Team Fortress 2
Now that we've had the trip back to the PS1 days, time for something a bit more recent.
The Orange Box by Valve hailed by many as the best value bundle pack of games for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Part of that bundle of games, Team Fortress 2, the sequel to the original Team Fortress modification for Quake.
Probably people's main reason for the Orange Box will be the main feature of Half Life 2: Episode 2, definitely not a bad game either. But after playing around with head crabs and hunters a for a bit, Team Fortress 2 is a great break away from the realistic physics and normal shaped human models.
Team Fortress's main graphical highlight is the quite obvious cartoony style character models and whole basis around multiplayer team based game play. Playing as either the Reliable Excavation Demolition (RED) or Builders League United (BLU) players then choose from one of over 9 classes and enter the frenzy that is Team Fortress 2.
The graphics are fantastic, not your Call of Duty 4 realism of course, but you over the top, frenzied, cartoon styled map, characters and weapons such as the Heavy class with his overly large mini-gun and the Pyro with his flame-thrower of death. All this leads to an almost free-for-all match with a semblance of teamwork (at least on publicly open servers). 3 main game modes are used, a capture the flag style game, a capturing of objectives from the enemy and a direct contest between the two opposing side fighting for territory control.
The definitive class system features 9 totally unique characters divided into offence, defence and support each with 3 of the classes in each category, however any class can be used for almost any role. Among the offence category is the Soldier class with rocket launcher useful for sending bits of your enemies flying off-screen, the Scout whose lack of health and precision is made up for with his uncontested speed and the Pyro whose flame-thrower can cause mass confusion if faced with a room full of enemy players. For the defences there is the Heavy class with his iconic minigun (though there's not much mini about it) and his fists for when that minigun simply won't do the job (quite rarely though), the Demoman a drunkard carrying a grenade launcher and sticky bomb gun for those tightly packed assault groups and the Engineer able to build structures to assist his team-mates and build sentry guns for attacking those annoying players who get in the way of his constructions.
The support classes include the Medic the essence of team work as he can heal but is very likely prey for any other class that may approach him alone, the Sniper for which a string of head shots will most likely get you labeled a hacker, and the Spy able to sneak behind enemy lines and back stab their enemies before they know what's going on.
Each of the characters posses strengths and weaknesses each that can be supplemented by another calls, thus creating the teamwork aspect of the game. Take a well organized team, and it will simply plough through any number of one-man armies. The game play itself is like a standard FPS, but a very polished one, with a few quirks such as the taunt button, with each class having their own unique taunts, feel free to humiliate your opponents even more after you finished dominating them. Each character has a set of preset messages used to communicate between teammates, but in the case of a Pyro a decent Microphone may come in more useful.
After you take the frenzied action, character classes, humour and general feel of the game, only one thing can be really lacking, it is simply devoid of any story, but after playing through the gritty stories of the Half-Life series, what could be better than fighting for your life and blowing enemies to bits on top of a building that looks like something you'd find in the evil lair of a cartoon mastermind? Not much in my opinion.
Thus concludes this rather weak attempt at a review about a game that will bring hours upon hours of enjoyment.