Sunday, July 06, 2008

Returning The Orange Box

I need to return The Orange Box to Blockbuster today. It's already 5 days overdue, but thankfully there are no late fees for an additional 7 days past the original due date! Regardless, I certainly got my play time out of this rental.

I completed Half-Life 2: Episode One and Portal, of which you can read my reviews here and here. I'm also just under halfway through Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and about a third of the way through Half-Life 2 (which I started last night mainly for some easy Achievement milking since I've already played through the game three times).

I still have the same strong mixed feelings about Half-Life 2, except on the Xbox 360 the game looks leaps and bounds more beautiful than its original Xbox counterpart. Not only are the textures high quality, but you also have wonderful water reflections and HDR lighting everywhere, something even the PC version does not have to my knowledge. The game plays well enough and I think the Metrocops' AI was boosted a bit, as they're slightly more challenging than I remember and I'm only playing on Normal, but of course the game is the same glorified tech-demo that let me down after the revolution that was Half-Life.

I also need to send a big $*#@ you out to Valve Software for designing that horribly frustrating airboat. Please never design vehicles again, and take a beginner course from Bungie. Half-life 2: Episode Two, however, is proving quite entertaining and is maintaining the good feel I got from Half-Life 2: Episode One. In fact, there was even a bit of exposition which was quite shocking. It seems that Valve might actually be making a vague attempt to tell a story, instead of feeding fans useless scraps to try and dupe us into thinking they actually know what's going on in their own game universe!

But I digress. At this point, I can't justify picking up The Orange Box at $39.99 on the strengths of Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two alone. Portal didn't do it for me, I have no interest in Team Fortress 2 at all, and don't even get me started on Half-Life 2. After I get through some other games, if I can find The Orange Box for $29.99, I'll pick it up and finish my current playthroughs. If not, I'll simply rent it again.

I do love how you can customize all the controls, however. Ever other console shooter developer should take note of that, and I was able to customize everything to how the controls were on the Xbox Controller S. Yay!

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