Team Fortress 2
Gameplay - 10
Presentaion - 10
Story/Creativity - 10
Lifespan - 10
Freeness - 10
There are a lot of free to play shooters on the web nowadays, so when choosing one you have plenty of choice. The question is, is Team Fortress 2 a free shooter worth your time? You bet it is.
The gameplay is the true heart of the Team Fortress 2 experience, and you don’t need to Google it. It consists of various multiplayer game modes all with a unique twist. There’s capture the intelligence. which sounds and is a lot like capture the flag, Payload which involves pushing a bomb on a cart to the other teams base, capture point which involves taking control of multiple neutral points and the team with the most wins or taking control of one enemy point while they defend, king of the hill, and finally arena which is a elimination death match mode. Not to mention all the user created modes like surf and trade. Also there’s Mann vs. Machine but more on that later on in the review. Along with these game modes is a huge array of maps from the ever popular 2fort to Lumberyard. All these maps range from snowy warehouses, desert factories to nuclear reactors adding lots of variety. Again there are another load of community made maps, when it comes to maps and game modes TF2 has you covered, like really covered, smothered even.
You have a load of variety in gamemodes and maps but what about weapons and characters? Well we have the aforementioned 9 mercenaries: the Scout, the Soldier, the Pyro, the Demoman, the Heavy Weapons Guy, the Engineer, the Medic, the Sniper, and the Spy. Each of these classes have unique play styles and weapons which means there is a huge variety while in game. each of these classes are extremely well balanced with each class having 1 or more other classes that counter them. For example the engineer class can build as sentry gun that when placed in a good location can dominate the game. However the demoman and spy classes are designed to combat this, by how the spy has a weapon, the sapper, that is specifically designed to destroy sentry guns and the demoman having grenades and remotely destructible bomb. The weapons overall though go even more in depth. There are hundreds of weapons available to craft, randomly find or buy with money. This gives you the freedom to customize your favourite class to create deadly weapon combos.
Now onto Mann vs. Machine mode. This mode is basically a survival mode where you fight through waves of robot versions of the 9 classes with extras chucked in. This mode is a co-op mode and is extremely fun to play with a group of friends, the only drawback is that you really need a full group of people to play with otherwise it is really hard to succeed. This mode also has a whole extra back story that adds on to the original back-story. I’ll spare you the extra paragraph but it basically involves a third Mann brother who attacks the other 2 brothers with an army of robots.
The in game purchase system of TF2 is really outstanding and stands head and shoulders over other similar games on the market. there are special weapons that you can purchase with real money, and they have advantages over the default weapons, but also most if not all have negatives as well. For example, ‘The Reserve Shooter’ is a shotgun for the soldier and pyro classes, it is better than the default shotgun because it grants 15% faster weapon switching and inflicts minor critical hits to airborne targets for the 3 seconds after you switch weapons, however for these advantages ‘The Reserve Shooter’ has a 50% clip size. So as we can see ‘The Reserve Shooter’ has both advantages over the default and disadvantages, the effectiveness of the weapons comes down to the use and skill by the player. This is brilliant because the player with the most money might have the most items but he will in no way be the best. Your success in game is completely reliant on your skill as a player, when you get killed by a sniper across the map, it’s not because he had the overpowered laser rifle that instant kills any player, but because he had the skill to kill you (Or he was hacking, but you get the idea). The only slightly cash grabby things in TF2 are the hats and crates. The hats are aesthetic upgrades that don not affect game play so they can be forgiven, however the crates are random finds or purchases that are basically a lucky dip for items. Sounds okay, but here’s the catch. In order to open these crates you need keys, which guess what? can only be purchased with money. This though is the only flaw in what is otherwise a superb in game shop.
The graphics have a really animated, cartoon-like style to them which adds to the over the top nature the game has. It means that when characters get dismembered by a rocket launcher it appears more comical that overly gruesome. This art style means the game doesn’t put much pressure on your computer when you play it, which means it can be more accessible to people with lower end PCs or Macs. This is important because when you make a free game, you want everyone to be able to play it, not just the people with super PC’s. The soundtrack is also worth mentioning the, Team Fortress 2 has a very cool opening theme that has a very James Bond kind of feel which I liked a lot.
Usually games like this don’t have stories worth mentioning, or have stories at all for that matter. However in this case, I feel I should mention TF2’s story because of how in depth the back story goes. Basically in 1850 a guy called Zephaniah Mann owns a company in England but by the recommendation of his two sons Redmond and Blutarch he buys land in the USA. However on the trip over to check out the land he purchased, he contracts a plethora of illnesses and starts to die. In his will he splits the land 50/50 between his sons and being the reasonable siblings they are, they fight over the land. They each hire 9 mercenaries to fight for the other brothers half of the and land this war goes on for 40 years. But wait, there’s more, after that Blutarch gets old and wants to find a way to prolong his life, he hires a craftsman, Radigan Conagher to build a machine to make him live longer. However that night when Radigan returns home he finds a mysterious woman who offers him a rare ore only found in Australia ‘Australium’. This ore is known to grant hyper intelligence to the user, and the mysterious women offers it to Radigan in exchange for building a life prolonging machine for Redmond as well. Radigan accepts and becomes extremely intelligent, due to the affects of Australium, and makes extreme strides in technology, like teleportation and cloaking. With this new tech and immortality under their belts the brothers hire another 9 mercenaries: the Scout, the Soldier, the Pyro, the Demoman, the Heavy Weapons Guy, the Engineer, the Medic, the Sniper, and the Spy, and the never-ending battle for the land promised by their father continues and that is the setting for TF2. This is why it’s worth mentioning, because it’s in-depth and explains everything, even giving explanation for the first Team Fortress mod for Quake. This seems to be a theme of Valve games, not having the full narrative obvious to the player, forcing them to dig deeper and observe the in game world. Or Google it like I did, that works too. You’ve got to commend Valve for even implementing a relatively coherent story into even the simplest of game concepts.
TF2’s lifespan is immensely long. The fun and addicting gameplay will have you hooked for ages, and the constant updates will keep the game fresh and interesting way into the future. If you get bored of the standard game modes, there are loads of community made modes to keep you interested, like the hilarious prop hunt to the break neck speeds to surf. This game just never gets old.
Team Fortress 2 is an amazing game and I could not recommend it more highly. This game is the bench mark that all free FPS’s need to be measured to. It is fantastic and any flaws are just specks of dust on the solid gold statue that is Team Fortress 2. You have no reason not to download this game, it is worth it entirely.
Team Fortress 2 is available on PC and Mac. It is also available on PS3 and Xbox 360 however these versions are only available with The Orange Box and don’t necessarily include all features of the PC and Mac versions.