Team Fortress 2 is a class based first person shooter developed by Valve initially released in 2007. Now a free game on Steam the game TF2 still draws in a huge audience even after 5 years of being released. This is mostly due to the fact that the game has been regularly updated since it came out with various extra class updates, upgrades, maps and even game modes. This is one of those new game modes, and boy, is it a good one.
I am not going into TF2 as a game; this review is of the latest update “MANN vs Machine” which was leaked to the public via an EXTREMELY complex Alternate Reality Game (which was solved in less than 12 hours by the TF2 community!) on August 13th 2012. Then, after a few comics, some promotional pictures and a really awesome video the update was officially announced and released on August 15th.
MANN vs Machine (MvM) is an effective Co-op horde mode for this class based FPS where the players, in a team of up to 6, must defend specific maps from an onslaught of robots whose job is to transport a bomb to blow up the area! After destroying a robot some money is dropped on the floor (since the robots run on money….yeah….). The players must collect this money, as much as possible, between the waves of incoming robots so they can purchase upgrades for their character’s weapons. These include useful buffs such as a power boost or a faster firing speed.
Don’t for a second think that these robots are easy to kill; most of the robots are carbon copies of the normal characters wielding various weapons related to that class, however there are larger versions which are a lot more threatening. These are Giant versions of characters with lots more health, more damaging and in some cases much faster. They present another challenge and dynamic to the gameplay, apart from being very imposing they also are stupidly hard to kill at times and seem downright unfair to fight, but, with good team work and a plan they are manageable. The last problem is the “Tank”, literally a large hunk of metal with a nuke inside slowly moving to destroy the map. It has tons of Health and requires every player’s immediate attention because destroying it gets you a substantial amount of cash. The only good thing is that it cannot damage you but this does not mean killing it is easy!
There are two versions of the missions, the basic ones that any player can attempt and MANN UP mode, in this mode the player must have purchased a ticket from the Valve store. If the player completes those missions they can randomly receive in-game items of differing rarity that while being useless, do at least look cool and keep track of in game counts such as number of kills etc.
Some other small additions are the inclusion of some new musical scores, all very threatening, otherworldly and mechanical as well as some new lines for the characters based on events that occur during the mode. It’s a small change but is very much appreciated as it adds to the character of the game.
After all this time a new game mode for TF2 is very refreshing. Not only is it an extremely interesting and new way to play the game the new maps and robots look great and seem to fit into the universe well, they do seem a little out of place but that is the point. For those of you who don’t know, the TF2 universe has a pretty extensive backstory and, without spoiling much, this update revealed some pretty shocking facts which changed the whole point and plot of TF2! I highly recommend checking out the backstory of this universe, not only is it very funny it is actually very enlightening (According to this universe, Shakespeare was the inventor of the two-story building, the stage play and the Rocket Launcher).
Finally, the new items, as previously mentioned, added to the game are nothing new in terms of gameplay but do allow you to show off your skills in this new gameplay mode. Various metallic hats can be found and if you kill enough Robots you can receive special re-skins of characters weapons which keep a count of how many robots/players you have killed depending what game mode you are in. While they look cool, they would only really be appreciated by long term fans of the game or players who like keeping a kill count!