Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Posted by Dave
Nine years! Nine fucking years! In 1998 Robin Walker and John Cook were contracted by Valve software to write a sequel to Team Fortress (A free Quakeworld Mod) for the Quake II engine. Now, numerous E3 demo's later (anyone remember E3 1999?), several concept changes, leaks, cancellations, delays, bleats, pisstakes, Team Fortress 2 has earned Duke Nukem Forever levels of vapour-dome.
But here it fucking is! It's almost hard to accept that the TF2 I unlocked on Steam last night is the same game I've been reading about for so long. It's here! What's more, it fucking rules!
Now such a declaration doesn't come easy for me, I was worried about TF2. CS:CZ was shit after all, Valves track record isn't necessarily a banker, and my concern was that we'd just get a pretty Team Fortress Classic, a pretty good game, but a game completely ruled by those 'in the know' vs the rest of us who play other stuff too. A reskinned TFC would be just what the fans of that game want, and there are many, and it must have been tempting for valve to deliver.
What they've delivered is somethign better, a team game for the masses.
Team games with classes aren't new, spawned from the original Team Fortress you have games like the Battlefield series, Tribes and very recent Shadowrun. All these games have the potential for superb team based action. All these games tend tofall apart in playbecause that teamwork doesn't happen unless you're in a clan.
But this cooperative breakdown doesn't tend to happen in Team Fortress 2. The classes all have very clear roles, the maps and objectives are superbly highlighted, the visuals define the roles in such a way, that cooperation between the classes in the teams happens in a very natural way. You're a medic? If you heal that heavy he'll kick arse and you can hide behind him. Worred about frags? Don't be, you'll get points for assisting the kill. At a choke point? Save up your ubercharge, then fucking go for it. The balance between the classes is very delicate and brings through such strategies in an obvious, and very satisfying way.
Of course, it's early days, and there will still be online frustrations. An organised team will always steamroller a bunch of randoms in Team Fortress, that's not going to change sadly, although the uber squad should get more of a challenge. Straight out aiming skills are far less important at least, with some of the best killers barely needing to use the cross-hair at all.
First impressions though, it's a great game, can't wait to try some more!