Hands-on: Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2, man. Just saying those words gives me shivers, because it’s been a heck of a long time. With the beta finally out for the folks who pre-ordered The Orange Box, I’ve gotten some juicy hands-on time and I’m pretty damn impressed with the game. With a new coat of paint, an entirely new engine and other accessories behind the game, TF2 will be the game PC fans will be talking about for quite a while.

At first, I played the soldier. Armed with a shotgun, a rocket launcher and a shovel, the soldier is your usual ‘pick up and go’ type of character. Rockets are slow but their splash damage is a doozy, so aim for the feet. While the shotgun is very handy in close-quarters and seems to have a higher rate of fire than other usual shotguns, the shovel can get things done when you’re in a critical situation.

But the class I ended up sticking with is the medic. The medic is someone I’ve grown accustomed to over the years, thanks to Return to Castle Wolfenstein’s multiplayer. In TF2, all medics are equipped with a healing "gun", a needler (well, syringe shooter) and a saw. Of course in the midst of battle, you’re not going to pull out your needler to start firing away, so your main job is to heal. Normally in any beginning of a level, your time is spent following either a heavy or a soldier — not only to continually boost their health at the frontlines of war, but also to charge up your "Uberpower."


Yes, Valve went to that level and used "Uber" as an actual power and term in the game. When you consistently heal for a good amount of time, you’ll max out your Uberpower, giving you the ability to not only heal but also gain some invincibility for a period of time. The invincibility is rather crucial during heavy battle and can easily turn the tide.

The level designs are awesome. I got my hands rather dirty playing both 2Fort and Dustbowl. I swear, the first time I was waiting for the match to start in Dustbowl, the anticipation was crazy. Starting on the offensive side (you switch after a round) with the blue team, we all huddled together to emerge from our caves to the main desert area surrounding a canyon.

(The beginning is just the beach landing in Normandy, but with cartoon-like characters. The gore, the bodies and the carnage is all in TF2, but in a less horrifying fashion.)

Once the gate opened and the round began, all hell broke loose. Guns and grenades were blazing from the red team while the blue team ran forward into battle. Enemies and allies were going down, explosions rocketing past my face, bodies flying, people yelling; this is the experience that TF2 successfully captures.

Next round I switched to the defensive side. This time in the beginning of Dustbowl, we were set to build up defenses till the blue team came swarming in. Engineers laid down turrets, demomen were firing off grenades and pyros and heavies were manning the front line. Much like on the offensive side, once the round began it was insanity.


Of course, I can’t talk about TF2 without mentioning the gags. In TF2 we get some rather beautiful looking gibs, which Valve plays-off by showcasing your remains (if any) during the respawn page in a hilarious fashion. Things like this really highlight the playful and humorous nature Valve is taking with TF2.

All the classes have their own funny mannerisms and emotes, too. Hearing the heavy laugh uproariously as he mows down enemies with his mini-gun in-game is beyond hilarious. His face and facial features are a bit too real, though — yikes.

I really like the addition of specialized kills, such as the nemesis and revenge kills. Say someone is hassling you and killed you several times in a row — their character will be labeled as a nemesis. They’ll be tagged and you’ll get a bonus if you kill them. This works in the same way as revenge kills because in the end, getting revenge is pretty sweet. All these different kills, and much more, are detailed in your TF2 profile. Trust me, if you ever want to see a screen full of stats, here you go. The stats are viewable in-game or from your Steam Community profile so try not to boast too much if you can’t back it up.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg that TF2 offers. I think Valve hit a homerun with the game, and the wait was certainly worth it. The presentation and witty aspect of the game is really great, and I can’t wait until more people come back to Team Fortress.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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