Fortress Forever is a modification for Half-Life 2. If you've got it, then be sure to read this review and decide for yourself if a download is warranted. A link to the download is provided in the article.
I promised myself I wouldn't let this article turn into a two page debacle on why Team Fortress 2 isn't any better than Fortress Forever. What you are reading now is the third version of this review. I actually wrote this two times previously, and by the end of each one I had realized that I wrote nothing but expletives and mom jokes about Team Fortress 2 and why you should uninstall it and play Fortress Forever, forever. I'm a strong man though Ė I have strong will and an even stronger passion for keeping it real, and real I shall keep it. So for this whole review, I will not mention Team Fortress 2, so let's begin.
Fortress Forever is a video game. No, not a modification. Well actually, yes itís technically a modification of the source engine, but I am calling it a video game. It rivals most retail games out there in terms of replayability, polish, and sheer entertainment. I've played $60 games that have moved me less than Fortress Forever Ė and did I mention that I hated Team Fortress Classic, its predecessor? That's right; I absolutely hated TFC. It was tedious, repetitious, dull, and the learning curve was likened to throwing your grandmother blindfolded into a harrier jump jet and telling her to figure it out.
Fortress Forever solved this problem despite the fact it's almost an exact copy. You're probably thinking "Are you bonkers? If it's a copy of a game you hated, why do you love it all of a sudden?" Well then, let me lay some knowledge on you.
You're probably familiar with water, which is known to the scientific community as H2O. That means for every two hydrogen atoms, there is one oxygen atom. They bond together via a Hydrogen bond. But if they join via an Ionic bond instead, it turns into acidic water. It is still called H2O and looks exactly the same as water. But it's a completely different thing now, and all it took was one simple change.
That's what Fortress Forever is Ė it's the non-ulcer inducing version of its older sister, TFC. It follows the same formula, but assembles it all in a slightly different manner. No hospital visits here, just a purely enjoyable experience complimented with the learning curve Team Fortress always deserved. You may be frightened now. "Oh no", you might say. "Have they dumbed down my beloved Team Fortress? Have they simplified something epic like Moby Dick into a picture book for children?" Rest assured, they have not. What they have done is take something mundane and unremitting, and craft it into near gameplay perfection.
There is a world of difference between simplifying something, and making something more accessible. Fortress Forever retains its incredibly deep gameplay while easing the learning curve on newer players with easier instructions and tweaks to abilities and classes. For instance, grenades in TFC were incredibly frustrating if you were on the receiving end. It is rumored by some that the explosives in those grenades were to be used in the atomic bombs over Hiroshima in World War II. But America, after seeing the results of its testing with the compound decided that it would be inhumane to use such weaponry, and then opted for enriched uranium instead. Luckily though, the damage is toned down in Fortress Forever for balance sake, and it works perfectly.
So far, it looks like this- Gameplay, check. Balance, check. Replayability, check. But what about graphics and sounds? I hate nitpicking, but unfortunately, it looks like Iíll have to for the sake of this review. This game is the color equivalent of gray- If you were to take Fortress Forever and compare it to all of the fruits and vegetable, it would be Celery. It is flavorless, bland, and does nothing to impress visually. Really though, itís not like you could expect much from a mod that tries to look like a game from almost ten years ago. This may all seem like a terrible thing, but you completely forget about the lackluster textures and mapping when you get in the thick of the fights. Because the game isnít too graphically intensive, it turns out to be one of the smoothest running mods out there. My framerate rarely dropped, and when it did, it was because the entirety of the third world war was unfolding on my screen. The sounds werenít mind-blowing, but what can you expect. They did their job, and thatís all I ask for, especially from something free. Actually, the mod gets a special mention in the sound department. Whoever was in charge of the rocket sounds in this game managed to create the most satisfying sounds Iíve ever heard. The noise the thing makes when the rocket leaves the barrel is amazing, and itís even better when it makes a boom into something. It was like digitally popping pimples whilst receiving a back massage from Adriana Lima. God bless that man- or woman, or whatever the hell made them. The sound and graphics are by no stretch bad or poor quality, but simply don't pop out at you as much as you'd like; it all just blends together.
So here we are, at the end of the review. Youíre probably expecting me to tell you to go to Fileplanet, download the five-hundred megabytes of concentrated win, and un-install TF2; but I wonít. I may be dense, but Iím not stupid. Team Fortress 2 and Fortress Forever go hand in hand. I know that TF2 is frighteningly fun and that it eclipses Fortress Forever, but Fortress Forever fills in the gaps that TF2 fails to satisfy. Sure, TF2 has more polish in it than Poland, but after hours of it youíre bound to be bored by it. And when you are sitting there, alone in your room at one in the morning with nothing to play, you should pick up Fortress Forever until you pass out.
The point is that although Fortress Forever might not be the prettiest or groundbreaking game out there- itís definitely one of the best. Even if the more handsome, expensive, and easier brother will always be there to steal the show.
Thanks for reading. Regulars of www.planethalflife.com will probably catch this review there too.