Just about every three years, a PC game comes around that forces me to upgrade my rig.
Many, many moons ago it was Counter-Strike. I’d never gotten into Half Life (upon which CS is based), but somehow I got into Counter-Strike, and even ran a server for a couple of years that got quite popular. I guess I must have gotten into CS in 2000.
The next upgrade was forced by Battlefield: 1942 in 2002. The Penny Arcade guys were into it, and as an avid reader it was on my radar. The game was awesome… a multi-vehicle, multiplayer game that really played well. But my old PC couldn’t handle it, so upgrade time it was.
Then Half-Life:Source came out and with it, Counter-Strike: Source. I got into that in 2005. It is pretty much the same game as CS but with updated graphics, again forcing an upgrade (to a GeForce 6600GT) That the same game could captivate so many people for so long is quite a testament to the architects of CS. I now run a CS:S server, which while not as popular as the old CS server, still gets the old fogies back together again once in a while.
But now the time has come again… Team Fortress 2, a game so very cool that I’m forced to drop the cash to make it run smoothly on my PC. I bought into the beta on Monday, and played for a few hours before I decided it was clear this would be my new addiction.
Originally announced a full decade ago (see the wikipedia for the full story there), it’s second only to Duke Nukem Forever as the longest running, most anticipated, vaporware in history. It has finally arrived, and it was worth the wait.
The style they used for the models and graphics is very well done… an apt comparison is to The Incredibles. And it’s pumping out detail at a rate that is choking my computer, even with every setting dropped down to low. So I wait for my upgrade, and still can’t resist playing as much as possible with a 15fps framerate (when I’m lucky and there is not much onscreen – get into a big arena firefight and it’s a slideshow).
The game is the ultimate balanced (with a couple of minor complaints) rock paper scissors teamplay first person shooter. You can play as one of nine classes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy Weapons, Engineer, Medic, Sniper, and Spy.
Teamplay is key for success, moreso than any other game I’ve played. A medic is nigh-useless without a heavy or soldier to buff up, for example.
Here are a few trailers for the game.
Meet the Soldier
Meet the Heavy
And my current personal favorite (I’ve played more as this class than any other, by far)…
Meet the Engineer
So as a review, big thumbs-up so far.
My only complaints:
1 – The damn thing doesn’t run smoothly on my system… a system which runs HL2 and CS:S just fine. I’d have thought since it was based on the same HL2 engine, it would be reasonable to tun TF2. Nope.
2 – Based on a few games I’ve played on a couple of maps (sorry, no idea which it was – one of the ones where you need to capture points in a series), the scout is too powerful. The game just devolved into a scout rush. As an engineer, I simply could not keep a sentry gun up at all. The scout is uber-fast, and as a balance the armament is supposed to be minimal. However, the shotgun is quite lethal at close range, so the engineer is no match heads-up without a sentry gun, and they’re too fast getting there to mount a proper defense.
Now, this is as likely to be an issue with myself and my team simply not knowing (yet) the proper tactics to handle this strategy, but it was very annoying losing round after round to a scout rush and being unable to defend at all. Attempting the strategy in reverse was futile since I just don’t have the necessary twitch reflex (yet), nor framerate, to properly play the scout myself.
See you on the battlefield.