The new "Mannpower" game mode channels Unreal Tournament into Team Fortress 2, with no random crits, map-based power ups, and a grappling hook.
Team Fortress 2 is going on 8-years old now, and hasn't shown the slightest hint of slowing down with its regular content updates. While the updates mostly consist of cool videos and hats, we do occasionally get something interesting like new maps or a new game mode. Now, Valve has just announced the Beta of another new mode, "Mannpower mode", as part of it's "Smissmas" update for the game.
Mannpower mode is essentially the standard CTF mode with a number of changes. First up, there's no random critical hits, and you can only capture the enemy flag if your own flag is currently in your base. Next up, players have grappling hooks that they can use to quickly traverse the terrain, and there are also nine "Mannpower" temporary power ups placed around the map, which give the player who picks them up boosts ranging from extra damage, to health and ammo regeneration.
If Unreal Tournament was the first thing to pop into your mind, you're not alone. With the focus on map-based power ups, as well as the return to the more "hardcore" CTF rules and the grappling hook as a replacement for the translocator, it really does feel like this game mode is drawing inspiration from the genre's arena-based twitch-FPS roots.
The game mode is currently in beta, as the team is trying to collect as much feedback from its fanbase as possible before making it an official mode. To play, click on Play Multiplayer, enable Play Beta Maps checkbox, and then choose Mannpower Mode.
As well as Mannpower mode, the Smissmas update introduces three new weapons, and of course, a variety of new Christmas-themed hats.