If you've never heard of Half-Life or it's sequel (for whatever possible reason), then this is the perfect opportunity to get yourself acquainted. If you have already battled and beaten HL2 on XBox, then look again .. there's a lot more to this package.
The Half Life games follow the story of the somewhat perpetually miserable Gordon Freeman, a strong-silent type who battles alongside an underground resistance movement against a psuedo-tyrannical planetary goverment known as the Combine, which is largely made up of off-the-shelf masked enforcers. As well as battling these guys, Freeman has to deal with giant walker droids, a plethora of radioactive zombies and a handful of mutated creatures.
Valve has always known how to put out a quality FPS, and they didn't really need to do much to the existing merchandise - namely, Half Life 2 and Episode 1, which have been released for some time. The graphics have been jazzed up and look the part, but the fundamental physics engine and gameplay are left untouched. Probably for the best. Episode 2 is the first new offering within the package, and it's not a bad continuation of the theme. All the familiar characters are there, alongside a few new ones, and the mechanics are once again largely similar to the prior episodes, but the title keeps the saga flowing nicely.
So, hoping that the gamer is already well acquainted with Half Life and the Sons of, it's on to Team Fortress 2, a multiplayer-based, capture-the-flag centered game, which allows the gamer to choose from a number of classes with a variety of different skills. Yes, it IS online only. No, there aren't any single player campaigns. And yet, despite the limitations in maps and game modes, this title could stand alongside Halo 3 and keep it's head held high. It's a thoroughly enjoyable experience once the nuances of playing the different classes is mastered.
And then it's on to Portal, the title in the 5-piece which seems to have been making all the waves. It's not an epic, by any means - 3 hours would be taking your time. It's a simple concept, only one weapon, not a massive variety of enemies ... and yet Portal is absolutely flawless in approach. It's an example of a raw formula behind what makes a good FPS, and it's supported by an excellent script and a wicked sense of humour, all of which is so often missing in so many FPS titles.
By modern day reckoning, 5 games in one X360 package for £40 is reasonable value these days. 5 great games for the same price, however, is a real steal, and that's what you'll find in the Orange Box.
Buy This If You Liked: Half Life 2 (obviously)
Better Than: Pretty Much Every FPS Out There*
*except possibly Halo 3, which it's on a par with. Or it would be, if Halo 3 came with 4 other quality titles for the same price.