Posted by: Captain Easychord | May 8, 2010

Name Your Game: Team Fortress 2

So we all know what I haven’t been doing for the last couple months… but what have I been up to during that time?  What did I do to procrastinate?  Anything and everything is a reasonable answer to that question, but a substantial portion of the time was filled with my Xbox360 and Team Fortress 2 [w].

TF2 is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter game pitting against one another two teams that represent holding companies (Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED) and Builders League United (BLU)) that purportedly control the planet.  A variety of maps introduce different victory conditions.  On some maps, the attacking team has the objective of capturing the defending team’s control points in sequential fashion.  Here, the roles of each team are clear:  one team attacks, the other defends.  On other maps, both teams strive to capture one another’s capture points, necessitating offensive and defensive tactics by both teams.  Yet another game mode does away with the concept of “control points” and is played in capture the flag fashion.

As a member of your team, you can choose from nine different character classes to play.  If you like to hang back and play as a sniper, there’s a class for that!  Field medic to keep your team alive?  There’s a class for you too!  You just like to set things on fire?  You’ll love playing as the pyro.  Even though you may be playing the same maps many times, doing so as different classes with different teammates against opponents using different strategies ensures that the game always stays fresh.

The game isn’t quite perfect.  Tthere are a few technical glitches that allow players to access areas of the map that should be inaccessible (like the middle of the sky), but often these cheats are detrimental to the team invoking them and can easily be overcome by competent opposition.  Finding a good game can be a challenge at times as well.  Too often, games become naturally segregated such that there is a “good team” going against a “bad team.”  On several occasions, however, I have seen this balance of power suddenly flip when one or two players join or leave the game.

Team Fortress 2 received excellent critical reception upon its release, including several awards for art direction – ironic since the game is not at all lifelike, and in fact, it is animated in a cartoon style (which was clearly a wise choice).  That said, you can’t just go out and buy a TF2 game for the Xbox360.  If you’re looking to play, the title you will want to pick up is The Orange Box,which bundles five games including TF2.  The other games in the package, three episodes of the award-winning Half-Life series and the puzzle game Portal are all worthy additions in their own right.  When combined with TF2, it makes for an outstanding gaming bundle.  Best yet, you can pick up the whole package for under $20, making it one of the best deals you’ll find in gaming.   So despite the fact that TF2 can be a little addicting at times, I can only give it a recommendation for any and all Xbox360 owners out there.

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