Robots, TF2, an amazing storyline from Valve and more, bigger robots! What happens when you mix all of them together? Yes, you get the Mann Vs Machine update, the update that has spellbound two different generations of TF2 players (Old School & F2P newbs!) in a matter of 2 days.
Timed perfectly to resuscitate the dwindling interest in TF2, this masterstroke from Valve has already grabbed eyeballs, playtime and lots of $$$. Let’s find out whether you should join this war!
So, what is Mann Vs Machine about? Well, it is about the RED and BLU teams joining hands to fight an army of robots sent to destroy Mann Co. I would say the best way to begin would be reading the engrossing comic about Mann Brothers and their family feud that has led to this war. Done? Okay then, allow me to take you through MvM!
The Nuts & Bolts of MvM
The basic setup of the MvM update is a co-op mode where 6 players get together to fight waves of grey robots. The robots are hell bent on killing you and your team, carrying the bomb across to the stronghold at the base and jumping animatedly into the hole to destroy Mann Co. And they are pretty good at it.
Your mission, should you choose to accept (Mission Impossible theme plays), is to stop these waves of robots and prevent them from hurling themselves down the Mann Co. strongholds with that bomb. And trust me, it is easier said than done.
Other than the regular sized robots of all classes except engineer, you have some giant threats to take care of. Giant Heavies, Soldiers with critical rockets and Scouts with the Sandman are some threats to watch out for. And let’s not forget the merciless tank that enters the fray after every 3 levels. I remember being frozen with fear when I saw 2 medics backing up 2 giant heavies, with their weapons firing mercilessly, and that huge tank following them.
If you are thinking that two engineers with sentry guns is sufficient firepower, then you, my friend, are sadly mistaken. The mode introduces a Sentry Buster, a unique robot that has a high HP and aims only sentries. I was all happy and content with that robot-killing sentry gun of mine before Mr. Sentry Buster showed up and spoiled my party by blowing up all my buildings. Ouch!
There are three new maps on which the battle takes place: Coaltown, Decoy and Mannworks. I specifically found the maps to be quite challenging as they were short, had two alternate routes for the robots to get through and were pretty tightly made, making the battle close and quite intense. The map design is another reason why MvM is so awesome to play!
The Fun Doesn’t End There!
By now you must have understood that you are facing a formidable foe that does not feel the pangs of conscience, the fear of death or the convolutions of morality. What chance do we have against this abomination?
Man up (Or shall I say, MANN up?!) Gentlemen, for all is not lost!
Every time your team kills a robot, some cash is dropped. The team needs to collect the cash and use it to buy upgrades off the shop at the base. Yes, I know, I tried to use that cash to buy a game off Steam too but sadly, it did not work. But just imagine, earning $4000 at the end of a mission in TF2. Virtual mercenaries, we are.
Dismissing that thought, the upgrades are essential for survival in the game. You can buy increased ammo, HP regeneration, movement speed and various other upgrades. While the player upgrades are retained when you switch classes, the weapon upgrades are discarded. You even have a new concept of Canteen, a little bottle that can be filled with five different upgrades: critical boost, personal ubercharge, ammo replenishment, buildings upgrade for engineers and teleport back to base. Each can be purchased from the shop and used thrice. Collectively, these upgrades are the single most important thing after team coordination for winning this war against robots.
The famous TF2 announcer makes a fashionable return with this update and some of her dialogues are simply outstanding! I noticed some new taunts and sounds being a part of the update, some of them being executed at the perfect time and bringing that fun aspect of TF2 back in full flow.
Another interesting, first of its kind, addition to the TF2 universe is the Tour of Duty ticket. The Tour of Duty ticket gives you permission to play MvM on official Mann Co. servers. These servers gives you an opportunity to find some rare MvM items, hats and collectibles, with each mission run costing you $0.99. While the whole Mannconomy (Hats, Unusual Weapons & the money involved) concept does not appeal to me, I think it is a good addition for those who want to expand their inventories with some rare items.
Does It Get Any Better?
Yes! The update is totally free to download and play and requires a fee only when you want to find some rare items. It’s Valve, it’s TF2 and it’s free! Unbelievably awesome I say!
Alright team, it is time for us to wage war against these numbnuts, see you on the field. If you have had any funny experience with the MvM mode, we would love to hear it from you. Also, please feel free to add anything that I might have missed here for MvM. Have fun and thanks for reading!