Not Impressed by Team Fortress 2

Steam says I have spent about 175 hours playing Team Fortress 2. This means two things: I know the game very well, and I enjoy it, despite all of the blackening of its good name I am about to take part in.

Lets begin by saying TF2 does one thing very well: balance. Each class has an essential niece it fills, and feels distinct, while still being able to fully compete against everything else. Admittedly, some classes can be slightly better than others, but this is more a case of the Perfect Imbalance described on Extra Credits. One can tell Valve put a lot of work into making the nine classes work well together.

I do, however, take two major issues with the game that I have a hard time forgiving ...

The humour is funny at first, but if one plans on playing TF2 for any significant amount of time, they can expect it to wear very thin very quickly. This is any issue I take with all humor games that aren't short single-player experiences. The jokes can't last as long as they need to. Soon, they stop being funny and start being tiresome. They almost feel like something obstructing the gameplay and clogging up the experience. In a multiplayer environment, especially one so focused on teamwork, the players themselves can be trusted to provide humour. A bunch of friends playing a serious game together will produce much more genuine laughter than someone playing a humour-focused game with strangers.

The second issue I take is with the engine, and the overall feel of the game. Whole playing, one doesn't feel like they are controlling a cartoon caricature. They feel like they are controlling a floating camera with a gun attached. TF2 is missing all those vital details that remind the player that they are in control of a being with weight and features other than eyes, ears, and a gun. Many FPS games, especially ones from Valve, suffer from this.

Valve can't seem to be bothered to find or develop a better engine than their current decrepit monstrosity. It feels like a shambling corpse, incapable of properly carrying TF2's aesthetic, barley able to support its own weight. The guns feel pathetic. The environments feel static and dead. The textures are often rather awful. The lighting is a joke. I know that graphics can't make a game, but they need to not be distractingly bad. I understand that TF2 is a few years old, but if Valve is going to make it their flagship product, they need to do better.

Also: the loading screens are awful, picking a server is pretty intuitive, and the screen that is put up while one is waiting to respawn is awful.


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