In my continuing series of Valve games I’d need friends for, Team Fortress 2 is a pleasant surprise. While it’s probably great at a LAN or with friends, you can just as well play it on the net with strangers.

Screenshot of Team Fortress 2
Oh the curves on that Pyro

Originally I tried the game first when Steam was launched for Mac and Valve threw a free weekend of TF2. For that, I earned my free in-game iPod earbuds. Then, after months of waiting for a recent deal of The Orange Box, I happened to stumble into a GameStop on my way to grocery store and it was there for 10 euros. I bought it primarily for Half-Life 2 and its episodes, but so far I think I have played more TF2 than HL2.

Anyway, my earbuds weren’t the only thing I had in TF2. I got a hat and a pan, because I had Left 4 Dead. The abdundance of hats has made many to claim that Team Fortress 2 is a hat simulator. I did not get a sweet Max hat, because I bought my Sam & Max games direct from Telltale1. Oh, and I almost forgot the Alien Swarm hat. So, hats. The oddest part is that I’ve earned these hats for playing other games. I guess I should get Telltale’s Poker Night for even more items.

Sure, my play tactic is mostly Pyro + W + LMB1. I’m still trying to remember what second mouse button does and how I really shouldn’t try to fry enemy Pyros.

One thing that I really don’t understand are the achievement servers. Until recently, TF2 seemed to be a game which rewards players who actually play the game a lot, the hats and other stuff drop only if you play long enough or if you reach some achievements. And those achievements are not all the “shoot the gun the first time” variety. I kind of understand them because of the rewards, but even without rewards I’d guess there would still be achievement servers for the really OCD cheaters out there.

Anyway, now that the hats and achievement servers are out of the way, it’s possible to concentrate on the actual game behind the hats. I haven’t really ever been a fan of class-based shooters as I’m always been more partial to the Quake deathmatch type of multiplayer fragging. Which is probably exactly the reason why I play Pyro. I like this game, because it’s easy to pick up and because it’s fun. It’s fun even if you get killed, because you’ll probably be killed in a spectacular way and not by a shot in the dark and once in a while you manage to kill someone else in just as spectacular way.

I participated in this Halloween’s event, which among obligatory hats also had some festive maps and even a NPC that was bent on killing all the players. I also managed to actually achieve one of the achievements, which was fun. I can seriously understand the recently added in-game item store if that means that Valve can justify using resources making this kind of events and keep the game fresh.