Saturday, November 14, 2009

Team Fortress 2, yes or no?

If you are an online gamer you have undoubtedly heard of TF2, for a couple of reasons. You see, there was the original game, called Team Fortress, and at some point awhile after it was released Valve (the game developer) announced intentions to make TF2. Years passed without the release of TF2. In software/gaming circles, if something never materializes it becomes known as vaporware, a clever and humorous descriptive of something that just isn't going to come to be (or has an extremely poor chance of happening). So TF2 initially became famous for being something long promised, yet to appear, and which seemed to have whispered away into the ethos.

Lo and behold, Valve finally did actually create the game and ultimately release it (something like 5 years after it was expected). The original game was rather realistic; a military team worked together to accomplish a goal. The long-awaited sequel was not. Valve basically built an entirely new game, with the same basic premise, but make it look like a cartoon. That sounds like a bad idea, but what Valve did was strike gold.

The cartoonish graphics are actually quite nice, and as it turns out they fit the game perfectly. While I never played the original TF, the sequel pits two teams (red and blue) against each other. Each team has the same 9 classes of players available to it: Scout, Demoman, Soldier, Sniper, Heavy, Medic, Engineer, Spy & Pyro. Each class has strengths and weaknesses and the end result is remarkably well balanced. For your team to win you need the right mix of these classes...and some skill.

TF2 is hugely popular and, in the end, was worth the wait. I've never played a game that was so evenly balanced. So the answer to the question is, "yes".

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