Team Fortress 2: Mann vs. Machine!
By Jerrico Tan (JetSet), OnRPG Journalist
Any gamer with a Steam Account surely must have played Vavle’s Team Fortress 2 and anyone who has ever played it will agree if I say that it’s one of the top free-to-play multiplayer FPS games on the market right now. A few of the obvious reasons that will affirm the previous statement includes: clean, smooth cartoon-y graphics, fast-paced combat, serious options in class selection, and a whole array of weapon choices earned through achievements or bought from the shops. But we all know that and that’s typical. What we need to take a closer look at is the “secret spice”, the “x-factor” or in other words, that element which separates this remarkable game from the rest.
Gameplay and Classes
Nine character classes of various abilities, strategic modes of operation and weapon choices are laid out for players to choose from. And with these nine classes comes a wide selection of maps, game modes, items and servers thanks to the Steam Workshop where any gamer can act as game master. Enter any active server and you’ll be welcomed by a chaotic rumble of explosions pinched with a comical touch. If your expertise lies in the offensive side, there’s the Scout, Soldier and Heavy to push back the enemy team. If your task is to defend a Control Point, the Demoman, Sniper or Pyro will do the tricks for you. Medics, Engineers and Spies may be the so-called supporting classes but they’re as effective as any damage-dealer on the battlefield if a player knows how to use them efficiently (most especially the Spies).
Sprinkle all nine classes into any of the game modes of up to 20 players a team and you’re in for a pyrodynamic party.
Below are the default game modes playable on multiplayer:
Payload – RED team must stop BLU team from pushing the cart
King of the Hill – Team that controls the point till time runs out wins
Attack/Defense – BLU must control all points and RED must stop them
Payload Race – first cart to reach the finish line wins
Control Points – capture all points to win
Capture the Flag – self-explanatory
Special Delivery – deliver the suitcase for deployment
Arena – team death match style
Medieval – an all-melee mode (complete with medieval music and Early Modern English chat texts)
Just captured the base with this frying pan!
Once inside the battlefield, players can switch teams and classes anytime. Notable are the unique level and character designs with humorous actions and voice acting. Weapons and items are hilarious too; throwing a bottle of milk as a Scout or hitting your enemy with a frying pan are just some of TF2s genius ideas of weaponry. And did I mention how simple yet spectacular and clean the graphics are?
Mann Co. Store
Occasionally during combat, or after unlocking an achievement, players obtain items that can be equipped through editing class loadouts and accessed through the basic 50-slot backpack. Unfortunately, not all items are usable without purchasing other items in the Mann Co. store. To open locked crates for example, players must buy keys that cost a little over a dollar. A horde of flashy items and weapons are also up for sale and any player would be ever-so-tempted to buy at least a few of them. But thankfully for free players, cash players are the least of their concerns because free players can still pull off some Rambo action moves even with default weaponry. Should you buy from the Mann Co. store, you will receive an upgrade of up to 300 slots for your backpack and unlock rare items upon your first purchase. Other interesting items on sale include: Maps, Bundles, Taunts and even a hundred dollar ring for whatever purpose.
Mann vs. Machine Coop
After over a hundred in-game hours of shooting and whacking and sniping and building sentries to blow up an opposing team through various game modes, Valve has released some new content: a co-op mode against robot machines of the same character classes. Freshly out of the oven and released just last month, players must now set aside all differences to destroy wave after wave of the enemy robot invasion.
Eight waves of various robot classes (sometimes with tanks) are sent for you to defeat
In the new Mann vs. Machine, a team of up to 6 players can join together and choose from 3 different maps. Prior to every successful wave, players may choose to upgrade their weapons and stats in the Upgrade Station in exchange for cash drops obtained in the battlefield. The Boot Camp mode is always ready for free players but if you want to get the best results from MvM, a Mann Up mode is playable for the price of a few dollars. Purchase a Ticket Voucher from the shop and you get to play in the Mann Co. server where every victory gives you a higher chance of receiving rare item drops.
Because Mann vs. Machine is still a young kiddo, game modes and maps are still limited. Teams of friends would also inconveniently need to queue up for a server every time, which could occasionally take a while (or maybe I’m always just too excited). Regardless, blowing up enemy robots with your friends is always worth the wait.
The new Mann vs. Machine feature brought out an entirely new element from this already-perfect FPS. In fact, MvM could be treated as an entirely separate game, what with all the intelligently developed and balanced character classes battling out against the game’s AI metal men. Players just got a tasty treat from Valve and with this new content, expect more players to party with.
All I can say is: Valve never disappoints. Their content releases might be slow but every time they come up with an idea, they make sure their players never leave their computer screens. Team Fortress 2’s Mann vs. Machine proved to be an exciting game mode, especially when playing with friends. If you think it being a co-op mode automatically means it’s easy mode, be ready to eat your words as my friends found our teamwork to put the test trying to keep those robots from deploying their silly little bomb. And if you’re still wondering what that “secret spice” or “x-factor” is that I’m talking about, it’s the element that is Valve. That’s all it is.
Controls – 5/5
Customization – 4/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Graphics & Presentation – 5/5
Community – 4/5