With all the Modern Warfare 2 talk lately, I figured I’d stray away from the path and showcase one of my favourite games, Team Fortress 2 and what I feel like puts it ahead and beyond it peers in the online gaming world. Even though I really enjoyed Call of Duty 4, and regardless of how I feel like the MW2 PC situation, I really feel like almost every other game out there could learn a thing or two from TF2. TF2 once considered vaporwarewas announced at E3 in 1999 ; development lasted over 8 years going through 4 completely different designs, but in the end what I consider to be one of the greatest online games ever was released.
Any great online game must a community back it up, and TF2 definitely brings it with communities and podcasts like Control Point and countless others. TF2′s community is more active than ever never dipping below 10,000 unique players at anytime. TF2 also seems to have an abnormal percentage of great community maps to play on, its rare (at least for me) to not encounter a few fantastic maps during the week, and if you’ve played Counter-Strike you’d know how rare that is in most games.
Valve loves their games, 2 years after TF2 was first released with The Orange Box there’s no sign that the game will slow down. In fact over 30 updates have been released just in this year, four of them being major content updates. I have never owned a game outside of the MMO genre with this much support. Not only does Valve support and maintain the game, they also are great at interacting with the community on their blog; The Official TF2 blog is a great source for news on the game as well highlights of great things happening in the Team Fortress community. If that’s not enough, ever so often Valve chooses a standout community map to be included in updates as honorary official maps.
TF2 offers a strong team focused gameplay style, with each class offering a unique addition and role to play on any team, whether it be the pyro checking for spies or the engineer defending a key position with a level 3 sentry. Adding to the uniqness of each class Valve is slowly adding a unique and lighthearted second set of unlockable weapons and loadouts, allowing classes to change up play styles. Team Fortress has one of the strongest map and gametype lineups of any online game, with 32 official maps and over 7 objective game types including the classics like CTF and Control Point , and more unique gametypes like Payload. Its that lighthearted but deep team based gameplay that sets TF2 apart from your Call of Duty’s or Battlefield’s.
Team Fortress 2 is full of style from its graphics and sounds to even the mini-sites used to announce Valve’s content updates for the game, everything in TF2 has a standout unique style. Team Fortress 2 draws its distinct evil genius style from prominent illustrators like J. C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell of the early 20th century. The evil genius theme also is an inspiration for the games music, over-the-top voice acting. and sound design, now featured prominently on soundboards all over the internet and thousands of youtube videos. Not sold? check out Valve’s Meet the Team animated shorts, which happen to be very entertaining and showcase the custom facial animation system Valve created for the game.
When TF2 was first released in 2007 as part of the The Orange Box it was hailed as one of the best deals in gaming, and after the countless free updates over the past 2 years TF2 alone at its regular $20 price-point is an even greater deal. One more thing, did I mention that Valve regularly drops Team Fortress 2′s price on Steam as low as $2.49?. Team Fortress 2 is the best deal in gaming.