By Cory Taggart
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of a first-person shooter game. From Halo to Call of Duty, the genre has permeated its way into the collective consciousness. By the same logic, most people think of FPS games to all be very much the same: mindless violence with a drab color palate and little to no personality. Allow me to offer an alternative: Valve’s Team Fortress 2.
Unlike its predecessor, Team Fortress Classic (which falls into many tropes shooters are notorious for), TF2 is a unique entity unto itself. Quirky, overly bloody, and humorous, it offers an escape from the brown-green worlds of Modern Warfare Clone #508. Instead of one bland protagonist, there are nine district classes to choose from, ranging from the explosive tactics of the Demoman to the long-distance headshots of the Sniper.
The characters are what truly gives TF2 its personality. Each one (save the Pyro, who merely mumbles) is expertly voiced with hundreds of quips for every situation. Compared to the silent heroes of Legend of Zelda or even Valve’s own Half-Life, it’s a breath of fresh air. If you want to learn about them in greater detail, check out the “Meet the Team” videos on YouTube.
These videos also serve another useful function – showing just how over-the-top violent this game is, a jarring contrast to the cartoony art style. If blood and guts flying everywhere or profanity is not your cup of tea, this is probably not the game for you. And if you’re looking for a game with a compelling story, look elsewhere, as there is little to go on in-game. That said, a series of online-only comics have been released and are worth seeking out if you crave some backstory.
Speaking of online, this game is – and only is. While it is possible to practice against some bots or craft in your inventory without logging on to a server, any of the main game modes require you to join either an official Valve or externally hosted map. This makes single-player a bore, but if you and your friends can all join the same game, you’re in for a fun time.
And overall, that’s what Team Fortress 2 is all about – having fun. It’s been active for eight years – it was launched in August of 2007 – but is still constantly updated with new features and game modes. Not to mention it’s free, save for some optional in-game purchases. Above disclaimer notwithstanding, I wholeheartedly recommend this game – and I’ll see you on ctf_2fort.