Game Review: Portal / Orange Box

My wife found a cheap copy of the Orange Box, from Valve.  It actually contains 3 full games (Half-life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal) and two large expansions for HL2 (ep. 1 & 2) — a lot of content.

There was only one reason I wanted the game:  Portal.  I heard from friends and reviews about the thing, so I had a feeling I’d like it.  I did.  Great writing and mind-bending (but not too mind-bending) make for a fun game.

To catch anyone up who has missed out on the Portal premise, the player awakens in an austere lab environment.  You quickly become acquainted with your host, GLaDOS, a computer that has a pretty disturbingly carefree attitude towards life and safety.  GLaDOS introduces you to the concept of portals and in pretty short order, the Portal Gun (aka Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device), and from there you have to figure out puzzles and how to keep yourself alive in order to reach the next elevator.

Now, the Orange Box contains 4 other games and I really didn’t give them a fair shake.  I played through a bit of HL2, and it seemed nice, and polished, but I couldn’t really get into it.  It looks like Team Fortress is doing some cool things with multiplayer, but my lack of internet leaves me unable to test more.

Pat’s Rating system:

  • How much would I pay for the game? You should buy this game if you see it for $40 or less. Portal alone is worth it for $30 or less, and you can now get the Still Alive edition on XBLA for I think $15, a real steal.
  • How many times would I replay it? At least twice. There are some “advanced” editions of the levels, so you will be hitting some things multiple times anyway, and there’s a great developer’s commentary version.  Unfortunately, I failed to do some of the achievements on my first playthrough, so I’ll have to try again.
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