Monday, October 15, 2007

Orange Box vs. Halo 3

So here's my deal. I was in a debate with myself, a veritable spiritual wrestling match, over my next game purchase. Whether or not I was going to get a game was not in question. I had warned Heidi well ahead of time, and had discussed this in depth with her. However, which game would it be? Halo 3 recently came out, and was the reigning champion of game purchases. The Orange Box has three games in it, as well as two expansions for one of the games, and therefore was one of the best deals for a new game in history.

Half a dozen of my friends had Halo 3, and there were literally more than a million more people out there who had the game. I knew that if I got that, there would never be any shortage of online multiplayer partners. I knew that I would have a constant supply of friends with which I could play, as I could easily do a split screen multiplayer, even if I had a friend who didn't have the game. I knew the graphics would be incredible from screenshots I had seen. The reviews of Halo 3 were freakin' stellar. I hadn't played Halo 2, but I had played Halo. I don't remember enjoying Halo's single player all that much, but it would be multiplayer which would be the selling point.

Nobody I knew had The Orange Box, but it was still mouthwatering. One of the games on it is Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2 is widely considered the greatest single-player shooter ever made. Some even call it the greatest game ever made. I played it briefly on my old computer, but it kept crashing my system (like I-have-to-uninstall-the-whole-thing-t0-get-the-system-working-right crashing), so I couldn't get past a certain point. Still, I loved what I had played. The Orange Box also includes the subsequent two episodes of Half-Life 2, which I'd also heard were very good. Team Fortress 2 is another game on it. I have fond memories of playing the original Team Fortress for hours on end, and learning tricks which would serve me for years to come in various other games (as well as a few which would assist me in real life). Portal is the third game on it, and I knew very little about it, except the reviews I had read, which were generally very positive.

So that was my quandry: get the great game that several of my friends have, but which I really didn't know how much I'd enjoy the single player experience, or get the incredible deal that not many other people were getting, but which I knew would be good from previous experience. I knew I was getting one of them, just didn't know which. is sort of the rottentomatoes of games. It aggregates all the reviews of all major review outlets and gives you an average of their opinions. Halo 3 ranked incredibly high, at 94.1% (it's since slipped a fraction of a percent, as it had one review that was only very good). Orange Box was too new to really rank, but it still had about ten reviews. I believe at the time the rating was 95.6% (it's currently 97.5%). That tore it. If the reviews were marginally more positive for the one that I already knew was going to be good, then I'll be antisocial and take the one that nobody else has.

So, I would have blogged about this before, but I was a little preoccupied. And Portal, the one I didn't know anything about, is absolutely wonderful, in addition to being laugh-out-loud funny. I finished it over the weekend, and want to play it again, even though I already know how to solve all the puzzles. Also, I might add, my friend Zach broke down and bought The Orange Box over the weekend.