Team Fortress 2

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GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC (Windows)
Produced by: Valve
Price Range: $10 or under
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Patches / Upgrades: Available on Steam
System Requirements: 1.7 GHz Pentium 4; 512 MB system RAM; DirectX 8 video card

     Reviewed By: Sean Domis
     VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Genre: First-Person Shooter / Class-Based Online FPS
Christian Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 3 of 5 (mild)


Team Fortress 2. Illustration copyrighted.

What do you get when you combine the design approach of those who made The Incredibles, the graphical power of the Source engine, and the fast-paced strategic shooter play of Counter-Strike?

If anyone other than Valve had gotten the Team Fortress 2 license, we might have gotten a blasphemy unto gaming that would have to be buried right beside the stockpile of E.T. Atari games. Thankfully, Valve did get the license, and what we have is the best class-based FPS since the first Team Fortress 2.

When Team Fortress 2 was first announced, Bill Clinton was still President, we still had a surplus, and the Spice Girls were the hottest fad since those little bracelets you snapped onto your wrist.

Team Fortress 2. Illustration copyrighted.

This gives you an idea of the long and arduous development that Team Fortress 2 has had to endure. Nine years and three different designs later, we finally get to play one of the most addictive online FPS in years.

Most people would now give a once-over of the single player campaign. Don’t think me lazy- there IS no single-player campaign. This game is designed entirely for the high-speed internet crowd. If you’re still stuck on dial-up or equivalent, it’s time to upgrade.

The game can be bought as part of Valve’s Orange Box, the best deal since Tetris came with the original Game Boy. Along with TF2, you’ll get Half-Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, and Portal. All for $50. As part of this collection, TF2 is but $10. This is an incredible steal.

Team Fortress 2. Illustration copyrighted.

A game like Team Fortress 2 would usually be lauded as a technically excellent game, but held back by realistic violence and gore.

While the gore is realistic, the game is most certainly not. Valve took a risky move when they took the art design out of the realm of hyper-realism and into the realm of Pixar-like stylization. Each character is incredibly well-detailed and has a unique look and shape.

This can be interesting from an artistic standpoint, but it also serves the purpose of being able to easily identify enemy class and weapon choice from far away and in the heat of battle. In super-realistic games such as Halo or Call of Duty 4, you can easily lose the enemy in the background.

Team Fortress 2 is a class-based shooter, meaning that each different player type operates incredibly differently. The nine classes are divided up into three general categories- Offense, Defense, and Support.

Offense:

1. The Scout- a quick, light resident of Brooklyn, the scout uses his incredible speed and double-jump ability to run rings around his opponents.

2. The Soldier- a slow, powerful general-purpose class that uses his rocket launcher to blast the enemy to oblivion or rocket-jump to new heights. He sounds like George C. Scott and kicks butt like General Patton.

3. The Pyro- Mm-mmm! The Pyro is the class that is made for close encounters. Pray you do not meet him around a corner, as his flamethrower might not kill you right away, but the burn damage will definitely get you longer after your encounter has ended.

Team Fortress 2. Illustration copyrighted.

Defense:

4. The Demoman- An aside- thank you, Valve, for making a black character that doesn’t sound like Fifty Cent. This Scottish man doesn’t fight people up close. Rather, he launches grenades around corners and over obstacles to blow the enemy up without even seeing them. He can lay traps with sticky mines, too.

5. The Heavy- AHAHAHA! Cry some more! The Heavy is the big, slow Slavic tank of the Team Fortress 2 universe. With 300 HP, the most of all classes, and a giant gatling gun at his side, he lays down an intense wall of bullets that stops an enemy advance cold.

6. The Engineer- A Texan good-old-boy with a penchant for mechanics, the Engineer is the backbone of any defense. Laying down automatic sentry guns, dispenser that give healthy and ammo, and teleporters around the map, the Engineer give mobility and a solid line of retreat to any team.

Support:

7. The Medic- A German doctor that can heal his fellow teammates. A must for the breaking of any stalemate, as the Medic can slowly build up an Ubercharge, an activated state of invulnerability that effect the Medic and whomever he’s healing.

8. The Sniper- Standin’ around like a bloody idiot! This Aussie marksmen is one of two classes that gives players a chance to act without the direct support of other players. Using his long-range sniper rifle, he can kill other players instantly with a shot to the head.

9. The Spy- Spy’s sappin’ mah sentry! The Spy appeals to all fans of stealth-based gameplay, disguising as enemy classes and using his power of invisibility to sneak behind enemy lines. If he stabs an enemy in the back with his knife, he achieves a ‘backstab’, or instant kill. He can also disable and kill anything built by an Enginner with his Electro-Sappers.

As you can see, this selection offers a choice for any taste.

The scoring system is unique in that it doesn’t rely on a global ranking system, or even on based on local regions. The scoring only compares you to yourself. If you’ve killed more enemies or sapped more sentries in the time before you die, a screen will pop up and notify you when you get killed.

There are two main game types- territory control and capture the flag, the latter available in only one map, two with patches.

As with any game that is played online, the basic content can and will be changed. Most servers are occupied by mature if somewhat foul-mouthed individuals with a sense for teamwork. A few servers, however, are populated by immature individuals who spray pornographic or disgusting images all over the map and spam songs or annoying sound files over the microphone.

Team Fortress 2 is a game based upon all players working together. A lone heavy won’t do much good, but a heavy with a medic backed up by a pyro or soldier will bust through most any defense.

TF 2

If you yearn for a first-person shooter that is more than the slugfests of Halo or even Counter-Strike, pick this game up. You’ll be rewarded with deep, rich class-based gameplay and the most mature online community the author has ever played with.

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Year of Release — 2007




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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