Okay Valve, I think you got it right this time. New weapons are all very interesting for me (as primarily a Pyro player), the achievements are more sensible, and with 10, 15 and 20 for the unlock milestones it means less grinding from non-pyro players polluting the servers, and more optional achievements for regular pyros playing the class properly. And the new compressed air ability for the regular flamethrower is an interesting twist I would never have predicted. Can’t wait to try it out. As for the maps, well Turbine is a cool map I have enjoyed several times. Don’t know Fastlane yet but I guess I will soon.
However, I will say that there are still problems: not all of them are problems Valve can fix, but they are nonetheless problems that mar the experience. Namely the fact that it’s difficult to find a decent standard server without “fast respawn” or “dustbowl 24/7” or “melee-only sudden death” or running a really dull gimmicky community map. I like TF2 the way it was designed, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a standard official map rotation that isn’t full up.
And I suppose this is the way with all online games, but when the server only has maybe 5 or 6 players, nobody wants to join, and those 5 or 6 soon leave, so generally all the good servers are either empty or full.
Niggling aside, I’m still enjoying TF2 and I expect I will continue to enjoy it for years to come. I got round to setting up a custom graphics config so now it runs much smoother, with better graphics at 1680×1050, while many games (looking at you Oblivion and Bioshock) tend to have trouble on this machine at 1280×800. The Source Engine blows Unreal Engine 3 out of the water in my estimation. It may not be as flashy but it runs smooth and it looks and feels real and consistent.
I enjoyed Bioshock to an extent, but I actually thought graphically it was a mess. Beautiful environments but people that looked like they were wrapped in clingfilm and sprayed with gloss varnish. It really didn’t work for me at all. Plus it ran like a slug even on minimum settings, even in the tiniest resolutions. TF2 has its stylised graphics which are always pretty. HL2 Ep2 and Portal I also found very good graphically despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of the shiny plastic look Doom 3 popularised. I prefer the grittier more grounded look.
Went off at a tangent there but anyway: HOORAY VALVE, keep up the good work.