Bargain Bin time again and this week I thought I’d talk about one of the greatest games (if I can call it that) of all time. This game was released by one of the best developers that exist today who have had massive influences on the whole gaming market for what they have achieved over the years. However, it was this title in particular that thrust them into the limelight and gave them the credit they deserved. The company is Valve and the game is The Orange Box. This title was released back in 2007 and was a collection of games that Valve had put their heart and soul into making. The package can be picked up now on consoles for around £4 or less on Amazon and around £8 in your local supermarket. However, if you pick it up on PC and look around some of the second hand stores around like GAME, you can get the disc for little to nothing (I found it for £2).

The first and probably the biggest of the games valve put into this collection was the successor to a massively critically acclaimed game. This game is Half-life 2. Often seen as the best game of all time by many people, Half-life 2 fully utilised the compelling story and amazing Source engine in order to make this classic game. The story of the game focuses on the character Gordon Freeman in the now controlled City 17, directly following on from the last game where Gordon is part of the research facility which brought the world into a dystopian world which is now under control by the combine. Even though at times things become a bit daunting and route to the next mission is not clear, the game is amazingly compelling and you can’t help but fall in love with the superbly fluid Source engine and what the game has to offer. The game was not the newest of titles as it was released 3 years earlier than it did in The Orange Box, however, during this time it was PC exclusive and this was the first time it was seen running on consoles.

Meet your new best friend.

Not only does valve offer you one of the all-time greatest games for you to waste hours on, they also give you the huge expansion packs for the game being Half-life episode 1 and episode 2. They not offer much in terms of new gameplay, but they do spice up the mix with more focus on squads on relying on your AI partner/s to cover your back every once in a while. Altogether, the Half-life experience in all will eat up around 30-40 hours depending on your play style you are or how thoroughly you want to complete the game. Even though it seems like a long time, there is not a dull moment to be had. I could sing praises just about this game and that is only 1 of the titles the pack has to offer.

Secondly, the game that is probably the most well received on Xbox out of the pack, Portal is the next game to be found in the bundle. For those of you who have played Portal 2 and think you don’t need to go back and buy the original, think again. Although the game is shorter and more basic than its successor, it is meant to have a quirky style and have laugh out moments that will keep you awake at night giggling. The premise for the game is simple. You are a test subject for a seemingly big organisation that tests new advancements in science. You are given a portal gun and are asked (or forced really) to complete test chambers that require you to manipulate physics (applause to the Source engine once again) in order to advance through the game. As you play though, you will realise things aren’t what they seem and the GlaDos the being that watches over you is not as friendly as she is making out. For those of you also playing through the game and being tempted by a certain offer GlaDos makes with you, don’t listen. Remember this, ‘THE CAKE IS A LIE’.

I swear it all makes sense, sort of.

The final game that you get with The Orange Box will either be a game you love or hate. It also is really a question of which platform you play the game on to. For you guys who play the game on console (thinking of you guys here) the game is similar in some ways to a game which took a lot of inspiration from TF2 being Brink. You have a certain objective and you need to balance your classes out in order to overcome your foes and ultimately win. There are in total nine classes to choose from and teamwork is essential in this game. The console version of the game is very basic and the much anticipated update that Valve promised long ago never made its way to consoles.  However, there is a lot of fun to be had from this and after all that single-player gaming where you’re feeling a bit lonely, it is nice to get online.

If you are playing on PC, you have around 1,000,000 times more things to do with the game. Although the game is free to play now, if you want the VIP access you need to buy it as part of a pack such as The Orange Box. In terms of games, there are so many more maps either user created or added by Valve for you to play through and game types are almost as varied. The other huge aspect of the game you don’t get on consoles is items. Whether it is new weapons for you to use or whether you want a huge variety of hats to wear, it is there on the store. There is also the crafting bench where you can smelt down your items into a more useful form. The PC game is full of new ideas and there is so much to see and do that you will be really without words once you enter the game for the first time. This game also proves that realistic graphics is not the perfect route for every game with very fitting cartoon graphics.

The German heavy class is quite a character to say the least.

If you have the bundle on PC also, you will also have access to the huge range of Source engine mods that are so varied and incredible I would need a whole new article just to talk about them independently. If you can run it on PC (which you should be able to as it is pretty low-spec) then buy it on the PC as there is so much more to the source experience than just the games on the disc.

Score- 9.5/10- I don’t like giving away a perfect 10 for any game as there is always things to be improved, but this is as close as it gets. If the game wasn’t as dated and old (just look at the graphics), then maybe a 10 would be within reach. Apart from that small fault, utterly perfect.