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Team Fortress 2 Review

Team Fortress 2 by Valve has been a constantly evolving game, since periodic updates add new content that significantly changes key aspects of the gameplay. The last of the class packs, known as The Engineer Update, has been released, making the game more or less complete (for the moment?). This is why I delayed in writing a review for it until now. I’ll take a look at that in a minute, but first, let’s take a look at the gameplay experience in general.

The gameplay in Team Fortress 2 is intentionally and effectively team oriented… hence the name. Players may pick which of 9 classes they wish to play as, and in so doing, which unique role they will fill for their team. The class updates add more weapon choices that expand the customization options for players. This is perhaps its best trait, in that you may pick whatever style of play you like, and switch at any time if you get tired of it, or decide that your team needs something else to succeed. If you’ve ever played a game like Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, you start to get the idea, but the uniqueness of the classes is enacted on a more extreme basis. Most weapons and abilities are unique to each class, and many classes must rely on their teammates for one reason or another to be effective. While there are certain relative “loner” types like the Spy and Sniper, the most progress in any game mode is made through coordinated effort.

The majority of game types base around objective gameplay, like capturing intel from, or escorting an big ol’ bomb into, the enemy base. The style of the game is quirky and cartoony, which makes for a fun and casual experience when combined with its ever-present sense of humor. As far as the gameplay goes, it definitely has its moments. The combat can be a little funky – semi-random critical hits and enormous damage spread make combat very unreliable, which can lead to some frustration. It takes some getting used to, but after a while you get into the swing of things and it basically gets up to par.

The team behind Team Fortress 2 is nearly constantly updating their game with the intent of making it bigger, better and more bug free. They have already released a free content pack for each of the 9 playable classes, complete with new weapons, achievements, levels and other content, as well as many other miscellaneous updates. It’s refreshing to see a developer that works so constantly to support their product, and make it better for their customers over time. Unfortunately, this is not always the end result. For example, as far as I can tell, they don’t seem to test their updates much. For every major update, there soon comes at least one more update full of fixes for bugs that were just introduced. After a while, some balance changes will take place too. Still, the end product is enjoyable, as long as you have the patience for them to get it right.

Overall, Team Fortress 2 is a fun game, but it is not without its flaws.

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  1. July 14, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I don’t think it’s that they don’t test their updates. It’s more likely that they only have a few testers lets say 32 internal testers vs the 10’s of thousands of players who test it once it is released. So while the internal testers will find the obvious bugs, there will still be some more which are harder to reproduce which will be found by the community because of the shear number of players.

    The other thing I would like to point out about TF2 was that for release the striped down the game to the bare essentials, 3 weapons per class, no grenades which was one of the design decisions. With each release of a class update it has become more complicated and there are now more class interactions making it harder to test and a more complex game to play.

    I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I did like the stream lined version but I know a lot of people didn’t.

    • July 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      That’s just it, I recall reading about some post-patch fixes for some pretty obvious bugs, including after the recent Engineer Update. I do see what you’re saying about the masses testing the game, and the increasing complexity, and that’s true.

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