Team Fortress 2 is the father of many modern games. Do you like playing as different classes in shooters like Overwatch and Apex: Legends? Arguably, you would never have those games without Team Fortress 2.
Then again, this venerable shooter came out back in 2007. With so much modern competition, the question remains: is it still worth playing this classic shooter? Or should you move on to something else?
One of the first things you’ll notice about this game is the aesthetic. Specifically, everyone and everything looks like it came from a demented cartoon.
This works in the game’s favor on several levels. First, the cartoon aesthetic has held up well over all these years. Like World of Warcraft, this game has really benefited from not trying to look super realistic. The game’s more realistic peers have ended up looking dated and played out.
The cartoon aesthetic also works well with the game’s weird sense of humor. The characters are all full of wacky and manic personalities. Looking like a modern Looney Tunes cartoon helps to sell that humor quite successfully.
A Team Effort
It may seem quaint now, but Team Fortress 2 (and its predecessor) was one of the first games to popularize different classes in shooters. So, instead of every character playing the same, we have characters like the Soldier playing very different from the Pyro. And he, in turn, is completely different from the Medic!
Many games have copied this formula, and games like Overwatch have done it even more successfully. Still, it’s very rewarding knowing that there is a character for every playstyle, and there’s always a chance for a new experience if you’re willing to play a different character.
For better or for worse, this class-based gameplay means that whether you win or lose mostly comes down to team composition. If no one is willing to heal, then the team is doomed. Likewise, if no one plays Engineer, then your defense is practically non-existent.
Because of this, try to play with your friends whenever possible!
A Limited Roster
It feels really mean to ding a 2007 game for this, but I have to say it: the roster of Team Fortress 2 characters is super limited.
Even after all these years and a ton of game tweaking, TF2 still only has nine characters on its roster. Meanwhile, Overwatch has 30 characters, with even more on the horizon.
Because of that limited roster, Team Fortress 2 has less nuanced combat than more modern games. With Overwatch, you have several different options for classes like healer. Meanwhile, in TF2, you can only be a medic.
This can potentially be a good thing for new players because you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The longer you play, though, you’ll end up wishing more possibilities were available.
Tons of Personality
There is not a lot of story to Team Fortress 2 unless you want to do a deep dive into things like obscure comics. What the game does have, though, is a ton of personality.
The voicework is amazing, and it brings the characters to life in a hilarious way. Fair warning: you’ll probably be shouting out random phrases from this game long after you stop playing.
And the creator, Valve, released a series of “Meet The” videos to give you more insight into the characters. Each video is entertaining, giving you info about the character and the universe while serving as a kind of standalone cartoon that anyone can enjoy.
Ultimately, this is one area where this game really shines. While Overwatch has released videos with more polish and precision, those videos never achieve the same level of hilarious charm that TF2 does.
Nice and Simple
Another thing about TF2 that some players love and others hate is that it’s relatively simple. There are not a lot of gameplay modes. Those that are available have really easy goals, from capturing the flag (in this case, the intelligence) to fighting off robotic duplicates.
If you’re looking for a simple game to learn or a straightforward way to relax, then this lack of complexity is a good thing.
However, if you were weaned on the complexity of games like Battlefield or even Fortnite, then such simplicity might be a little off-putting.
To Free or Not to Free
A while back, Team Fortress 2 moved to the “freemium” model. This means that the base game is free to play, but it tries to tempt you with a variety of microtransactions.
Long story short? There are many cool items you can find and unlock through regular gameplay.
However, the quickest way to get exactly what you want is to buy it from the store. And the special incentive to get your feet wet is that buying a single thing increases the size of your virtual backpack, letting you hoard more goods.
While most of the things you can buy are purely cosmetic, some of them are weapons that play differently from those in the base game. While I don’t find any of these weapons overpowering, some players are understandably miffed at the perception that someone with more dollars to spare can buy a new weapon or two to help them win.
At the end of the day, Team Fortress 2 is still worth playing. First, it’s free to play, so you’ve got nothing to lose. And second, its simplicity and charm are a nice relief from the highly competitive world of modern class-based shooters.
Finally, Team Fortress 2 is an authentic piece of gaming history. You’ll never be able to fully appreciate games like Overwatch until you discover what started it all!