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Trevor Wagner

Team Fortress 2 Review

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In 2007, Valve released The Orange Box, a compilation of games which included Half Life 2, Portal, and a sequel to their 1997 mod for Quake, Team Fortress 2. The game was listed as vaporware for quite a while, spending over six years in development with no real visible progress. Luckily, the game was actually released, and it was a roaring success at launch. Since it's release three years ago, how does TF2 hold up? Is it still the world's number one war-themed hat simulator, or has the cel-shaded shine worn off?

TF2 is a class based first-person shooter multiplayer-centered game, so that should give you a basic idea of what to expect. As far as a the detailed premise of the game, you join either the RED (Reliable Excavation Demolition) or BLU (Builders League United) team, and then pick one of nine classes, and jump into battle.. The classes are sorted into three categories: Offensive (Scout, Soldier, Pyro), Defensive (Demoman, Heavy, Engi) and Support (Sniper, Medic, Sniper, and Spy). Each class has it's own perks and drawbacks, and therefore it's own unique play style. The Scout, for example, is the fastest class in the game, and has the ability to double jump; the drawback is low amount of health he has, making his more suited for grabbing the intelligence, and using hit-and-run combat tactics. The Heavy, on the other hand, is the slowest class in the game, but has a powerful minigun as his main weapon, and has the highest health of any class. Regardless of what play style you prefer, you'll find a class that suits you, and as soon as you do, it's one of the most enjoyable online experiences in my memory.

The presentation in this game is some of the highest that I've ever seen. Imagine a Pixar movie made for teens and adults, where 9 unique characters on each side of industry battle each other for control, both sides being manipulated and pushed forth by a shadowy administrator heard only over loudspeakers. Now, plug a controller into that movie. And I'm not really exaggerating; the graphics and audio are on a Pixar level. The worlds are detailed, down to equations on chalkboards, with each map having two sides, the RED side being very agricultural and rustic, with the BLU side being much more industrialized. Each of the nine characters are well designed an animated in a cartoon-y and cel-shaded style, and are bursting with character. The audio work is just as impressive, with the voice actors doing a great job of making the characters come to life both in game with taunts, domination lines, and in the “Meet the...” trailers, in which each character's story is outlined. The game might not be as detailed as some, but it makes up for what it lacks in detail with immense amounts of style.

The control scheme is fairly standard for any FPS no mater which platform you play it on; this works well to the game's advantage. As the name implies, in order to really do well, you have to work with your team, and the simple control scheme helps reinforce that idea. It's not about how well you can press the buttons, it's knowing when and where to press them. Certain skills such as rocket jumping as a Solider or reflecting rockets and arrows with the Pyro's airblast take a while to get good at, but it's worth the effort.

The level of support that Valve has shown for Team Fortress 2 has been astounding. Since launch, there've been over a hundred updates, with a good handful of them being major updates, changing the game quite a bit, introducing new weapons, hats, and maps. In regards to that, the game has unlockable weapons for all classes, as well hats for each class, with some hats being available to all classes. Items are found randomly upon dying, and are also tradable, and craftable (by combining other weapons and items you find), as well as certain items being unlocked along with the in-game achievements. For the most part, the alternate weapons are all “side-grades,” with most of them being just as good as the others, though supporting different play styles and/or with situational advantages. The other side of this are the cosmetic items – hats, and accessories. Accessories are nice, but hats are where it's at. This is because hats drop much less, and require much more metal (which you get from smelting down weapons and other items) and are therefore rarer. Because of this, hats are a large part of the community, with many jokes being made about hats.

Valve has a history of making great games, and Team Fortress 2 did not disappoint at launch, and it still doesn't disappoint now. With dozens of maps, nine classes, and a bunch of unlockable hats and weapons, TF2 may be the best FPS that I've ever played, and if you haven't played it, you need to get on that, soon.

Trevor Wagner

Also, hats.

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Updated 20-10-10 at 01:18 by Trevor Wagner (Spelling.)

Sony , Microsoft , PC


  1. Mclean Oshiokpekhai's Avatar
    TF2 is the only shooter I've logged close to 400 hours in.

    If you haven't played this game, you need too. It's the best 20 bucks you'll ever spend on a PC game, guaranteed.
  2. SteveSawyer's Avatar
    Team Fortress 2 is like that chick you've been dating for 8 years, that brings you lunch to work. Sure she may flip out on you every once in a while, and sure she may be older than some of the other, more flashy girls on the block, and sure, every now an again she makes you question why you're even with her.

    But at the end of the day, she brings you lasagna to work, and not every chick brings a dude lasagna. Did that make any sense at all?

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