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Team Fortress 2 now has grappling hooks, power-ups and a new 'Mannpower' mode

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Valve continues to experiment with Team Fortress 2 by adding grappling hooks and a new batch of power-ups for the free-to-play first-person shooter. The new additions are part of TF2's new Mannpower game mode, which Valve launched in beta this week.

Team Fortress 2's new grappling hooks let players traverse through the game's maps faster than ever before, and they follow standardized video game grappling hook rules: Players can toss their grappling hook at a surface and be quickly yanked to that spot. The addition pretty substantially changes the dynamic of TF2 matches, and the grappling hook is currently only available to play in Mannpower mode on two maps, Foundry and Gorge.

Mannpower is a new capture the flag-like mode that introduces nine new power-ups to the game and disables random critical hits. Players can hold one of the following power-ups at a time, which they lose upon death or by dropping it.

  • Strength: Double damage for all weapons. Distance damage fall-off immunity.
  • Resistance: Reduces incoming damage by 50%. Immune to critical hit damage multiplier.
  • Vampire: All damage dealt is returned as health. 25% damage resistance. Max health increased by 40%.
  • Warlock: 50% of damage received is reflected back to the attacker (reflected damage cannot directly cause death). Max health increased by 50%.
  • Haste: Double weapon firing and reload rate. Double clip size and max ammo count. Movement speed increased by 30%.
  • Regeneration: Ammo, health and metal regenerate. Rate of health regeneration inversely proportional to max health.
  • Precision: Greatly reduced bullet spread. Distance damage falloff immunity. Rocket and grenade travel speed increased 250%.
  • Agility: Movement speed increased by 50%. Grapple speed increase. Jump height increased by 80%. Instant weapon switch.
  • Critical Hit: temporary full crit power for 30 seconds. Respawns in the same place after 60 seconds.

Mannpower mode is currently in beta, Valve stresses, so the developer can get player feedback on how the game should grow. And Mannpower looks very much like an unfinished mode; players are exploiting maps and the hook's reach to position themselves into previously impossible to reach places. But the new hook basically turns the game into a Spider-man multiplayer with TF2 characters.

In addition to the new mode, Valve is rolling out a "Smissmas" update for the holidays. The update adds new festive weapons decorated with Christmas lights, more than two dozen new cosmetic items, a Stuffed Stocking filled with goodies and three brand-new weapons: the Iron Bomber grenade launcher, Quickiebomb Launcher and Panic Attack shotgun. More details on the update and Mannpower mode are available at the Team Fortress blog.

TF2 festives

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