Team Fortress 2
While It May be a woefully overused cliche, if you wait ages for one bus to come along, two will then show up at the same time. In this case, the metaphorical bus should be replaced with "class-based update for Team Fortress 2" but the rest of it remains accurate enough. So, while the dust has barely settled on the Scout's revisions, we now have the Sniper and the Spy updates bundled together. After such a long period of inactivity on the TF2 updates front, it's odd to have three classes revamped in such a short time.
Valve have included a whole wreath of other changes. First of all, a number of new maps have been added. Pipeline is the major new addition, a cart-pushing map where the objective is to shove yours past the enemy's lines before they can do the same to you. Split into three stages, the new payload race mode (i.e. any map with two carts to shove) is exciting and doesn't bottleneck as much as you might expect it to. Two new arena maps have been added, Sawmill and Nucleus, while a new community payload map, Hoodoo, has made its way onto the table. The meat of the update is, of course, the additions to the two classes, Spy and Sniper.
Valve have made an effort to make the Spy's changes intriguing and useful. His new revolver - the Ambassador - has a deadly accurate first shot, which causes a critical hit if it strikes an enemy's bonce. Make sure it does or you'll suffer for the next few seconds, as the gun has a short period of forced inaccuracy after this initial shot is fired.
Next up is the Dead Ringer, a new watch that shows you dying after taking damage, but which in fact cloaks you for eight seconds. After that, you uncloak as usual, it's accompanied by a loud sound, making it obvious you have done so. Another watch replacement, the Cloak and Dagger, allows you to remain cloaked, provided you don't move.
The Sniper's changes are more interesting. Rather than just replacing the weapons with similar versions that have a slightly different feel, Valve have created unique weapons that make the Sniper feel more individual.
Replacing the regular rifle is The Huntsman - a bow and arrow. It allows you to move faster while firing and has a great reload rate. Better at medium range, it can also nail people to walls.
The SMG is replaced with the Jarate-the urine jar grenade everyone thought was an April Fools' Day gag. This foul liquid injures enemies if they get hit by it, but can douse flames on your allies (and yourself).
Another SMG replacement is the Razorback, a shield that protects from the Spy's backstab, stunning him in the process. However, you move 15% slower while wearing it.
While this update is as good as any other - better, in fact, because it's two instead of one -we do feel that the changing of the unlock system has been mishandled.
Before you earned each weapon and upgrade by completing achievements on a class-by-class basis. Now, you get weapons both randomly and by gaining achievements with any class, in my first go, as a Spy, unlocked the Medic's Blutsaugergun. On the day of writing, I obtained three new weapons within 10 minutes of each other.
While the previous system was flawed as well, at least you felt like you'd earned the guns and so had a right to wield them. Now, it seems like anyone and everyone has them and people are confused as to why they're getting them for virtually nothing. It seems a bit strange to stick with a system, to make everyone get used to it then piss it away after such a period of time. Maybe that's just us though. To be fair, we do like the fact we now have these weapons, but it does feel like less of an achievement now that we've got them.
At the end of the day though, this is a great update, not just because it has come so soon after the last one. It has loads of content, exciting new weapons and concepts, a great new gameplay mode and lots of new achievements to aim for. It also had a superb introduction with the whole 'fiasco' surrounding the Meet the Spy video, with Valve's "everyone is fired" joke going down rather well.
The only real gripe we have is the way the weapons are now unlocked, which is good and bad in equal measure. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to deliver my payload to some unsuspecting internet users.
A quality update that provides plenty of stuff to aim for, even if you don't have to do very much to achieve said aims, and another way to play the game. Just watch out for the servers where there aren't any class number restrictions.
Download Team Fortress 2
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode