Things You Might Like
- Solid First Person Shooter Multiplayer Action
- Great Community
- Excellent Art Style
- Continuous Developer Support
- Free to Play!
Things You Might Not Like
- Item drops are literally random
- Ability to buy weapons
Team Fortress 2 is a staple of any self-respecting PC Gamer’s collection and, now that it’s free, you have no reason not to give it a go.
5 out of 5 Fortresses Team’d
Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is awesome. As someone who’s played more than 100 hours of this game (check my Steam ID if you doubt my claim), I felt perfectly comfortable using my time to draw it to your attention. There are a lot of gamers out there who are new to the PC arena, and I felt it was my duty to clue you in on one of the platform’s greatest multiplayer experiences.TF2 has quite literally become my default setting when I don’t know what to play. And I think, after a few paragraphs of ranting and physical/emotional threats, you’ll think the same.
It is important to note that I did not always enjoy TF2. In fact, when this sequel to one of the most popular multiplayer games of the previous PC gaming age launched, it was buggy. I mean really buggy. I picked up TF2 with The Orange Box, an Xbox 360/PC collection of Valve’s latest games. (Astute readers will know that the now legendary Portal debuted here.) When I booted up my 360, TF2 was unplayable. I don’t mean any hyperbole here. It was literally unplayable. Infinite lag crippled the experience. And, while the PC version would see patches and special care, the Xbox version sat in the corner…and wept. So I ditched it. Then, a few years later, I picked it back up with a friend on the PC. Turns out the game was solid now and was actually incredibly fun. So what’s fun about it? Let me break it down for you.
Graphically, TF2 is great. It doesn’t go for the all-out ‘real person’ look. Rather, the stylized cartoon look plays very well in a game about wanton murder for the purpose of flag capturing and king of the hill-ing. This also helps the developers infuse the characters with enough personality to help someone pick a favorite class. While they do all play differently, e.g. a Medic and a Heavy have two wildly different playstyles, the characteristics help to sway a player towards a certain class. All of the characters have voice tracks that add a lot to the experience. Little quips and jabs, as well as taunts, make the battlefield a fast-paced, hilarious death-trap.
The music for TF2 is difficult to nail down under a single genre. There isn’t a whole lot of it. However, there’s fanfare and a mix of 1960’s inspired riffs that add just a bit of something extra to the game. Certainly there aren’t any orchestral tracks while you’re playing a map, but the bits here and there just add that something.
And the gameplay, man, the gameplay. This is where TF2 brings it all together. Which is good, because, you know, it’s a game and all that. So you’ll notice that the T in TF2 stands for Team. No room for heroes here, son. You’re part of a team now. Be it Red or Blue, your job is to stick to those suckers on the other team. Your job in each mission is to complete an objective. There are twists on classic standby’s like King of the Hill or Capture the Flag (TF2’s flag happens to be a briefcase full of secrets). There are also wholly new ideas like ‘Payload’, which has players escort a giant bomb past a series of checkpoints until finally arriving at the enemy’s base for detonation/victory. Personally, Payload is my favorite. It requires a lot of teamwork and also allows for plenty of fun as the Sniper (self-explanatory) or the Engineer (who can build defensive sentry guns, among other things).
The characters at your disposal range from the super quick, though easily wounded Scout to the stalwart model of Russian killing efficiency known as The Heavy. The Medic provides mobile healing and a chance to ‘Ubercharge’ an ally. Once ‘ubered’, an ally and the Medic are invulnerable to harm for a brief period of time. The Pyro is the master of all fire based attacks, wielding a flamethrower and fire axe; and the Demoman can place mines and launch grenades. The Soldier takes a more direct route with a rocket launcher and shotgun. Oh, and let’s not forget the Spy, who can disguise himself as another player (enemy or friendly) for purposes of literally backstabbing or sabotage of the Engineer’s machinery. All of the classes have little quirks and abilities to make them stand out even more, and I encourage you to try all of them until you find the right fit.
Now, another aspect of TF2 that makes it interesting is the item system. As you play the game, you’ll “find” random weapons to augment your damage and accessories (hats, most likely) to personalize your various characters. It is important to reiterate that they are found entirely at random. You cannot earn most of them. This leads to a rather robust trading function that allows players to swap gear with each other for some that they do.You can also purchase items in the Store, though I would advise simply finding items. A sure sign of a noob is someone all geared out in a particular set of items.
All in all, Team Fortress 2 (TF2) delivers hours of quality entertainment for free. Older players may grumble about “noobs these days”, but the community is largely full of good people who just want to have fun with you. Cool graphics and tons of charm make TF2 a free to play game that’s not to be missed.