Team Fortress 2, the long awaited sequel to the popular QuakeWorld mod from 1996, does its predecessors more then enough justice. Like the original, TF2 uses class based combat and pits up online players against each other in a number of different game modes, but this time in a very cartoon like fashion.
Probably the most appealing aspect of the game is the overall look and style. If you were to have both TF2 and Team Fortress Classic (TFC) playing beside each other, just by looking you would never figure that they were related. TFC had a very simple, basic army style; nothing special. As for TF2, the graphics are such a huge presence and are pulled off extremely well. Its “living cartoon” style, as I like to call it, is not only appealing to the eyes, but also adds a lot of humor to the game. If you were splattered into pieces by an enemy rocket, then you are treated with a properly labeled snapshot of your disassembled body parts. Even small things, like an engineer setting up one of his 4 gadgets, are enough to make you stop and watch as they are automatically assembled before your eyes.
As for the actual game play, there may not be any single player mode, but TF2 offers a lot in terms of variety online. There are 9 very different classes to choose from and switch between at any point during a match. The 9 character are split into 3 categories; Offence, Defense and Support.
In the Offensive category you’ll find the Scout, the Solider and the Pyro. The main role of these characters is to charge right into the enemy base without any support. Under Defensive, you’ll find the Demo Man, the Heavy, and the Engineer. Obviously, these characters were designed mainly to defend control or capture points. All three are able to lay down loads of damage over a long period of time – the Demo Man with his sticky bombs, the Heavy with his chain gun and the Engineer with his sentry – but still require lots of support. This brings us to, well, the Support characters. First we have the Medic. The Medic has low health, and can’t dish out much damage, but if you want to do more helping then harming, the Medic is for you. His Medi Gun is used to heal allies up to 150% of there starting health and can also grant temporary invincibility to both the Medic and his healing target. Next is the Sniper, whose name says it all. The Sniper uses his Bolt Action Sniper Rifle to pick off enemies one by one. His machine pistol and Kukri knife are used to defend against close range attackers who are tired of constantly being reminded that they are a victim of a head shot. And last, but certainly not least, is the Spy. The Spy’s main objective is to get in, and get out. Using his cloaking and disguising abilities, the spy can infiltrate the enemies defenses undiscovered, and use “Electro Sappers” to knock out all of an Engineer’s gadgets, then finish him off with a backstab with his butterfly knife.
As you can plainly see, there’s something, or someone rather, for everyone in TF2. Each character has there own feel and personality which opens the game up to more then just the hardcore FPS audience. All of the characters voices are very distinct and memorable; you’d never mistaken a distant ally Pryo for a Medic when he yells to warn you of a nearby enemy Spy, because the Medic has a strong German accent and the Pyro…well who knows what the Pyro’s saying. Enough about the characters, what about the environments? One thing that can be said about TF2’s level selection is that it’s few but still fantastic. At release there may have only been about 6 different levels to play in, but all of them were and still are extremely fun to experience, and now with so many user generated maps there’s even more reason to keep playing, not to mention the fact that Valve is preparing new content to be released in the near future, including new maps, weapons and game play modes.
Fantastic art direction, unique characters and weapons, and overall excellent game play. I truly feel that TF2 will be the most fun people will have playing a FPS since “Goldeneye 007”; and let me tell you, I played a lot of Goldeneye back in the day. With its eye catching visuals and character based humor, this is a must have for any PC gamer looking for some online multiplayer action and a hell of a good time.