Review by legalystupid
"Cry some more!"
I've been fragging people via networked gaming for the better part of the last decade, starting with Quake LAN parties that I drug my father's AutoCAD computer to. Soon after that came the Magnum Opus of team based death matches, Team Fortress for Quake, for those of you who don't know Team Fortress 2 is actually the third in the series. The first was a Quake mod, the second was Valve's remake for the Half-Life engine called Team Fortress Classic. Team Fortress 2 is by far the best so far, improving nearly every aspect of the game by simply making it simpler. Yes, they actually made the game better by taking out features. Team Fortress Classic was plagued by useless classes and grenade spam. Basically you were stuck with players getting killed immediately until they mastered the art of conc jumping and bunny hopping, leaving a very big gap between pros and noobs. Team fortress 2 eliminates the negatives and completely balances out the Character Classes and removing all grenades except for the Demo. Each class now fills a specific niche that needs to be filled; Spies spy, Snipers snipe, and Scouts scout.
Valve really blew everyone away with the revamp of the Team Fortress art style, abandoning the realistic graphics that everyone and their grandmother use in favor of cartoon style hyper-unrealism. It's not quite cel shading like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker or Jet Set Radio, but everything is just so animated. Each class has its own unique silhouette to help tell everyone apart, prior TF games you would have trouble telling apart an Engineer from a Soldier. For instance the Heavy Weapons guy is a huge hulking beast trotting along at a slow pace with a gigantic minigun, the spy is a slender man dressed in a pinstripe suit and balaclava, the engineer has his hard hat and wrench in hand. Valve did a number making everything so unique and detailed but still playable on older machines and still win countless awards and recognition for delivering one of the best looking games of 2007 against contenders like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Bioshock. There's something very satisfying about having your opponent's bloody remains rain down around you after a well placed rocket to their jaw.
Game play: 9/10
what makes Team Fortress 2 better than similar games is that each class actually serves a purpose. Without the proper balance and team work it is impossible to win a match, better invest in a headset. Depending on your preferences you can play as a shock troop like the scout, soldier or pyro and plow through the enemy's front lines; backup the offence or defenses as a sniper, demo, and engineer, mop up as a heavy or support your team as a medic. Or you could always go it alone and play as a Spy who specializes in back stabbing, deception and smugness or the sniper who stands there and shoots people in the head. The game modes available are your typical capture the flag and control point maps and a new escort mode coming soon. But that's the weak point in TF2is there is not a whole lot of map variety for an online only game. Get used to 2Fort becoming the new de_dust. There are custom maps out there, but not that many good ones and one that can only be described as 4chan hell. Another thing to point out that officially TF2 matches are 24 players but many servers are enabled to allow 32 players at once (don't worry; you're not breaking the Valve EULA if you play in those servers).
In games like the Battlefield series, Quake Wars and Unreal 2K4; players often found themselves confused and lost in the large openness of the games. Valve fixed this by making the maps smaller and offering no vehicular combat. At first this sounds bad, but once you start playing you realize that it's easy to get into without having to trek across two city blocks on foot and climb up a tower to a vantage point only to have yourself hit by an airstrike before you even look down your scope. You just pick a class and start playing. Maps are clever and built so as not to give any class an unfair advantage. No more popping out only to get a face full of sniper before you can say carnage. They're also certainly not tiny either, offering up just the right amount of room to get your game on without overcrowding, even on 32 player servers.
One more thing to point out that the cast of Characters are a lovable bunch of Ethnic Stereotypes. From the big Russian Heavy Weapons Guy, to the American Patriot Warmonger Soldier, to the Drunk one-eyed Black Scottish Demoman. And It's amazing how well valve painted this cast of misfits with literally no story.
I first started playing when the beta came out for those who had pre-ordered the Orange box via Steam and still come back to Team Fortress 2 all the time. TF2 is my new Unreal Tournament 2k4. Without a doubt this is going to be one of those games that everyone continues to come back to for a long, long time because of its easy access for vets and noobs, unique graphics, team reliance game play and small maps.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/31/08
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