PlaySF Vs Machine
I’ve been having a go at the new Team Fortress 2 update, Mann vs Machine. It feels a bit odd to be covering TF2 here at PlaySF, but I guess robots is as close to sci-fi as the game’s ever likely to get – and it’s really fun, so what the hell!
In MVM, TF2′s now famous classes go up against wave after wave of evil robot hordes across three new maps. Three difficulty levels provide varying levels of challenge, and each robot drops cash when killed, which you can spend at an upgrade counter to power up your chosen class. Simple, eh?
By golly though, you’re going to need those upgrades. As the waves get successively harder, more and more outlandish enemies begin to appear – the tank, with tons of hitpoints, or giant versions of Soldiers, Pyros, Scouts and so on. When the giant enemies start getting the same powerups – Giant Rapid Fire Soldier, for example, with a few uber-medics in tow – only sustained teamwork will take them down.
Finish a full set of waves for the first time and you get a Canteen item, which can be filled with up to three of any one kind of special effect (5second uber, ammo replenish etc), which becomes a godsend in the harder levels for saving your bacon or getting you through a particularly tough wave.
As a twist on the tried and true TF2 gameplay, it’s a first class effort. The initial difficulty is easy enough with an average team, but the advanced levels are punishing, and even with a decent team behind me I’ve yet to finish a full round on any advanced level. One day I’ll get a decent team behind me and give it a proper go, but for now I’m content to hone my skills on the normal difficulty levels. The three maps are varied enough to remain interesting but similar enough for a broad strategy to apply across all of them, and I expect we’ll see some awesome community maps soon too.
TF2 going free was a great thing, and MVM just adds even more content to an already bristling game – that said content has a kooky sci-fi tinge to it is just the icing on the cake (cue Portal gags). Sure, the matchmaking system’s still wonky as hell and you’re better off just typing mvm into the map filter to join an existing server, but that’ll change and improve over time. Like a good cheese. You’d be crackers not to try it.
I’ll get my coat.