Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Destructoid review: Team Fortress 2

3:51 PM on 10.11.2007 // Anthony Burch

[This is just one of the new games available in The Orange Box. Don't forget to read our reviews of Episode Two and Portal, and keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming console reviews.]

First, we gave you our impressions of the beta. Then, we taught you how to not look like an idiot in it. Now, finally, we're reviewing the damned thing -- it's Team Fortress 2.

Essentially, we're reviewing each of the new games of The Orange Box -- Portal, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and Team Fortress 2 -- individually for the PC. After that, we'll deliver a general, all-encompassing review of The Orange Box for the 360 (so's we can evaluate the 360 ports of Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One).

And so, without any further ado, hit the damn jump and read the damn review.

Team Fortress 2 (PC)
Developed by Valve Software
Released October 10th, 2007

About three weeks ago in our impressions post, I called Team Fortress 2 the best multiplayer game I’d ever played.

Nothing has changed.

Graphically, there’s nothing to complain about. The cartoonish, stylized graphics are absolutely gorgeous, and totally fitting with the game’s over-the-top gameplay style. Whether you’re watching a rogue Spy get gibbed by a stray rocket, or looking at the Heavy Weapons Guy’s facial expression as he shouts insults at his enemies, TF2’s aesthetics are always lighthearted without becoming childish, as well as wonderfully violent without being needlessly gruesome. Aesthetically, there’s really nothing to complain about -- the Blue Sky Campaign should be pleased. Team Fortress 2’s commitment is to fun, plain and simple; this can be seen in nearly every aspect of the game’s design, from the graphics on up.


Valve’s commitment to this, how you say, fun, can be seen most immediately in the changes they made to the Team Fortress formula. Gone are the class-specific grenades which were so frequently and uselessly spammed in the first game; gone are the Medic’s irritating poisoning attack and his equally irritating healing pack; essentially, gone is anything which infringes upon the sheer joy of engaging in a competitive, multiplayer gaming experience. I really appreciated little touches like the “nemesis” system (if a person kills you three consecutive times, they become your official Nemesis and you are rewarded more points for killing them), or the way the game constantly keeps track of your statistics. While these little additions and subtractions to the formula might not seem like they make much of a difference, they simply make the game a great deal more interesting and (sorry for repeating myself, but there’s really no other word for it) a great deal more fun.

In terms of actual multiplayer gameplay, Team Fortress 2 doesn’t really include anything you haven’t seen before…but that doesn’t matter. Yeah, the game is mainly comprised of Control Point dominations with a side helping of Capture the Flag -- gameplay modes we’ve all played a hundred times -- but you’ve never seen these old multiplayer formulas executed so damn efficiently. The character classes are incredibly diverse, and extremely well balanced; with the exception of the Pyro (a character whom the developers can’t seem to decide on a fixed deadliness level for), no single class is truly better than any other, and every single character provides a fun and unique gameplay experience.


I realize, of course, that a phrase like “every character class provides a fun and unique gameplay experience” has been affixed to every multiplayer combat game since SpaceWar with varying levels of truth behind it, but TF2’s class system is the real deal. Having just completed a ten part series on the intricacies of each class, I can tell you, without the slightest hesitation, that each character is useful in his own special way. One might assume a game with nine --  count ‘em, nine --  different character classes might include a few duds. This isn’t the case, I’m happy to say. I still rely on the Spy more than any other class, but I can switch to Scout or Demoman at the drop of a hat and still enjoy myself.

Because of this wonderful balance in the classes, the game is truly more teamwork-oriented than most you’ll find on the market today. This is not Counter-Strike; a player’s worth is not measured in his ability to pull off headshots or how fast his trigger finger is, but in how well his team benefits from his presence. Team Fortress 2 is a game of strategy: utilizing the strengths and weaknesses of each class is a far more important skill than simply having quick reflexes or a steady hand (not to say that those don’t help, though).

The maps themselves are also a great point of interest. The decreased respawn times for a winning team help prevent stalemates; if you listen to the commentary, the Valve team seems frigging disgusted at the idea of stalemates. Every single map includes class-specific structures or geographic landmarks which can only be used by certain classes, giving every different character a specific locational advantage in any given map -- Scouts can double-jump across wide open areas, Soldiers can rocket-jump to higher areas, etcetera. Yet perhaps most interesting than either of these design choices, and more woefully underused, is the “fluid level” idea found on a map like tc_Hydro. Between rounds on Hydro, certain passageways will open or close and the locations of the control points will change; while remaining within the confines of the Hydro map, the level changes multiple times and provides a different play experience after every single round. Hydro is really four or five maps in one -- which makes it all the more irritating that it is the only map in the current version of the game with this mechanic in it. The fluid level system is so fun, and creates such replayability within a single map, that the Control Point maps like Well or Granary can seem downright monotonous by comparison (especially if you play the game frequently for a couple of weeks straight, which I have). 


This eventual monotony of the maps, when you come right down to it, is the only thing I can really complain about -- but it’s not a negligible one, to my mind. Six maps, while understandable and sufficient for a game which has just been released, can grow old rather quickly in a game like Team Fortress 2. It’s not that the maps are badly designed -- they aren’t -- but the game’s intensely fast-paced style necessitates very short rounds and, subsequently, reasonably short times on any individual map. The maps are great fun, of course, but within a week or two of first playing the game, you’ll have made it through each make at least twenty times and, sooner or later, they’ll begin to grow noticeably tiresome. Of course, any map in any multiplayer game will eventually get old with enough extended play, but I was rather surprised to find myself getting a little sick of Gravelpit and Well after just two weeks.

Of course, this problem will be remedied eventually; sooner or later, Valve will hopefully release some more maps and the modding community will eventually create some balanced, memorable maps. As it stands right now, though, the map monotony is a point I can’t ignore.

Overall, Team Fortress 2 is a truly great game. It’s fast, it’s fun, and it’s easy to get into but holds a great deal of death within its nine different character classes. Yeah, there aren’t enough varied maps yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying this game and playing the living hell out of it. At the end of the day, Team Fortress 2 is still the best, most balanced, most entertaining multiplayer game I’ve ever played on the PC. If you haven't yet purchased The Orange Box and were curious as to how TF2 affected the package as a whole, don't hesitate for even a second -- even if you ignored how incredibly good the other titles in the Box are (and the immensely satisfying way in which TF2's multiplayer-only gameplay counterpoints the singleplayer-only Portal and Episode Two) Team Fortress 2 would still be worth a purchase. 

Score: 8.5

Verdict: Buy It!

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
What? Wonderful 101 on eShop is $19? NO EXCUSES.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Robin secretly controls the boobs of Nintendo characters. She stole the Xenoblade boobs and took the Fatal Frame lingerie for herself. #DammitRobin [img][/img]
Matheus Railane avatarMatheus Railane
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I was just playing Skyrim and wondered if anyone has come up with Fallout 3/New Vegas weapon mods for Skyrim? Fighting dragons with assault weapons sounds almost necessary. [img][/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just bought Fallout: New Vegas. Throw me the best mods there are that AREN'T Total Conversion mods. So now Who Vegas - yet.
Parismio avatarParismio
Oh this Undertale summaration flipnote is so good:
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
For an early Christmas present I got my girlfriend Wooly World to go with our new Wii U. I've gotten more joy out of how adorable all the character designs are than I'd like to admit.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Dtoiders ! Steam just destroyed my wallet ! Share here what you bought in this sale !
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
And so I purchased not just Hyper Dimension Neptunia, but also its sequel and Grim Fandango Remastered in the Steam Sale, and it isn't even the end of the first day. God damnit. At least refunds are thing a now.
Samsneeze avatarSamsneeze
I'm currently writing a review for a mobile game, but only because I'm enjoying the hell out it. I'm honestly enjoying it far more than Puzzles and Dragons.
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Damn, I think I'm Bruce Willis from Unbreakable. Just fell of a 12-foot ladder and all I got was a little scratch on my finger.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
After I finish Fallout 4 I'm thinking of 100%ing Skyrim and then installing a TON of dinosaur mods on it.
voex avatarvoex
4 hours into Hotline Miami 2 and I'm finding it just as fun as the original. So far it's a good balance between frustration and satisfaction. Still have no idea what the story is about.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
1. Start playing Ocarina of Time again. 2. Start having fun. 3. Discover fishing area. 4. Stop having fun.
AvtrSpirit avatarAvtrSpirit
A 2-d hovercraft platforming exploration game just came out today. Have fun collecting the coins! My record so far is 140.
Occams avatarOccams
Holy shit the new David Bowie video/song is just lovely.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
So many people angry at Play-Asia right now. Totally not exactly the kind of backlash Tecmo were trying to avoid by not releasing the game here in the first place.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you're a UK kid there's a Wii U 32 GB Wind Waker Premium Pack on Amazon for £240. It says sale... I dunno how much of a saving that is. You tell me.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Not strictly speaking video game-related, but screw it. Team Captain America or Team Iron Man?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -