I'm writing this review as to explain why I've chosen to not rate a game I've put almost 4,000 hours in and continue to dump more into. I'm not intending to properly review this game but the hours I put in should be more of an endorsement than I could put into words.
TF2 is at minimum a top 3 GOAT I would rate at 5.0 but I have trouble recommending given the current state of the game to new players who don't have any guidance into the problems which either as a result of poor aging, a lack of interest from Valve, or other more modern issues make the game confusing at best and unplayable at worst. These are the main problems I see with the game currently:
- The default settings are dated, unoptimized, and put new players at a strict disadvantage compared to a properly tuned setup. This includes small things like fast weapon switch not being on by default, which is how weapon switching works in every shooter I've played after this came out, to more subtle things like how the network settings often result in players dying right after they take cover from a sniper or how I still see players with extremely narrow 70 FOV charging through chokepoints. While this does not address all of my concerns when it comes to things like controls, mastercomfig
overhauls many of these sometimes hidden settings and in my opinion, everyone should have it installed.
- No tutorials. Yes the game technically has four tutorials which cover extremely rudimentary aspects of just under half the game's playable classes, but these are not obvious to new players and are embarrassingly ineffectual when it comes to real matches. I believe it's best that this game is learned by playing with more experienced players if possible.
- Cheaters. Recently the game became overrun with many hundreds or maybe even thousands of bot accounts which most often would manifest in you queuing into a match where there are six snipers on the other team which would kill you the instant there was a clear sightline. This issue has died down immensely down to the point that these sorts of matches appear only every few days as opposed to half your matches. Regardless they are still present and other real players continue to use cheats as Valve's ambition toward dealing with cheaters in their more competitive games does not seem to carry over here. Cheaters will always exist in all games but this is an area that could be improved.
- Sniper. This is not the place to have a nuanced discussion of Sniper in the current year but suffice it to say, many players are in agreement that Sniper needs a reexamination given that the class is able to shut down large swaths of the playable area of a given map for fear of dying to a player you have an unfair expectation of being able to deal with at most ranges.
To reiterate, this is a game I love and continue to love because it is
a very good game at its core, but I'm not addressing that aspect of the game at this time. For the aforementioned reasons, I can only recommend this game if you have other more experienced people to play with, or otherwise have a lot of patience and/or an understanding for what I've laid out here.