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Team Fortress 2 Member Review for the PC

Mantisstrike By:
Mantisstrike
03/17/08
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Shooter 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Valve Software 
DEVELOPER Valve Software 
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence

What do these ratings mean?

 

Since there was no review I took this review from http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Reviews.Detail&id=37

I do not take credit for this review, this was the work of Chris "LuNaTiK" Fryant

 

Loading Team Fortress 2 up for the first time, my first thought was “I’ve been waiting a long time for this”. As with all highly anticipated game titles, I began to play with the anticipation of that “let down” moment, that moment where the buzz and the screenshots and the streaming video you’ve been watching no longer matches up with what you’ve got sitting right in front of you. For Team Fortress 2, that moment just did not come.

The game is packed full of unmitigated joy, hilarity, and the kind of fresh maniacal action I haven’t seen since the release of the original Team Fortress total conversion for Quake. My first time connected to a server I was presented with the sever message on a chalkboard. As soon as I hit continue, the lights dimmed a projection screen dropped down, and grainy film began to play describing with text the main objective in the map. In this case it was cp_well, the cp standing for the “Control Points” game mode. After the film finished I was presented with two doors, one for each team. I clicked autoassign and was presented with a lineup of all the classes. Hovering your mouse over each class will display the model in various poses, with a rundown on what the class is all about on a chalkboard to the right of the chosen class. There’s even an option for the game to pick a class for you at random.

I selected the Scout class to start, an old favorite of mine from the days when Team Fortress Classic was just about the only game I played. I just happened to join at the beginning of a match, and was greeted by the bloodthirsty yells of my new teammates as we were set loose. The first of many surprises the game has to offer was the fact that the scout class has a double jump ability, allowing for some exceptionally fun acrobatics which are useful in eluding enemy fire as well as diving over obstacles.

I pulled out my aluminum baseball bat just as we reached the train station in the center of the map, the entrances of which were blocked by gates for a period of thirty seconds. Across the track on the opposite corner of the building I could see two soldiers and a Pyro right up against their fence, ready to dash through and blow me to smithereens. Then the gate opened, and the insanity began. A heavy came lumbering around the opposing team’s gate, chaingun whirring, bullets spraying. I did a side dodge as his bullets strayed my way and he was hit on the side with a rocket from one of my teammates. I came around behind him and brought the bat down on his very well rendered head. With a bang he went down, and my character automatically exclaimed “Take that fatty!”.

The game’s automatic context sensitive taunts add greatly to the overall fun of the game, as do the class specific taunts that you employ by pressing your taunt button. The latter of these actually removes your control for a few seconds and takes you into a third person view of your character as you bang your shovel against your head (as a soldier), raise your flame thrower over your head and astutely proclaim “Mmmmph!” (as a pyro), even lovingly caress your minigun (as a heavy). There are a handful of taunts for each class to ensure that they won’t get tiresome anytime soon.

One of the more entertaining moments of the game actually came when I died for the first time. Blown into bite size chunks by a soldier’s rocket, the action was frozen, the sounds were muted and the screen zoomed in on the soldier. Out of the corner of my eye I spot a little blue tab, which to my astonishment, had the words “Your head” with a little triangle pointing at what was left of my decapitated head. During the death cam phase the game will point out your body parts if they happen to be in the vicinity of your executioner. It’s this kind of humor that really makes for an enjoyable experience. Playing this game for a few hours without cracking a grin would require large quantities of Botox, or horse tranquilizers.

After you die, while watching your teammates and waiting to respawn, the game will come up with relevant stat points in an amusing “On the bright side” message. In this message, it will point out any personal records achieved during the preceding life, including but not limited to how much damage you inflicted, how many people you killed, and how long you stayed alive. Barring any personal bests for that life, it will tell you which records you tied or came close to breaking.

In an interesting move that is reminiscent of Burnout 3: Takedown’s revenge system, the game employs a Nemesis system. If a particular player kills you significantly more than other players, that player becomes your nemesis. You can have more than one nemesis during a given round (as I did during my first game) and they are marked with an icon both on the scoreboard as well as above their heads. Taking out your nemesis gives you extra points, which seems to motivate rivalries fairly well during the matches. Conversely if you kill a certain player more than others, you begin to “Dominate” that person, and different icons will appear for that player. Extra points are also awarded for continuing to slap a player around like he “owes you money” or perhaps “stole your bike”.

The classes themselves are all very unique, and each has their own personality. The spy with his austere demeanor, the scout with his fevered enthusiasm, the heavy with his grim humor, each of them were wildly exaggerated to the point of hilarious overkill. There’s never the feeling that you’re playing a generic, contrived character. Each of the classes is useful in its own way, and none of them, even the ones that I wasn’t all that good at (the spy for instance), felt unimportant. Playing as a Medic, dolling out health and the occasional kill via the inspired syringe-firing machine gun is just as rewarding as blowing someone’s head off as the sniper.

 


The weapons may very well be some of the best I’ve come across. Each class has their own melee weapon that varies from the demoman’s whiskey bottle, to the heavy’s pummeling fists. Each of these weapons delivers a satisfying punch, and there’s never the feeling that you’re just using a reskinned and remodeled version of a different melee weapon.

The other weapons are about as varied as you can get in a game. The heavy lugs a gigantic minigun, which sprays large quantities of hot lead at whatever you point it at, sacrificing accuracy for rounds per second. The heavy’s secondary weapon is your standard single barreled pump action shotgun. The engineer carries a handgun, a pump action shotgun, and a two thick pda’s; one of which is used to create useful devices like sentry guns and teleporters, and the other which is used to blow up anything created with the first pda. The sniper of course, carries a laser sighted sniper gun in addition to a submachine gun. Veterans of the Team Fortress series will find these weapons both familiar and pleasantly updated to fit the new style of fast paced cartoonish action, while newcomers will find them easy to pick up and understand.

The art direction in this game is simply fantastic. Each weapon and character model, every map and texture, fits in with the game’s overall kitschy 60’s spy movie style. The models and textures for each character are all unique and superbly modeled in a cartoonish style that meshes perfectly with the over-the-top settings of each map. There’s a level of polish in every visual element that is rivaled only by the game’s sense of fun.

The sounds are also top notch. Every footstep, bang, the tinkle of ejected shells, the sharp slam of a baseball bat on some unwary enemies’ head, everything about it exudes quality. The voice acting is also excellent; every character has a unique voice and accent, all of the taunts and context sensitive voice recordings are consistent and fresh. You never have the feeling that you’re listening to the same canned audio over and over again.

During my first match, the game went into sudden death, which is an expedient for deciding matches if the game is tied at the end. There are no more respawns. It’s a fast and furious fight to the death, and can sometimes still end in a stalemate. When a stalemate occurs in this mode, that’s the end of it, there’s no second try. You are however, greeted by the purposefully melodramatic announcer proclaiming that “You Failed! Stalemate!”. This was then followed by a team score screen, showing zero points for both teams in the round, the outcome (stalemate) and a friendly message underneath: “You’re all losers!”.

As of now there are three game modes, each of them fun and interesting in their own right. Capture the flag, which is actually now changed to “Capture the Briefcase” consists of infiltrating the opposing team’s base and stealing their briefcase while defending your own.

The Control Point game mode consists of securing key points in a given map. These must be secured in a linear fashion, so you won’t need to worry about a scout bypassing your entire team and ending the game in a matter of minutes. Securing control points is done by having one or more of your team stand within the boundaries of a control point for a certain amount of time without a member of the opposing team crossing the boundary. The more team members within the control point boundaries, the quicker the point is captured. The third game mode, Territorial Control is nearly identical to this game mode, with the simple difference that the control points are no longer linear and can be captured in any order. With the addition of the teleport to the engineer’s arsenal, I can already see that we are in for some fresh dynamic gameplay and advanced strategies far beyond the high bar that previous Team Fortress games have set forth.

So you’ve got great weapons, great art direction, excellent maps, top notch sound, dynamic gameplay, and the kind of morbid humor you’ve only dreamed about in a first person shooter. If you take one thing away from this review, it should be this: Go play this game. Now. Your daughter’s piano recital? You can listen to her bang on a keyboard anytime. Your wedding anniversary? There’s always next year. Have to go to work? Tell them you contracted the hanta virus. This is without a doubt one of the most entertaining titles of the last five years, and you need to play it.


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