Monday, 23 February 2015

Team Fortress 2 Review (Xbox 360)


Look to the far right of the Orange Box menu and you will see the one game that does not quite fit with the rest of the Half-Life-based goings on. Team Fortress 2 is the follow-up to the real grand-daddy of the class-based team shooter. Now, after what seems like an everlasting wait, it has made its way onto the Xbox 360.

Looks can certainly be deceiving; in the case of Team Fortress 2, the graphical style is a cross between Wacky Races and a cartoon version of Predator. However, the unique appearance is somewhat misleading as the gameplay that underpins this facade is very much aimed at the hardcore.

Team Fortress 2, more so than almost any other game, needs players to work as teams. The breadth of classes and options available means players must be aware of who on their team is playing as what type of character in order to evenly balance out offence, defence and support. It is good that classes are visibly distinct in battle due to the big and bold designs.

There are nine classes in all, three in each category. For the player wanting to just jump in and blast away, there is the Soldier, who uses a bazooka and can rocket jump around the place, or the Heavy, who wields a huge mini-gun. The battles are won and lost with the more specialist support classes, though; there is a medic, who heals players by shooting them with a ‘healing gun’, and the spy, who can cloak or disguise himself as any enemy unit (once the enemy is fooled, he can sneak up behind them and stab them in the back!).

Each class has three weapons: generally one specialist weapon, a close range gun and a melee weapon. The classes also have a unique taunt that can be called upon to really rub it into the enemies’ faces when you take them down. Adding to the spirit of competition, the game will soon tell you if a player is ‘dominating’ you by placing the word “nemesis” above them. This leads to highly competitive grudge matches starting up.

There are six maps in total to choose from, many with different sections that are played through over different rounds. On the face of it, the map selection would seem to be somewhat small, but in practice, the multi-section approach goes some way to alleviating repetition. The only real gripe some may have is that each map is designed with a certain play type in mind and this cannot be changed. ‘2Forts’, for instance, is a capture-the-flag map, so if that is not your cup of tea, you will have to stay clear of it.

This idea is actually more plausible than in many other titles. When searching for a game to join, a list of every host available will present itself, showing the amount of players currently in the game lobby and which map the game is based on. This means players can easily avoid or play the game of their choice, something more games should take account of.

Many players may find they do not take to Team Fortress 2 right away, and we found it took a few matches to really get into the right frame of mind to play it properly. Once it clicks, however, the game is immense fun. Matches will often last well over an hour but rarely become tiresome due to the chaos going on and the brilliant humour woven throughout.

Team Fortress 2 represents the Orange Box’s attempt at multiplayer online gaming and, although some may have preferred see Counter-Strike, this really has a chance to make an impact on Xbox Live. TF2 is different from the current kings of the online FPS and may well carve itself out a market. What can we say? It is yet another reason to recommend the Orange Box and something that could so easily have been added as twenty pounds of downloadable content later in Half-Life 2’s life span. Well done to Valve for including it. Now just make sure you all give it the time it deserves.

8/10

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