Review – Team Fortress 2: Mann vs Machine

Title: Team Fortress 2: Mann vs Machine

Publisher: Valve

Developer: Valve

Platforms: PC & Mac

Release Date: Out Now

Team Fortress 2 has been going strong ever since its release in 2007 and became even more poular after it became free-to-play in 2011. Mann vs Machine is the latest downloadable content (DLC) for Valve’s distinctively cartoonish class-based first-person-shooter. Mann vs Machine further fosters the game’s spirit of teamwork by adding a co-operative mode in which a team of six human players take on hordes of AI opponents.

Mann Co. is under attack from legions of robots hell-bent on bombing its facilities to smithereens and only our favourite team of nine mercenaries, ranging from the Australian Sniper to the French Spy, can stop them. The robots pose a considerably greater challenge than the standard human players you encounter in TF2’s traditional multiplayer team death match. Rather than even teams, Mann vs Machine pits you and five others against waves of enemies, each of which is as strong as a standard player, with dozens of them attacking at once. On top of this, special robots will appear at intervals, such as the sentry buster which will launch a kamikaze strike against any defensive structures built by an Engineer, or the über Medic which can grant temporary invincibility to its fellow robots. These formidable enemies are also supplemented by tanks and giant robots that can deflect incoming projectiles and fire explosives at a rapid speed.

Luckily for the mercenaries, destroying the robots earns them cash which can be used to purchase upgrades to level the playing field, like increased burn duration for the Pyro’s flamethrower or armour-piercing bullets for the Heavy’s mini-gun. Mann vs Machine also introduces the handy canteen item which, depending on what you fill it with, can give you a helpful boost at a critical moment. Canteen effects range from ammo refills to an instant teleport to the map’s spawn point.

The new DLC also allows for player rewards through the new ‘Mann up Mode’. In this mode you can pay $0.99 for a Tour of Duty Ticket which allows you to take part in a series of missions, which if successfully completed will earn you new cosmetic items to customise your character with, which would otherwise have had to be purchased individually. This mode is entirely optional and the rest of Mann vs Machine is completely free-to-play.

Mann vs Machine is both a fun and challenging addition to TF2. It encourages co-operation by making every member of the team invaluable and promotes the use of tactics against the metal menace, but it also encourages a healthy dose of competition as your team have to scramble for the cash bonuses once the robots have been reduced to scrap. This DLC proves that even after five years TF2 still has plenty of life left.

Steven Balbirnie