Episode Two: So Close We Can Taste It

Wednesday (to be renamed “Orangeboxday”) is approaching with a crazed inevitability, and we’re all out of control. So here’s something to make it worse, whetting your appetite while wetting your pants. Another exclusive screenshot of Episode Two.


Click pic for embiggenment.

Don’t forget that at 8:01am UK time, and 12:01am Pacific time Wednesday, as The Orange Box begins unlocking on your Steam account, Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s verdicts of both Episode Two and Portal go live. You’ll want something to do while Steam awakens and the final blob of downloading completes, so what better than our (completely spoiler-free) detailed opinion on both games.


  1. Cigol says:

    Can hardly wait – but that’s precisely what I’m going to have to do. Ho hum.

  2. SteveTheBlack says:

    I won’t be able to play until about 9pm, stupid masters course! Well, there goes my evening then :)

  3. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    My new pc is coming on wednesday morning! unfortunately this means having to download everything from steam again. Life is?

  4. Cigol says:

    I believe it is possible to back it all up if you have the means.

  5. O.G.N says:

    I believe you can just copy your steam folder to the new machine and then delete the clientregisrty.blob file.

  6. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    sounds promising! cheers guys!

  7. Andrew says:

    There’s stuff on the http://www.steampowered.com Support section about transferring installations of Steam and their associated game libraries.

    I did that recently so that I had Steam on a hard drive with enough space to actually download Bioshock.

  8. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Lately I’ve been quite the cheap-o, so I probably won’t be getting Episode 2 immediately since I have other things to look out for and haven’t had the chance to play EP1 yet. I’ll probably wait around until the inevitability of demand produces some crazed pack that combines all these episodes in a neat, tight package that sits stylishly next to my HL2 Collector’s Edition.

  9. The_B says:

    Grr and Arg.

    I mean, I’m not waiting quite as long as SteveTheBlack, but I have lectures all morning, and a meeting at 2PM.

    However, by 3PM I hope to be playing. But it’s still seven hours! …I think this is where I become incredibly selfish and err… tinker with Valve’s servers again… ¬_¬

  10. Seniath says:

    I have a really hodge podge day on Wednesday, busy 10-11, 1-2 and 4-5, leaving little time to really sit down and play till later on. Which, I guess, will give me time to play Portal. Tho I really do fear it’s going to be a case of “just one more level”….

  11. Monkfish says:

    Mmm. That is a tasty screenshot.

  12. Chis says:

    Already preloaded this and Portal, ready to go. Looks just as excellent as Ep. 1, and can’t wait. Will be a nice birthday present. :)

  13. roBurky says:

    Fuck. I hated fighting the striders. Not happy to see them return.

  14. Thelps says:

    I’m quietly considering playing Episode 2 in a single sitting like I did with Episode 1, to get the full magnitude of the experience. Then again I don’t know how long Episode 2 will be compared to 1. Regardless, if I want to do that I’ll need to put off playing until about 3pm on Wednesday, since before then I have a few things that need doing. I really can’t wait though, from the teaser trailer and these screenshots I’ve been drooling over this game for the best part of a year. Soon all that anticipation will be validated…

  15. John Walker says:

    roBurky – Valve are inside your head.

  16. Ryan says:

    Thelps: a couple of places including PC Gamer’s US review have pegged it as around 1-2 hours longer than Episode 1.

    and, roBurky: but now you have sticky strider bomb things! Huzzah!

  17. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Here’s a question – Ep 2 has updated the graphics, right? Added a load of fancy shiz? Is HL2 itself updated at all with the orange box, or does that remain the same as it always was?

  18. Ryan says:

    Far as I know it’s just an incremental upgrade, not a huge leap ahead- just like Ep 1 added HDR and some improvements to facial animation and textures for NPCs, this is just a little bit of spit and polish. I don’t think vanilla Half-Life 2 has been updated (except for including the latest patched version), which is a shame- it’d be wonderful if after the whole episodic release is over they released a version of HL2 with a commentary track at least.

  19. Mario Granger says:

    Updates to the Source engine include:

    Multicore support for dividing the processing of various subsystems (particle effects, AI processing, etc)

    Updated HDR processing

    New renderer (this is what allows all of the wide open spaces, as the old renderer simply wasn’t up to task in that regard)

    New physics system, allowing large scale physics interactions

    New lighting and shadowing system

    And depth of field and motion blur effects.

    So its actually alot more tech additions than Ep 1, by far.

  20. Frosty840 says:

    I do wish Valve had been more explicit about the release date being a worldwide release date.
    I’ve been fully expecting yet another three day wait while the European version once again waits until the arse-end of the week to let me into the game.
    Not that I’m saying it’s Valve’s fault, you understand, but more that the games that *don’t* make the nature of their release dates are at fault and that Valve should be advertising their worldwide release date as the positive advertising point that it is.

  21. John Walker says:

    Valve always have though. It’s the loonies like Take 2 who prevented a simultaneous release for BioShock. Valve answers to no publisher.

  22. FaceOmeter says:

    i make love with the sweet video game?

  23. The_B says:

    Except for EA, and that only counts for Retail…

  24. Thiefsie says:

    Well let’s just hope it is a little more engaging than Ep2, and also that Ep 3 won’t take so long to make???

    Another 2 years and I wonder how the source engine is holding up. hmmmm

    • chinook says:

      >let’s just hope that Ep 3 won’t take so long to make
      oh dear

  25. Thiefsie says:

    That said I haven’t the bandwidth to preload Ep2 until Friday (when it resets) so I’m going to be playing with portal in the meantime and trying to ignore (and of course I’ll fail miserably) what everyone is saying about ep2

  26. Thiefsie says:

    Is it just me or is that stalker friendly?!?!?!? Doesn’t look like its attacking, and well Gordon isn’t shooting at that present time either?!?!

  27. Frosty840 says:

    Valve need to not patch things on the 9th that are due to be released on the tenth.
    I almost died when I noticed all the new stuff from the Orange Box was due for an update this morning…

  28. Martin Coxall says:

    Is it just me or is that stalker friendly?!?!?!? Doesn’t look like its attacking, and well Gordon isn’t shooting at that present time either?!?!

    I don’t think it’s friendly- I think it’s dead.

  29. dwm says:

    Cunningness: after the will-it won’t-it unlock stress caused by the TF2 beta, Value have added a countdown timer to the Steam “View Pre-load Info” page..

    21hrs, 25mins, and 21secs, and counting..

  30. Gulag says:

    This is gonna be deadly.

  31. phuzz says:

    Is it me, or has the HUD been updated? I’m sure mine (in 4:3 rather than widescreen mind) doesn’t have the word ALT, or the little picture of the grenades next tot the main ammo. Or maybe I’m loosing it a bit.

    Anyway, I’ve got to work tomorrow, but right now I’m sat at work coughing and sneezing like a bastard, so if I don’t turn up tomorrow no-one will be surprised….hmmmm

  32. Jonathan Burroughs says:

    I read somewhere that Gordon Freeman dies in this one.

  33. Monkfish says:

    “I read somewhere that Gordon Freeman dies in this one.”

    Several times, probably.