Team Fortress 2 drops… but was it worth it?

Here’s my mini-review of the TF2 beta:

Let’s get this out of the way, there is no other way to pick up TF2 than to pay $50 to ValVe for the Orange Box and get Half-Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. End of story and if you think retail is going to help, HA! you got another thing coming. Now the graphics, yes they are just as good as seen in the trailers even on my lowly AMD 3700+ with a Radeon 800XL. On top of that the graphics settings bumped up one notch on auto detect except texture quality which stayed at medium. I had zero slow down on the 24 player servers I can across and got in some huge fire fights. All the little animations the characters make and the world around them is refreshing in all it’s non hyper realistic nature.

The audio seems up to par, all the voice commands bring a smile to your face and set the tone for the action at hand. Everything sounds familiar so you know when the heavy has his chaingun warming up or the engineers are building away at something. The fresh coat of paint given to the graphics seems to have been given to the audio as well and while nothing sounds “new” I think it’s best that way, like your favorite show that you had on VHS and now you have it on DVD it sounds the best it can.

Now the gameplay, well after playing tactical/team based shooters while waiting 10 years for this to come out, the gameplay is jarring at first. I tried to get into it by playing some Fortress Forever over the weekend, good job on the mod guys, but it’s going to take some getting used to. Since I normally play the heavy/support class I got used to being able to burst fire guys at a distance and still have a chance, not so in TF2. The bullet deviation is insane on anything past medium range with the chaingun which forces the heavy to a defensive roll. The medic support is great and you can really see how with a good team the medics can give the team that edge on a flag cap.

The choke points on the map are the sticking point right now and I’m not sure if they are meant to be that way. In all put 2 matches there was a stalemate, the other time it was one guy who got the last cap and one great alamo type last stand. I’m hoping for more of the latter once things get in gear, it’s great to go out with a bang or maybe even regain another point but come on, stalemates and a lone guy ending a round are downers.

Finally they added little things like using your SteamID as your ingame name so you don’t have to set it everytime, the persistant stats page so you can track your kills/deaths realtime, the movies at the beginning of the map to show you what to do and how to play are great for newbs and vets alike who are learning to love TF all over again. The one thing I’m unsure of is the lack of grenades, I know it’s to force teamwork but come on can’t I have just 1 per class. I think this is where the stalemates came in, sentry guns on either side of the chokepoint and guys lined up, a push from either side results in death, rinse repeate. If each class had 1 grenade the sentry guns could have been cleared leaving more PvP action. Other than that ValVe did a great job on bringing Team Fortress 2 out, refreshing graphics, good sound and familiar gameplay. I still can’t say if it was worth 10 years of waiting, but you can be sure it’s going to be a fun time finding out. Speaking of… where did that other TF2 game go that you showed off all these years ValVe??


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