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Review

Team Fortress 2 Review

  • Game release: October 10, 2007
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Still standing strong.

by

Longevity is tough for competitive shooters. Hardly a month goes by without new virtual arenas cropping up and enticing you into some fresh conflict, and only a few popular games manage to sustain active player bases even a year after their initial release. And then there's Team Fortress 2. Released in 2007, this class-based classic is still going strong well into its seventh year, thanks largely to its lively and creative community. Since GameSpot's original TF2 review, the game has benefited from numerous updates and made the jump to a free-to-play business model. So how well is Team Fortress 2 faring in 2014 among the current crop of competitors for your time and money?

The short answer is, it's holding up very well. The core action pits two teams of players against each other in a battle to capture points, move a cart, or steal a briefcase. The objective is always very straightforward; it's the interplay between the nine playable classes that makes things so varied and interesting. The speedy scout, the militant heavy, the diligent engineer, the conniving medic, the pesky sniper, the sneaky spy, the feisty pyro, the explosive soldier, and the even-more-explosive demoman all have unique weapons, attributes, and abilities that complement each other and clash in myriad ways. Encounters can vary widely depending on the match type and the makeup of each team, and this unpredictability is crucial to TF2's long-standing appeal.

When you come out of the gate as a heavy with a medic in tow, you're a formidable offensive force, but if a spy loops around to backstab the medic and you round the corner on a pyro, it can all come undone in a matter of seconds. Snipers can cover expected enemy paths, but rocket-jumping soldiers have a knack for finding alternative routes and raining explosive death from above. You may think you have a comparatively weak scout dead to rights, only to be stunned by a baseball and beaten to death. As you watch your giblets splatter on the ground and see a freeze-frame of your gleeful killer, it's hard not to chuckle at the sheer variety of ways you can meet an untimely demise. And the humorous quips, ridiculous outfits, and histrionic announcer help cultivate this lighthearted tone.

Of course, this core dynamic has persisted for most of TF2's life span, so if you stopped playing it a few years ago and come back for a few matches, you'll find things are very familiar. Learning the ropes and getting the hang of your chosen role is still a gratifying experience, and mastering advanced techniques doesn't just make you deadlier; it gives you more options for how to approach combat. Keeping your options open is still valuable too, because being flexible with your choice of character can help you avoid ending up on a catastrophically imbalanced squad. It is Team Fortress, after all.

But though there is much that has remained constant about the core game, there have been some notable changes over the years, as well as regular infusions of new weapons and items. Of the hundreds of things available in the online store, some can be unlocked through play, while others must be purchased with actual money. From small doodads that cost less than a dollar to massive bundles that cost hundreds, there's a wide range of ways to customize your experience.

Many of the items offer nothing more than a playful twist on the game's already cheeky cartoon aesthetic. You can buy hats, shirts, shoes, and other cosmetic gear to dress up like a character from Adult Swim or don spooky seasonal garb that you can wear only during Halloween or a full moon. Even if you don't fancy shelling out for any of this stuff, it's fun to see some visual variety as you try to light your opponents on fire.

Other weapons have more of an impact, like the ones that give your character a new chargeable and expendable power. The scout can build hype, which turns his usual double jump into a triple, quadruple, or quintuple jump, and the soldier can build rage, which allows him to rally his nearby teammates to do extra damage. Skills like these have more of a meaningful impact on the action, bringing something new to the table that your enemies must contend with. And then there are the totally out-there loadouts, like the one that turns the grenade-launching demoman into an extra from the movie Braveheart.In addition to the cosmetic options, there are a lot of weapons and items that offer small buffs or subtle tweaks to your attributes. Depending on which healing gun the medic equips, for example, he can imbue himself and his targeted ally with extra damage resistance or enable himself to match the speed of his target. Differences like these don't do much to change the core action, but they do give experienced players substantial room for strategic variation.

These options broaden the field of viable strategies, which helps keep combat lively and varied. And fortunately, none of the purchasable weapons or items tip the scales unfairly towards those willing to pay. Buffs and bonuses usually come with caveats, and the weapons that bestow new abilities are usually unlocked for free. For this review, I spent some money on goofy hats and some of the stranger weaponry on offer, like the pyro's flamethrower that actually shoots bubbles and rainbows. It was fun to play with the new gear, but I still found myself switching my loadout between free and paid weapons regularly to adapt to the match situation.

Mow 'em down and get paid.

The biggest divergence from the game's origins comes in the cooperative mode, Mann vs. Machine. In it, you and a few other human players must prevent hordes of robotic incarnations of TF2's classes from delivering a bomb to your base. The money you earn from destroying robots can be spent on mid-match upgrades to your attributes and weaponry, which can be crucial to success. Even on the easiest level, the robot legions are fierce enough to test the mettle of an unorganized team. This is a mode where carefully planned weapon choices and defensive strategies can mean the difference between succeeding and having to try, try again. You can play this mode for free, but you won't be eligible to earn rare prizes or complete challenges unless you pay a dollar for a Tour of Duty ticket. Though it lacks the frenetic unpredictability of competitive play, the cooperative mode can still provide satisfaction for those dedicated enough to see it through.

But competition is the real draw, and the Team Fortress 2 community can certainly be competitive. On some servers, you might be berated for unwitting breaches of etiquette, while on others, you might be welcomed with helpful tips and ubercharges. You can even ask for help on certain servers and be paired up with another player who is willing to give you some tips through chat. The community around TF2 is an intriguing one, not just for their deep knowledge of and passion for the game, but for their creative efforts in designing new weapons, items, and maps that have since become part of the experience. It feels like a community of curators, without whom the game may well have dwindled away and passed into obsolescence years ago.

Staying relevant even a year after release is rare for a competitive shooter, and yet, here's Team Fortress 2, still lively after seven years in the business. At times it feels like the same game you could have played back then, and at other times it feels like no one will ever quite nail class-based shooter competition the way TF2 does. The experience has evolved over the years without compromising what made it so great in the first place, so though your free-to-play options may have increased considerably in the past few years, there are few that do it as well as Team Fortress 2.

The Good
Classes have multiple effective tactics
Strategic variety leads to dynamic encounters
Sense of humor pervades throughout
The Bad
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Team Fortress 2

About the Author

/ Staff

Chris Watters reviewed Team Fortress 2 for GameSpot almost six years ago when you could buy it off of retail shelves for $20. The 12+ hours he spent for this review have been like reconnecting with an old friend who doesn't just talk about the old days, but has fun new stories and fart jokes to share.

Discussion

110 comments
DarkLight748
DarkLight748

Wait, you gave not negative points yet it gets an 8?

l8rry
l8rry

Gamespot SEO review #1
Like,reply, spam, tweet, share, +1, pinit- google no#1 :D

blackzio
blackzio

people saying it hasn't changed in 7 years. ok, hundreds of new weapons therefore new strategies, items like pyrovision that change the whole look of the game, periodical events, crazy community support added, new maps and put in a co-op mode. 


Just because it was all a bunch of free patches instead of a charged DLC, doesn't mean it shouldn't be reviewed.


play the console version then play the pc version and tell me it isn't different. 

pyosisified
pyosisified

Got over TF 2 ages ago, the items/drops really ruined it

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

I have never played this game, however, I do enjoy reading. Hey, I wish some of you also enjoy reading...because if you did, you would have read why they reviewed this game a second time instead of asking why did they review it again

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

Wow the game is already 6 years old. Time passes really quick.

2zosteve
2zosteve

to many people talking about frame rates and 1080 on these new systems . this game is flat out fun as is no matter what the specs are or what system.

Caldrin
Caldrin

Not my type of fps really but how can you only get a score of 8 when you have no bad points ?

Zhalor
Zhalor

7 years later and it's still ridiculously simplistic with a handful of content. About 9 hours into the game I was bored to tears. Sadly I paid money for it back in 2010.


And no, hats don't count as content.

HIT3kNology
HIT3kNology

Valve is afraid of loadout, hence the 7yr late review

Mudpooch
Mudpooch

Way to high of a score for such a below par game...

bdous
bdous

Nice review .But i don't think there is a point on reviewing a 7 year old game 

rsiebelink
rsiebelink

As much as I can appreciate these re-reviews, this game certainly deserves more than this 8, which is half a point lower compared to the original review though. Not only has the game improved a lot in the meanwhile, it can still easily holds it's own in today's shooter market. It's still on eof the best and most fun shooters out there today.

dethtrain
dethtrain

The heavy classes one liners are absolutely hysterical

themc_7
themc_7

Slow day at the office? Let's review Team Fortress again! This is an amazing game, but why review it again? Anyone who wanted to play this, has played it in the last 7 years. 

hitomo
hitomo

free to play rip off

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

@Caldrin It's their overall experience with the game. They don't use the format of giving EVERY game a 10 and then take away points. That would be pretty stupid.

snxx
snxx

@HIT3kNology So, obviously Valve is paying Gamespot to make this review, right? Now, let me ask you a question: why do you read a website if you believe it's content to be distorted by bribery and dishonesty?

2zosteve
2zosteve

@Mudpooch crazy. this game is a blast. that's what its about, not specs.

snxx
snxx

@Mudpooch I disagree. This ain't a "below par game", it's the best multiplayer-focused shooter ever made. But I realize that's only my opinion, not a "fact", do you realize the same about yours?

snxx
snxx

@bdous If the game has changed and/or stayed relevant, why not?

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@themc_7  

Well, if you are going to say that, don't ever be caught demanding a re-review for an old game that has changed over years.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@themc_7  Do I really need to direct you to the author's note at the end of the review?

flashn00b
flashn00b

@hitomo  There are very few free to play games as fair as Team Fortress 2. Sure, you'll probably want to spend money on melee weapons for the Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Heavy, and Medic, but once you buy those, you will never need to buy anything else.

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

@2zosteve @Infinite_713LMAO! You know what? I have it already on the 360. I don't why I was thinking that was the Team Fortress 1. I stopped playing it because it wasn't many people with a mic playing.

Caldrin
Caldrin

@Infinite_713 @CaldrinWell if the game has no bad points then why is it only an 8.. there has to be reasons why they didnt think it needed a 10.. so what are those reasons. That is what a review is for to cover out all the good and bad points for people and having those in a nice little section at the bottom of the review is pretty good.

So as this did nto get a 10 there was clearly some they did not like about it..

Zhalor
Zhalor

@snxx @MudpoochYikes! I feel bad for you if that's the best multiplayer shooter you've ever experienced.

Mudpooch
Mudpooch

@snxx @Mudpooch  Why yes indeed I realize that its just my opinion and that everyone might not be inclined to see it the same way as I do... Room for everyone here at Gamespot:)

bdous
bdous

@snxx @bdous  TF2 is the same game for 7 years (with minor additions).I am not saying it is a bad game and i am not saying this review is bad .

themc_7
themc_7

@Gelugon_baat @themc_7  I don't understand why I'd want a game re-reviewed. how has it TF2changed? All they've added is hats! What has changed since the game's 1st review?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@aaronmullan Yeah because he has unlimited amounts of time to make the review. He probably has like a two day deadline or something.

Sometimes you just can't explain why you don't like something.

Besides what the hell does it matter what review score he gives it? If you don't think he did a good job then just ignore it. Review scores mean nothing anyway. I've actually stopped using them because I always find they differ a lot from my gut instinct and I normally end up avoiding a game I might otherwise have enjoyed.

How does his opinion of it make your love of the game any less? Just because he can't put his finger on what it is that makes the game not resonate with him, doesn't effect you in any way.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Caldrin  

The point is that the numbers are for those who are too lazy to read.

That's the actual significance of the score system.

Caldrin
Caldrin

@Gelugon_baat @CaldrinStill there must have been some bad ponits... why they did not think it needed a 10. I mean what is the point in a points based scoring system is they are just gonig to pull numbers out of the air. Why dont they jsut go yup with think this game is pretty good and leave it as that :) I mean that number no has no meaning at all on here.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Caldrin  

Infinite_713 has already told you the reason. Would you understand if someone makes an allegory, e.g. the rating for a game is not given like how marks would be given to an essay in a language subject?

themc_7
themc_7

@Gelugon_baat @themc_7  you know when someone uses big words to sound smart and win an argument? That's what we have here. I'm not criticizing Gamespot's review policies. I just don't understand why they'd go out of their way to rereview this game, but then barely mention any of the updates or new content to the game.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@themc_7 

I am getting the impression that you aren't here to argue over the merits of a re-review. Rather, I suspect that you are just looking for any reason to lambast GameSpot's review policies.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@themc_7 

Oh, so now you change your tune from why Team Fortress 2 should not be re-reviewed because you said it has not changed much to arguing over the causes to re-review games.

How convenient. Little wonder why you can't "understand" what I am saying when you change your stance so expediently.

themc_7
themc_7

@Gelugon_baat @themc_7  I don't understand what your saying? "stubborn few who think that something is the way it is because you believe it so and it could not be any other way."


There is only 1 small paragraph in this entire article about new TF2 features other than character aesthetics. I know team fortress had added new content since lauch, but they barely even mention it in the updated review. Where's my re-review of Halo 2? They've added new content since launch too! Why not review it again? Draw the line somewhere.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@themc_7  

Well, you can always check the "Patches" section of the game's official wiki.

Yet, I get the impression that you are one of those stubborn few who think that something is the way it is because you believe it so and it could not be any other way.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@themc_7 Well you're asking why he reviewed it again and if you'd read the authors note you'd have known why he reviewed it again.  I don't know if you knew that but that's science.

snxx
snxx

@hitomo I've been playing this game for at least five years, haven't spent a dime on it (except for the original, Steam promo, price, since I got it before it went free to play) and still had more than 300 hours of fun.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@hitomo  

Alright, I agree with you on the luck-dependent crates there.

However, if you look at the prices of the other shit in the Mann-store, getting crap from crates is cheaper than buying virtual shit individually.

That's the counter-argument if you are going to argue that the money spent on keys is not worth it.

Yet, I don't think that what's you are trying to argue. I get the hunch that you are looking for anything to slam Team Fortress 2 with, especially considering that you cited VGCatz, which is one of the most cynical gaming-related webcomics out there.

hitomo
hitomo

@Gelugon_baat @hitomo hey I didnt mentioned that game in the first place ... and I am not playing it now ... but if a F2P game has gamble boxes / mechanics , its a rip off in my book, because its nothing else then a casino then

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@hitomo  

I think that you are just biased towards Path of Exile.

With that said, just you wait - I doubt that Grinding Gear can stay its course with just the microtransactions that it has now, if the schemes to increase stash tabs and account slots do not suggest so already.

Team Fortress 2 More Info

  • Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • Unix/Linux
    This squad-based shooter, which features nine distinct character classes and a unique art style, is the successor to the original Team Fortress.
    9
    Average User RatingOut of 6308 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Team Fortress 2
    Developed by:
    Valve Software
    Published by:
    Valve Software, CyberFront, EA Games, Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Free-to-Play, Action, Shooter, First-Person, Team-Based, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence