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Friday, March 5, 2010

Team Fortress 2 - A game for the ages...

My favourite game from the recent past is Team Fortress 2 (for the PC). 2 or 3 years ago, I got this gem of a game as a gift from a cousin as part of Orange Box. I’ve been hooked to it since. Having been used to Counter Strike’s fast paced and serious shooting action, TF2 was a refreshing (and much needed in my opinion) change. The strength of the game obviously lies in its classes.

The Spy’s knife, ability to disguise and cloak are all typical characteristics you’d associate with the “spy” moniker and TF2 does not give any huge advantage to its use either since the spy’s disguise fails when he’s shot a bit by an enemy and he’s revealed to the opposition once he uses the knife to backstab. Making him French was a touch of class. The Soldier has that perfect “American Sarge” look to him and the Minigun-wielding Heavy being Russian (not to mention a bit of a dunce) adds to the character. Every class has a perfect foil, a complete enemy. For instance, the Engineer might appear all powerful – what with his Sentry Guns and teleporters. But, the Spy is the answer to dominating the Engineers. No class can thus claim to be superior. The Scout’s speed balances out his relative lack of firepower. I liked it a lot that Valve spent the time hyping each class, making them correspond to different regions of the World (eg. The Aussie Sniper, the German Medic, Scottish Demoman), giving them intro videos (and they still keep it coming).

Even though the Pyro was a bit less powerful initially, the addition of the Backburner by Valve fixed it. It’s great that Valve keeps supporting the game all through the last 2 years with new updates that give the game new life and players the zeal to give new additions a go. Every advantage they give to one class is countered by another update to the other classes (the Razorback served as a defence for the sniper for instance). The Medic’s role is highly important in the battle too, with his few seconds of invulnerability for him and a comrade being able to break the deadlock in the face of an almost perfect defence. I’ve enjoyed that ability countless times while playing as a Heavy. Even as recent as this month the Soldier vs Demoman duel (along with the recent comics by Valve) on TF2 made me WANT to play the game for more than just stats. Adding an unlock to whichever class won the duel made it even sweeter.


The graphics are great even two years on, and it doesn’t take a very high-end rig to run it. The cartoony effect is not at all overdone, and it helps that every class is visually distinct from every other one even from a distance. I’ve also noticed how the Heavy smiling more as he racks up more kills. Everything is pretty easy to see and you don’t need to memorize the maps to know where the control points are or intel is. The sound is simply awesome too, with automatic cries from each character like “Fire, Fire, Fire”, “Here I come”, “God save the Queen”, “Hey Look at me ma!”, “We must stop little baby” and “KABOOM” adding to the hilarity. The sound of silly stuff happening like the Scout’s ball going Bonk on someone’s head and hitting people with the baseball bat are all so well done. Body part labeling after your character dies, using piss to put out a fire, the good looking critical hit and “Bonk” animations all add to the lolz

While in CS and other Multiplayer-oriented FPSes I usually felt frustration at dying repeatedly sometimes, here things like getting points for Revenge made it all the more fun, getting stabbed in the back is more hilarious than annoying. The addition of bases into which you can go to get away from the fast paced action and resupply quickly is also quite nice. The ability to send quick tips like “Spy” or “Thanks” to a teammate using just 2 keys from the keyboard without having a headset to communicate with has also helped me greatly.

Here's a video that runs through all the cast intros from TF2:


I love games like Halo and MGS4, but the thing is this game has always had me going back to it no matter how many times I decide “Alright I’ll go try some other game for a while”. It’s a game that one can play both competitively as well as just pick up and play for the fun of it. Every time I play, there’s some new and funny event I experience that I can't wait to tell my fellow gamers. After the endless hours spent sniping from the balcony on 2Fort, frantic overtime runs and the many days of standing next to the cart with a medic in support, I can confidently say this is the most I’ve enjoyed any game and the longest that joy has lasted.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

spys not british

The Lone Wolf said...

^^

Noted and changed, thanks. :)

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