As if the Orange Box wasn’t already a good enough deal, Valve dropped a whole new content via Steam yesterday. The long awaited much anticipated Team Fortress 2 update landed bringing unlockable medic weapons, new achievements and a whole new Payload game mode and the Goldrush map to test it with.
Within hours the community had discovered that the Medic achievements and special items could be unlocked with a simple console commands and public servers were awash with frenzied tooled up Medics, giggling and Kritzing each other with interminable enthusiasm. The resulting carnage was sublimely ridiculous but a competitive game was nowhere to be found.
Fortunately there were alternatives. Hopping onto PC Gamer’s server saw Editor Ross ‘BBC’ Atherton and the writing staff assembled to take on all comers on the PCG server. An hour of frenzied action followed as the writers and steam community members blew each other to smithereens and tried to figure out the intricacies of the new map. The Blu team came incredibly close several times, but victory remained elusive. There was plenty of friendly chatter and general goodwill so even a relatively inexperienced TF2 player like me could get involved and have fun.
The new game mode is so simple that it is summarised in a single sentence on the introduction screen. The task is to push a cart loaded with a bomb to the end of the rails. The cart moves forwards if a Blu team member is near it, it doesn’t if a Red team member is near it. The action shifts dynamically as the cart moves through different environments, encouraging you to change your class and strategy based on its position. Because every player is focussed on the progress of the bomb, the fighting is localised, constant and intense, making Goldrush one of the most explosive and action packed maps in the set.
For the moment it seems to be a very difficult map to win. The final stretch is a large open space which can be accessed via corridors and tunnels from all sides. For the final twenty feet the cart is the only cover and the surrounding area is a complete killing field. A coordinated ubered assault seems to be the only way to push the cart to the end, but this may change in time as players figure out new methods of attack.
If you’re still not convinced that TF2 is for you then Valve are providing a free weekend from May 2nd – 4th, so download it via Steam and hop in – If you have had bad experiences with other games like Counterstrike then this is a chance to be reassured, TF2 isn’t your typical online shooter.
One final note – It’s hard to stress enough how cool it is that Valve continue to release so much new content for nothing, especially when it is as fresh and well made as Goldrush. Ungrateful forumites will always moan and bitch about change and balance ‘ruining the game’, but as long as Valve stick to their guns the game will get bigger and better. Huzzah for that.