What I initially thought would be the most boring experiment in my gaming turned out to be one of the most rewarding and fun multiplayer games.
Team Fortress 2 was developed by Valve in Steam’s early years and I was lucky to join it a year after its release in 2009. Team Fortress 2 was significant to me when I first joined Steam, simply because it was made available during Steam’s early years before the summer sales and before the prominent Triple A games being available on it. Its characters are defined and have more personality than a lot of characters in single player games, and that says a lot from free-to-play games.
Unlike its predecessor, Team Fortress 2 has abandoned its militaristic aesthetics and departed from its serious setting to a more fitting setting in my opinion, and it could not get better in terms of engagement. Its cartoonish artwork and hilarious characters have certainly made my multiplayer sessions with my friends all the more chaotic and filled with endless laughter. I recall sitting properly for 3 hours, one game mode after another hunting for achievements and defending the team’s base through a 32 player server, one can imagine how insane that sounds, but I assure you I had fun in every second.
Throughout the classes offered in Team Fortress 2, players have the choice whether to be defensive or offensive despite which game mode it is in. Whether you are a sniper covering for your allies or a Demoman storming in with your shield and sword or a medic healing your party members, all characters are unique in both their game styles as well as their personalities. When I played Counter Strike way before I discovered Team Fortress 2, there were no distinguishable features on the characters except what guns they use or which team they are on. Whereas in Team Fortress 2, the heavy class is known for his love for sandwiches or how the players speculate who is behind the Pyro mask and the theories going on about if the pyro is actually a female or not. All these little attention to details is what made me love it even more.
Usually, each player will eventually find a favorite offensive class and a favorite defensive class. However, it is still fun to try out all the other classes and grab all those ridiculous achievements on Steam. I dare you to actually finish them all since they are almost impossible to complete. My favorite offensive class was the Pyro, a class that specializes in burning players from a mid range distance or using his flare gun from long range distances.
Game modes in Team Fortress 2 are what keeps it fresh not only because they are spontaneously fun but also because Team Fortress 2 has seasonal events as well as friendly competitive maps and custom made maps. Game modes range from control maps where Team RED versus Team BLU fight each other for control points and the team that either has more control points either by defending or capturing more eventually wins. There are so many opportunities in Team Fortress 2 to have fun, I am not sure where to start and where to end. Event maps that are available only on Halloween or Christmas with different objectives and team deathmatch modes that are done gladiator style where all players hold swords and shield and have their speeds doubled will surely keep players feeling refreshed and prevents it from being stale.
Team Fortress 2 has one of the biggest communities on Steam and till this day, it is one of the top played games on Steam for many reasons other than the ones I have already explained. It also incorporates a loot system where there are random item drops from player kills ranging from mystery crates unlockable by purchasing a key through microtransactions in the game itself to the most rare weapons found for a single class. What I also loved about Team Fortress 2’s loot system is that Steam’s triple A games are incorporated with the game’s customization as well as loot system. I still recall when Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out, and I pre-purchased it, I had received the Deus Ex set comprising of Adam Jensen’s glasses for my characters as well as a high tech sniper rifle. It also amazes me how the customization system might seem like it is purely there for aesthetics at first, but it is also filled with RPG elements for weapons and armor that definitely gives permanent changes to how some characters are played, not to mention customizing a specific build for them.
All in all, I can’t recommend Team Fortress 2 enough simply because it is one of the most carefully constructed free to play games out there on Steam. I could not resist its colorful and fresh aesthetics and I love how, despite I have played it casually from time to time, it still caters to one of the most hardcore players out there with their own dedicated servers. The Steam Workshop is filled with in game mods and a huge percentage of player inventory trades are related to Team Fortress items where people make actual money off the in game items by simply playing it and selling their rare drops.