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Jaz McDougall

Nov 03, 2010

Team Fortress 2 Polycount Pack

Scouts are throwing bottles of milk at people. Snipers are dressed up like crocodiles, but they're firing pee-filled darts instead of bullets. Spies are stabbing you with a knife that hides your body and steals your identity. Pyros are bludgeoning people with a car battery on a stick. Team Fortress 2 has, once again, gone utterly insane.

The Polycount Pack is 17 community-created items that Valve have introduced into Team Fortress 2, our favourite online shooter. To get them, you can wait for the items to drop, or you can buy them. You can buy individual weapons for anywhere between 60p and £3, and hats cost as much as £12. The Polycount bundle costs £30, and that's a lot of money. You don't have to buy it; you could just wait, or beg for items on friendly servers in your sexiest voice, but it's definitely easier to just shell out the cash.

Players use a wide mix of old and new items to suit their style

It contains items for the Spy, Soldier, Pyro, Sniper, and Scout classes. Each class gets a themed hat and a couple of items – wearing all of them confers a bonus. This means that the new hats actually impact the combat: if I want to wear my Respectless Rubber Glove instead of the Attendant cap, I don't get to move 10% faster. That's annoying.

Boxes and bugles

The Soldier receives the Black Box, a rocket launcher that can heal you for 15 health on every hit, but, frustratingly, only carries three rockets in its clip. The Battalion's Backup is a bugle that charges up as you take damage, and when that bar is full, you can unleash a powerful defensive buff that protects nearby team members. Wear those with the Grenadier's Softcap, and you can bask in the glow of a 20% damage reduction from sentry fire. Suddenly you've become the Medic's new favourite pet.

The new rocket launcher: it 'splodes people

The Sniper's Croc-o-style set, when you've equipped all four items, makes you immune to headshots. Your rifle fires darts of pee that can't score headshots either, instead dealing damage and coating the enemy in crit-yielding Jarate. Some of the other sets of items are more prone to switching up – the Pyro's new Degreaser is a flamethrower that does less burn damage, but greatly increases the speed with which you switch weapons. This makes it ideal for your trusty Axtinguisher. Likewise, you might not care for the Spy's new cloak- replenishing pistol or Fez hat, but his new knife is incredible. Stab someone in the back and it hides their body, instantly disguises you as them and makes almost zero noise.

Are these items essential? Nah: you can still own the enemy team with the vanilla weapons. The new items all have their drawbacks. On the other hand, are they fun to use? Do they give you great options without crippling your less cash- happy opponents? The short answer: yes. If only it was £10, I'd even say you had to buy it.

Jaz McDougall

Team Fortress 2 Polycount Pack

It’s a big bundle of snazzy hats and well-balanced weapons. Buy if you want interesting options that don’t offer the upper hand.

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