First, what is Team Fortress 2?
The game Team Fortress 2, abbreviated TF2, is a one-of-a-kind, award-winning, first-person shooter (FPS) video game developed by Valve Software. As the name implies, the game’s central idea is to work as a team, and gives players the ability to choose a specific specialty or role (called classes) within the team. Winning the game involves capturing an enemy flag or briefcase (intelligence) inside the opposing base while protecting the friendly base. Unique features of the game include very polished player models, a number of fun classes to choose from, numerous maps and play types, the ability to craft items, item trading, modifications, Mann Co. Store, and a large community base.
Where to get Team Fortress 2. How much does it cost?
The game is free on Valve’s network. If you choose to purchase the game it includes some added features such as a larger backpack to store your items and a number of Valve’s anchor titles such as Half-Life 2. The Orange Box includes Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Portal, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and generally ranges in price from $9.99 – $19.99 depending on what sales are happening.
What if I’ve never played a first-person shooter? Will Team Fortress be too difficult?
Team Fortress 2 remains one of the most user-friendly FPS games on the market today. It helps to have some FPS experience but isn’t necessary. In fact, TF2 is probably the best starting point for anyone interested in trying-out a FPS game for the first time.
Is Team Fortress 2 violence appropriate?
If you are opposed to game violence in general then it’s probably not the best title for you based on the game’s default settings. TF2 is rated Mature (17 and up) by the ESRB. If I was asked to rate this game I would personally place the game somewhere near an age 10+ category even at default settings (the most violent setting). This is because the game is cartoonish in its look and feel. The violence is presented inside a very creative, over-the-top satirical backdrop. But yes, the game does have violence and lots of it. When you compare the overall tone of TF2 to the latest top-selling disturbingly vivid, graphically violent FPS games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, or Far Cry 3, you will see that TF2’s blood and gore is much more abstract in comparison. I think it’s important to make this distinction. The best answer for you is to review some freely available game-play footage on YouTube and decide for yourself. You can also follow these simple instructions to turn-off Team Fortress 2 gore and blood on a PC to make the game less violent.
Other types of adult content parents should be concerned about in Team Fortress 2 and other online games
As a parent I can look past the violence when it comes to a quality title such as TF2 especially when most of the violent content can be turned off. That said, I am always more concerned about the community aspects of any online game and what my child could be exposed to from strangers. Team Fortress 2 utilizes public servers just like most multiplayer games do. This means that a child would very likely be exposed to adult language and content emanating from other players. In fact, having played the unfiltered version of the game for years now myself, I can guarantee that a child would be exposed to gobs of adult content in one form or another “if” the game is left unfiltered. This adult content could be in the form of on-screen chat text, voice, server custom files, or user submitted imagery called “sprays”. By default, the game is not very kid friendly. Luckily, TF2 provides a way to filter all this garbage out!
It takes little time to filter adult content from other players or servers. Here are the steps to filter adult content in Team Fortress 2:
STEP1: Disable voice, custom server content, trade requests, and sprays in TF2
1. Launch TF2
2. On the main screen choose Options
3. Within Options, choose the Voice tab and uncheck Enable Voice in this Game
4. Click on “Apply”
5. While still in the Options menu choose the Multiplayer tab and select from the drop-down menu Do not download custom files
6. Click on “Apply”
7. Still within the Multiplayer tab choose to open Advanced Options
8. Once inside the Advanced Options you will perform 2 tasks, first scroll-down to Disable Sprays and check that option so that sprays are now disabled. Second, scroll all the way to the bottom of the Advanced Options and under Show Trade Requests, choose No One or Friends Only
9. Click on “Apply” and “OK”
STEP 2: Disabling on-screen chat messages
1. Disabling on-screen chat messages requires that you have already joined a game server. Go ahead and join any server to accomplish this step. Once you are connected to the server there are some welcome screens where you just need to click Continue, and then choose a class, and click Continue again.
2. Once you have joined a server and you have spawned (your character can move around), click on the chat key, default is the “Y” key on your keyboard. This will bring up the chat dialogue menu.
3. Once you have brought-up the chat dialogue menu click on the Filters button and then uncheck the Public Chat option.
4. Click on the filters button again to close it and then hit the Escape key on your keyboard.
The verdict? You decide.
Team Fortress 2 is hard to pass up since it’s one of the most refined and entertaining FPS games available today. The fact that most new games are selling for an upwards of $60.00 makes TF2 a real bargain with a price tag of ZERO dollars. You cannot beat that. As stated, the game includes cartoonish violence that can be filtered and has the ability to filter out adult content coming from players online. Many games of this nature fail to include this level of customized filtering to make a game more age appropriate and kid-friendly. As a parent, I am very pleased the developers of TF2 took the time to add these filtering features.