Team Fortress 2 Beta Impressions

Written by Hugo Jobling

October 4, 2007 | 09:18

Tags: #alyx #beta #cartoon #cel #fortress #freeman #gordon #half-life #impressions #multiplayer #orange-box #portal #preview #team #tf2

Companies: #steam #valve

Flame me!

Players familiar with the playing styles in Team Fortress Classic should feel at home for the most part, as each class still functions in a very similar way. However, the tools at their disposal have changed more in some cases than in others.

The Medic has had the most radical overhaul, as he no longer has a medipack; instead he wields a magic 'healing gun'. This changes the way allies are healed, for the better, in my opinion. The Medic is also armed with a syringe-firing gun and a bonesaw for melee attacks – the former replaces the nailgun in Team Fortress Classic.

To heal a teammate in TF2, one simply has to aim at the player to lock the healing gun on while staying within reasonable distance and line of sight in order to continue to heal. If the target already has full health then player’s health will be boosted up to a higher level and if the lock is lost, it’ll drop back to normal levels.

On top of healing players, continual use of the healing gun slowly charges up the Medic’s 'ubercharge' which, once activated, renders both the medic and the targeted teammate immortal for a short period of time. It’s worth noting that the 'ubercharge' powers up faster the more injured the player you’re healing is, which is of obvious benefit in a heated firefight. That sounds like that may break the game but thankfully, because the medic is otherwise quite boring to play as, most people tend to prefer other classes.

Team Fortress 2 Beta Impressions Flame me!
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The best combination of this new healing-power is when Medics work with the Heavy Weapons Guy – the class that has changed the least. Like in TFC, his primary weapon is a minigun (that he calls Sacha) which still eats up ammo incredibly quickly – he regenerates his ammunition stores by picking up weapons from fallen enemies (or friends for that matter). Secondary fire still keeps the barrel spinning, which means that the gun can fire as soon as he has ammo. Normally, you have to wait for a second or two for the barrel to spin up to speed.

When the Heavy Weapons Guy is combined with an ubercharged medic, some would argue that he is probably the deadliest character in the game. However, I believe there’s another class that’s even more deadly...

The Pyro has also gone through quite a few changes in TF2. The long range flame-missiles are long gone and have been exchanged for a shotgun. Additionally, the flamethrower has been given a boost in strength and is unique in being the only weapon that ignores friendly fire settings – this makes it a great 'spray and pray' Spy-discoverer, as you can happily hose down teammates without killing them.

Team Fortress 2 Beta Impressions Flame me!
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On the downside, the flamethrower is only effective against enemies at very close range. However, when you do get close enough it can be used to devastating effect, with skilled (or lucky) Pyros able to take down whole groups of enemies single-handedly. The one thing to remember here though is that the flamethrower isn't an instant kill and you may find yourself having to swap to your shotgun to fill your flaming foes with lead pellets to finish them off.

Along with the Pyro, the Demoman is also great at killing large numbers of people at once and is another character that has had a fair amount of tweaking. For example, instead of the timed detpacks in TFC, the Demoman now has two grenade launchers with different ammunition.

The first type will explode when it hits an enemy (or a few seconds later if you miss), while the other launcher fires sticky bombs that (oddly enough) stick to the surface they hit and are detonated with the secondary fire function. It’s worth mentioning that sticky bombs aren’t permanently stuck to the surface they hit and they’re also completely non-volatile until the Demoman detonates them – players are able to knock them free and move them around the levels by shooting them.
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