Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Team Fortress 2 Initial Impressions - Part II

Part I

I left off my initial impressions of Team Fortress 2 stating how there is a class for every type of gamer. However, good players are good players, and can succeed with almost any class. It comes down to learning what advantages a class has and then leveraging them against the weaknesses of an opponent. Overall, twitch skill is important, but isn't going to make a single player unstoppable.

The reason twitch skill will never be top dog in TF2 is for the simple reason that certain classes just won't beat other classes on the grounds of gun play alone. A fast-moving scout is not going to outrun or out gun a properly placed engineer turret. No matter how slow the engineer's reflexes are, the turret takes over the shooting, and that allows a strategic thinker to thrive as an engineer. There are plenty of other examples, but I'll let everyone discover them on their own while playing.

The maps in TF2 are wonderfully imagined and share the same feel as the characters. Like the graphical style, the maps tend to poke fun at the FPS genre in whole. There are massive neon signs with huge arrows pointing towards the next control point. Huge stop signs mark doors that are inaccessible during the current round. A large floating red or blue marker clearly defines a control points status.

So far, the maps have felt very balanced. I have never gone into a game dreading the map I was playing on. Some players in the community are disappointed with the number of maps, but if all the maps remain balanced it is a win in my book. I would much prefer a smaller number of balanced, fun maps.

Certain strategies work well on some maps, like an all-out Scout rush on cp_granary, but for every strategy there is a counter. Being on the receiving end of a scout rush can be maddening, as the match is often over before players begin fighting, but that is where team play comes in. If your team doesn't want to work together, then coordinated tactics like a scout rush will win the day.

Unfortunately, a scout rush is a lot easier to coordinate than a defense against it, which can cause problems for players just looking for fun on a public server. So, the developers do need to take care that some tactics don't become too effective or too easily employed. Just to note, a good engineer or pyro can be a nightmare for a scout rush. Well, that is, until the rest of the scout's team shows up.

Part III
Part IV
Final Thoughts
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