The thing about special Halloween game modes is that they’re fun for a round or two, then the novelty wears off. The thing about Team Fortress 2‘s Halloween mode is that there are 18 of them.
Ok, so only 5 of those are new – but you can also play the 13 previous Halloween events, which would be enough to last you all year if the event didn’t end on November 14th. Valve have turned to their community for the new stuff in Scream Fortress X (not a sex thing), introducing five maps with their own game modes. I’ve spent the morning fuelling ghost ships, resurrecting corpses and running away from skeletons.
It is hot messy nonsense and I’ve enjoyed myself considerably. I tend to jump on any excuse to revisit TF2, so all they really needed to do was put the Spy in a silly costume and plop some pumpkins around each map. I’ve tried 3 of the 5 new modes, and they’re all so much more than that.
They’re not finely crafted, ultra-honed competitive multiplayer Esport-aspiring arenas. They’re daft playgrounds where you can squat by a pumpkin and it might turn into a skeleton and whack you. At one point, a portal sucked me into a nether dimension where I had to platform on some pots.
If you haven’t tried the older modes, those are worth checking out too. If memory serves, some of them start off as normal-ish matches in spooked up locales, but then halfway through a headless horseman/cosmic eyeball/grimy wizard appears and you team up to vanquish it. Or you just keep fighting each other while the eyeball goes about its business.
I’m not going to spoil any more of the surprises, because that’s the real joy of this. Just dip your hand in the bag and see what bites you.
There’s also an avalanche of cosmetics, again mostly from the community, who sure do a lot of Valve’s work for them. I’ll leave you to read about those on the update page, though I will stick a GIF here of the sad Soul Gargoyle everyone gets that cheers up as you do Halloween things. Its penultimate level of happiness is “Australian”.
Let’s pretend I made that massive to spook you rather than because I messed up the Gifcam settings. Or maybe Gifcam is haunted. Yes, that.