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Why Team Fortress 2 is one of the greatest games ever made

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What year are we talking about? The question needs to be asked because Valve's Team Fortress 2 is like Madonna in this way, where each period of invention and reinvention warrants acclaim in its own right, in many cases warrants inclusion to this list in its own right, but when taken together, culminate to form a true picture of greatness.

Let’s say the year is 2006. Valve’s been toying with the emotions of Half-Life 2 fans for some time, and, perhaps as a makegood, the company signals a return of its cult-favorite Quake mod in Team Fortress 2. Better yet, the game will come as a pack-in to the indomitable Orange Box, which also includes Half-Life 2, its two expansions, and the juggernaut-in-waiting, Portal. (And before we move on, let’s just pause, take a moment and marvel at the absurd, likely never-to-be-topped value of The Orange Box. Breathe that digression in; it’s good for you.)

 

It quickly became clear that Valve had every intention of doing Team Fortress 2 up right. Beginning with “Meet the Heavy” in May 2007, the studio released slickly produced, and uniformly hilarious, promos for each of the game’s nine classes, a move that provided definition and personality to what otherwise could have been a by-the-numbers class-based shooter. The videos also highlighted the variance in each character, their strengths and weaknesses, which served as an early indication of Team Fortress 2’s overall balance.

See, beyond the pomp and panache of its promotion, Team Fortress 2 is actually a very, very good class-based shooter. Best in class, one might say. The point-to-counterpoint balancing saw scouts running circles around demomen, demomen wrecking engineers, engineers wrecking pyros, pyros roasting scouts, and soldiers braining soldiers. This list could go on.

Matches by design devolve into a free-for-all of controlled chaos, where players run amok or work together through myriad maps, chasing intelligence or pushing payloads or capping points. Maps are intuitive, conflict is where it ought to be, and it takes very little time for new players to learn the layout well enough to be a nuisance.

Valve eventually unbundled Team Fortress 2 from The Orange Box; although, it’s worth noting that even when it cost money, it barely cost any money. There were free weekends and cost holidays so business-mindedly mystifying that one could begrudge Valve’s bean-counters for not properly valuing the product.

It’s 2008 by now, and Valve is churning out class overhauls at a steady clip. Actually, overhaul may skew toward understatement. With these updates, Valve at once completely changed the tenor of Team Fortress 2’s gameplay while then again kept things basically the same. It did so by again adeptly walking the tightrope of give-and-take balancing for each of the dozens of new weapons added (for free, mind you). Plus, each item, be it the demoman’s Eyelander sword or the Heavy’s Sandvich, only heightened the game’s immense personality.

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21 comments

  • Fox_Mulder - September 6, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    You have to admit, Valve really went above and beyond when it comes to TF2. They could've just left it the way it was, and it would have boiled down to "Valve's OTHER multiplayer shooter". But they just keep giving and giving when it comes to this game. This shows how great Valve is by tirelessly working on this game over a year after it's gone F2P. BTW, if anyone is complaining about the whole store and keys to crates and watnot, I bought 2 keys in my TF2 career. I got the same item twice. Not only that, but I already had said item. I learned quickly that all you do when you buy keys is gamble. Might as well go out and buy a couple lotto tickets. Among the items I have, which I have payed $0 for, (except the aforementioned duplicates) I see no advantage for people who've probably spent hundreds of dollars on items and the like.
  • BurntToShreds - September 6, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    I strongly disagree. TF2 USED TO BE one of the greatest games ever made. It was great for a good long while, but only started declining in quality when they decided to create a cash shop in the same vein as Maple Story. As well, Valve started creating promotional items that you could get in TF2 if you played/preordered other games. These promotional items ruined the art style that they were going for. Look up "Demopan" on Google image search to see what I mean by ruined. Other problems with the game (that were not there in the beginning): -A random drop system that rewards players with items based on mere chance rather than their own skill. -Making you pay money for keys to item crates, which also contain- -Weapons that track your kills with them. Plenty of other games allow you to track how many kills you have with each weapon for free, but Valve instead makes you pay for that, as well. -The promotional items I mentioned before have actual abilities beyond mere cosmetics, so people who preorder the games end up getting an advantage over other people for a while. It's like what GameStop does, but you get an advantage in a different game rather than the game you preordered.
  • avery78 - September 7, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    I agree with some of what you said but I personally never pay for keys, I trade crates for scrap metal to make my own stuff.
  • RedOutlive. - September 8, 2012 10:58 p.m.

    So the game declined in quality because they decided to sell cosmetic stuff? Doesnt sound reasonable, there are some weapons that need to be balanced like Pomson, milkman set and so on but still it's still quite balanced compared to many FPS games, just some tweaks could be implemented regarding weapons as I see it.
  • talleyXIV - September 5, 2012 7:05 p.m.

    PC GAMING STUPID. Team Fortress 2 solely makes that argument absolutely ridiculous.
  • avery78 - September 5, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    I agree that this is one of the best games ever. I am really enjoying the Mann vs. Machine mode, it breathed new life into it. As far as the community is concerned, I find it to be way better and friendlier than some other games such as COD or BF. There's a reason it's still popular after all this time.
  • slimjim441 - September 5, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    Trolls and whiners, the bunch of you. And shame on those of you who fed the trolls; don't do that. TF2 is fun and possibly the best online multi-player games to date. Get over it. It earned its spot in GR's 'Best Games Ever' list. On that note... 'Now if they'd only do the same with Half-Life 3...'
  • FOZ - September 5, 2012 3:43 p.m.

    Scout is considered a soft counter to pyro, since he can outrun him so easily and a pyro needs to really outmatch the scout to win with a shotgun. Not like that was common knowledge back when nobody played pyro and the only maps played were 2fort, dustbowl, and maybe cp_well. The War!/ Demoman and Soldier update came out at the end 2009, 5 months after hats had been introduced. So there was no Eyelander in 2008. Class updates weren't finished until the middle of 2010. And then there was a long period where Valve just bunched up dozens of hats and community weapons, tossed barely-tested stats onto them, and dumped them into the game. TF2 has had numerous MMO-esque community outbursts in response to Valve's "additions" to the game. The pictures people can graffiti onto surfaces are called sprays, and I don't regret having turned them off 3 years ago. Uh, I mean yes. TF2 is one of the best games ever made, and probably the best and longest-running multiplayer game this century. Unless you really like UT 2004, that's alright too.
  • lazer59882 - September 5, 2012 2:50 p.m.

    ugh. complete fucking bullshit. how can a multiplayer-only, always-online FPS be one of the greatest games ever? absolutely not. i'll have none of it. now, if you want to say the orange box is one of the greatest ever, that's a different story
  • FOZ - September 5, 2012 3:44 p.m.

    Why can't it?
  • Fruitbat - September 5, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    ...Seriously, or are you just trolling? It's an intense, enormously fun, light-hearted and endlessly entertaining game that has remained fresh, fun and enormously community-centric for over half a decade. And it's all private servers, so it's not like the game is ever going to die.
  • lazer59882 - September 7, 2012 9:10 p.m.

    my favorite games are still my favorite games even when my internet is down. what about yours? yours becomes a $60 coaster.
  • MayorMcCheese - September 16, 2012 4:47 a.m.

    Then you should probably give up video games bro. They will all be $60 coasters if your motherboard dies. Good games don't become bad just because the hardware they depend upon fails.
  • tehtimeisnow - September 5, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    ha ah this steeming pile of garbege is not the best gane ever its just a bad call of duty ripof with horrable grafics and cartoony it sucks
  • Zaneer568 - September 5, 2012 1:58 p.m.

    Team Fortress 1 release: August 24, 1996 Call of Duty 1 release: October 29, 2003 So, please shut up.
  • TheCakeIsaPie - September 5, 2012 2:16 p.m.

    FEEDEST YE NOT THE TROLLES!
  • P0ck3tC1am - September 5, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    He must be 12 years old...everything is a rip-off of Call of Duty when you're 12. Plus graphics isn't what makes the game, it's how it plays.
  • lazer59882 - September 5, 2012 2:49 p.m.

    literallly every single one of you idiots who responded to the first idiot are clearly new to the site. tehtimeisnow is a huge fucking troll, and makes idiotic, poorly spelled, nonsensical comments on every article he can. he is a troll. ignore him.
  • thatnerdguy1 - September 5, 2012 7:08 p.m.

    I think it'sworth pointing out he's been caught doing this on IGN and a frw other sites as well.
  • dlam - September 6, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    ^ this

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