I’ve been playing an obscene amount of TF2 lately. It’s not that I’m addicted to it, it’s just more fun than Ghost Recon and Battlefield 3, so I always choose it instead. Not that the gameplay isn’t designed to be addicting. Having a nice *ding* when I hit an enemy isn’t helping either. Anyway, in playing so much TF2 it’s got me thinking about the last time a multiplayer shooter consumed so much of my time… CS:S. And when I think about it, it was for completely different reasons. Both perhaps rooted in my annoying amount of free time, but Counter-Strike: Source was practically a sport for me. I practiced with my team, I practiced on my own, then I did scrimmages against other teams, then I competed in a league with my team. I was never just “playing” a video game. With TF2 I don’t even have a team, though I don’t lack skill. Usually I just hop in a random pub and have a good time. Though competitive TF2 exists and I’m told is quite popular, it just isn’t that sort of game to me. I can easily see it becoming that sort of game to me, but I’m content the way it is.
TF2 is nice and laid out for you, every class has a job and different counters it can use against the other teams classes and abilities. You get 3 weapons slots (and over 50 total in the game) and each weapon has it’s use. Doing well in TF2 is about following a few rules and out-thinking your opponent, maybe a little bit of weapon skill. In CS:S you’re dropped into spawn with a buy menu with guns listed in order of type and their stats given. There’s a minimap to help you find your way around the map, but the amount of knowledge that is available to you without talking to people and learning the game is minimal. There are so many strategies and counters to every move your opponent can make, but they aren’t obvious or written down anywhere. The strategies are user-created and community-known, and once you know everything there is to know about how to play the game, you still have to have perfect aim to be the best. CS:S is about smart play, thinking on your feet and having a ridiculous reaction time. Point is, TF2 is easier to me, plain and simple. Is that bad? Nope. Both games are great.
but TF2 is for casuals.