As inevitable as the slow realisation that I’ve put on a bit of weight over Christmas due to the ever impressive Granny Cooking, when a TF2 update rolls around, I start to play TF2 again. It’s really great that they’ve done so many, really, as it means I never stop playing TF2. Which is handy, because TF2 itself is pretty bloody great. Thing is, this update has been for two classes I pretty much never play. I did play the Demoman once, a long time ago, to a reasonable degree, but the inaccuracy of both his grenades and the soldier’s rockets made them classes that I didn’t really click with. Either give my a flamethrower, knife or sniper rifle (and later bow and arrow) and I’m there.
But this update really changed how the Demoman works. Much like the Huntsman, which provided the option to Snipers to change from far away ‘oh look I killed you again’ bastards to fun Rambo style archery fanatics, lobbing jars of piss above their heads, chuckling, then pinning enemies to the wall with a well placed shot. Suddenly playing Sniper didn’t make you feel like a twat, while at the same time providing a really interesting role of distraction. Might not seem it, but when you hear an arrow go whizzing past your ear at high speed, you tend to start rolling your eyeballs around franticly in their sockets trying to find the medieval bastard before he pegs you.
So, the Demoman. He’s got three unlocks, as has every class that’s been revamped, and each does pretty drastic things with him. Up until this update he was essentially limited to a finesse class all about using the sticky grenade launcher with deadly accuracy, sticky jumping around and being generally hugely frustrating in the right hands. Problem was, he was the hardest to master, so you generally didn’t see him around all that much. And even if you did, three out of five times he was played badly.
Now, the smallest change comes in the shape of the Scottish Resistance, which is just a sticky launcher with some minor changes. First, it can’t detonate the grenades mid-air, which makes it a more ponderous weapon, but at the same time you can lay down more grenades at once, and detonate clusters rather than all. It’s basically a defensive Demoman’s wet dream.
Really though, I couldn’t care less about the Scottish Resistance. I’m a frantic player at best, caring more about getting into the thick of it than camping a spot and waiting for some witless moron to walk through the doorway I’ve rigged to explode. I’ve got no such patience. Instead, I’ve become enamoured with the Chargin Targe coupled with the Eyelander, the other two unlocks which so obviously compliment one another. The Targe is a shield that reduces explosive and fire damage by a considerable amount while at the same time letting you scream your guts out and fling yourself forward a good twenty feet all the while flailing your sword about like a mentalist.
And the sword itself plays another role that makes swapping the sticky launcher for the Targe a little more reasonable. By reducing your health from the offset, you become much more dependant on moving quickly and getting to the front lines, wanting to chop off some heads with your sword to buff your health. The grenade launcher becomes secondary, used just to soften up targets before you perform and almighty charge and separate head from neck.
It essentially creates an entirely new class that’s at least 60% melee based, and slips neatly into the same role that the Huntsman performs. It’s not anywhere near as effective as the sticky launcher, just as the bow and arrow doesn’t have anything on the sniper rifle, but it’s so much more fun to use. There’s far more character there, each kill is a massive victory, and while you might not get to the top of the leader boards, you’ll probably be having far, far more fun than whoever is.