2 Gamers Review one Game

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Team Fortress Review

Team Fotress 2 - Review - Pickypants

To be fair, I have been waiting for Team Fortress 2 since I played the original to death.

Team Fortress 2 is a team based, multiplayer only FPS shooter for the PC and Xbox 360. There are nine classes in the game to play as, Sniper, Scout, Pyro, Demolition Man, Soldier, Heavy, Medic, Spy, and Engineer. The gameplay is quite basic, ranging from control points on a map, to capture the flag, to the (incredibly boring) straight up deathmatch.

Gone are the random killfests of the Unreal Tournament and Quake franchises where the designers decided that adding a few vehicles would progress the genre. TF2 really puts things into perspective.

What makes TF2 so wonderful has got to be the class dynamics. Each class is so beautifully complex and powerful in its own way, but the greatest part of the class system is that each can be foiled by another. Too many engineer sentry guns? Bring in a spy to destroy them. Scout rush? Sentry Gun. Heavy and Medic combo? Sniper and Pyro. There are so many situations that crop up during a typical match (which can be as short as a few fierce minutes), you will find yourself using the death timer to plan your counter and change classes upon respawn.

TF2 is instantly accessible, and incredibly deep. Doing a quick search of the classes played most by players online, you see many people devoting equal time to a number of classes. Unlike a fighting game like Virtua Fighter where people will continue to play the fighter they know best, the situations in TF2 determine the best course of action. The level of balance is akin to a ballet. A ballet of carnage.

The classes are, as well wonderfully detailed, with a cartoonish, cell shaded feeling to them. They all have different accents and personalities which endear them to the player beyond their combat effectiveness.

If you have played the original and are uncertain about its faithfulness to its source, the differences are many, but I think they work better now. The biggest change is the loss of the grenade. Many TF players had their grenade priming and jumping skills at an almost godlike level, so to them, it might seem sad to lose them. However, without the grenade, playing your class intelligently becomes much more important. The grenade was a crutch to make certain classes better than they were, and I for one, am glad they are gone. Second, the classes have been overhauled. The medic is so much better in the new version, its almost a different class. The heal axe has been replaced by a heal-gun, which can heal from up to 15 feet away, including around corners. The gun fills life very fast, and can occasionally render the target and the medic using it, completely invulnerable for about seven seconds. Suffice is to say, that’s enough time to fuck any defense, no matter how well equipped.

Other changes are minor, maps like 2fort4 added a ramp up from the flag basement for two ways out of the base, engineers can build teleporters, flags can be capped without your own flag being in the base, spies have a one-hit kill from the back and can turn invisible, but with all these changes, it feels very much like a turbo-charged version of the original.

The only gripe I have now is the same gripe I had then. People can add all sorts of rules and weapons and sounds to their servers, forcing us to play by their arbitrary (and usually flawed) sense of fairness. For example, taking away the respawn timer, adding automatic zoomed sniper rifles, and other balance crushing nonsense. But if you can find a good server full of half-way competent players, you can be sure to have a grand old time.

Team Fortress 2 is probably the primary reason to purchase the Orange Box. Yes Portal is great (all 45 mins of it) and the Half-life 2 sequels are decidedly Half-lifeish, but TF2 is a resurgence of smart FPS shooting on the PC. If you enjoy the genre, but are limited to Counter Strike Source and Halo, go get this game, and bask in its incredible-ness.

And if you want to thrown down, look me up on steam. My steam ID is “Fagfingers.” Bring it.

Pickypants 11-01-07

Team Fortress 2 - Review - Harshly_Von_Smokenstein

Well, upon reading Picky's review, I really want to avoid repeating what he states. I'll try to sum it up in a paragraph or so.

9 classes whose abilities augment/counter each other, cell animated graphics that are awe inspiring, fantastic sound effects, the same smooth control, etc etc.

There are certain things I would like to touch upon. First of all, the PC version of the game does suffer from something I like to call consolitis. Basically, for some reason, game designers think that console players are stupider than their PC gaming counterparts. I'm not sure where this bias came from, but comparing FPS titles that are PC only vs those that span the console-PC gap you find certain additions that seem somewhat unnecessary from a PC gamer's point of view. Example? Huge arrows pointing you in the right direction. Huge signs displaying where respawn rooms are, the intelligence, capture points, etc. I sort of took it for granted that as a PC gamer, I am expected to memorize FPS maps. I guess console gamers need these brutishly huge reminders? I don't know.

Second, the sheer amount of stats that are saved are great. Fucking...great. This game will monitor the number of points you accrue with each class, how long you play each class, the most damage done, most headshots as a sniper, most backstabs, most damage healed, most assists...the list goes on. Furthermore, every time you die you will be notified with a small message if you came close to, or broke, a previous record. A somewhat subtle pat on the head. Other small things like upon exploding from a demo-man's well timed grenade, you are treated to a death animation that will show you where your head went flying off to with a small arrow. Very amusing.

Third, and this is my only real absolute bitch about the game, is the fact it runs off steam. Now, steam may work fantastic on brand new machines, but my own PC is roughly 2 years old. P4 2 gig processor, 1 gig of RAM, decent vid/sound cards. Steam consumes an assload of fucking memory while running. I usually leave my primary messaging program going while I play in case a friend wants to join in. Now, when someone messages me or something, it'll take steam a good 5 minutes to fucking minimize and then another 5 minutes to reload the game. So...goddamn...irritating. Then, logging out of steam isn't a simple button click. No, you have to make sure all the built in windows are closed. This includes any advertisements they have going, steam-chat windows, etc. Then you can shut down. All in all, I really hate steam as a multiplayer gaming platform. Battle-net for the fucking win.

I'm sure the last complaint can be relieved with a PC upgrade, but still...steam seems to be the first videogame related program that my computer struggles with. Sure, I can take it as a clue to, again, upgrade...but fuck, the game runs fine.

Anyway, start cranking up your stats. Now. After finishing Portal of course.

Harshly_Von_Smokenstein 11-2-07


  • Hi guys!

    Fantastic blog, and post. TF2 is one of my all time favourite games. Obviously you reviewed this upon release, but I really think Valve have tweaked, experimented, and vastly improved the game throughout the years. Heck, the game is 6 years old and still has such a huge player community. As for the hats... lets not go there. Anyway, I realise you haven't updated this blog in quite some time... but perhaps I could persuade you to give it a second life?

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:08 AM  

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