Valves new incorporation into the highly popular Team Fortress 2 comes in the form of Mann vs Machine, a cooperative based game mode in which players work together to withstand waves of angry robots who are destined on destroying Mann Co with a bomb. The waves increase in difficulty as the match progresses, and players must work together in order to best the metallic horde!
Having only played a few games, due to the intense waiting time that comes with this new mode, I can safely say one thing. Mann vs Machine is very hard. Many of these game modes have shot up in popularity with Halo’s Firefight, Call of Duty’s Nazi Zombies and Gears of Wars Horde mode. Unlike all these game modes, Mann vs Machine starts off difficult, and stays difficult!
Other games send in a few enemies in the first wave that are generally more of a nuisance than a challenge. Did Valve think of this? No, of course not, Wave 1 contains God knows how many robot heavies with boxing gloves! Even though it’s just wave 1, this does not mean that it’s a walk in the park, because trust me. It isn’t!!!
A major new feature to this game mode is the upgrades system! During the game, players can go to the rear of the map to find an upgrade store, allowing them to further make their class an impenetrable fortress necessary for success. These upgrades range from health upgrades to increased amounts of ammunition to increased resistance etc. This means that players have infinite combinations in which they can customize their load outs to act in a variety of roles. Players could choose to improve abilities which help benefit the group, or they could approach the situation as a lone wolf, maximising their health and ammunition in order to fit the description of a one man army.
I have been able to play with a variety of different classes, from Engineers and Snipers to the larger than life Heavy! Having played, I would have to say that the Sniper is the most enjoyable for me to play as! Since the enemies are controlled by a rather impressive AI, and not a human player, it makes it much easier to score headshots, allowing waves off support robots to fall. However the AI is not to be underestimated. Far too many times have I been sniping from a distance, only to have a spy backstab me or a scout break through the lines and beat me to death with a baseball bat! It is extraordinary how they are able to best use the map to their advantage. No matter where you choose to position yourself, the horde WILL be able to reach you. It’s at this moment that the ever so present fun factor of Mann vs Machine is at its brightest!
Despite its difficulty, Mann vs Machine is a very welcome new edition to Team Fortress 2. I have no doubt in my mind that this new mode will lose any of it enjoy ability, simply because it’s Team Fortress! The light hearted nature and wacky combinations of weapons and accessories present help Team Fortress 2 be was it is. The childish yet hilarious first person shooter that we have come to know and love!