Monday, December 19, 2011

Team Fortress 2

I play this occasionally with a vague feeling of nostalgia. Team Fortress Classic was one of the first games i played online. It was a delightful mix of  of rockets, cursing and bloodspatter, and in its day it was the height of first-person-shooter sophistication. Those days are past.

Luckily, someone at Valve knows they're past. If TF2 had tried to be a 'realistic' war FPS with rifles and grenades (as it was originally planned a decade before) it would have fallen flat on its face. It would have been just one more of the endless string of idiotic macho counterstrike ripoffs which teenagers play so they can pretend to know something about guns and war (and somersaulting while shooting in three directions at once with a machine gun in each hand). The technology long ago surpassed 20-player FPS games. Apparently TF2's designers knew they weren't going to give their audience anything involved enough to maintain interest,so they used a devilish secret weapon: humor. Instead of rough, tough, square-jawed, be-stubbled macho men with 'realistic' weapons, each player class is a lovely pastiche of action movie cliches or gamer attitudes. It is rare to find any product that's not afraid to laugh at itself instead of spitting out chainmail bikinis and chest-thumping bad boys.

The good part is that the game itself is not a joke. It is remarkably balanced, with some bearable exceptions (spies), the maps are well thought out and varied, and the variations on weapons for each class that players can acquire while playing are enough to keep it from getting terminally stale.

Now if only Planetside 2 could attain the same quality of gameplay while expanding it to MMO proportions, i'd be a happy camper.

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