Well played: a shooter noob's thoughts on Team Fortress 2

Screenshot by my friend Ben, used without permission :P

So. I never thought I'd be into a bona fide first person shooter because Call of Duty made me feel like all of them were of its ilk: annoying luckfests where the strong live longer and kill more.

Then Brink came along, and I was interested in it at first because of the parkour stuff, but later on I figured out that I liked the rest of the experience too; only problem was, I started playing it after everyone already moved on from it, so I kind of threw in the towel on FPSes.

Boy, was I in for a surprise with TF2.

Valve already impressed me with the Portal series, but I played those because they were platformers, in a sense. I'm that weird kid that actually enjoys them, 3D or 2D, and Portal was a perfect fit. (Same with Mirror's Edge, which took me 2 and a half years to finish because of my relative incompetence.)

Even though I knew they could make good games, I wasn't quite sold on the idea of an FPS by them (in retrospect, this was stupid), so I sat on TF2 for a while until I took the plunge and played it.

If that game is not the definition of "a fun shooter", then I don't know what would be.

I'll be honest, I'm not very good. Heck, I've only been into it for a good two weeks even though I've had it for two months. But if that game is not the definition of "a fun shooter", then I don't know what would be.

Immediately I noticed that TF makes it much, much easier for new recruits to enjoy it than CoD, or Brink, even. Those two, it seems like you're just dropped into the warzone, but Valve lets you choose whether or not you want to take that plunge from the get-go. Even better, you can play the multiplayer on your own, so a self-concious kid like me wouldn't have to worry about embarrassing him/herself in front of their Steam friends while not getting any kills.

Speaking of not getting any kills, even if you don't get any it's still a great time. With Call of Duty, I felt like the game was pitying me by giving me those death-streak perks that don't do much after roughly 20 seconds or so, and as a result I didn't really find them helpful. TF2 doesn't even bother giving you any perks for kill or death streaks (well, maybe it might, but Trevor Whatever the Noob hasn't encountered them yet) but it doesn't need them because you don't (always) die every 30 seconds.

Even if you do die, the game doesn't frustrate you with it.

And even if you do die, the game doesn't frustrate you with it. Sure, getting picked off by a Sniper two miles away or being burned up by a dick Pyro might be annoying, but I can honestly say no other shooter has made me feel like I accomplished something with each respawn like TF2 has. The "on the bright side" prompts are a little touch, but they're a welcome one that I love.

It's probably a little ironic that I'm posting this as the video game world lays its eyes upon the latest game for the CoD SquaD, but I don't really care. Maybe I might try it again with Black Ops 2 and enjoy it, but whether I do or don't, I know I'll have a great alternative that I know I'll have a good time with no matter what thanks to Valve.