I’ve been playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 lately.  And by a lot, I mean A LOT.  For someone who doesn’t generally like first-person shooters, I have to say that I am really enjoying it.

That said, while I enjoy playing it, I’m still not that GOOD at it.  The picture above shows my typical situation in the game.  I line up the perfect shot, and just as I am about to squeeze the trigger, a spy/scout/pyro/SOMEONE sneaks up and blows me away.  It’s still worth it, though; there are few things more satisfying in gaming than getting a string of head shots and hearing someone yell out over team chat “Someone get that sniper!”

It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why it is that I like this game while hating most FPSs, but the things that come to mind are:

  1. The style of the game:  TF2 has a cartoony feel, and the characters have a lot of personality.  Half of the fun is in hearing the little comments made by the characters during normal play.  With all of the serious, “I’ve got to act now to save the world” games out there, it’s refreshing to play something that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
  2. The variety and balance of the characters: There is a nice paper/rock/scissors feel to the game.  While I hate the spies and scouts, the fact is that the snipers would be WAY too powerful in the game without them.  No class in the game is strictly more powerful than the rest; there’s a great balance.
  3. Playing with friends:  I’ve found that, with many games, there is a huge difference between playing with strangers and playing with friends.  The team victories feel more epic, and there is a lot more joy with each little accomplishment.
  4. No Sickness:  I don’t know how they did it, but Valve somehow made a FPS that doesn’t make me sick.  I could play this game for hours with no nausea.

I know I’m a few years behind on this, but if you haven’t picked up Team Fortress 2 yet, go out and get the Orange Box right now.  It’s more than worth it.