been spouting. Also, there was a slight delay in gameplay during quick-saving and right after loading, but that's pretty normal for games. Nothing to kvetch about.

For those who need some comparison, I will now compare it to both of my PC experiences.

The PS3 version far outshines my gameplay experience on my midrange system. Load times, framerate, and VISUALS are far superior on the PS3. Would I have complained about the PC version? Not really, because even with the minute long load times, low resolution, and really choppy framerate on my PC, I still really loved the game. So the PS3 version was a huge step up.

With my new system, well, duh, it's going to look and feel better than the PS3 or XBox versions. And it does, very much so. That was expected.

So which way do I prefer, PC or PS3? Well, it's sort of split for me. The PC version is technically superior, and keyboard/mouse controls have always been better than using a console controller. But there was something that tickled me about being able to lie on my couch, watching the game on a huge screen, and hearing footsteps and action all around me with surround sound (I realize you can hook up surround sound on PC's, but how many people actually do? Most people put the money towards their home entertainment systems. And while I have a VERY large widescreen computer monitor, it's nothing like my television.). So I'm honestly split.

Final thoughts (sorry for making this so long):

If you have multiple consoles, and are choosing between this and the XBox 360 version, skip it. The 360 version was directly overseen by Valve, which is reason enough to spring for that as opposed to an EA port (again, I haven't actually played the 360 version, and I really don't like what EA does for games).

If you have the PC version, it's up to you whether or not you want to get it for PS3. Paying twice for the same game may seem a waste, but some people (myself included) like to have the option to play in front of a desk, or to relax on the couch and play. If you're still not sure, I suggest renting the game first to get the experience. That's what I did, and now I've made the decision to get the game for PS3 in addition to the PC version I already own.

If you don't have the Orange Box at all, shame on you! But if you're looking to get it, have a PS3, and your computer isn't mid-high range, the PS3 version is a good choice. (Plus you don't have to deal with Steam, and you can sell or return the game, which you can't do with the PC version)

Hope this helps.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2008
I bought this game despite some reviewers saying there were frame rate slow downs etc, and I'm so glad I did. This isn't the best PS3 game out (that goes to Uncharted in my book) but this is my number 2 PS3 game.

There are five games included in this package, and each one is mind blowingly good. Portal is the most unique game experience I've had in a long time, and Portal alone is something every gamer should experience.

Then there's the Half-Life 2 series, which includes three variations of that game basically, and countless hours of content. The atmosphere and story is excellent, and again unique. The nice thing about these games is that the story is all told by the things other people say to you, and the things that happen in the environment. This is true of Portal as well. The fact that your character doesn't talk makes it feel more like it's you in the game, and it allows you to have your own thoughts/reactions to what's being said and done, without anyone telling you what your character feels. It's wonderful.

There are some frame drops and the occasional hitching, but this honestly didn't bother me very much at all. It happens rarely, and honestly games in previous generations suffered much worse and didn't stop anyone from buying them, and nor should it stop anyone here. For the most part the game is smooth, with gorgeous graphics, anti aliasing. Most home computers would probably run this game at less detail offered here, and STILL have far worse technical problems. I had my second best gaming experience of the year with this game (Uncharted being number 1) so clearly I think it's a superb addition to any PS3 library.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2007
Frame rate issues are sooooooo overexaggerated! This is one of the best titles available for PS3, buy a copy without doubts!

There are always ways to perfection, and that's what all the complaints are about, because other releases of this game-set are slightly better, but the improvements are VERY insignificant, and if there were no other editions - no one would even complain about the performance of this one. It's all about the fanboy war of XBOX against PS3, so PS3 fanboys feel betrayed by Valve because XBOX release is slightly better. Please, just ignore this silly war, or you'll miss such an outstanding release.

A must have!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2007
A good game overall, I had owned HL2 for my Xbox a few years ago, beat it, and started playing Orange Box on PS3, overall it is a better experience.

so far I have encountered no framerate problems or anything to keep me from enjoying the game. There are load times but they are not as frequent as the Xbox version and they are not as long as some people say they are.

Plus, you don't have to worry about Steam, like you do for the PC version.

HL2 = 10/10
HL2 EP 1 = 8/10
HL2 EP 2 = 9/10
Portal = 9/10
TF2 = 10/10

Orange Box = Greatness, no matter what system you buy it for.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 21, 2011
There seems to be this undercurrent that "The Orange Box" --- a collection of five exceptional videogames --- could only be played on the PC. For one reason or another, the X-Box 360 and PlayStation 3 discs haven't been given their fair praise. The PS3 version, especially, hasn't been given a fair shake.

"The Orange Box" is as perfect an experience on the PS3 as it was on a PC, if not better. I don't say that because it's 100% perfect, mind you. After all, "Portal" is very short, "Half-Life 2" is a bit unevenly paced, the "HL2" Episodes unfortunately don't have a definitive ending, and "Team Fortress 2" was always a strange bird to me. I am declaring that "The Orange Box" is a superior product over the PC version because, guess what?...It's guaranteed to work 100% of the time. A personal computer can't guarantee that for you. If your computer's too old, then some of the more epic sequences might be too choppy, or you'll have to sacrifice high-res graphics for smooth gameplay, or the loading times might be too long because your computer's doing some background operations. And if your computer's supernew, Valve's Steam support is here for you, but will it last? Think about that for a moment...will Steam go away some day? Now ask yourself, will the PlayStation 3 and a carefully used BluRay ever fail you?

The PS3 version of "The Orange Box" seems to be picked for inferior graphics and slightly longer loading times. First off, all 5 of these games look very good and run very well on Sony's system. Do they look worse than a PC or 360 version? Perhaps a little, but you're comparing a 9.9 to a 9.6....are you really gonna lose sleep over this? As for the loading times, naysayers have picked on this way too much. So I have to wait 10 seconds for a game to reload after I die instead of 4 seconds; Give me a break!

Maybe "The Orange Box" was a vastly inferior product on the PS3 before the mandatory one-time software update (now THAT is annoying). But as I play these 5 games, this BluRay has only frozen on me one time. And quite frankly, every PC disc and PS3 disc I own has done that to me at one point in my time.

Why not focus on the important story here? "The Orange Box" includes 5 terrific video games!
"Half-Life 2" is a true pioneer in the first-person action genre, and its quality hasn't diminshed since 2004. The two sequel "Episodes" continue that gripping story, with a shocking conclusion that understandably has fans begging for either "Episode Three" or "Half-Life 3". And as if "HL2" wasn't enough of a first-person, just take a look at "Portal"! I don't begrudge fans who call it one of the all-time greats, because its brilliant concept doesn't let up for the 4 hours or so that it gives you. To me, it's a little too short, but it's a true original. "Team Fortress 2" is one of the more unusual multiplayer experiences I've encountered, with its diverse classes and matches. But it's very entertaining should you choose to explore its intricacies.

"The Orange Box" is a steal, even for the full asking price that most Amazon sellers are charging for this hard-to-find PS3 disc. It's worth the investment if you don't have the confidence that your computer can run the games. To be fair, my 2007 Dell computer runs "Portal" and "Team Fortress 2" just fine, while the three "HL" games have some framerate and loading hiccups. The games are playable if you want to go for the less expensive route and risk it.

You want my advice? Play the original "Half-Life" on PC, and get "The Orange Box" on a console. If the PlayStation 3 is your only option, I'm sorry Amazon sellers are taking advantage of your predicament. But after forking the cash, the superior product will put your worries at ease. All will be forgiven. So take the dive --- "The Orange Box" is a most valued treasure!

GAMES
Half-Life 2 (2004) = 9.5 / 10
* This is a game that just keeps on delivering, even though it has some pacing issues. But the genius is that it trusts you, the gamer, to figure out its puzzles and story without spelling it out for you. It ends on a strange note, but I believe the intrigue will win you over enough, especially now that some follow-up Episodes have been released.

Episode One (2006) and Episode Two (2007) = 9.0 / 10
* Aside from being shorter and only introducing a few new gameplay concepts, the stories and action set pieces are equally as exhilerating as the epic "Half-Life 2". These sequels step away cut through the Orwellian backdrop, and finally force the gamer to feel the impact that the interdimensional rift has caused the human race to endure. Episode One ends with a bang; Episode Two ends with your heart wrenched.

Portal (2007) = 8.5 / 10
* I wouldn't be surprised if people bought "The Orange Box" just to play this nifty little gem. While I think that's overkill, "Portal" is one of the true defining steps in videogame history. Like other Valve titles, it trusts you the gamer to use your first-person intuition to solve the mysteries and puzzles laid before you. GlaDOS is one of the most quotable, unforgettable characters in games, and the physics & logic create some truly amazing moments. The game's pretty short, but then again, it always meant to be more of an experimental bonus.

Team Fortress 2 (2007) = 8.0 / 10
* To be honest, I haven't spent a ton of time with this one, because the only multiplayer shooter I truly enjoy is the more recent "Call of Duty" titles. But I will credit Valve for not only thinking outside the box when they assembled this game, but for creating a new one. The strategies you can implement with the different classes and match types really make each match a unique experience beyond the fragfests of shooters today. I guess I admire "Team Fortress 2" a lot more than I enjoy it. It simply wasn't a game meant for me, and after spending about 6 hours with it, I don't think that's gonna change. But honestly, I always loved "The Orange Box" for the other 4 games on the disc, so having a less appealing 5th one is just a bonus.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
Before I begin this review, I'd like to say that I haven't played Team Fortress 2 yet. I will at some point, but at the moment, I'm not much into online gaming. But as so many people have pointed out, Team Fortress 2 is widely acknowledged as one of the most enjoyable multiplayer online gaming experiences around, so I don't see how its inclusion here could do anything other than make this already-stellar package even more appealing.

REVIEW:

The Orange Box is a collection of games from Valve, arguably the most admired and beloved video game developer around today. Given the sheer amount of content given here, The Orange Box offers perhaps the best value purchase on the PS3. Not only is the content quite voluminous, but it's quality is absolutely stellar.

Half Life 2 has become my favorite single-player first person shooter of all time. Over 10 years ago, back when I was still in college, I remember being absolutely blown away by the revolutionary shooter for the PC known as Half Life. Stepping back into the Half Life universe after a decade was not only a comforting blast of nostalgia, but a reminder of how the merging of craft and brilliance can take something that was already so innovative and groundbreaking, and make it better in every way. Half Life 2 is a near perfect game. Looking back on the games different chapters, it's astounding how diverse and varied the game is. The game is enhanced by the way it tells its somewhat simple yet intriguing story. The battles, NPC interactions, and plot storylines all unfold in the environment around you, just like if you were transported into the game. There are no cutscenes, and your ability to fully interact with your environment during every moment you play the game makes Half Life 2 one of the most immersive video game experiences you can have. The action is intense and furious, yet requires constant thought. I quite simply can't find anything bad to say about Half Life 2. Around every corner, and in every step Gordon takes from being a fugitive on the run to becoming a revolutionary iconoclast, you can see and feel Valve's brilliance and how much of a labor of love this game was. Games like this are rare, and this is why in 2010, six years after its original release on PC, Half Life 2 still puts all the other single player FPS's out there to shame.

Upon finishing Half Life 2, there's no need to get depressed, as also included here are the two expansion packs, known as Half Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2. Each expansion adds around 6 more hours of gameplay that continues the story immediately after the events that conclude Half Life 2. Episode 1, while still very enjoyable, doesn't quite reach the heights of the main game, but Episode 2 does. Episode 2 is absolutely amazing and will leave you clamoring for the moment when Valve inevitably releases Episode 3.

And if all this wasn't enough, there's Portal. Released to much fanfare, Portal is deserving of the hype and praise that has been bestowed upon it. A spin off of the Half Life universe, Portal is a puzzle game disguised as a first person shooter where you use a portal gun to navigate rooms/levels full of obstacles. It's an extremely creative brain teaser that is full of surprises. Not only is it loads of fun, but it has a wildly wicked sense of humor, a few surprisingly emotional moments, and even an air of mystery. I have never played anything quite like it before. Despite its somewhat short length, its one of those games you won't soon forget.

With all this said, it is somewhat disappointing that there is a downside to all this. When Valve decided to bring The Orange Box over to the PS3, they gave duty to Electronic Arts to do the PS3 port. Unfortunately, EA didn't give this package quite the care that they should have, and the end result are some non-game-breaking, yet somewhat annoying, technical glitches that snuck past their quality control. I experienced probably 10-15 in-game freezes in all my time with the Orange Box (25+ hours on the Half Life games, plus 6 or so more on Portal), most of them occurring during Portal. Not terribly bad, but still, an annoyance nonetheless. More annoying is an audio glitch that adds a horrible, static hiss to the in-game audio. This wasn't a constant problem, but would occur approximately once every hour while playing, and would last anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. This is inexcusable on EA's part, and the lack of this bug would have easily warranted a 5 star rating in my review, as the game freezes didn't occur frequently enough to be a major problem.

Overall, even though I must deduct a star for the bugs, I still wholeheartedly recommend The Orange Box to anyone with a PS3. Half Life 2 is one of the epic action games of all time, and Portal is an event that should not be missed. Together with Team Fortress 2, this package delivers exceptional value and quality gaming of the highest order.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2009
I love my Playstation 3! It's such a versatile system: games, DVDs, Blue Rays, internet, etc. If it cooked steak, it would be the best thing in my life, right before my wife. But I digress. I select my games very carefully; no need to waste the dollars. For me, storyline is the most important aspect of gaming. Half-Life 2 doesn't only deliver a great plot, but also beautiful graphics and intense gameplay. Let me elaborate.

The graphics is simply awesome. Considering that this is a first-person shooter, and the frame is in constant shifting, the graphics is best of the kind. Some people whine about tedious loading times, but it happens so rarely that it's negligible. The facial expressions and bodily movements are lifelike. The surrounding environments are crisp and detailed. Shooting, wounding an enemy, being wounded, explosions, fires, are all exquisitely vivid. Most of the time Dr. Freeman (the character that you embody) travels through abandoned cities, deserted apartment buildings, an occasional forest, and desert, which all look great. Some places are spooky, but it's a good kind of adrenaline. The video is 720p, not 1080p, but it's still impressive.

What about the gameplay? Well, it is very addictive. When you start playing, it progresses so smoothly and comfortably that it's hard to stop. (You can choose different difficulty levels, which comes in handy sometimes.) One of the reasons this game is so famous is it has puzzles. Every so often you have to solve an in-game puzzle in order to continue. They're not particularly difficult, but add much spice to the overall experience.

Now we come to the storyline, the most interesting part of any game; my favorite is Final Fantasy VII. In this one a totalitarian government has taken over the country and turned it into a police state. The dictator imposes his principles and beliefs on the whole electorate. Everything is strict and disobedience carries severe repercussions. Your goal as Dr. Freeman is to topple the whole diabolical structure.

If you like good games, this one will be an engaging piece of entertainment.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2008
Let me state at the outset that I am a fan of the Half Life series, and own the Orange Box for PC. I think the game itself is outstanding - one of the best video game experiences ever created.

The Playstation 3 port of the Orange Box is a disappointment. Frame rate issues haunt several areas of the game. Audio issues, ranging from missing sounds to crackling and even audio cutting out completely, are everywhere. For me, I noticed the most audio issues in Portal, the least technically complex of the games included in this package. I am not an online gamer, but reportedly the Team Fortess 2 component is sorely lacking - you are unable to host your own games, the servers are "laggy" and often off-line, and the maps are full of exploits which have been patched in the PC version, and mitigated somewhat in the Xbox 360 version.

The real problem with this game, that make it a bad buy in my opinion, is that you are buying an orphan. The Orange Box for the PS3 is the red-headed stepchild of the video game world, and neither parent, EA nor Valve, are taking responsibility for it. Gamers have been requesting patches to address the faults in the game since it was released in October of 2007. "Support" at EA says it is Valve's responsibility to fix the game. Valve, who aren't PS3 developers, say it is EA's job. While the two game studios point fingers at each other and duck responsibility, consumers who have paid a premium price for an unfinished product are left holding the bag (or the box, in this case).

Do not buy this product if you are expecting a polished game experience. If you cannot live without the Half Life 2 series on your PS3, by all means, this flawed, half baked attempt is the only way you are going to satisfy your craving. But go into this purchase with your eyes open - this game is buggy, and nobody seems willing to fix it. EA and Valve will take your money and ignore your troubles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
PSn ID GremDUDE. The only thing I wish is that this game got trophies so I could get encouragement to go through all 4 parts again. This is an awesome game and still one of the best for the PS3. I rank it in my top 10 favorite games actually.

First off, I want to get the talk of how bad this port supposedly is as this is STILL mentioned to this day whenever there is talk of Valve and the Ps3. This is a great port!! The only time frame rate issues happen are during explosions and when glass breaks(have no idea about the second one) Rarely is game play affected at all. Everything runs smoothly and load times are about the same as the Xbox version(yes I have played both.) Plus the PS3 version gets the exclusive fast save feature! Just hold down the start button and your game is saved at that exact point. This is great especially for Portal as I would often save at every part of the puzzles!!

If you have just got your PS3, the value of this $20 game just can't be beat. It is good for close to 30 hours of game play!!

Half Life 2 is still one of my favorite First person shooters of all time. I love the fact that you an carry all the guns. The gravity gun is awesome. The physics based puzzles are awesome. The two Episodes both add some new elements and each one has slightly better graphics than the last.

It is really a shame that with all the bad press, EA is not getting the chance to port any of the other Valve games. I would love to see Left 4 Dead on the PS3 and I really think that there are enough people with headsets on the PSN that it would be pretty fun. You never know. Maybe one day Valve will stop hating a console and realize that there are people who would be happy to pay good money for the game if they only made it for the PS3.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 8, 2008
Yes, it's true, this is a somewhat shoddy port.

The audio is the biggest problem, from time to time the soundtrack engine glitches out for several minutes at a time, resulting in unpleasant digital noise over the music. In addition, sound effects in Team Fortress 2 often go missing when too much is happening at once.

There are some frame rate dips too, which really eat into the sense of immersion and can make TF2 a bit frustrating when too much is going on next to you.

But having said all that, Portal is an excellent game, and Team Fortress 2 has actually got me playing online and enjoying it. So given the cut price of the package and the amount of game contained, I'd have to say it's worth buying.
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