Review: Team Fortress 2

Review: Team Fortress 2

What's amazing is, even after remembering TFC in my rose-colored way, I love TF2. And I hate sequels. Seriously. Couldn't stand Diablo II. My favorite Star Wars movie was A New Hope. In my world, The Godfather Part 2 is overrated, and The Matrix should've ended with Neo flying into the sunset after blowing up Agent Smith. (I don't think I'm in the minority on that last one.)

Joe Blancato reviews Valve's Team Fortress 2.

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Good review. Haven't you spotted the Sniper's damage metre though? It increases while he's zoomed in, and when it reaches maximum even Heavies will go down with one shot.

p.s. Nerf the Scout

TF2 is astonishingly good.

I played TFC back in 1999-2000 when I was a university student and had plenty of time, then gradually quit playing when my responsibilities began to add up. When I tried it again last year, I found the game had been taken over by elite bunnyhoppers and grenade-jumpers, and was just generally no fun for a casual pick-up gamer. In the interim, medics had become perhaps THE primary offensive class (so, not much team-healing went on), very few people played Pyro or Scout, and the whole thing seemed geared to maximizing individual scores. (The new Fortress Forever mod, while it's beautifully done, preserves the same exploits and is much the same kind of elite playground as TFC became.)

The great thing about TF2 is how effortless team play has become. I can join a pub full of strangers, immediately figure out my team's goal, and no matter what class I play (mostly Medic), can figure out how to help. Thanks to the removal of the old TFC exploits and grenades, plus skilful level design, there's far less opportunity for an individual to dominate the game (which seems to be behind the TF2 hatred shown by some hardcore TFCers--it's much harder to cap in TF2 without your team's support).

I mean, I mostly suck, and I still get owned by the skilled twitch-shooters (nerf the respawn timer!), but holy cow, is it ever fun.

Two questions. One, why do you hate sequels? And two, why did you not want to play Half-Life?

Tom Edwards:
Good review. Haven't you spotted the Sniper's damage metre though? It increases while he's zoomed in, and when it reaches maximum even Heavies will go down with one shot.

I have, actually. Maybe I'm just not doing something right, but even at 100% charge, I'm lucky if I can one-shot a sniper. Maybe they recently upped the damage?

Alex Karls:
Two questions. One, why do you hate sequels? And two, why did you not want to play Half-Life?

Typically, sequels capture the wrong parts of a predecessor. And most movies/books/whatever aren't made with sequels in mind, so the first in a series is usually the most complete and well-rounded. There's obvious exceptions, of course, and it's getting better, but unless the creator planned the story to be told in installments at the beginning, it's very hard to do follow-ups right.

And I was so enamored with TFC, Half-Life just didn't register. Weird, I know.

Huh, so they added this "team" based element to the game, huh?

So, now a game called "Team Fortress" concentrates on how well you work with a team, right?

Possibly even to defend some kind of building, perhaps?

Sarcasm aside, I'm really looking forward to this game, it's gonna be the number one reason I play games for the month of October, and it has a high chance of being the only thing I play until Guitar Hero III is released.

Neat review, and the sniper is so powerful, a directly full powered headshot should be able to take down a 450 HP charged beast of a HWGuy, so I don't think its underpowered (I had a round in Dustbowl when I got 26 points as a sniper, then again I guess I did get some headshots, and they were using snipers to attack (???)).

Delightfully fun, this game just is another of them "one more game" things, with the huge variety of classes and while 5 maps (which you didn't mention in your review; about the maps and gametypes) are not terribly varied (and 2fort can get really boring), they did mention they'll release some more, and I expect modders to step in too.

And the statistics side is neat too - the game records your stats (no one elses) in quite a bit of detail which show up when a map loads (the basics) or when you go to them from the main menu (where you can check out individual classes) or even on the steam website now too.

And the developer commentary is neat, and gives a good overview of the game changes, style choices and how maps and classes were balanced.

I don't know about the scout being overpowered - a SG stops them completely dead, a HWGuy is nearly impossible to take on if they see you first, and so on. Bit too fast at the start of CTF 2fort though (faster then the unprepared defenders to their own flag), and they can be abusive towards snipers, hehe.

Yeah, I first had an issue with the Scout when I ran down to the intelligence room on 2Fort as an Engineer, just in time for a Scout to blast me with a scatter gun and then brain me with a bat. But since each patch has addressed balance in one way or another, I'm not overly concerned. And as it appears, the Sniper got a bit of a power boost. Last time I logged in, people were actually complaining about the other team's Snipers, which was the first time I ever heard anyone vocally concerned by them. So there you go.

I do, however, stand by my original statement, just for the sake of being obstinate: Nerf the Scout.

I played TFC for years and loved it; and after spending just a little time with TF2, I'm sure I'll love this as well. I haven't played the game in years so I'm currently not the most amazing player. That respawn timer is truly a painful thing when I die so often. That's really my only gripe with the game right now. While I'm hoping they'll reduce it I'm ready to put up with it because the rest of the game is so good.

I think server admins can change the respawn timer. I know I've been on a few servers where the wait wasn't as bad.

TF2 is quite frankly the bollocks as far a MP gaming goes. It's the new benchmark imho. So far everyone of my CS clan I've cajoled into buying the OB has fallen completely in love with the game after a few minutes of exposure. It's easy to learn, but manifold in terms of tactics and strategies and I'd definitely agree it does build team spirit. More importantly it's just downright plain FUN, whether your kicking ass, getting your assed kicked, storming to victory or defending by your fingertips, it FUN, FUN, FUN. There seems to be an air of co-operation in the Voice chat and none of the grimness you find in DoD or CS gameplay.

Joe:
Couldn't stand Diablo II. My favorite Star Wars movie was A New Hope. In my world, The Godfather Part 2 is overrated, and The Matrix should've ended with Neo flying into the sunset after blowing up Agent Smith. (I don't think I'm in the minority on that last one.)

You're on crack. Agreed. Not as much as 3 is underrated. Agreed.

But your review, as well as the completely awesome writeup at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, have convinced me that I really do need to give this game a shot.

Virgil:

Joe:
1. Couldn't stand Diablo II.
2. My favorite Star Wars movie was A New Hope.
3. In my world, The Godfather Part 2 is overrated,
4. and The Matrix should've ended with Neo flying into the sunset after blowing up Agent Smith. (I don't think I'm in the minority on that last one.)

1. You're on crack. 2. Agreed. 3. Not as much as 3 is underrated. 4. Agreed.

1. Diablo II was a let-down. Virgil, you're on crack.
2. You're both on crack. Empire all the way.
3. The Godfather Part 2 is one of the top 5 films ever made. Part 3 was complete shit. Joe, get a lobotomy. Virgil ... you're on crack.
4. As long as you keep the Rage Against the Machine, I'm down. "Come on!"

The thing that this game has really showed a lot of people is that you can't define a game by the sort of gimmick phrases on the back of the box. For example, you couldn't put on the back of the TF2 box "Encourages teamplay by making the medic really crappy at offense, but great with a heavy!" or "No more grenades, because trust us - they just aren't fun!" If another company were to make TF2 it would be something like "Use the commander feature to take control of your squad and coordinate your strike" or "Utilize over 150 different weapons (the latter 75 of which are the "other team" versions of the previous weapons) in over 30 different maps! (29 of which the community will never play)"

Instead TF2 uses very subtle sciences of game design, and the fact is they just got things right. I admit on many up-front aspects they don't do things so differently. Two teams, a bunch of classes, teamplay encouraged. BF2 clone, right? Well, do you see your team camping jets? No, you usually see them on the frontlines.

Except for those freaking engineers.

Feast on my Sappers you twats.

Does *anyone* think getting The orange box for the 360, and specifically for TF2, is worth it? I know I cant run TF2 on my comp, and I don't have money for a new video card, so the 360 version is my only option.

It may well be worth it. Sniping is one of the only things that gains a huge advantage through the mouse; the heavy, the medic, the spy, the pyro...none of them really ever need precision aim.

Though, be sure to post your computer specs; you never know, because I run TF2 looking great in DX8.

Ranzel:
Does *anyone* think getting The orange box for the 360, and specifically for TF2, is worth it? I know I cant run TF2 on my comp, and I don't have money for a new video card, so the 360 version is my only option.

Man that's a tough choice. TF2 is probably the game in Orange Box that most benefits from being played on a PC. Unlike the 360 version, the server isn't capped at 16 players, there are dedicated servers, admin tools to tweak server variables (I'm looking at you class limitations), along with tons of modded maps. Just to give you an idea, the game hasn't gone retail and no official modding tools have been released, but there are already about half a dozen custom maps popping up. TF2 really is going to be a much better experience on the PC. And of course, you get the advantage of using a mouse/keyboard rather than a controller.

Also, what kind of graphics card do you have? Many people assume that a top graphics card is needed to run the latest PC games, but the Source engine is one of the most efficient graphics engines out there right now. Even a 128 MB card should be able to run the game decently, depending on your CPU and RAM.

Great review some I agree with some I don't, I sat here and read it with my housemate we both where laughing over some of your comments, we played Team Fortress back in the Quake days and didn't follow it over to the Half Life mod.
We also upgraded to high speed internet purely to kill people as snipers and heavy weapons guys, stripped down all the computers in the house to make one ubercomp in the lounge room and the playstation and tv where turned off.

Then the black day arrived and we lost our internet and couldn't play Team Fortress, we then waited 10 years for it come back, in the meen time the addiction created by TF had us playing all the shooters that came out.
We signed up to the Orange box and spent 7 days down loadinging it and beta tested for the first month with permenant grins fixed on our faces, or old house mate back from the TFQuake days rushed over and spent a week playing with us until I bought him a copy of the Orange box as well from steam online.

And heres the BUT.

But its NOT the game we where waiting for, 10 years to develop the step up from the old TFQuake engine to modern day gaming engines and the hardware that modern computers now have all that combined could have produced a brilliant game which it has to a degree ....... but its not Team Fortress2

As a game I like it, remove the Team Fortress2 tag and I would be really happy with a fun little shooter waiting for CoD4 to come out but as the sequel to Team Fortress that it is not.

The game has been "dumbed" down way to much, TF2 was made for xbox360 and other consoles taking that into account you can understand why the game got dumbed down and alot of the weapons and ability's that took abit of "smarts" or skill to use was removed .... this is a game that was built for console controllers and auto aiming not for experienced PC gamers.

The whole "team" aspect of team fortress is really showing up now as well with side stacking starting to come out as the experience FPS players are starting to join servers and when able to join the side with gamers they know and "pwn the noobs" hate to say it but TF2 has some built in faults that prevent it from having the longevity of Team Fortress.

Sorry for first post rant ... just thought I might add my two cents from the view of an Aussie gamer who waited too long for a great game.

Joe:

Tom Edwards:
Good review. Haven't you spotted the Sniper's damage metre though? It increases while he's zoomed in, and when it reaches maximum even Heavies will go down with one shot.

I have, actually. Maybe I'm just not doing something right, but even at 100% charge, I'm lucky if I can one-shot a sniper. Maybe they recently upped the damage?

Alex Karls:
Two questions. One, why do you hate sequels? And two, why did you not want to play Half-Life?

Typically, sequels capture the wrong parts of a predecessor. And most movies/books/whatever aren't made with sequels in mind, so the first in a series is usually the most complete and well-rounded. There's obvious exceptions, of course, and it's getting better, but unless the creator planned the story to be told in installments at the beginning, it's very hard to do follow-ups right.

And I was so enamored with TFC, Half-Life just didn't register. Weird, I know.

Some people are turned off by the adventure aspect of a FPS they want constant action no exploring which I find completely boring, I hate Doom 3 and Quake 4 they focused on all the wrong aspects of the series and simply made it unfun, did you play Unreal or Quake 2 or even Duke3d these game are the pinnacle of a balance of level design,design and well...fun, while HL2 is "ok" IMO it just doe not have the level design of old no really game has,well FEAR dose have some of the better level design I have seen in awhile, Bioshock level design is...well....weak for what it is IMO it reminds me of dues ex 2 only not as intracut.

Hurlin:

The game has been "dumbed" down way to much, TF2 was made for xbox360 and other consoles taking that into account you can understand why the game got dumbed down and alot of the weapons and ability's that took abit of "smarts" or skill to use was removed .... this is a game that was built for console controllers and auto aiming not for experienced PC gamers.

The whole "team" aspect of team fortress is really showing up now as well with side stacking starting to come out as the experience FPS players are starting to join servers and when able to join the side with gamers they know and "pwn the noobs" hate to say it but TF2 has some built in faults that prevent it from having the longevity of Team Fortress.

Sorry for first post rant ... just thought I might add my two cents from the view of an Aussie gamer who waited too long for a great game.

The problem with TFC was that it wasn't a tactical, carefully calculated science of battle. It was just using a bunch of exploits to come out on top. So many of the classes got riddled with bullets easily, and it seemed like everyone was either a scout or a medic. The game just seemed utterly wrong to me when MEDICS were constantly KILLING me.

In some ways you might call it dumbing down; in some ways you'd call it making more sense. But for the most part, I don't see what causes TF2 to require so much less skill; that is, unless you're still referring to leaping about with conc grenades.

I'm not big into online fragfests but with the buzz going 'round this one I might have to give it a go. Finding people who can work as a team is tricky. So's getting the moolah for now. Hmm.

 

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