Team Fortress 2 review by Termite
Game Review: Team Fortress 2
The last game in the Orange Box is also the one that gives it the replay value it needs. Valve realized that their Orange Box, while great, has lots of short games in it. To make up for it they put a game in the genre that never dies, Online First Person Shooters.
Team Fortress 2's development took a long time, a very long time. It was often compared to Duke Nukem Forever in the way that both of them were highly anticipated, yet constantly pushed back and delayed. The TF2 team made a few prototype games, one of them revolving around the concept of one player being a commander of one team and having an RTS like interface to assign orders, before they finally settled on the game we now know as Team Fortress 2.
Ok, now lets get on to the real review! First we will discuss the graphics. They are fantastic. The graphics in this game are amazing to say the least. The art style is really off the wall and makes you feel like you are in some sort of comic book, unlike the other games based on the source engine which take a really realistic approach. This is a breath of fresh air in a genre that I would personally say takes itself too seriously. The style of the graphics really sets the mood of the entire game and makes it less dreary and gloomy like some multiplayer shooters tend to be. The graphics are also highly scalable which allows for weaker computers to handle the game as well, this is a good trait shared by pretty much all the games running on the source engine.
But graphics are nothing without gameplay right? The gameplay is also top notch. The game revolves around two teams, the RED and the BLU (Not a typo) fighting for supremacy in a number of different locales, all of them sharing that same distinct TF2 art style. The original Team Fortress is often called "The granddaddy of class-based shooters" and TF2 sets the bar even higher. There are nine classes, all of them completely unique and brimming with personality. The Heavy Weapons Guy is a giant Russian man obsessed with his gun and killing people. The Scout is a skinny kid with a New England accent who seems to love bashing people with his bat. And the Demoman is in his own words, a black Scottish cyclops. Anyway, you get the point.
The personality complements the graphics well, once again establishing the light-hearted feel of the game. Each class has its own weapon loadout, and all of them are wacky and once again, complement the rest of the game. Nothing feels out of place. The medic has a syringe gun which fits its purpose of last resort fallback weapon perfectly. All of the melee weapons in the game are based around the classes personality, the psychosis of the Heavy Weapon Guy coming through perfectly in his melee weapon, AKA: His fists.
The balancing is great for the most part as well. There is a class for every person and situation. You have bad aim but like to be in the front lines? Heavy Weapon's Guy is for you. You like being a supporter? Engineer or Medic is a perfect fit. A team really has to work together to win in Team Fortress 2, unlike some other online FPS games. If the enemy is defending a lot your Medics and Heavy Weapon's Guys can team up and get an Ubercharge ( If the medic heals enough, he gets the ubercharge which can make one teammate invincible for a short period of time, essential for breaking defenses.)
The only problems with the balancing are mostly intentional things on the developers part. The critical hit system, while good, is a bit too random. It is a blast for the person who happens to get lucky and have a critical hit, but not so much for the person on the receiving end. The worst offender is the Soldier class, who's rocket launcher when it gets critical hits is absolutely devastating. But these small problems can be ignored considering the game is for the most part very well balanced.
Sound is also great, the best part of it being the things the characters say. There is a large library of voice commands you can make, these are all fully lip synced by your character model and are really well done. Also, some are automatic, when the Heavy Weapon's Guy kills a lot of people in a short period of time, he starts singing this jolly old song which is really hilarious. And there are dozens of voice commands for every single class, which if used effectively can actually give you an advantage over someone who doesn't use them. Other than the voices, the sound is still very good. The music is original and catchy, even though you won't be hearing it much (This isn't a single player game)
Map design is very well done, and the maps are a shining example of TF2's art style. The RED team's bases all use warm colors in their design and have a very country-side feel to them. The BLU team on the other hand has a very industrial look and have very angular structures all around. Both the team's bases hide highly exaggerated arsenals of missiles and such, once again fitting in nicely with the overall theme of the game. The only problem with the levels is that there aren't enough of them. Although one new map has been released since the debut of the game, the selection still seems very thin. This is remedied by the quality of the maps though, which are all of the highest caliber.
Also, worth mention is the increasing depth of the game. Valve, the creators of Team Fortress and other wonders, has recently released an update not only containing a brand new map, but also new unlockable weapons for the Medic class. Doing specific things in the game beats things called achievements and once you have enough of these you can unlock some of these weapons for the medic class. This is fantastic, and awesome. Also, new weapons animations have been released for pretty much all the melee weapons, another plus. The unlockable weapons system is said to be in production for every single class in the game, adding more and more depth and enjoyment to this already great experience.
Team Fortress 2 is not a game you should miss, it is simply of the highest quality. It has also been released individually recently, and while it is still more of a deal to buy it in the Orange Box if you have some sort of vendetta against the other games in it (For instance, if one of those games killed a beloved family member) you can now get TF2 separately. If you like shooting games, not just online ones but even regular FPSs you should get this game. It is one of the best executed and best crafted games I've played in my entire life, and I can see this game being played for years to come. So, buy it now!