I’m addicted! Team Fortress 2 is a multiplayer team-based first-person shooter with strategy elements. I can’t properly give a history of the game so let me leave that up to Wikipedia.
The game was announced in 1998 as a sequel to the original Team Fortress mod for Quake, but has since been through various concepts and designs. In 1999 the game appeared to be deviating from the original Team Fortress (and Valve’s own Team Fortress Classic, a mod for Half-Life) by heading toward a more realistic and militaristic style of gameplay, but the design metamorphosed further over the game’s seven-year development. The final rendition of Team Fortress 2 bears more resemblance to the original Team Fortress and Team Fortress Classic games, and sports a cartoon-like visual style, based on the art of J. C. Leyendecker, similar to cel shading following a popular trend in recent CGI films (in particular, films recently made by Pixar/Disney, such as The Incredibles).
Team Fortress 2 is all about working with your team (red or blue) to defeat the other team and accomplish objectives based on which map you’re playing. There are nine classes to choose from and each has a vital role to play in the success of a well balanced team. The classes are Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper, and Spy. It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite class right now because they are all so fun and all of them have a purpose. The class I have been playing the most recently though is the Sniper. He’s able to 1 shot anyone in the head which can be the turning point in any push. There are two gameplay modes: Capture the Intel (think Flag) and Control Points. Right now in beta there is something like 6-7 maps to choose from and each has a game mode associated with it.
Switching classes for different situations, parts of the map, and countering what the enemy is playing are all key tactics that must be employed by your team in order to win. I can’t possibly begin to list or explain all the various strategies out there but one of the big ones is Engineer Turrets. On control point maps many times your team is left with one point to defend. The enemy is destroying any attempt you make to leave a very small portion of the map and it’s now up to you to “turtle” or fortify your position with Engineers. Turrets that are fully upgraded are the most lethal weapon in the entire game. Capable of tracking you and obliterating you within a second there’s really only one way to over come a well defended point: The Spy! With a good spy’s disrupter you can render an enemies defenses inoperable while they scramble to bring them all back on line. This gives you just enough time to bring in Heavies supported with Medic’s ubercharge.
The only way to currently play TF2 is by pre-ordering Orange Box on the PC. The cost right now is $45 for Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One, Half-Life 2 Episode 2, Portal, and of course Team Fortress 2. The bundle is an awesome price for this many great games. If you want to wait until October 10th you’ll be able to pick up TF2 for $29.95 of of Steam. Later this year The Orange Box will be available on the Xbox 360 – if console shooters are your thing then this could very well be THE best shooter to ever hit consoles.
For being in a ‘beta’ stage TF2 is incredibly polished and obviously ready for launch. Right now I think the beta could possibly be a marketing ploy to encourage the purchase of the entire package to earn more revenue. Regardless of any possible scheme the game is more than worth the price alone. I think if there is anything to be said about the game right now it’s that there might be a few balancing tweaks needed before launch but even without them the game is wonderful.
I can’t forget to mention Steam. A major selling point for getting TF2 on the PC is that you’re capable of having an all-in-one community tool known as Steam. It has a friends list, IM that can be used in-game and out, voice chat, news, guaranteed anti-cheat with perma ban, server queuing (Server full? Get in a queue and it will auto join you!), and all sorts of other goodies that make using Steam and playing TF2 one heck of a pleasurable experience. I definitely recommend TF2 to anyone out there who enjoys a very fast pace frag fest shooter with tactics and strategy mixed in.