Quantcast
Stop whining: PS3 version of The Orange Box isn't broken, please relax - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Stop whining: PS3 version of The Orange Box isn't broken, please relax


11:01 AM on 12.06.2007



If you were to believe the hype, the PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box is an unplayable mess. The man would have you believe that the game (which ran so smoothly on capable PCs and the Xbox 360) suffers from game-breaking frame-rates issues, resulting in what 1UP called a "slideshow." We ran the story, and the responses ranged from Xbox 360 owners laughing, to Sony fans cursing Electronic Arts for not being able to deliver a competent port.

So when EA rang my phone and wanted to get a final copy of the game out to me, I was a bit skeptical. Having played much of The Orange Box on the Xbox 360, the last thing I really wanted to do was spend time playing a "broken" version of the game. I was assured by EA that really, it's not that bad. I had to see for myself.

When the game arrived, I tore it open. I was convinced that after ten minutes of play, the game's flaws would be as obvious as had been reported; this would be the easiest assignment of my life. But six or so hours of playing Portal, Half Life 2, and Half Life 2: Episode Two, I have one question: What's everyone bitching about?

Now before I go any further, I have to admit something -- if I were playing a game and the framerate dropped from 30 FPS to 29 FPS, I probably wouldn't notice. The Internet, it's equipped with some high-tech, top-secret military-grade cybernetic eyes; slight dips in framerates calls for 47 page threads on message boards, and our tips inbox being flooded with comparison videos. Really, I just don't get it. It should also be noted that I played through Half Life 2 and Half Life 2: Episode One on a sub-par PC, one that had me sitting through load times of up to a minute, and framerate issues when I fired a pistol. But I'm not blind, just forgiving, and if the issue isn't seriously hindering my fun, then there's no need to release the hounds.

After spending three minutes installing 400+ megs of initial game data on to my PS3 hard drive, I was ready to see what all of the fuss was about. I fired up Portal first, because my memories of the game still warm my cold heart. Visually, the first thing I noticed were the colors and the textures. While by no means ugly, they didn't quite "pop" as much as they did on the Xbox 360; everything seemed a bit muted. This is an odd thing to say, especially considering that most of the Aperture Science Centers walls are a clinical white, but it was definitely noticeable.

I hopped about a bit, strafing and spinning around, trying to get the game to chug. I couldn't. It did appear that there were slight dips in framerate when making quick motions from left to the right (or when spinning around), but had I not been looking for them, they'd hardly be noticeable.  Up through level seven -- I mean, uh, test chamber seven -- I didn't experience any noticeable issues with framerate or anything else that would hinder playability. In fact, Portal is just as an amazing and innovative an experience on the PS3 as it is on the Xbox 360 or the PC.

But Portal, as it was pointed out to me, was not the main culprit. Portions of Half Life 2: Episode 2, according to 1UP's preview, were a disaster. The PS3 port had "technical flaws, which at best merely hinder gameplay and at worst make the experience downright unplayable." Well, that sounded like fun, and I couldn't wait.

The good news: At no point did I run into anything that made the game unplayable. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to pinpoint a time where gameplay was hindered. [Editor's note: The next few sentences may contain spoilers, so brace yourself or skip the rest of this paragraph.] In "Chapter 2, This Vortal Coil," an intense sequence that has you fighting off an attack by a colony of ant lions from all angles, there are noticeable framerate problems. As the action heats up, there is a slight lag in the action; but did this make the "experience downright unplayable"? Most definitely not. Even the driving sequences in "Chapter 4, Riding Shotgun," which were supposed to be a slideshow nightmare, weren't an issue. Do I think that the vehicle controls are broken and ridiculous? Of course. But this was an issue with the Xbox 360 and PC version as well -- you essentially control the vehicle with first-person shooter controllers, instead of giving you a gas pedal and a break ... which would just make too much sense, apparently.

One thing I have to mention are the load times. Despite dumping 400 some-odd megs onto my hard drive, some of the load times still seemed brutal. While I don't mind waiting 15-30 seconds for the game to first load up (or even between sequences, as Half Life tends to annoyingly do), having to wait that same 15-30 seconds just to respawn or load your last check point bordered on unbearable.

I guess the bottom line here is this: If you own an Xbox 360 or a PC that can run it smoothly, you're probably better off picking up The Orange Box somewhere other than the PS3. The game does look slightly better on the 360, and I can't recall any noticeable framerate issues while playing through that version. Plus, achievements are always nice, if you intend to work for them. But for those who only own a PS3 and are concerned by reports of a lousy port, don't sweat it. The Orange Box is still one of the best values in gaming, and that isn't changed by the slight technical issues I ran into on the PS3 (negligible framerate problems; Alyx Vance disappeared and then re-appeared on me once).

Should PS3 owners be miffed that they're getting the "worst" version of The Orange Box? I guess they have reason to -- given the presumed power beneath the hood of Sony's console, there's no good reason why PS3 owners should suffer "sub-standard ports." But seeing as how The Orange Box doesn't really appear to fall into that category, there's no reason why they shouldn't be excited about the game's December 11 release.

[Editor's note: I did not have a chance to spend any time with Team Fortress, beyond my starting up an empty room and running around. I'll be spending some time playing on an EA-hosted server next Monday, and if there's anything significant to report, you'll be hearing from me then.] 






Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



Review: The Sims 4 photo
Review: The Sims 4
6:00 PM on 10.02.2014






Electronic Arts

6:00 AM on 10.23.2014
Court rules for EA in lawsuit over Battlefield 4 launch

The lawsuit over Battlefield 4's disastrous launch was dealt a serious blow this week. On Monday, a federal judge ruled against shareholders who claim Electronic Arts mislead investors with regards to the readiness of the fir...more



1:30 PM on 10.22.2014
Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is the new CEO of Unity

Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, the man whose impossible name led to the invention of the copy and paste commands, is now in charge of game engine maker Unity Technologies. Co-founder David Helgason has stepped d...more



7:00 PM on 10.15.2014
If you happen to have EA Access, I highly recommend playing Garden Warfare

I keep forgetting about EA Access. Perhaps you can say the same. It's a $4.99-per-month service for Xbox One that gives unlimited access to select games from you-know-who along with other perks like early demos. One of my fav...more



View all Electronic Arts






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more