Metareview: The Orange Box (PC, Xbox 360)

Valve may have the most deficient understanding of episodic gaming EVAR(!), but they are masters of smoke and mirrors marketing. Valve made us completely lose focus on Half-Life 2: Episode 2 being in The Orange Box (YAY!) by bundling so much gaming goodness in the package, that instead of us cracking jokes about their episodic incompetence, we end up calling The Orange Box the gaming value of the year -- 'cause it is with Half-Life 2, Episodes 1 and 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Sure, if you've played Half-Life 2 on your PC it might not be such a fantastic value, but for console owners (minus those that played Half-Life 2 on the original Xbox) this is their first go at HL2 and its episodes.
  • GameTap (100/100): "If your PC isn't quite up to snuff, the Xbox 360 version is a good substitute. Occasional framerate hitches, plus one minor gaffe with the gamepad (weapon selection) are the only things dragging down the 360 version. That, and it has freaking 99 Achievements spread across all five games. Due to the delay of the PS3 version, we haven't played it yet, but we'll update you when we do."
  • Team Xbox (96/100): "So, is The Orange Box the best bargain in gaming? While there might be longer games (Oblivion, for example) or games that pack more titles onto a single disc (any of the 'classic' compilations), this is a near-perfect blend of varied games. ... Although this is undeniably one of the must-own games for the Xbox 360, we have a few questions. Will we be getting Episode Three over Xbox Live? And where's our Counter-Strike: Source?"
  • IGN (95/100): "There's nothing else available on any console like The Orange Box. Though you could argue that Half-Life 2 is old news by now, there are still four components of the Box brand new to consoles. That so much great content is offered at the standard single-game price is astonishing ... And all on one disc. While Portal and TF2 may not be strong enough to stand on their own, coupled with the Half-Life titles, The Orange Box really is one of the best games ever released."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.