The Orange Box: Portal, Team Fortress 2, Half Life

On January 18, 2009, in General, by Neil Stevens

Got a Playstation 3 last week. 60GB, backward compatible, etc. etc. Won’t play my Japanese games but it should play everything else my Playstation 2 plays.

I also picked up the Orange Box. I’d heard good things about Portal and Team Fortress 2.

Well, I am through Portal. It really was everything it was set up to be. The game mechanics are great and well-executed. The setting and characters, limited as they are, are interesting and engaging. The only complaint I have about the game is that certain maneuvers seem impossible on the Playstation 3, with respect to throwing cubes and getting low-time and low-portal victories. That is minor post-victory stuff though.

Team Fortress 2 is also fairly well done in theory, but in practice I have some complaints that lead to frustration: It’s supposedly a Team game, but there are so many cues and stats that reward individual play, but don’t reward thankless team play, that random players online are not encouraged to play team roles. Right down to the inability to see what classes your team already has when you choose a class, the game encourages every man for himself, unfortunately. So in practice TF2 is only any good if you have a large stable of friends online at once to play with, I think.

Half Life 2? Forget it. I just tried it and a) I don’t know where I am, b) I don’t know what’s going on, c) I don’t know what my goal is, and d) thegame sems to be a series of scenes, each with a gimmick you have to find, hindered by the ugly setting and confusing texturing, as well as the swarms of monsters who in practice can only be killed, yes, with more gimmicks.

HL2 seems only playable in small bits, playing a bit over and over again until you find the gimmick. I’ll pass.


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