Team Fortress 2 had a big update last night with the Halloween update for 2015, a community made update called Invasion featuring four new maps, four reskinned weapons and sixteen cosmetic items in two crates. After spending a few hours in the spooky new Invasion maps, they’re a worthy update to bring people back into the game.
They all have green glowing lights, darker wood panels and feel like the perfect amount of spooky silliness Team Fortress 2’s Halloween updates are known for. Most of them take place at night or dusk with the exception of Brye which adds a certain visual difference as well. You can still see everything just fine.
Two of these new maps have a giant UFO that flies in at a snail’s pace and starts a tractor beam to pull up anything from underneath it. This adds to the gameplay, because its a good way to get to high ground at the risk of being shot by anyone who spots you in the green beam.
If you allow yourself to enter the UFO, you’re transported inside where you get to either duke it with others or use one of the game’s many luminescent walls to transport to different places on the map. These walls glow with the color of the team’s half of the map.
When you pop out of the mysterious craft, you have brief invulnerability consistent with an uber and you get a buff to enhance your skills while you tear through the enemy. Its interesting to use and it adds a lot to each map to make them different from the rest.
As for the interior of the UFO that flies in from time to time, its the same from map to map. A giant cylindrical room with dark walls. In the center is a small health pack in between four small pillars that have gurneys on the outside. Its a beautiful, glowing diversion that gives you a reason to invade the invaders.
WATERGATE – Player Destruction
The idea here is you need to collect beers that drop from dead players and deposit them in the UFO that will fly over from time to time. Its an interesting idea that’s tough to pull off, because as you’re pulled up you’re open to attack and sometimes the UFO can move out of range and you will plummet to your demise.
Watergate the perfect name for an invasion that the government undoubtedly knows, but its an actual water gate, like the panama canal that has a ship gated in the center. This map seems to be a new take on a recent map titled Powerhouse. There’s a lot of diversity with water, tunnels, buildings and the courtyard. You can see some pyro shark battles next to the rusty tug boat that has a health kit in the center.
Outside of the courtyard are two taller buildings. As a soldier its easy to market garden and rocket jump your way to the top. Its good for all classes. The courtyard is narrow, with the major sniper points up at the top giving heavies and slower classes a good chance of survival to make it across unsaved. Demos and soldiers can bomb the area from above and pyros can clear the hallway.
The aesthetic is brick and cement at dusk. The look sets this map apart from the other three in the series. There is a tall barbed wire fence overlooking the sea.
PROBED – King of the Hill (KOTH)
Probed brings a flying saucer and some diversity to King of the Hill. Its point is snug against two walls of a building with a silo at the other side. With two wide open sides, it can make guarding the point tough. Rather than bottlenecking choke points, there’s plenty of room to make a push. Above the point there are windows in the silo and the building itself which can let soldiers and demos rain down explosions. There are a lot of ways to shoot at the point itself and the map feels good for all classes rather than letting demos or scouts excel.
The aesthetic is a cross between wooden buildings, cement floors and yellowish dirt ground. There are plenty of side paths, ramps through buildings and catwalks between them. Its a map with great action from above and below. Behind the point are a few cover walls that players can pop out of, but there are gaps along the floor so you can see their feet as they hide. It might be cover, but it blinds the one hiding while it lets the one in the open see you.
2 FORT – INVASION – Capture the Flag (CTF)
Anyone that has played even the classic version of Team Fortress knows 2 Fort. Its a game synonymous with Team Fortress. This version has green glows that have a hint of blue, UFOs beware posters in the intelligence room. The buildings themselves are draped with a white plastic that is trope with aliens and sterilizations. This look with yellow tubes hanging off of it is an impressive sight. Heading down to the control room, there are hazmat suits that lead through the door to a black lined hallway. There are windows in the intelligence room that overlook a crashed UFO and what I can only summarize as sort of alternate power source. Outside of a visual difference, its the same map.
The mapping community has come up with dozens of different variations. Its a map that favors sentries and snipers. Its a map that I absolutely hate because of its long stalemates. I can usually get far as a scout with bonk atomic punch and the atomizer, but then I succumb to all of the level 3 sentries. If I hide and recharge my bonk then I can even make it to the flag single handed, but there’s usually a level 3 sentry waiting for me in the flag room. If you can get the flag within the first five minutes, the game goes quick, but otherwise it becomes a long arduous process.
With that being said, I enjoy the new version. Its good to have a new take on a classic that is pushing nearly ten years old. I like the aesthetic in general and it feels different in every way but the gameplay that we’ve all come to expect.
BRYE – Arena Control Point (ACP)
While Brye is an interesting map set in the daytime, its more interesting because its an arena map, which is a mode that Valve has seemingly forgotten about and pushed under a rug. Arena mode is a fight to the death with teams. When you die you’re out of the game until a new round. Brye is a control point map, but most of the time everyone will be dead long before the points are ever captured.
As a map there are a lot of areas with two walls. It makes it open and shielded at the same time depending on which angle you’re coming from rather than offering bottlenecks. Brye seems very flat with the only ramps leading underground. There are still slight hills and upward motion, but the buildings are grounded. Its a map for most classes, although I question the usefulness of a sniper and an engineer without a gunslinger. With the open areas, heavies will be dead without a medic. Hallways are rare and the ones here are open so even a spy can slip by an unaware player.
Brye is perhaps my least favorite of the four map series. Its set in the daytime and its missing that haunting feeling that the others have with a night setting and a greenish blue glow. I think the opened two wall look of a lot of the areas holds back my enjoyment.
There is a mish-mash of styles here. Wooden panels for barns, cement foundations, brick and mortar, sheet metal and wood. It takes a lot of effort to look this unconcerned with a consistent style. You can see train cars just beyond the map’s border. Flying saucers slowly move in and light up the map with a green hue, but they take so long that everyone is dead before they get to use their ray beam.