So there’s now a co-op mode in TF2.  I was a bit dubious when I first heard about it, because it has a pay-to-play mode which sounds really bogus.  (Seriously, $1 to play a round?  Haven’t faced that since playing Joust in college.)  Fortunately, you can ignore that, and MVM (Mann vs. Machine) is extremely addictive.

TAAAAAANK

In many ways it feels like a new game.  For one thing there’s no PvP: the humans are all on the same side.  Second, you have a six-man squad, which means everyone counts.  Third, there’s a tower defense aspect, as the enemy bots thread their way into your base.  Plus, you get weapons upgrades as you defeat each wave, and you can select which ones, which adds a whole new dimension.

At the same time, you have all the classes and weapons of standard TF2.  One of the clever bits in this mode is that the upgrades are a kind of wet dream for most classes.  Liberty Launcher with clips of 5?  Heavies overhealed to 700?  Ammo counts of 400?  An extra sentry?  Yes!  Of course, you need all the extra firepower, as you’ll be facing some very tough enemies.

In just a few days it appears that a good team can master the basic levels of all the maps.  But the advanced level is still mopping us up.

I’ve only played with friends– the matchmaking and lobby system is very unsatisfactory.  But you can run your own server for free, so that’s the best solution to the lobby problem.

(One meta-oddity… the comic introducing the game mode has a new Mann brother, whose color theme is gray.  And it shows Red and Blue teaming up to fight him.  Only in the actual game, the humans are all red and the robots blue.  I was kind of looking forward to a motley crew of red and blue players facing off against gray robots.)

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