Valve, the video game development powerhouse and Washington State’s #1 pizza consuming company for five consecutive years in a row continues to amuse me. Their business model is somewhat of a diamond in the rough – make a fantastic game, and then for the next couple of years continue making the game even better – now get this – for free. Yes, its pretty difficult for a company these days to make a title that doesn’t blow the gonads off a bull the second GameStop decides to start pre-orders for it (I am pretty sure you can get the testicles back by pre-ordering and getting a cheat code but that’s another story). But to continue releasing free content for it? Absurd.
As you may or may not know, Team Fortress 2 is one of these gems of a video game that Valve continues to blow voodoo Asian pixie powered dust into. Most recently, they’ve released their fourth and latest class update, the Scout class.
The Scout class was always defined as the flag capper in every variant of Team Fortress. In Team Fortress Classic, the little guy would explode if another sneezed on him. This was all made up however with their powerful Concussive Grenades, granting them rocket jumping capabilities with little to no reguards to physics (Usually fall damage was disabled on most TFC servers). Valve probably had this idea in mind, and some other fruity ideas ones when they decided to update the Scout class.
What they’ve added are three replacements to the typical Scout Melee/Scout Nailgun/Scout Scattergun. Playing on the very much “Jersey Baseballer” theme Valve had going on, the Scout now has baseball and baseball bat unlockable. The Sandman as its called, grants the player to throw a baseball in any direction, thus causing their melee weapon into a cannon of gay proportions. Why gay? The longer distance the ball travels and successfully hits a target, the longer the target is stunned. Yes, stunned, as in this:
Which means the Scout can successfully rush in and wack the living shit out of you, and there’s nothing you can do about it but bask in your tears. The stun also works on Ubered targets, meaning you can effectively pin a medic + heavy combo rush if you can get a lucky swing off. Speaking about rushing, the Nailgun replacement plays on his hyperactive nature and is now an energy drink. No Little Billy, I don’t mean an Energy Tank with a giant fucking E on it that you can collect on any one of Dr. Wiley’s nefarious robot masters, I mean an 8 oz. can of caffeine and battery acid, aptly titled “Bonk Energy Drink”. Chugging one of these bad boys makes you gain a 100% miss chance for several seconds to all hit scan weapons. You leave a blurry trail that Sonic the Hedgehog would be proud of if he wasn’t at a nursing home for ingesting so much cock and cocaine from Sonic Team. You also can’t attack while in hyper mode, and when the effect wears off, you go into a sugar crash, causing you to walk significantly slower than normal speed.
Finally, the scatter gun’s replacement is another push towards annoying players, titled the Force-A-Nature. Its like the scatter gun, with a load time longer than playing a PS3 game for the first time. However, it has a recoil mechanic that can work for the player or against the enemy. Getting hit results in a massive knock back, while the player can utilize a Force-A-Nature blast as a second or third jump.
Playing with these new changes obviously come at a price, you have to play as a Scout long enough to start unlocking achievements, which are the method to unlocking the weapons. The achievements generally range from mundane kill X amount of players to the not so crazy “The Cycle” which involves killing a player in the air, on the ground, and in the water all in one life. I admit they aren’t as terrible as the Pyro ones (Do 1,000,000 lifetime damage with your flame thrower is pretty high up there).
Valve also tossed in several new community created maps to ease the boredom of having to play goldrush (which is still p. awesome) 24/7. CP_Egypt is essentially TF2 meets CounterStrike’s infamous DE_Dust, with the Old Man Murray crate stacked upon crate as far as the eye could see. The map could use some better flow as its very easy to get lost, which never was as problem with Valve maps. Egypt is also an Engineer’s wet dream, as there are at least five different choke points per “wave”, all with cubby holes and angled doors to plop your sentries in. I do give props for this as well, as its very easy for the offense to push in one direction while the defense is scrambling to ward off stragglers and the rush of the two sides is very thrilling.
The other community created map, is a total travesty. CP_Junction is the net result of a cookie cutter capture map with some one jizzing all over the walls. I’m not joking, its as if someone discovered a new tool like lens flare or colored lighting and said to himself, “boy if this works here, I bet no one would ever get tired of it every where else!” This tool unfortunately is cube mapping, and the floors really shine for it. The walls, the floor, the computers, even the shine itself has a reflective shine. It’s God awful. This map is also stupidly small, CP_Junction is about the size of a McDonalds kiddie playground. As a pyro, it is impossible to shoot your flame thrower and not hit a target, because there is zero room to dodge the fire. Honestly if I wanted to play this shit I would have gone and played Turok: Rage Wars for the N64.
The Scout pack isn’t with out its flaws. I wouldn’t ask for them to put more shine on it (seriously fuck you CP_Junk-tion). Otherwise, Valve’s latest update is a wonderful addition to the ever growing bundle of joy that is Team Fortress 2.