Geek post alert.
I stayed up WAY too late last night (even by my standards) trying to polish off a couple of games I thought I was close to completing. I did finally manage to complete Half-Life2 Episode 2. I was taking my time with the game since there was no need to rush (a new version's not coming out anytime soon.) It definitely lived up to the franchise's top-notch legacy and had a nice twist at the end which definitely whets your appetite for the next installment.
The surprise gem in the Orange Box though (and the one that had me the most challenged last night) was Portal. Despite the glowing reviews, I thought this game was mostly going to be a small proof of concept to show off a brilliant new idea with gaming physics. But it turns out it was a full-fledged game with a storyline that's clearly going to converge with Half-Life's in the next installment of the franchise.
I don't know how to describe Portal's entirely unique approach to in-game physics, so I'll just defer to the video below. I will say that it's much more of a problem solving oriented approach versus Half-Life's more cinematic, action-oriented approach. The ambiance is also surprisingly immersive with a 2001 the movie style setting complete with an eccentric, HAL-like computer host.
Sorry if I've been posting a lot about games lately, but the original Half-Life and Team Fortress were my favorite single-player and multi-player games of all time. I've been waiting a LONG time for the latter so I'm obviously excited that they're finally here. The fact that Portal was fantastic was a surprising bonus.