Team Fortress 2 Reader Review
After reading the reviews of Team Fortress 2, my anticipation was sky high. Yet a few minutes after jumping into a server, I was aware of the first twinges of disappointment rearing its ugly head. The seemingly limited weapon-set for each character bothered me. The Medic appeared almost useless as a serious fighting class, not allowing you to combine combat with support in the same way that, say, the Medic in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory did. After a good fifteen minutes, with no kills even after changes of class (including to a Heavy Weapons Guy), my heart sank further. Also, by this time I was bloody fed up of 2Fort, and the rose-tinted lens through which my brain operated told me that the old TFC version was better - it didn't help that nearly every server was 2Fort only.
Oh, I was young and foolish! TF2 grows on you like a spot, teasing you into scratching its itchy exterior again and again; and when you do manage to expertly place your thumb and forefinger inbetween its bulbous form, squeezing it with full force, splatters of pure pleasure spray out (instead of puss, if you didn't get the metaphor).
I assume that by reading this review you've read the main review, so a knowledge of the game's premise and genre will be taken for granted. Instead, let's focus on the little details which make TF2 so polished you can see your face in it. Take the Spy - bereft of the shotgun, his pistol is the only long-range weapon in his arsenal, but that doesn't matter as you'll probably never use it. You'll be too busy disguising as enemies - a fact which is gloriously communicated to your teammates by a cardboard mask of the enemy class you're disguised as - or turning invisible with your cloak, both of which aid you in delivering the fatal backstab; maybe you'll be destroying enemy turrents, teleporters and dispensers with your sapper charges. Soon you'll learn to disguise as an enemy Sniper, making other enemies think that your lack of shooting (attacking makes you shed your disguise) is due to a carefully aimed shot about to be taken; or maybe to call for an enemy medic, stealing the health he doles out to you before slicing your deadly blade across his jugular.
Playing as an Engineer, guarding your own lines rather than infiltrating the enemy's, can be equally as fun. Thinking tactically about where to place your one turret (which can be upgraded to a dual minigun, rocket launcher-wielding behemoth), your teleporter, and your dispenser (dishing out health and ammo) is just as vital to the match as that Medic who hangs round the Heavy Weapons Guy, constantly streaming health until overcharged and then unleashing a short burst of invincibility for him and his target. The Scout running ahead is capturing the points much faster than any other class can; the Demoman is creating a defensive line of sticky bombs ready to detonate at the first sign of an enemy incursion; the Pyro is pissing everyone off by spraying flames in their faces to see if they're enemy spies, a vital role, he'll assure you. The combined roles of the classes are as finely balanced as a tightrope walker. That, dear readers, is the key to TFT, and the clue is in the name - THAT'S why I didn't get any kills in my first match: because it's not about kills. It's TEAM Fortress, it's about that fraternity of 1960s cartoony men (the graphical style is fantastic, and the music and sounds effects just as sumptuous) blowing ten shades of merde out of each other, and not caring about individual scores. Bear this in mind and you will avoid the premature disappointment I felt, and have one of the most exhilarating gaming experiences currently available.
Not much of a review, I know (see my Company of Heroes review for a more standard format), but writing this makes me want to go and play the game again. Hopefully it will make you want to buy it, and as part of The Orange Box it would be a sin not to. Do you want to go to Gamer Hell?
9 / 10